The history of Great Danes is a fascinating study, going back not only to the 1800's in Germany, but the 1600's in Denmark, and even much earlier if you are studying the genes for merle and piebald - which likely occurred within the first 8 -10 generations of the domestication of wild canines.
Experimentation with domesticating other wild canines and recent DNA evidence has confirmed what the old time breeders knew about the merle and harl genes....that they are PATTERNS, not colors.
And until the AKC and GDCA acknowledge that scientific evidence - and admit that their "definitions" are wrong, their followers will remain ignorant about pattern and color genes.
The scientific studies are on the internet - it doesn't take genius to do a bit of research on them.
Contents of this page:
The domestic dog is believed to be the most recently evolved species from the family Canidae. Within the Canidae there are three distinct phylogenetic groups, or clades; the domestic dog shares a clade with the wolflike canids such as the gray wolf, coyote and jackals.
DNA studies have provided a wide range of possible divergence (from wolf to dog) dates, from 15,000 to 40,000 years ago, to as much as 100,000 to 140,000 years ago.
Data suggest dogs first diverged from wolves in East Asia, and these domesticated dogs then quickly migrated throughout the world, reaching the North American continent around 8000 BC. The oldest groups of dogs, which show the greatest genetic variability and are the most similar to their wolf ancestors, are primarily Asian and African breeds, including the Basenji and Siberian Husky. Some breeds thought to be very old, such as the Pharaoh Hound, Ibizan Hound, and Norwegian Elkhound, are now known to have been created more recently.
There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the evolutionary framework for the domestication of dogs. Although it is widely claimed that "man domesticated the wolf," man may not have taken such a proactive role in the process. The nature of the interaction between man and wolf that led to domestication is unknown and controversial. At least three early species of the Homo genus began spreading out of Africa roughly 400,000 years ago, and thus lived for a considerable time in contact with canine species. Despite this, there is no evidence of any adaptation of canine species to the presence of the close relatives of modern man. If dogs were domesticated, as believed, roughly 15,000 years ago, the event (or events) would have coincided with a large expansion in human territory and the development of agriculture. This has led some biologists to suggest one of the forces that led to the domestication of dogs was a shift in human lifestyle in the form of established human settlements. Permanent settlements would have coincided with a greater amount of disposable food and would have created a barrier between wild and anthropogenic canine populations.
The domestic dog was originally classified as Canis familiaris and Canis familiarus domesticus by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758, and was reclassified in 1993 as Canis lupus familiaris, a subspecies of the gray wolf Canis lupus, by the Smithsonian Institution and the American Society of Mammalogists. Overwhelming evidence from behavior, vocalizations, morphology, and molecular biology led to the contemporary scientific understanding that a single species, the gray wolf, is the common ancestor for all breeds of domestic dogs; however, the timeframe and mechanisms by which dogs diverged are controversial. Canis lupus familiaris is listed as the name for the taxon that is broadly used in the scientific community and recommended by ITIS; Canis familiaris, however, is a recognised synonym.
Many Catahoula breeders/owners claim that they are part (or descended from the) red wolf. It's a good marketing gimmick - but that's all it is.
The idea that Native Americans bred their dogs with or from red wolves is not supported by recent DNA analysis. Several recent studies have looked at the remains of prehistoric dogs from American archaeological sites and each has indicated that the genetics of prehistoric American dogs are similar to European and Asian domestic dogs rather than wild New World canids. In fact, these studies indicate that Native Americans brought several lines (breeds) of already domesticated dogs with them on their journeys from Asia to North America.
Dogs were domesticated long before humans migrated to the "New World" - they had no need to "tame" the wild canids.
Regarding Wild Dogs of Africa:
Nature developed varied colors and patterns for a REASON - whether for the coat of dogs or the feathers of birds. They were a natural result of a species development.
Funny how the "beautiful varied colors and patterns" of the African Wild Dog is extolled on one hand, while the varied colors and patterns of domestic dogs is disparaged on the other.
The scientific name of the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) means painted wolf, a reference to their patchwork coats of brown, black, and white, which Angier (1996) aptly called "a furred version of combat fatigues." Their shape follows the general canid body plan, with modifications accumulated over 3 million years of divergence from the rest of the dog family. For example, wild dogs have only four toes, having lost the fifth toe that persists as a vestigial dewclaw in most canids. Compared to wolves or coyotes, they are lean and tall, with outsized ears that complement their quiet vocalizations. Altogether, the wild dog is a unique and beautiful animal
The color patterns of wild dogs are extraordinarily variable, and they appear to recognize one another individually at distances of 50 to 100 meters, suggesting that they make use of the information that coat variation provides. For example, when two packs encounter one another, dogs chase members of the other pack. The scene rapidly becomes chaotic, but we never saw dogs pursuing members of their own pack. Chases are often initiated from distances of 50 to 100 meters, so it seems likely that individuals are recognized by sight, though olfaction may also be involved.
The wild dog has the same number of chromosomes as the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) and similar neuroanatomy (Radinsky 1973). The myo-globins of wild and domestic dogs differ by one amino acid, compatible with a single-point mutation (Romero-Herrera et al. 1976). Girman et al. (1993) sequenced 736 base-pairs of the cytochrome b gene in wild dogs and other canids. These sequence data suggest that wild dogs are phylogenetically distinct from the other wolflike canids (wolves, jackals, and coyotes), justifying their current placement in a monotypic genus. Wild dogs showed 11.3-13.7% sequence divergence from the other species, and the single most parsimonious phylogenetic tree placed the divergence of the wild dog just basal to the radiation of the Canis clade.
90% (if not more) of the dog breeds we know today have only been recently created by man - and only within the past 200 years. Many breeds claiming to be "old" are only "recreated" to resemble extinct breeds.
I finally got hold of a book written in 1732, titled "The Gentleman Farrier" which was published in London, England. It has a section concerning dogs:
As the horse is a generous and useful creature, we may next to him place the dog, who is docile, as the horse, faithful to his master, and amusingly beneficial.
It will not be amiss to take notice by the way, of the use of dogs, and the method of training the several kinds of them to their business.
The sorts are; the Wolf Dog, the Bear Dog, the Bull Dog, the Dane, the Spaniel for Land, the Spaniel for Water, the Setting Dog, the Spaniel [sic] Pointer, the Otter Dog, the Fox Hound, the Tarrier, the Beagle or Harrier, the Blood Hound or Buck Hound, the Grey-Hound, the Lurcher and the Turnspit; all these are useful in business.
The Wolf Dog is of the make of a Grey hound, is pretty common in Ireland, it is very large, even of a bigger make than the Bear Dog; this sort came originally from France, where its business was to kill wolves, but with us to kill stags, and does very well to turn a water wheel.
The Bear Dog is of a very large size, commonly sluggish in his looks, but he's very watchful; he comes from Newfoundland, his business is to guard a court or house, and has a thundring voice when strangers come near him, and does well to turn a water wheel.
The Bull Dog is of a true English breed, and of a small size, generally seeming sluggish, but when set on by his master upon any thing, will never let go his hold unless you strangle him; he is a safeguard against any thing but a bullet, and whereas 'tis a custom to suffer bulls to range where they will, the common use of this dog is to drive them home.
The Danish Dog which is generally large and smooth hair'd, is next to this; it may be taught many useful things, as to carry a lantern before you in a dark night, or if you leave any parcel behind you, when you are gone five or six miles, you may send it back and he will bring it you with more expedition than a man and horse could do, as hath been often experienc'd; and moreover, if you should sleep in any strange place, while he is near you, no body dare touch you, or any thing belonging to you.
