The english standard for the great dane


United-Kingdom, The Kennel Club

Effective date of the standard

October 2006.

General appearance

Very muscular, strongly though elegantly built, with look of dash and daring, of being ready to go anywhere and do anything. Head and neck carried high, tail in line with back, or slightly upwards, but never curled over hindquarters. Elegance of outline and grace of form most essential.


Alert expression, powerful, majestic action displaying dignity.


Kindly without nervousness, friendly and outgoing.

Terms used in the great dane standard

picture of a great danes with numbers on it
1. Nose 12. Back and Loin 23. Forearm
2. Nasal-bridge13. Croup 24. Carpal joint
3. Lips 14. Pelvis 25. Pastern
4. Stop 15. Set of the tail26. Toes
5. Cheeks 16. Tail 27. Penis
6. Skull 17. Forechest 28. Upper thigh
7. Throat 18. Ribcage 29. Patella
8. Ears 19. Breastbone 30. Lower thigh
9. Neck 20. Shoulder blade 31. Point of the hock
10. Nape 21. Upper arm 32. Hock
11. Withers 22. Elbow 33. Rear Pastern

Head and Skull

Head, taken altogether, gives idea of great length and strength of jaw. Muzzle broad, skull proportionately narrow, so that whole head when viewed from above and in front, has appearance of equal breadth throughout. Length of head in proportion to height of dog. Length from nose to point between eyes about equal or preferably of greater length than from this point to back of occiput. Skull flat, slight indentation running up centre, occipital peak not prominent. Decided rise or brow over the eyes but not abrupt stop between them; face well chiselled, well filled in below eyes with no appearance of being pinched: foreface long, of equal depth throughout. Cheeks showing as little lumpiness as possible, compatible with strength. Underline of head, viewed in profile, runs almost in a straight line from corner of lip to corner of jawbone, allowing for fold of lip, but with no loose skin hanging down. Bridge of nose very wide, with slight ridge where cartilage joins bone (this is a characteristic of breed). Nostrils large, wide and open, giving blunt look to nose. Lips hang squarely in front, forming right angle with upper line of foreface.


Fairly deep set, not giving the appearance of being round, of medium size and preferably dark. Wall, or odd eyes permissible in harlequins.


Triangular, medium size, set high on skull and folded forward, not pendulous.


Teeth level. Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Neck long, well arched, quite clean and free from loose skin, held well up, well set in shoulders, junction of head and neck well defined.


Shoulders muscular, not loaded, well sloped back, with elbows well under body. Forelegs perfectly straight with big flat bone.


Very deep, brisket reaching elbow, ribs well sprung, belly well drawn up. Back and loins strong, latter slightly arched.


Extremely muscular, giving strength and galloping power. Second thigh long and well developed, good turn of stifle, hocks set low, turning neither in nor out.


Cat-like, turning neither in nor out. Toes well arched and close, nails strong and curved. Nails preferably dark in all coat colours, except harlequins, where light are permissible.


Thick at the root, tapering towards end, reaching to or just below hocks. Carried in straight line level with back, when dog is moving, slightly curved towards end, but never curling or carried over back.


Action lithe, springy and free, covering ground well. Hocks move freely with driving action, head carried high.


Short dense and sleek-looking, never inclined to roughness.


In brindle, fawn, blue and black colours white is only permissible on chest and feet, but it is not desirable even there. Nose always black, except in blues and harlequins. Eyes and nails perfectly dark.


Minimum height of an adult dog over eighteen months: 76 cms (30 ins); bitches: 71 cms (28 ins). Weight, minimum weight over eighteen months: dogs: 54 kgs (120 lbs); bitches: 46 kgs (100 lbs).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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