Germany’s National Dog

It boggles the mind to envision 600 Great Danes, supposedly all of them males, assembled in a pack for a boar hunt, but that’s what the Duke of Braunschweig is said to have done in 1592. The European wild boar was considered the most savage of all game on the Continent, and it took a powerful, intelligent, and tenacious dog to hunt it. It was the viciousness of this prey that lead to the breed having its ears cropped as many dogs suffered torn and shredded ears from the razor sharp tusks of the wild Boar.

German nobility were so utterly impressed with the breed created in their homeland that they snapped up the best ones to be used as as guard dogs (and ultimately companions) for their large estates. These select dogs who wore collars lined with velvet and lived the high life were referred to as Kammerhunde, or Chamber Dogs.  Otto von Bismarck was a Dane owner, and by the time his united German empire emerged in 1870,Bismarck’s Great Danes were a media sensation, probably because their outrageous shenanigans often took the chill off some icy diplomatic meetings. In 1876, Germany officially declared the Great Dane the National Dog of Germany.

For a fine article on Great Dane history, read here.

“Black Great Dane” by Svetlana Novikova

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