The Land Spaniel has a fine nose for finding out game, such as hares,or for perching of pheasants; he will range well and hunt close and being brought up young to fetch and carry, will be a good companion for a shooter; the larger of this sort is best for the field, and for drawing of carriage, etc. and the smaller for the woods. But let your Gun Spaniel be of either kind, they will always open as soon as they discover their game and spring or flush them; so that they ought to be under command, and never range before the master out of the reach of gun-shot: These love their masters and are not to be enticed from them, and are very good guards tp an house; but they are generally tender, and in the night should be in the house; these too may be taught to bring you any thing from a distant place.
The Water Spaniel if he be of the right strain, has rough hair, and will naturally take the Water while he is a puppy; when he's about nine months old, you may teach him any thing necessary for his office; his business is chiefly to hunt for ducks, teal, widgeon or wild geese, in the fenns, or moors, or lakes, at the time when the young are just beginning to fly, and we call them flappers; he must be learnt to fetch and carry, and by that means will bring to use what we shoot, or can dive after the young water fowl and bring them up.
N.B. By means of a dog of this sort well train'd, you may take twenty couple in a day, without the loss of one shot; these dogs may lye abroad all the day, for their noses are harder than the Land Spaniels; they are very fond of their masters, for there can be no assault upon the master while these dogs are near them, and these will draw heavy burthens.
The Setting Dog which is most familiar with us, is spotted with liver colour and white, the use of him is to range the fields, and sett partridges, he is of the Spaniel Kind, and of a middling size, has a very tender nose, and will quarter a field in a little time; if he is of a right Strain, take him at nine months old with a halter about his neck with hob nails in it, and teach him to crouch down at a bit of bread, or a dead partridge if you can get one, and especially learn him to let a net be drawn over him without stirring, which can only be done by giving the discipline of the hobnail'd collar, and making the experiment of drawing a net over him at the same time.
This sort of dog should be kept from much flesh meat, and in a stable or some other warm place, for his nose is very tender, and they should by no means smell variety of victuals; his smell should be as innocent as possible, that when he searches for his game his whole sense should be diverted to that alone. Some of these dogs have taken twenty or thirty brace of birds in a season.
The Spanish [sic] Pointer is esteemed the incomparable, and even without teaching will point naturally at a partridge; and as he is large will range well and stand high enough to appear above any high stubble; and yet one may breed him to stand till a net may be drawn over him, but 'tis hard to do. However when he points, you may be sure of birds within gun-shot. Keep this dog in the stable, for he's a tender nos'd creature.
The Otter Dog is very rough in his Hair, which is commonly curl'd. They are of a large size, but less docile than the Spaniels, tho' they seem to be of that sort. Their delight is chiefly in water, and their use principally in destroying of otters, which devour all fish they can meet with. It is not proper to keep these at liberty about an house, for they are very sharp biting creatures, and are surly in their tempers; but in their service they are to do, they are excellent, for diving under the roughest waters, and remaining so a long time.
The Fox-Hound is one of the larger kind of hounds; he should particularly be strong in his loins, and light in his chest,for his business is to run hard after his game, and to hunt the fox. A gentleman should not have less than 24 couple of dogs in a pack, for many of them will tire in a long chase; in some chases perhaps not three couple will be in at the death of the fox; some of these will hunt the hare, but 'tis best to keep the pack to one business. I should not chuse to enter any of these till they are a year old, lest they get a strain.
The Beagle or Tarrier is smaller than the Fox-Hound, and some of them are hardly bigger than Lap-Dogs, but the last are scarce, twenty couple of either makes a good pack. Enter these when they are about a year old. When these hunt at first, you may bring them under command by the smack of a whip.
The Blood-Hound or Buck-Hound is large and deep mouth'd. This sort of dog will hunt dry foot, i.e. if any one should steal a deer, one of these dogs will trace the man to his abode; and when they have once singled out a deer, their nose is so fine that they never leave him till he's dead, tho' the whole herd should cross their way.
The Grey-Hound is a long fine shap'd dog made to run, but has no nose, if he is of a smooth hair; but if he proves of a mixt kind, between the Grey-Hound and the other dog, and carries a rough hair, then he's both a Finder and a Courser. A Leashe of Grey-Hounds is enough for any gentleman that will observe the law of the game, one large one to turn a hare, and the two others low, and to bear well, so that they may easily take up the hare.
N.B. The smooth skinn'd sort will take a gate or stile, or run well in an open countrey; but the rough hair'd sorts are much best for enclos'd lands, because they will take any hedge, where they have strength enough to brush or break thro.
Let your Grey-Hound be a year old compleat before you enter him, for fear of a strain.
The Lurcher is a small sort of Grey-Hound, for coursing of rabbits only; he's hardly strong enough to take up an hare, but makes good sport with a rabbit.
The Turnspit Dog is a small one, of a long make and short legs; he's of a mongrel breed between the Tarrier and Land Spaniel; is very watchful to guard a house, and is as useful in a kitchen, by turning a wheel about three foot diameter, and thereby supplying the place of a Jack. These are very frequent in the West of England.
These are the sorts of dogs which are useful, and considering the service and pleasure they are of to mankind, and the value of some of them, even to thirty or forty guineas apiece, I see no reason why their health should not be regarded.
The rest of the book was about health issues of dogs and remedies.
Besides being called “Geflect” (meaning patched, spotted or dappled) the early Harl Dane was also referred to as the “Tiger” dog, which confused the issue of “harlequin” and “brindle” – In 1824, Herr Gustav Lang, in his “Book of the Dog,” wrote, “The Tiger Dog only differs from the German Mastiff in color and by ‘Tiger’ we in Germany do not mean the color of the tiger but like a tiger horse, for example, which is white with small dark spots.”
From Wikipedia: “Tiger horses are gaited, spotted horses with a coat color much like the Appaloosa.” “The Spanish had no word for leopard, so they called all cats with leopard-like markings, as well as tiger markings, simply tigers. The tiger horse is the ancestor of the Appaloosa, the Knabstrupper, and the Noriker horse breeds. Iberian breeders bred horses from northern climates, the Orient, and North Africa, including the Chinese Soulon Type.”
Note that Harls were usually (but not always) differentiated from “Plattenhunds” – dogs with large, smooth-edged “plates” of color on white.
Note also that some dogs noted as harls were not “black and white,” though usually their other color is noted in their description, ie “red and white harl” or “blue and white harl.”
In 1880 in Berlin, German breeders of the German Mastiffs (Deutsche Dogge) met under the leadership of Dr. Bodinus (Director of the Berlin Zoological Gardens) and decided to recognize the breed as the national dog breed of Germany. They abolished all previous names, calling them The German Mastiff (Deutsche Dogge).
After 1880 (and with much documented protest by Germany to have the names changed) both England AND the United States created their "GREAT DANE" clubs (1885 in England) and (1889 or 1891 in the US). They were NOT called "Deutsche Dogge" Clubs – they went by the name that had always been associated with the dog – The Great Dane. Matter of fact, there is a rather grimly humorous bit on the net of England's response to Germany's protest over the name of their club...something to the effect that they would rather base their club on a pedigree 200 years old, than on a pedigree that "was born yesterday" - something to that effect….lololol
The below excerpt from "Great Danes Past and Present" by Dr. Morrell Mackenzie, 1912:
"...there can be no possible doubt that the Great Dane has existed in England and Ireland for the last 150 years, that it has been known by that name, and that it is not, as many people would have us believe, a new breed to England introduced after the Franco-German war, though it cannot be denied that the breed has been vastly benefited by the great pains which were taken in Germany to improve it, and by the number of good dogs which were at that time imported into England."
