FCI-Standard N° 235 / 09. 08. 2002 / GB
TRANSLATION : Mrs. C. Seidler, revised by Mrs R.
Sporre-Willes and E. Peper.
ORIGIN : Germany.
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD
UTILIZATION : 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
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
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
BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : 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.
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
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.
NECK : 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
Chest : Reaching to the elbows. Well sprung ribs,
reaching far back. Chest of good width with marked
Underline and belly : Belly well tucked up towards
rear, forming a nicely curved line with the underside
of the brisket.
TAIL : 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.
HINDQUARTERS : 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.
GAIT / MOVEMENT : Harmonious,
lithe, ground covering, slightly springy. Legs must
be parallel in movement coming and going.
SKIN : Tight fitting. In solid
colours, well pigmented. In harlequins, the distribution
of pigment mainly corresponds to the markings.
HAIR : Very short, dense, smooth
and close lying, glossy.
COLOUR : The Great Dane is
bred in three separate colour varieties: Fawn and
brindle, harlequin and black, and blue.
• Fawn : Light gold fawn to deep gold fawn.
Black mask desired. Small white marks on chest and
• Brindle : Basic colours, light to deep gold
fawn with black stripes as regular and clearly defined
as possible, running with the direction of the ribs.
Black mask desired. Small white markings on chest
and toes are undesirable.
• Harlequin (white with black splashed patches)
: Basic colour pure white, preferably with no ticking.
Pure black patches well distributed all over the
body, having the appearance of being torn. Grey
or brownish patches undesirable
• Black : Jet black, white markings permitted.
Included here are « Manteltiger » in
which the black covers the body like a coat (“mantel”)
or blanket and muzzle, throat, chest, belly, legs
and tip of tail may be white. Also dogs with basic
white colour and large black patches so called “Plattenhunde”.
• Blue : Pure steel blue, white markings on
chest and feet permitted.
Height at withers : Dogs at least 80 cm,
Bitches at least 72 cm.
FAULTS : 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.
• General appearance : Lack of male or female
characteristics, lack of balance, too light, too
coarse in built.
• Temperament : Lacking self-confidence, nervous,
• Head : Lines of head not parallel, apple
head, wedge shaped head, too little stop; too prominent
• Muzzle : Pointed, lacking flews, lips too
pendulous. Bridge of nose concave (dish shaped),
convex (roman nose), falling away in front part
• Jaws/Teeth : Any deviation from a complete
set of teeth (only the missing of both PM1 in the
lower jaw may be tolerated). Irregular position
of individual incisors as long as the bite remains
otherwise correct), teeth too small.
• Eyes : Slack lids, haw too red. Light, piercing,
amber coloured eyes. Wall eyes or differently coloured
eyes in all solid coat colours. Eyes too wide apart
or slit eyes. Eyes protruding or too deeply set.
• Ears : Set on too high or too low. Standing
off from the sides of the head or flat lying.
• Neck : Short thick neck, ewe neck, throatiness
or excess of dewlap.
• Back : Sway back, roach back. Too long in
back. Topline rising towards rear.
• Croup : Falling away steeply or completely
• Tail : Too thick, too long or too short,
set on too low or too highly carried above the back
line. Hook tail or curled tail as well as tail carried
sideways. Tail which is damaged, thickened at the
tip or has been docked.
• Ribcage : Flat or barrel-shaped ribs. Lack
of width or depth of chest. Too strongly protruding
• Lower line : Belly line not sufficiently
tucked up. Teats not sufficiently retracted.
• Forelegs : Insufficient angulation. Light
bone, weak muscles. Stance not vertical.
• Shoulders : Loose or loaded. Upright shoulder
• Elbows : Loose, turning in or out.
• Forearm : Bent, enlarged above pastern.
• Pastern : Enlarged, markedly weak or knuckling
• Metacarpus : Too sloping or too upright.
• Hindquarters : Too much or too little angulation.
Cow hocked, close together or open hocked when standing.
• Hocks : Exaggerated large or unstable.
• Feet : Flat, splayed, long. Dewclaws.
• Gait/Movement : Covering too little ground,
lack of freedom in action. Frequent or constant
pacing. Lack of co-ordination between front and
• Coat : Double coat (coarse, short coat),
• Colour :
- In fawn : Grey fawn, blue fawn, isabella (cream)
or sooty fawn
- In brindles : Basic colour silver blue or isabella.
- In harlequins : Blue-grey ticked basic colour.
Large fawn-grey or blue-grey parts in the patches.
- In blacks : Fawn, brown or blue-black colour.
- In blues: Fawn or black-blue colour.
SERIOUS FAULTS :
• Temperament : Shyness.
• Jaws/Teeth : Pincer bite.
• Eyes : Ectropion, entropion.
• Tail : Kinky tail.
• Temperament : Aggressiveness, fear-biting.
• Nose : Liver coloured; split nose.
• Jaws/Teeth : Overshot, undershot, wry mouth.
• Colour : Fawn or brindle dogs with white
blaze, white collar, white feet or socks and white
tip of tail.
Blue dogs with white blaze, white collar, white
feet or socks or white tip of tail.
Harlequin dogs : White without any black (albinos),
deaf. So called Porcelain tigers (dogs that show
predominantly blue, grey, fawn or brindle patches),
so called “Grautiger” (dogs that have
a basic grey colour with black patches).
• Height : Below minimum height.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural
abnormalities shall be disqualified.
N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normally
developed testicles fully descended into the scrotum.