German Mastiff or Great Dane Breed Origins and Caracteristics
The mastiffs are in reality a variety of lighter mastiff and less adapted to hunting. Towards the end of the 16th and 17th centuries, the mastiff was crossed with the Irish wolfhound and the puppies were very appreciated in the court of the German Princes. The mastiffs were used for large game hunting and they carried padded or iron armors and collars with thick spikes. The best and biggest specimens were chosen as reproducers and thussimilar to the current German mastiff were gradually born. Thus two types were created: the Ulm mastiff, slighter and a heavier type called the Dantzig mastiff and later the Dane mastiff, though these do not have nothing to do with Denmark. But the name persisted in the English terminology "Great Dane". In 1876, in the canine exhibition of Hamburg, it was decided that the two types should be united. This was produced three years later when a systematic breeding was started with the objective of creating a powerful, big–sized, brave and tenacious breed. Few breeds were cared with such affection, dedication and perseverance as the German mastiff, which has been qualified as the Apollo dog.
The German mastiff is vigilant, and mistrustful with strangers. It is an unbeatable adversary dog that attacks quickly and without noise. The mastiffs have a relatively weak sense of smell; that is why it is convenient to talk to them while you are getting closer, especially at night. It is not a dog easily trained because it does not stand to be corrected.
Size: males 76-90 cm, females at least 70 cm. Weight: 50-60 for the male, 45 kg for the female. Regarding the color, five types are distinguished: straw-color (3) – the base color is light golden yellow or dark yellow with black stripes; dark yellow – with a black mask; blue-pure steel blue (in this color, the lighter eyes are accepted); black – chestnut-colored black with the possibility of dark eyes and black jaws; with patches – the base color is white, pure white with black patches distributed irregularly.
This type of dog is also called tiger mastiff (2) or harlequin mastiff. There is also another dog classified as mastiff with a black coat and where only the neck, the limbs and tip of the tail are pure white. The mastiff ears are cut when they are about 3 month-old. The specimens which ears were not cut (4) come from England where the practice is forbidden. In continental Europe, the cut of the ears is being abandoned and it is forbidden in many clubs.