I stumbled across an absolutely incredible Danish site. It contained a Danish photo from 1861 which has a Harl that looks as though it stepped right out of an 1880's German kennel:
And take a look at the below painting done by Karel van Mander III (1610-1670) titled “Great Dane ‘Raro’” Raro was given by King Frederick III of Denmark to princess Magdalena Sibylle. She was married to the crown prince Christian. The dwarf holding the Great Dane is the Italian Giacomo Favorchi. circa 1665
(compare the above dogs with their large bodies, long muscular legs with strong feet, powerful chests, short thick necks, broad skulls, huge jaw muscles, and short muzzles [and extremely short ear crops] to Nero I [ie Messter's Nero] below):
Together with the information on the following website pages (and by viewing the early Danes in Germany), they make a great case for the breed actually having it’s start in Denmark, not Germany:
and in particular:
[quoted from the above site]
The most treasured hound, as is the case with the horse, is the white coloured with black markings. Today we know this hound as ”Harlequin/Harlekin” (English/Danish). However the origin is ”Herla Cyning” (OE) or ”King of the Army”. The word evolves because the human king is titled "Hariwalda" (ON/OE), in the new kingdoms in Britannia evolving to ”Bretwalda” or ”Ruler of the army, Ruler of Britannia”. The king's personal hounds in white with black markings, his guiding spirits, are therefore "King of the army [of dogs]" (Herla Cyning).
An unbroken record of the large hounds exists from these early days until today. The chapter evidences this in primary sources and by visual depictions of more than 200 photographs.
The original large hound was lighter in construction than the current one. We know this both from depictions and from the Royal Danish Hunting Protocols. We also know what caused this to change, when and how.
In the 16th Century the Royal Courts of Denmark introduce the new fashion of the Parforce Hunt – an unnatural hunt where the hunting dogs are no longer allowed to run down and kill the large game. On the contrary the hounds are expected to hunt the deer, boar or wolf, knock it down and hold it firm until the human huntsman arrives and then makes the kill.
We can see from the protocols of the Danish court that the large hound is not well equipped to perform this new role in the Parforce Hunt. It is too light in built to hold down a deer or wolf without killing it. To solve this problem King Frederik II (regent 1559-1588) sends a ship to London in 1585 to bring back “Englandshvalpe” (English puppies) given to him by Queen Elisabeth I. (regent 1558-1603). The "English puppies" are the far heavier English mastiff (today known by it's name from the 19th Century "Broholmer"). The protocols of the Royal Danish Kennel maintain two separates lines in the kennel’s breeding programme; the Danish and the English line. The cross breeding becomes known as “Blendinge” (same word and meaning as the English word “Blend”). This new line of large hounds is the foundation of the present day Great Dane as we see them in Denmark, England and North America.
The various names used to identify the hound:
“Great Dane” (English speaking world),
“датский дог“ (Dahtskeey Dog, Russian),
“Gran Danés” (Spanish and Portuguese speaking world including South America),
“Grand Danois, Chien danois” (French speaking world, Scandinavia in the 20th Century),
“Danubius Dog” (Hungary),
“Danua cinsi kopek” or “Grand Danua” (Tyrkey) and
“Dänische Dogge” or “Grosse Dänische Yagd Hund” (German speaking world up until 1888-9)
simply reflects the tribal and landscape origin of the hounds. The large hound was imported into the Roman empire and thus correctly is referred to as “Alano” in Italian. The hound was highly treasured and a tribal competitive advantage. Thus the hound did not exist in Germania until Christian VI, King of Denmark (regent 1730-1746) ceased the Parforce Hunt in 1741 and gave away all the large hounds from the royal kennel.
The protocols of the Royal Danish Kennel at Jægersborg Castle (the royal hunting lodge north of Copenhagen), Denmark show us who received the hounds as gifts:
King Fredrik I. of Sweden – 11 pack of hounds
Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg-Bayreuth – 25 pack of hounds
The Duke of Pløen, Friedrich Carl – 6 packs of hounds
The Duke of Savoy and King of Sardinia Charles Emmanuel III – 4 large “Blendinge” (Blended) hounds
This event distributes the large hound throughout Europe amongst the aristocracy and forms the basis for all later rewritings of history. Up until this event in 1741 the hounds were only to be found in the original landscapes, including Normandy from year 912 ACE as the Bayeux Tapestry of the Battle of Hastings testifies in abundance.
George Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon in 1749 begins publishing his large thesis on evolution called ”Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière”. His uses the large hound as an example of evolution (Book 4) and since he cannot find it anywhere in France or in Germania he seeks it in its home turf Denmark. It is he who for the first time coins the name ”le Grand Danois”. In the English translation of his work by William Smellie the same word becomes ”Great Dane”. Up until that time the hound was referred to in England as ”Danish dog”.
We know from a thesis by the Dane Jacob Nicolay Wilse published in 1767 that the Danes called the dog ”large hound”, a terminology continued well into the 20th Century.
In Germany in 1780 the hound is referred to as ”Grosse Dänische Yagd Hund” or ”Large Danish Hunting Hound”.
The first dog exhibition was held in Hamburg 14-20 July 1863. 8 dogs were called ”Dänische Dogge” and 7 ”Ulmer Doggen”.
This is an ancient and extinct breed of dog that is commonly considered to be the ancestor of today’s Mastiff-type dogs. The Molossus breed no longer exists in its original form; but it was said to be instrumental in the development of St. Bernard, Great Pyrenees, Rottweiler, Great Dane, Newfoundland, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and the Bernese Mountain Dog
The name derives from Molossia, a subregion of ancient Epirus, ancient Greece, where the large shepherd dog was known as the Molossus.
The first known record of a molosser-type dog was in 1121 BC, when a Tibetan mastiff trained for hunting was given to a Chinese emperor. The mastiffs would later be exported to Mongolia, Mesopotamia and Central Asia where they would mix with local dogs, resulting in a loss of long hair and colour uniformity. The main features, such as height and a massive head with a big short muzzle were kept. The dogs were considered valuable in Babylon, and are mentioned in cuneiform in the 4th century BC.
A large mastiff-like dog is shown on the ancient terra cotta by Birs Nimrud. The dog is rather tall: 90 centimetres (35 in) at the withers, has a stocky head and powerful hind quarters. The dogs were used for hunting in ancient Assyria. Archeological digs of the Ashurbanipal palace (7th century BC) revealed pictures of dogs felling wild horses and donkeys. Assyrian mastiffs were also used for military purposes and for protection.
The ancient mastiffs would later be imported from Assyria and Babylon to Egypt and Asia Minor. Xerxes I of Persia led predatory wars to enlarge the borders of his empire, taking with him large war dogs in his Army. After his army's defeat by the Greeks, his mastiffs were kept as trophies of war. The mastiffs would be bred in Molossia and from there, spread all over the Mediterranean under the name of "epirian" dogs or molosses. Mastiffs were used to fight in the Roman amphitheater against lions and may have been used in lion hunting.
