The Great Dane is known by many names, including the Ulm Dog, or Ulmer Dog, and while that may be the “proper” name of the bronze statue set in the southwest corner of Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels, colloquially the sculpture is known as the Green Dog.
Commissioned by the city of Brussels in 1869 and cast from a plaster model by Jean-Baptiste Van Heffen (1840-ca.1890), Green Dog was originally situated in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, then moved outside in 1896 onto a blue stone base in the park. In 1905, Green Dog was moved again, this time to the entrance of the Woluwe Park during the 75th-anniversary festivities of Belgian independence.
By the early 1900s, the legs of the bronze had been rubbed for luck so many times that they had gained a patina, or tarnish because of the bronze oxidizing from the elements, and this was why Ulmer Dog became “Green Dog.”
Van Heffen sculpted another dog, this one locked in a staring contest with a turtle. Called, “The Surprise,” the hound stands in the garden of the Palace of the Academies, Brussels.