TOP DOG

These mas­sive ca­nines may seem in­tim­i­dat­ing at first, but they have hearts as big as their bod­ies.

Pets (Singapore) - - Contents - By Christiann Priyanka

Great Dane

most peo­ple have heard of ScoobyDoo but are un­aware that the comedic car­toon ca­nine is ac­tu­ally a Great Dane. Great Danes are also known as the 'King of Dogs' or the 'Apollo of Dogs' be­cause they are noble, friendly, pa­tient, and de­pend­able.

The orig­i­nal Great Danes were a far cry from the gen­tle giants seen to­day. The first Great Danes were bred in Ger­many to hunt the Eu­ro­pean wild boar for sport. Those dogs needed to be swift, ag­ile, fe­ro­cious and ag­gres­sive, and even had their ears cropped in or­der to pre­vent boar tusks from tear­ing them. Even­tu­ally, they be­came guard dogs for Ger­man no­bil­ity and ul­ti­mately their com­pan­ions. To­day, Great Danes are no longer used to hunt boars but in­stead have been se­lec­tively bred by Ger­man breed­ers to in­cor­po­rate soft and gen­tle tem­per­a­ments, mak­ing them the per­fect com­pan­ion dog.

With their sweet na­tures, these furry giants love to play and are ex­tremely fam­ily-ori­ented. They are re­puted for their goofi­ness, and love to en­ter­tain and be en­ter­tained. They adore hu­mans and will wel­come any stranger with open paws. Ea­ger to please, these dogs are easy to train and will quickly learn what their paw-rents like and dis­like. They are ex­cel­lent around chil­dren as well, and calm enough for apart­ment liv­ing.

With such a large physique, this breed re­quires a lot of food to com­pen­sate for its size. How­ever, be­cause of this, it is also sus­cep­ti­ble to sev­eral health con­di­tions. Great Danes bloat more of­ten than other dogs and can suf­fer from gas­tric di­la­tion volvu­lus (the num­ber one killer

of Great Danes), car­diomy­opa­thy, hip dys­pla­sia, hy­per­trophic os­teodys­tro­phy (be­cause of their rapid growth as a puppy), bone can­cer and wob­bler’s syn­drome. To pre­vent bloat­ing and gas­tric di­la­tion volvu­lus, don’t feed your dog im­me­di­ately be­fore or af­ter walks.

Although they have mod­er­ate lev­els of en­ergy, they should be taken for 20 to 30 minute walks daily to main­tain over­all health. Groom­ing is rel­a­tively fuss-free as they have short and close coats, so on­ce­weekly brush­ing is all that is re­quired. Baths can be given once to twice a month as they have very lit­tle odour.

Great Dane pup­pies are un­suit­able for first time own­ers as they are ram­bunc­tious and re­quire a lot of train­ing. They are un­suit­able alone and would be hap­pier in house­holds with other dogs and cats that they are so­cialised with, and where the own­ers are home most of the time. When left alone, they can be­come stressed, lead­ing to de­struc­tive be­hav­iour as a cop­ing mech­a­nism. Be­cause of their size, in­ter­ac­tion with chil­dren and smaller pets have to be su­per­vised as they may get ac­ci­den­tally knocked over.

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