(above, Molosser dogs, Assyria)
(above, early statue of Molosser)
(above, harl pattern on dog from Egyptian sarcophagus, circa 2100-1750 B.C.)
(lots of theories that "original Dane" was smaller and had "pointed ears" until crossed with larger mastiff-like dogs producing a larger body with floppy ears - which were then cropped. Interesting theory - especially since the earliest "harl" pattern appears on dogs which were obviously smaller than today's Danes. However, it should be remembered that the pattern "Harlequin" existed in breeds OTHER than the Danes until fairly recently. So just because a dog appeared to have a Harl pattern, doesn't necessarily mean he was a progenitor of the Dane breed. But I'm very interested in the pattern "harlequin" - regardless of the breed of dog it appears in.)
I contacted one lady on the net who had done some very in-depth research on the harlequin gene, and she has doubts that there were other breeds who were truly harlequin, citing researchers who believe that the harl was a "mutation" which happened in the one breed of dog - the Great Dane (or it's progenitor). I've read about Harlequin Pinschers and Harlequin Greyhounds (real black and white greyhounds, not the merle greyhounds of today which are being called harls) and heard of the Harl pattern in some old Nordic breed which I haven't been able to track down - but since those dogs have long disappeared, it's not possible to do any genetic testing on them. Guess it will remain one of the mysteries of life.
The more I think about that statement, that "harlequin" was the result of a genetic mutation and that's why they have only appeared in Danes - makes me puzzled. I know those same people tend to think that the original "harl pinscher" was not really a harlequin at all; but what about all those very old tapestries of the 1400's and even of the older still Egyptian and Assyrian paintings and drawings....were those dogs "not real harls" either? Or if they WERE real harls and the harl pattern WAS a mutation of some long ago dog - it doesn't make sense that the the ONLY progeny of that mutation came to be found in the Great Dane breed. Surely it would have been found in other breeds that came from that early ancestor as well?
I would still like to collect photos of other breeds with the "harl" pattern - especially the harl greyhounds of old. It would be very interesting to find out if they also appeared in different colors with the harl patterns, as Danes have throughout their history - blue and white harls, red and white harls, etc.
(above, from Egyptian tombs) The dogs above seem to be red piebald with heavy ticking, black (extreme) mantle with white chest and legs, and chocolate/fawn merle pattern.
(above, mural from Greek Temple. Notice the 2 black and white harls with the third dog likely a chocolate and white harl or fawn and white harl)
(above, illustration from a 14th century manuscript depicting King John [1167-1216] hunting deer. Notice the harl?)
(above, tapestry from 1440, of a boar hunt....notice the blue & white harlequin, and also notice the very different structures of the dogs - some were slender with cropped ears and long muzzles, others were stockier with short muzzles and uncropped.. Also notice that the 3 “white” dogs were of the exact same type as the harlequin – indicating that they were indeed the same breed except in a white color – exactly as the harlequin Danes of today appear…..some are splashes of color on white, others are pure white.)
The interesting thing about the above tapestry is that it was actually taken from a portion of a drawing (below) done in the 1390's by Giovannino de Grassi; additions to the drawing plus the coloring (which included making one dog a harl) were added between 1390 and 1440.
(above, closeup of the Great Dane in the portrait of Guidobaldo II della Rovere by Agnolo Bronzino, circa mid to late 1500's. Sure looks like a white and black harl, doesn't it?)
(above, a rather gruesome painting by Rubens, 1628 of "Danish Hounds")
(above, a brindle Bullenbeisser)
(above, 1885 wood engraving Bullenbeisser - Canis familiaris molossus hibernicus")
(above, Bullenbeisser, which seem to have more "bulldog" characteristics...or perhaps they were a common ancestor of both the Dane and the Bulldog)
(above, Hatzruede - "Chase Dog")
(above, early Harlequin)
(above, Alexander Pope and his Great Dane "Bounce" - who never left his side. circa 1710)
(above, favorite dogs and horse of Peter the Great of Russia, 1672 - 1725. His small pet dog, his mare which was a gift from the Shah of Persia and said to be "a small animal but with muscles of steel" and his "Danish dog" - who accompanied him into battle.)
(above, 1804 engraving "German Boarhound")
(above, Hannibal and Princess "wild boarhounds" presented to the Duchess of York in 1805. Notice the white mantle markings and brindling on both parents and puppies. These dogs were mantle brindles aka piebald brindles; )
(above, 1806. The harl laying down looks like a black and white harl, the one standing appears more of a chocolate and white harl, Notice the black and white harl puppy AND the fawn and white harl puppy)
(above, 1854 print labeled "Boar Hound of Germany". Perhaps a good example of a dog being labeled as what he DOES rather than what his bloodlines were.)
(above, print labeled "The Boarhound" This print is obviously a reverse image of the Great Dane "Hannibal" (from the picture previously of Hannibal and Princess - gifts to the Duchess of York in 1805.)
(above, painting of a Boarhound. A mantle brindle.)
(above, November 1857, from cover of London magazine, picture of Prince and his American owner, Francis Butler of New York. Francis Butler wrote numerous books about dogs and variously referred to Prince as a "Siberian Bloodhound" "Cuban Bloodhound" etc [as detailed further down on this page] and said that Prince had been "born in Pennsylvania" which was a falsehood - he saw Prince in New York and purchased him from his German immigrant owner. He brought Prince to England and was granted an audience with Queen Victoria - and was had his image on a London Magazine [above] Along with the image was the caption:
(above, although the above is a drawing of the Countess of Warwick, she probably slightly resembled one of the first Danes in the United States - sent from the King of Wurtemberg about 1862. But the book went on to say that the Dane sent from the King of Wurtemberg was very much more "mastiff-like" than the Countess of Warwick, the Countess of Warwick was of the more slender type which was preferred in England at the time.) (The Countess of Warwick had a successful show bench career, winning first prize at a Kennel Club show at the Agricultural Show in London.)
As an interesting note - the first standard for Great Danes had only this to say about color:
There was also a list of faults - but they ONLY listed conformation, color was not considered when faulting a dog.
(The above taken from an 1890 magazine "Outing - an Illustrated Monthly Magazine of Sport, Travel and Recreation" Vol. XVI published by "The Outing Company Limited")
(above, photo labeled "Nero" and dated 1879) (the brindling seems different than Messter's Nero, and this might be a photo of Fassbender's Nero who won the "prize of honor" in England and was immediately purchased by Mr. Wuster, Jr. as a mate for Flora below - his previous German import - at least that was the scenario described in the 1881 "Illustrated Book of the Dog" below).
(above, “Herr Wuster’s Tiger German Mastiff, Flora" 1881, Germany)
Flora (above) is described in the book "The New Book of the Dog" written in England and published in 1907.
Flora (harl) Imported to England. Owner: Mr. Wuster. Flora was bred to Nero (brindle) (also an import) who was owned by Mr. Fassbender. Flora was a notably strong and beautiful female. She was bred to Harras in Germany before she went to England, and poduced the finest specimen of Great Dane ever seen in England was - daughter CH Vendetta.
Nero (brindle) Imported to England. Owner: Mr. Fassbender. Nero was mated to Flora (owned by Mr. Wuster). Both Nero and Flors were imported to England. Nero was a large and elegantly shaped brindle.
