The F.C.I. standard for the great dane

Note : this is the F.C.I. standard n°235 : great dane (deutsche dogge).


Germany, the Deutscher Doggen Club 1888 e.V..

Date of publication of the original valid standard

March 13, 2001.


Companion, watch - and guard dog.

Classification F.C.I.

Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid breeds - Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs and other breeds.

Section 2.1 Molossoid breeds, Mastiff type.

Without working trial.

Brief historical summary

As forerunners of the present day Great Dane, one must look at the old "Bullenbeisser" (Bulldog) as well as the « Hatz-and Saurüden » (Hunting and wild boar hounds), which were midway between the strong Mastiff of English type and the fast, handy Greyhound. The term Dogge was at first understood to mean a large, powerful dog, not of any particular breed. Later, particular names such as Ulmer Dogge , English Dogge, Great Dane, Hatzrüde (Hunting Dog), Saupacker (boarfinder) and Grosse Dogge (Great Dogge), classified these dogs according to colour and size.

In the year 1878 a Committee of seven was formed in Berlin, consisting of active breeders and judges with Dr. Bodinus in the chair, which made the decision to classify all the forenamed varieties as « Deutsche Doggen » (Great Danes). Thus the foundation was laid for the breeding of a separate German breed.

In the year 1880, on the occasion of a show in Berlin, the first standard for the Deutsche Dogge was laid down. This standard has been taken care of since the year 1888 by the "Deutsche Doggen Club 1888 e.V." (German Doggen Club, registered Club 1888) and frequently been revised over the years. The present Standard meets the requirements of the F.C.I.

General appearance

The Great Dane in his noble appearance combines a large, powerful well constructed body with pride, strength and elegance. By substance together with nobility, harmonious appearance, well proportioned outlines, as well as a specially expressive head, the Great Dane strikes the onlooker as a noble statue. He is the Appolo amongst all breeds.

Important proportions

Almost square in build, this applies particularly to males.

The length of the body (point of sternum to point of buttocks) should not exceed height at withers in dogs by more than 5%, in bitches by more than 10%.


Friendly, loving and devoted to his owners, specially to the children. Reserved towards strangers. Required is a confident, fearless, easily tractable, docile companion and family dog with high resistance to provocation and without aggression.

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


Cranial region

Skull : In harmony with the general appearance. Long, narrow, distinct, full of expression. Finely chiselled, specially under the eyes. Superciliary ridges well developed but not protruding. The distance from tip of nose to stop and from stop to the lightly defined occipital bone should be as equal as possible. The upper lines of muzzle and skull should run parallel. The head must appear narrow seen from the front with bridge of nose as broad as possible. Cheek muscles only slightly defined and in no way protruding.

Stop : Clearly defined.

Facial region

Nose : Well developeded, rather broad than round with large nostrils. Must be black with the exception of harlequins (white with black patches). In these a black nose is desired but a butterfly nose (black with pink patches) or flesh coloured nose is tolerated. In blue dogs the colour of the nose is anthracite (diluted black).

Muzzle : Deep and as rectangular as possible. Well defined corners of lips. Dark pigmented lips. In harlequins not totally pigmented or flesh coloured lips are tolerated.

Jaws/Teeth : Well developed broad jaws. Strong sound and complete scissor bite (42 teeth according to the dentition formula).

Eyes : Of medium size with lively friendly intelligent expression. As dark as possible, almond shaped with close fitting lids. In blue dogs slightly lighter eyes are tolerated. In harlequins light eyes or two differently coloured eyes are to be tolerated.

Ears : Naturally pendant, set on high, of medium size, front edges lying close to cheeks.


Long, clean, muscular. Well formed set on, tapering slightly towards the head, with arched neckline. Carried upright but inclined slightly forward.


Withers : The highest point of the strong body. It is formed by the points of the shoulder blades which extend beyond the spinal processes.

Back : Short and firm, in almost straight line falling away imperceptibly to the rear.

Loins : Slightly arched, broad, strongly muscled.

Croup : Broad, well muscled. Sloping slightly from hipbone to tail set, imperceptibly merging into the tailset.

Chest : Reaching to the elbows. Well sprung ribs, reaching far back. Chest of good width with marked forechest.

Underline and belly : Belly well tucked up towards rear, forming a nicely curved line with the underside of the brisket.


Reaching to the hocks. Set on high and broad, tapering evenly towards tip. In repose hanging down with natural curve. When dog is alert or moving, carried slightly sabre-like but not markedly above the backline. Bristle hair on tail undesirable.



Shoulders : Strongly muscled. The long, slanting shoulder blade forms an angle of 100 to 110 degrees with the upper arm.

Upper arm : Strong and muscular, close fitting, should be slightly longer than the shoulder blade.

Elbows : Turned neither in nor out.

Forearm : Strong, muscular. Seen from front and side, completely straight.

Carpus : Strong, firm, only slightly standing out from the structure of the forearm.

Pastern : Strong, straight when seen from the front, seen from the side, barely slanting forwards.

Front feet : Rounded, well arched, well-knit toes (cat feet). Nails short, strong and as dark as possible.


The whole skeleton is covered by strong muscles which make the croup, hips and upper thighs appear broad and rounded. The strong well angulated hind legs, seen from behind, are set parallel to the front legs.

Upper thigh : Long, broad, very muscular.

Stifles : Strong, positioned almost vertically under the hip joint.

Lower thigh : Long, of approximately the same length as the upper thigh. Well muscled.

Hocks : Strong, firm, turning neither in nor out.

Metatarsus : Short, strong, standing almost vertical to the ground.

Hind feet : Rounded, well arched, well-knit (cat feet). Nails short, strong and as dark as possible.


Harmonious, lithe, ground covering, slightly springy. Legs must be parallel in movement coming and going.


Tight fitting. In solid colours, well pigmented. In harlequins, the distribution of pigment mainly corresponds to the markings.



Very short, dense, smooth and close lying, glossy.


The Great Dane is bred in three separate colour varieties: Fawn and brindle, harlequin and black, and blue.


Height at withers : Dogs at least 80 cm, bitches at least 72 cm.


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.

Serious faults

Eliminating faults


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

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