Great Dane, breed of very large, powerful working dog developed in Europe more than 400 years ago. It may stand as high as 36 in. (91.4 cm) at the shoulder and weigh up to 150 lb (68.1 kg). Its short, dense, glossy coat may be brindle, fawn, blue, black, or the combination of white with black patches that is called harlequin. Although its origins are obscure, dogs of similar appearance were depicted in the art of ancient China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Despite the name, the Great Dane in its present-day form is of German development, and records testify to its use as a boarhound in the 16th cent. in that country. Today it is raised for show competition and is also valued as a gentle, devoted pet. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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