CH Vendetta (Flora x Harras) Born: August 21, 1884. Breeder: Mr. Bamburger, Germany. Imported to England. Flora was bred to Harras in Germany before she was imported to England. Vendetta was a product of the German breeding of Flora to Harras, and was imported while still young, becoming the property of Mrs. Reginald Herbert, who afterwards sold her to Mr. Craven. Vendetta was perhaps the finest specimen of the Great Dane ever seen in England; Although in all large breeds the female is, as a rule, noticeably smaller than the male, Vendetta was in no sense inferior to such mighty dogs as Hannibal and CH Colonia Bosco. She was tall, with great substance and power, and had the bold, frowning expression and noble, commanding look which seems to have been softened out from more recent Danes. Her height was 32 1/2 “ at the shoulder, and her weight 144 lbs. Thus she was considerably taller and heavier than most specimens of her breed.
(above, 1881 Great Dane)
(above, Rolf I, unregistered, Winner of the 1882 Berlin show)
(above, Faust I 314 and Perle I v Plauen 358 (blue, brindle carrier) (Ajax II, unregistered x Cora-Noll, unregistered. Born 1884 Owner: Max Hartenstein (Plavia Kennels Plauen i.V. Breeder: Noll. There is a drawing of Faust I 314 & Perle I v Plauen in the DDSB Volume 1, but when you compare the drawing to the photo of both dogs, you can see the drawing is not a very accurate representation.)
(above, Danes, 1885)
(above, 1885 wood engraving "Deutsches Dogge - Canis familiaris molassus germanicus")
(above, 1885 wood engraving "Ulmer Dogge" - on right)
(above, painting labeled "Ulmer Dogge")
(above, Otto von Bismarck, dogs are probably Tyras II (black/slate with white on chest and white toes) and Rebecca (likely a blue))
above, Otto von Bismarck with Tyras II (black/slate with white on chest and toes) and Rebecca, (likely a blue)
(above, Otto von Bismarck with German Mastiff "Tyras II" a black/slate Dane with white on chest and white toes )
(above, Bismarck and Tyras II, black/slate with white on chest and white toes)
(above,Bismarck with Tyras II, black/slate with white on chest and white toes)
(above, 1887 engraving. Great Danes at Dog Show)
(above, Otter I 355 (blue) (Faust I 314 x Flora-Kuegler 346) Born 1888 Owner/Breeder: Max Hartenstein, Plauen i. V.)
(above, English Great Dane "Cedric the Saxon")
(drawing of same English Dane, Cedric the Saxon, this portrait done a few days before he was poisoned)
(after the death of Cedric the Saxon, Cid Campeador "held undisputed sway in England....was so strong that when his picture was taken he shifted his 6 foot square, solid timber kennel, and it took 4 men to lift it to put it back." He could jump a 6' gate with ease. He weighed 175 lbs.) Owned by M. del Riego. Sire Mr. Hartneck's Lord. Dam/ Mr. Kaster's Brunhilda.) (Notice the brindling and white mantle points.) (Cid Campeador won the Great Dane Cup 3 times in succession, and at Brussels in 1885 in a class comprising the best dogs of Germany, Austria, France, Holland and Belgium he carried off the first prize and prix d'honneur.)
(above, picture of harl Great Dane from the American agriculturist: Volume 48)
(above, 1890 Great Dane, black with white toes & white chest - extreme mantle)
(above, The Great Dane "Ivanhoe" 1890)
(above 1890, Ivanhoe and Dorothy)
(above, 1890, Ulric)
(above, "Earl of Warwick" and "Sol", 1890)
(above, Lawrence Leopold was a very well-known Dane and an outstanding harlequin stud. He was described as a "lithe and animated Great Dane.")
(above, 1891 wood engraving "Deutches Dogge")
(above, Otter II vom Schwalbennest 356 (blue) (Mentor, unregistered x Vesta vom Schwalbennest 365 – a brother/sister breeding) Born August 4, 1891 Breeder: E. Aichele, Berlin. Litter sister to Grete-Kirschbaum 919 Her picture is in the first volume of the Deutsches Doggen-Stammbuch printed in 1897 in Berlin.)
(above, At the Westminster Show of 1891 or 1892 (accounts differ), a particularly large entry of quality Danes of the day was judged by the English authority, George Raper. He selected "Melac"a big brindle male owned by Herbert C. Nichols of Chicago, as winner of the coveted Club trophy, offered for the first time at this show, and to be awarded to the best Great Dane owned and exhibited by a member of the parent club. The photo is of a dark brindle with white patch on his chest and white toes. Melac was also shown in Canada and Europe. Mr. Nichols announced at the time that he valued this dog at $10,000.) (the photo caption suggests that his tail had been cut short, but I think that it's more likely to be the result of a blunt, calloused tip - the kind that kept Marko vd Kreuzschanze 44107 from being shown - though he was a very popular and influential stud dog. (the book went on to say that the records of the first few years of the Great Dane Club of America have been lost.)
(above, Bruno-Blitz 398 (harl in front) (Herold-Brandl 368 x Norma, unregistered) Born 1892. Owner/Breeder: Joh. Brandl, Munich. Sire of Montebello’s Bosco.)
(above, Tilly I [Frankenthal] [aka Tilly 457] 457 (harl) (Perseus III 441 x Grethe-Ulm 489) Born 1893 Owner: Emanuel Wolf, Frankenthal. Breeder: L. Blum, Ulm. (sire of Tilly-Saulgau, unregistered – who was sire of Tilly Saulgau II) (sire of Caesar-Ulm, unregistered) (sire of Tilly II 1019) (sire of Flora [Reutter])
(above, Faust-Mephisto 936 [aka Mephisto Faust] [aka Faust-Pueschel] (black; blue & fawn & brindle carrier) (Caesar-Eier x Cora-Boblentz-Ulrich) Born 1894 Registered to first owner as Faust-Pueschel 366 – he was re-registered when sold. Owners: 1) as Faust-Pueschel, E. Aichele, Berlin. 2) J. Grueffel, Hamburg. Breeder: Boblentz, Berlin.)
(above, Mungo II-Saar 606 [aka Mungo II-Gloria 606] (brindle) (Harras III 33 x Tosca-Gloria II) Born 1895. Owner: Emil Garelly, St. Johann a.d. Saar. Breeder: K. Diffine, Russelsheim a.M.)
(above, Marko-Gloria 796 (fawn) (Marko, unregistered x Flora-Weber, unregistered) Born 1895. Owner: K. Diffine, Russelsheim a. M. Breeder: V. Weber, Altbulach.)
(above, from 1909 book)
See also the pictures on the page "Danes of Special Note."
It should be noted that the breed we know today as a “bloodhound” was not introduced into the US until about 1880. They were NOT the dogs used by slave owners to hunt runaway slaves. There is a lot of debate about what kind of dogs were used, and although sensationalists seem to encourage the idea that huge savage dogs were imported from Cuba, Spain (or wherever), according to historians the dogs most likely used were foxhound or foxhound-type dogs - dogs trained to follow a scent. But those small dogs were not conducive to adding excitement to the stage plays of Uncle Tom’s cabin during the 1880s – so they used mastiff’s and called them “Siberian Bloodhounds.” You will see in the following paragraphs that the “Russian/Cuban Bloodhounds” used to guard prisons during the Civil War and the “Siberian Bloodhounds” used for the Uncle Tom’s Cabin plays were likely one and the same…. called in Russia - a "Danish Mastiff".
