Germany Great Dane Breed Standard

The noble outward appearance of a Great Dane unites a big, strong and well-shaped body structure with pride, strength and elegance. Through substance paired with nobility, harmony and a well-proportioned line as well as a very impressive head, it looks like a noble statue. It is the Apollo among the dog breeds.

Important Proportions

The body structure seems to be almost square – especially with males. With males the trunk length (tip of breastbone up to the bump of the hip bone) should not exceed the withers height by more than 5% and with bitches not more than 10%.

Behaviour/ Character (Nature)

Friendly, loving and attached to their owners, especially to kids, restrained towards strangers. Demands: a self-confident, intrepid family- and escort-dog with a high stimulus threshold and without aggressive behaviour, who is quick and eager to learn and easy to handle. 


Must be harmonious to the total appearance, long, slender, prominent, expressive, fine features (especially the part under the eyes), well-developed arch of the eyebrows but without being too prominent. The distance from the tip of the nose up to the stop and from the stop up to the weakly distinctive bone of the back of the head should be about the same. The upper lines of fang and skull should be parallel. Viewed from the front the head should seem slender whereas the bridge of the nose should be broad and the cheek muscles should not be prominent but only slightly show their features.

Nose sponge

well-developed, broader than too round and with big nostrils. It has to be black, except for the harlequin Danes. For these Danes a black nose is wished for but a black spotted or flesh-coloured nose is also tolerated. The nose colour of blue Danes is anthracite (light black).


Should be deeply-set and rectangular. Well visible chaps angle. Dark-pigmented chaps. With harlequin Danes, incompletely pigmented or flesh-coloured  chaps are tolerated.

Jaw/ Teeth

Well-developed, broad jaw. Strong, healthy and complete scissors bite (42 teeth according to the tooth formula).


Medium-sized with a lively intelligent and friendly expression; should be dark, almond-shaped with flat eyelids. For blue Danes, lighter eyes are permissible. For harlequin Danes, light-coloured or eyes of two different colours are tolerated.


Von Hanging by nature, attached high, medium-sized, front edges should touch the cheeks.


Long, dry, muscular. Well-developed base, should taper a little towards the head with a curved neck-line.


Highest point of the strong body. It is formed by the two shoulder blades which tower above the spiny process.


Short and taut, in an almost straight line slightly dropping away to the back.


Slightly bulging, broad, very muscular


Broad, very muscular, from rump-bone to base of tail slightly dropping away and insignificantly running in the base of the tail


Reaching up to the elbow joints. Well-bulging with ribs widely going back. Broad chest with prominent fore chest

Lower profile and stomach

Stomach should be drawn to the back and form a well-curved line with the underside of the thorax.


Reaches up to the hock. Set up high and broad. Tapers gradually to the tip. Being calm, it hangs down with a natural swing. Being agitated or in motion, it is worn sabre-like but not much over the back line. A ‘brush’ tail is not desired.



Jaw/ Teeth:

Any deviation from the complete set of teeth (only a missing PM1 of the lower jaw can be tolerated): uneven positioning of individual incisors, too little teeth


Loose eyelids, too intensely reddened conjunctiva; light, penetrating, amber-coloured eyes; watery-blue or eyes of two different colours for all plain coloured Danes. Both eyes being too wide apart or having slit eyes, protruding or hollowly eyes.


Attached too high or too low, sticking out to the side or being too flat


Short, thick neck, ‘deer neck’, too much loose skin on the throat or dewlap


Fallen back, carp-like back, too long, back line rising up to the back


Plummeting or being horizontal


Too strong, too long or too short; attached too low or too high over the back line; hooked or curly tail, as well as a tail turned sideways. A tail that’s widened out, thickens at the end or a docked tail.


Flat or barrel-shaped ribs, lacking broadness or depth of the chest, protruding breastbone

Lower profile:

Stomach line not sufficiently drawn back; faulty atrophied dugs.

Fore leg:

Not sufficiently angled. Light bones, weak muscles. Not in a vertical position.


Loose, overloaded. Steeply-positioned shoulder blade.


Loose, turned in- or outwards


Curved. Bumps above the tarsus joint of the forefoot.

Tarsusjoint of forefoot:

Bumpy. Considerably giving or over bending.

Middle part of forefoot:

Too sloping or steep

Hind leg:

Angle too open or closed. Cow-like or barrel-like position or too tight.


Bumpy, unstable


Flat, splayed, long


Not sufficiently lengthy, closed action, frequent or permanent amble, faulty correspondence between foreleg and hind leg movements.


Dull fur


Yellow-grey, yellow-blue, Isabel or dirty-yellow colour

Brindle: Ground colour silver-blue or Isabel, faded brindle
Harlequin: Ground colour with a blue-grey cast, large yellow-grey or blue-grey spots
Black: Yellow-, brown- or blue-black colour
Blue: Yellow- or black-blue colour

Disqualiifying Faults


Aggressiveness, biting of fear


Liver-coloured nose, split nose

Jaw/ Teeth:

Fore bite, back bite, cross bite

Fawn and Brindle

Danes with a white line on the forehead, a white collar, white paws or ‘socks’ and white tip of the tail
Blue Danes with a white line on the forehead, a white collar, white ‘socks’ or white tip of the tail

Harlequin Danes.

Danes that are plain white without any trace of black (Albinos) As well as deaf Danes; so-called Porcelain Tigers (these show predominantly blue, grey, fawn or brindled spots); so-called Grey Tigers (these have a grey ground colour with black spots)


Under minimum size

ATTN: Males must have two obvious normally developed testicles which are situated entirely in the scrotum.