I include them here because they were very likely the same dog known as Boarhounds, Ulmer dogs, German Mastiffs, early Great Danes, etc. And if you think that the temperament "doesn't fit" - you'll see below in excerpts from the 1897 book about dogs - that the Great Dane, although loyal to his/her owner - could be a formidable and ferocious dog.
(above, notice the white chest and white toes on the otherwise black dog? That is often the kind of "black" you see from harlequin lines....the white toes are a dead giveaway. Actually it's a type of "extreme mantle.")
There had been a lot of publicity about the bloodthirsty Russian/Siberian “bloodhounds” which guarded prisoners during the Civil War. But those dogs were obviously not bloodhounds but mastiffs
[quoted from above site]
“In Russia when there were no dogs of breed the Siberian Bloodhound. In Siberia those years there were frosts -40 on Celsius. In such conditions there can live only a dog with a dense wool. I think, that it is imagination for giving singularity to breed.
In Russia when there was no slavery, we did not require similar dogs.
About in 1880 years in Russia hunting with laika, spaniel, fleet, hound, borzoi, dachshund and small terriers was popular. At us many magazines devoted to hunting were published.
In Russia never were engaged in the dog fights. In it began to be engaged illegally in the beginning of 1990 when imported pit bull terriers from the Europe and the USA.
Entertainment it only hunting, for a wild animal hunted with a knife and rogatina : http://getwar.ru/okhotnichya-rogatina.html
The maximum standard for the hunter was considered to catch the wolf alive, dogs pursued the wolf and horsemen, the horseman jumped on a back to the wolf and connected it. http://www.liveinternet.ru/journalshowco....go=next&categ=0
In 1890 in Russia there was a magazine, on the basis of articles printed in this magazine books breeds of dog describing all existing in Russia and the Europe, and the description of all animals and birds to Russia, I have these books.. author- Sabaneev.
The Siberian Bloodhound is the Danish mastiff... Look it is in a photo:
The link leads to a Russian site with a poster of different dogs at the bottom. The Russian gentleman is saying that the dog which we called the “Siberian Bloodhounds” - the Russians actually call “Danish Mastiffs.”
[Has anyone else noticed an appalling lack of consistency to the story of the "Andersonville Bloodhounds"??? Some books say there were "4 packs, each pack having 1 or 2 bloodhounds and containing 20 - 25 (one site said 20 - 50) mixed hounds," some say that there were a total of 40 bloodhounds, some say 12, some even say just 9. Some books claim that the hounds did not even belong to Wirz or the Confederacy, but to a man by the name of "Turner" who "lived near Andersonville" and whom "Capt. Wirz employed," other books claimed that there was a Confederate soldier by the name of Edward Turner who was in charge of the Andersonville bloodhounds. There is even a big discrepancy between the stories ABOUT the bloodhounds there, several in fact, claim that the "Andersonville bloodhound myth" had been blown way out of proportion for political reasons; and that there were few (if any) prisoners actually attacked by the hounds. There is even huge discrepancies about the background of the bloodhounds themselves, some claiming them to be ferocious imported Cuban dogs (or, and I quote, "debased descendants of the strong and fierce hounds" - which is a quote copied so often, it really makes me suspect it), others claim that they were merely common large curs (ie mixed breed dogs) which were kept by the poorer farmers in the south - as a means of protecting family and property. One escapee testified that when the bloodhounds were sent after him, they found him in the bushes, but did no more than "rub noses with him." Some of the books talked about the "baying bloodhounds of Andersonville." I know that English bloodhounds and foxhounds and beagles bay when tracking - but do mastiffs? There's just a HECK of a lot of discrepancy here, which makes me think that quite a lot of it is conjecture (or myth) rather than actual fact....but which is which, I have no idea.]
And, of course, the publicity:
Are they all the same dog?The photos above showing the SAME physical features AS WELL as the harlequin pattern - and taking into consideration the below ban posted in Massachusetts in 1886, seems to support the notion that Siberian Bloodhounds, Cuban Bloodhounds, Great Danes, German Mastiffs, Ulmer Dogs, Boarhounds, etc. were all the SAME dog.
6 years later another notice was displayed EXEMPTING “English Bloodhounds” from the ban:
Simple reason for this, the dog we know today as a ‘bloodhound’ was not even introduced into the US until 1880 and the first importer and kennel was set up in Vermont by Jenks Winchell in 1881. He was also the first president of the English Bloodhound Club of America.
True “Bloodhounds” were in no way, shape or form the same dogs as those portrayed as Siberian/Russian/Cuban bloodhounds. The lawmakers realized the complete difference of the real "bloodhound" from the type of dog commonly referred to as Siberian/Russian/Cuban Bloodhound, Great Dane, German Mastiff (aka Deutsche Dogge), Ulmer Dogge, Boarhound, etc.
When folks try to actually research the "Cuban/Siberian/Russian bloodhounds" - they suddenly seem to have "become extinct" (if they ever existed at all), and there is LOTS of speculation about how they descended from savage mastiff-like dogs from someplace or other. But if you look at the structure, size and physical features of the dogs, PLUS the coat patterns (mantle, harlequin) - they were all very likely the same breed. And probably the "Danish Mastiff" (or German Mastiff) which came from Europe where there was constant contact and trade. PLUS the fact that in Russia they were known as "Danish Mastiffs"- makes it fairly obvious that they are all one and the same.
And here is another interesting bit of information which suggests that they were all the same breed:
"The Dog Book, a Popular History of the Dog" written in 1897:
The subject of size is one that crops up from time to time, and it not in-frequently happens that some old and perfectly unreliable statement is resurrected and passes for truth. One of this character refers to the dog, Prince, owned at one time by Francis Butler of New York. Butler was a man of education, an author of several books on dogs and two educational, "The Spanish Speaker" and "The French Teacher." He seems to have finally taken up the business of dog dealing exclusively, and one dog with which he will always be associated was the Great Dane, Prince. This was before our time in this country, but we had many talks about the dog with the old coloured dog dealer "Dr." Gardner, who was Butler's factotum and went with him to England when Prince was taken there for exhibition. We believe Butler called Prince a Cuban bloodhound, but in his "Management and Diseases of Dogs " (second edition, 1860) the illustration is given as that of a Siberian bloodhound. Old Gardner's memory was very clear as to the
dog and its history. Butler met a young German with the dog outside the Astor House, and bought the giant......... Prince was a German importation.
And I've also found the below items which supports that idea:
From "Due South, or Cuba Past and Present" by Maturin M. Ballou. 1885
The Cuban bloodhound, of which we hear so much, is not a native of the island, but belongs to an imported breed, resembling the English mastiff, though with larger head and limbs.
And from American Law Review, 1920:
And from "Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter" by Theodore Roosevelt, 1905:
Oh, and remember that "Russian Bloodhound" named "Hero" of Thunder Prison (show above)?
As further proof that these were all one and the same dog - take a look at the book below, "The American Book of the Dog" written in 1891 - which DESCRIBES the German Mastiffs as the dogs that later folks claimed were "Cuban/Siberian/Russian Bloodhounds."
Seen in many books:
Turbervile's Booke of hunting, 1576
Often called the Apollo of dogs, the Great Dane can trace its paw prints as far back as time of the Egyptians. Drawings of dogs resembling Great Danes were found on Egyptian monuments dating from 3000 B.C. Artifacts found in Babylonian temples built about 2000 B.C. include a relief-plate showing Assyrian men walking huge, Dane-like dogs on stout leashes. The dogs depicted have the same massive body and long, powerful legs as today's Great Dane.
It is agreed that this breed has been known by more names than any other breed. Early hunting dogs were known as Bullenbeissers or Boar Hounds. Through the 1800's the names given to these dogs changed quite often e.g. Ulmer Doggen, Tiger Dogge, Saupacker, Hatzruden, Danish Doggen, Grand Danois and the German Mastiff. All of these came and went until 1880 when the name Deutsche Dogge became official and was adopted as the National dog of Germany.
One of the earliest interesting books about dogs that I've come across is:
The earliest mention that I've found of "Danish dog" in English is actually from William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" thought to have been written in the year 1600.
Supposedly "counter" is a reference to hounds when they trace a trail backwards.
The noted Great Dane historian, Flemming Rickfors emailed:
"The Shakespeare quote I had picked up and I think this may well be the earliest reference in England to the new breed of ”Blendinge” of Danish dogs that are bred in Denmark from about 1586. As you probably know Hamlet is performed on the actual Kronborg Castle every Summer. We know that Shakespeare is extremely well informed about matters in Denmark because we can document that an English travelling theater group visited Denmark and indeed Elsinore (where the castle stands) in 1586. The first version of Hamlet was written in 1589 so it all adds up.
"The term ”Danish dogs” is in Hamlet a kenning (a byname) for ”Laertes, armed; Danes following” – the Danish nobleman that in the end ends up killing Hamlet. What is interesting for me is that the audience in London must have been aware of that the ”Danish dogs” were large, dangerous hunting dogs. Otherwise the wording does not work."
In 1720 there was a book published in London in 1720 titled "The Remains of Mr. Thomas Brown" and referenced "Hector" - his Danish dog.
The snippet about the Danish Dogs in a pamphlet printed in 1732 in London is already mentioned above.
"An history of the earth, and animated nature, Volume 3" By Oliver Goldsmith, Elias Martin, Benjamin West, Jacques Eustache de Sève, Isaac Taylor, 1791:
There was also a snippet from "The Gentleman's magazine library, being a classified collection of the chief contents of the Gentleman's magazine from 1731 to 1868 (Volume 1) (page 3 of 41) which stated:
The "Irish Wolfhound" of today, by the way, is a recent recreation of the old extinct breed.
The original "Irish Wolf Dog" bred to kill the wolves was descended from the Great Dane (according to the above snippet)...and the Irish Wolf Dog was EXTINCT by the year 1800, so the Great Danes were around LONG before that time.
In 1763, Peter Daniel Layard published (in London) "An Essay on the Bite of a Mad Dog" and mentions a dog that is "part harlequin."
In 1824, Herr Gustav Lang, in his “Book of the Dog,” wrote,
“The Tiger [ie Harlequin] Dog only differs from the German Mastiff in color and by ‘Tiger’ we in Germany do not mean the color of the tiger but like a tiger horse, for example, which is white with small dark spots.”
So as early as 1824, this German is not saying that German Mastiffs come in Tiger (ie Harl) color, but that the two dogs are so alike that the ONLY difference between the Tiger (Harl) and the German Mastiff – is the color.
To me that is quite significant.
From The Illustrated Book of the Dog by Vero Kimball Shaw., 1881
Some years ago this species of dog was very rarely met with, nor was there any demand for it, probably because it was supposed by many to have become extinct. It is therefore the more surprising that the collection of these handsome dogs at Elberfeld was so fine. They were much admired by the English visitors. The prize of honour was given to Nero [a brindle], belonging to Mr. Fassbender. This beautiful animal was immediately bought by Mr. Wuster, jun., as a mate for Flora [the harl pictured above], already in his possession. Nero is large and elegantly shaped, while Flora is strong and beautiful.
Having already given the ideas of Sydenham Edwards and of Herr Gustav Lang, we will now lay before our readers a description of the German Mastiff from the pen of Herr JL von Schmiedeberg, editor of Der Hund, and a German sportsman of position.
"At the late Hanoverian dog show it was proved a fact that considerable progress has been made in the breeding of this class of dogs. Some years ago we still had the Ulmer Doggen, Hatzriiden, Danische Doggen (Danish Mastiffs), &c., but it has been impossible to settle with any clearness whether these were separate races. The fabulous race of Hatzruden has often been mentioned. It is said that these have really been in existence, and are now produced fresh again, whilst following old pictures and Scripture. These dogs, which were almost only used for boar-hunting, were mostly rough-haired, and of a high and strong stature, and by no means animals of a decided pure class. The Parade Doggen, mostly owned and much thought of by the nobility in those days, can be as nearly as possible compared with the English and German Mastiff, but, with few exceptions, they would not now be suitable for shows, in consequence of not belonging to a distinct race.
The Ulmer Doggen received their name in consequence of the very large Tiger Doggen having become so scarce. They are easily to be distinguished from the Dalmatiner (Dalmatian), which do not belong to the class of Mastiffs (Doggen) at all ; the difference in these is, indeed, very considerable. The large Tiger Doggen in shows ought really to have a separate class, together with the German Mastiff or Deutsche Dogge. The latter denomination for these large and elegantly-built Doggen has soon been adopted everywhere, in contrast to the heavy English Mastiff, and the characteristic points of the breed are the following:
Figure high, elegant; head rather long; nose of medium length, thick not pointed; lower jawbone to project only a little; point of nose, large, black (except with Tiger Doggen, where the same may be of flesh-colour, or spotted); lip trifling overhanging; ears placed high and pointed; eyes brown, not too light (except with Tiger Doggen, which often have glassy eyes); earnest and sharp look; neck pretty long and strong, without dewlap; chest broad and deep; back long and straight; toes closed; nails strong and long; thigh-bone muscular; knees deep, almost like a Greyhound; tail not too long, hardly to reach the hocks, and to be almost in a straight line with the back, never to be curly; the coat of the whole body, and particularly the tail, to be short and smooth; back-claws are allowed on the hind-feet if they are firm and not loose; colour bright black, wavy, yellow, blue, if possible without any marks, or, if striped, usually with glassy eyes.
The best food for these Mastiffs is, without doubt, milk, soups of any kind, particularly of oatmeal, and, as an addition, raw, sound horseflesh, which latter the dogs of course prefer to everything, but must only be apportioned moderately. We need not mention that they must always have a good supply of fresh water.
The colour of the German dog is quite a matter of taste, but those of one colour without any white marks are mostly preferred. The coat of the blue ones is frequently very soft and fine. The Tiger Doggen, sometimes with one or two glassy eyes, seem justly to come into fashion again. Several good specimens are still to be met with in Hamburg, and only last year there were still some to be seen at Ulm, as well as at Stuttgard. The foxy-coloured dogs are those which are least thought of.
Lady Bismarck, the property of Mr. Charles Goas of Manchester, and Imperium and Libertas, who were imported direct from Herr Gustav Lang by Mr. James Davis, of Weymouth Street, London, as a present for his wife, to whom they still belong. Libertas, the female, though by far the better specimen, has never been exhibited ; but Imperium, who has only been shown three times, has taken first prizes for his fair owner at Dublin and the Crystal Palace in 1880, and second at the Alexandra Palace in 1881. Lord Charles Kerr also owns what would be a good specimen, in Caesar, but that the dog has dew-claws, which naturally are objected to in many quarters for the reasons given above; and, in addition, a portion of his tail has been removed, which also tells against him in competition with unmutilated specimens of the breed.
As Herr R. von Schmiedeberg has so thoroughly gone into the description of the points of the German Mastiff, any further allusion to them is unnecessary, and we therefore adopt his standard without reserve beyond the dew-claws, which we think objectionable, as evidences of impure blood. As a breed the German Mastiff is affectionate and docile, though some specimens are headstrong, as Sydenham Edwards observed, and inclined to attack other dogs and animals. Still, with so much in the way of appearance to recommend it, we trust that this grand variety of dog will go on as it promises to do, and yearly find increased favour amongst British ______.
Correspondence (April 1883) The Great Dane To the Editor The Kennel Gazette
I read with great interest Mr. Adcock's letter in the last Kennel Gazette concerning the formation a Great Dane Club, and having always been a great admirer of this noble breed, I was glad to see it is on the best way to be cultivated in England. I have no doubt that this breed, which combines in such a marvelous way strength, bone, substance, and elegance, and on the other side high courage with intelligence, will soon become quite a favourite amongst English dog fanciers. Your countrymen are such experienced breeders, and so full of energy in all their undertakings, that I am sure also this breed will be brought in a short space of time to it's highest perfection, and will take a similar position in the canine world to the grand and noble St. Bernard.
Mentioning this, I presume that the starters of the club wish to understand under “Great Dane” that breed we call in our country, and at our leading shows, “Deutsche Dogge”, which is one of our oldest and finest breeds, and mostly known in England under the name of “German Boar Hound”. I am well aware that one of our German authorities on the breed, who has written about it some time ago in the Live Stock Journal, is very much opposed to the name of “German Boar Hound”, as in our days he says no such dogs are used for “wild boar hunting”, but all sorts of ferocious mongrels. This is true, but in the middle ages such dogs were used for this kind of sport, and were called “”, also “Hatzruden”, and were the favourites of our noblemen. Some good specimens are to be found represented in the old pictures of “Van Dyck”. The same gentleman proposed to call our “Deutsche Doggen”, in English, “German Mastiffs”. I am very much opposed to this name, as I am afraid this would give quite a false opinion of the breed, and lead to a false standard of points, as the real type of the “Deutsche Dogge” is nothing like that of a Mastiff, but, on the contrary, nearly just the reverse. The “Deutsche Dog” is rather like a dog between a Mastiff and a Greyhound, and built like a racehorse. He has great size, substance, and bone, plenty of muscle, beautiful loins, and is full of elegance - in fact, built to jump any fence and ditch like a good hunter would do. If well trained for defense, what we call “auf den Mann dressert”, there is no better dog to protect his master against the attack of several men, as he always attacks, on command, the assaulter from behind and at the neck, and pulls him down with great ease; otherwise, these dogs are like the St. Bernard, very good tempered and affectionate. I know several cases of men's lives saved by such a dog.
Some years ago there was still great confusion concerning this breed in Germany, as the same dogs went under the names of “Danische Dogge”, “Ulmer Dogge”, “Hatzruden”, and “Saupacker”, therefore, it was decided at a general meeting of our leading clubs and breeders to recognise only one breed, under the name of “Deutsche Dogge”, and the points of this noble and ancient breed were fixed by all the members present. Very good specimens of the breed were shown at Berlin in 1880 and at Hanover in 1882, and one of the best specimens I know at present is Dr. Caster's Leo, winner of first prize cup at Hanover and Spa in 1882. I send you a portrait of this dog, which, in my opinion and that of our best judges, is quite a model specimen of the breed we call “Deutsche Doggen”. Perhaps it would interest your readers to see this portrait published. Dr. Boddinus proposed last year at a meeting to form two distinct classes of “Deutsche Doggen”, one, like the now recognised breed, of which Leo is a representative, the other more Mastiff-like, with broader skull, shorter and more massive head, short neck, throaty, etc. in the belief that this breed also did exist, and I dare say he was right, but he was seconded by no one. The difficulty for the new proposed club will be to start under the right name, and to make it clear if only one distinct breed is to be patronised, and which are to be the points, or if the name “Great Dane” means no distinct breed, and is merely a collective name for different breeds or types. I should think the best name would be “The Great German Dogge Club” (why not use that name as well as the name of “Dachshund”, which had been accepted for another German breed), or to keep the name under which the breed seems to be known in England, “German Boar Hound”, and to patronise only one type, making separate classes as to colour, and to do away with all the suspicious names of “Tiger Mastiff”, “German Mastiff”, and others.
To be able to unite our efforts with those of the English breeder, it would be of the greatest importance to have the same standard of points, and I think the one unanimously accepted by our clubs and breeders for our “Deutsche Doggen” is very good to start with. At the end of May, when the Berlin show takes place, a grand class of this breed will appear, and all the breeders and German judges will be present. This, I think, would be the best opportunity for the gentlemen who intend to start a club of the breed in England to come over and discuss the matter in the presence of a large collection of fine specimens. If the English club is willing to unite their efforts with our German breeders I do not doubt we shall easily come to terms as to the desirable types and points of the breed, and a great many of our breeders will certainly be happy to join the English club. The committee will certainly with pleasure arrange at this occasion, if desired, a special meeting of all the breeders and fanciers of the “Deutsche Doggen”.
Prince Albert Solms, Braunfels, Prussia.
From Brehm’s Life of Animals – written 1896:
From "The American book of the dog: The origin, development, special characteristics, utility, breeding, training, points of judging, diseases, and kennel management of all breeds of dogs" edited by George O. Shields 1891 (The section about Great Danes):
From The Boston Evening Transcript, 1897:
A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland, Sporting Division, Vol. I, by Rawdon B. Lee, pub. London 1897: (section about "The Great Dane")
I came across a book written in 1790 and think it was called "The History of Quadrupeds" (or something like that). And they had some superb engravings of different breeds of dogs. There was, however, one drawing - clearly of harlequins that had been labeled as either Dalmatians or "Carriage Dogs" (I can't remember which). And at the time I thought it odd that anyone could "mistake" a harl for a dalmatian. However, in another old book I read that Harls were indeed also used for "carriage dogs" - usually of royalty, while the Dalmatians were used as "carriage dogs" for non-royalty. [And this is another example of dogs being labeled by what they actually DID versus what their bloodlines were.]
Anyway, I came across a picture of a good-size Dalmatian, liver color, but with a pattern not unlike a harl - and can now see how the two might have been mistaken for each other.
Also, remember the definition of "Tiger Dogge" from above, where it referred to the old "spotted horses"? Those horses, if you look them up on the net, had "spots" (like Dalmatians) not ragged patches like Harls. Would be very interesting if genetic research did find a connection between Dalmatians and Harls, wouldn't it?
No wonder it’s so difficult to unravel the true origins of what we call the "early Great Dane" – reading the descriptions of the various “types” of early Danes/Mastiffs and seeing their photos (many called the same “type” but differing in appearance) can make it quite confusing.
But no question the present “Great Dane” – that is, the dog we know by that name today, was developed from one or more large mastiff-like dogs in Germany in the late 1800’s.
Some of the individual “lines” changed into the elegant Dane-type (as we know it today) within 9 years! Others took a couple decades. Studying the photos of the early Danes is absolutely fascinating, and by doing so – you can see how the breeders of the time chose their breeding dogs (as especially described on the “Danes of Special Note” page).
I feel it’s important to realize WHAT the Germans had to work with before you can appreciate HOW they accomplished what they did.