American vs European Great Dane: What’s the Difference?

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: April 1, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Earl-Wilkerson
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Great Danes are regularly admired due to their elegance, grandeur, and beauty- but what’s the difference between an American vs European Great Dane? As an example, consider the long-running debate between American and European Great Danes, and if European Great Danes are even actual Great Danes. This article will attempt to shed some light on the history of these two canines, while gaining an understanding of their primary distinctions.

American vs European Great Dane: A Comparison 

American vs European Great Dane
One of the world’s tallest dogs, the Great Dane, is known as a gentle giant.

A-Z-Animals.com

Key DifferencesAmerican Great DaneEuropean Great Dane
Height28 – 34 inches30 – 34 inches
Weight99 to 200 lbs.180 to 240 lbs.
Coat typeShort, Dense, TautShort, Dense, Wrinkly
ColorsFawn, Blue, Brindle, Merle, Mantle, Black, HarlequinnFawn, Blue, Brindle, Merle, Black, Plattenhunde, Mantletiger
TemperamentGentle, Excitable, Intelligent, LovingGentle, Reserved, Intelligent, Loving
TrainabilityVery HighHigh; Needs Consistency
Life Expectancy8 to 10 Years6 to 8 Years
Health ProblemsCardiomyopathy, Hip DysplasiaCardiomyopathy, Hip Dysplasia, Bone and Joint Issues

Key Differences Between American And European Great Dane

American vs European Great Dane
European Danes are described to be larger and more Mastiff-looking than American Great Danes due to their Greyhound DNA.

Jesus Souto/Shutterstock.com

There are some key differences between American and European Great Danes. Both Danes are descended from Mastiffs; however, today European Danes are described to be larger and more Mastiff-looking than American Great Danes due to their Greyhound DNA. European Danes are said to have originated in Europe, whereas American Danes are native to the United States. However, many seem to think that European Great Danes were transferred to America, where they were also bred.

The similarities and variances in physical appearance between the two are minor yet noteworthy. As an example, the American Dane’s head is smaller and more rectangular in shape, with a thinner muzzle and fewer prominent lips. European Danes are defined by their larger, squarer skulls, blunter noses, and drooping lips. Let’s explore their differences further.

Appearance

American vs European Great Dane
A European Dane has a longer neck, a wider torso, and more wrinkles than an American Dane.

velora/Shutterstock.com

American vs European Great Dane: Height

There is little difference in height between these two breeds. American Great Danes are distinguished by their long, graceful, and sleek appearance, which gives them the appearance of being taller. Great Danes range in height from 30 to 34 inches. Females stand between 28 and 32 inches tall.

American vs European Great Dane: Weight

This is one point at which the two diverge. American Great Danes are slightly smaller in stature than their European counterparts, weighing between 99 and 200 pounds depending on gender and maturity. European Great Danes are even larger and more muscular than American Great Danes. When completely mature, Great Danes in Europe can weigh between 180 and 240 pounds!

American vs European Great Dane
American Great Danes have slimmer necks and bodies with tighter skin than European Great Danes.

iStock.com/Earl-Wilkerson

American vs European Great Dane: Coat Type

Both Great Danes have a coat that is short, dense, and glossy in appearance. However, American Great Danes have slimmer necks and bodies with tighter skin than European Great Danes. A European Dane has a longer neck, a wider torso, and more wrinkles than an American Dane.

American vs European Great Dane: Colors

The AKC recognizes seven primary colors for the American Great Dane:

  • Black
  • Brindle
  • Fawn
  • Blue
  • Merle
  • Harlequin
  • Mantle

For European Great Danes, the colors recognized by the FCI are nearly identical, although they have additional colors such as:

  • Plattenhunde – White base with big black spots.
  • Mantletiger – Black coats with white muzzles, belly, chest, legs, neck, and tail tip.

Characteristics

American vs European Great Dane
The European Dane is a more laid-back and gentler Great Dane.

Guy J. Sagi/Shutterstock.com

American vs European Great Dane:  Temperament

In addition to their physical differences, American and European Great Danes have different temperaments. The European Dane is a more laid-back and gentler Great Dane. If you’re looking for a family dog that’s both friendly and affectionate, go no further than the European Dane!

American Great Danes are terrific family dogs as well, although they are a little more high-strung in their early years. Compared to European Danes, American Danes are more athletic and graceful.

American vs European Great Dane: Trainability

While it is believed that American Great Danes are easy to train, European Great Danes are supposed to be obstinate learners. European Great Danes are intelligent, but they do have one flaw: they seek consistency. They will obey your command only if they believe you are trustworthy and adhere to a rigid schedule.

Health Factors

American vs European Great Dane
While it is believed that American Great Danes are easy to train, European Great Danes are supposed to be obstinate learners.

Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com

American vs European Great Dane: Life Expectancy

It is a well-known truth that Great Danes have a short lifespan due to many issues caused by their size and DNA. Regrettably, the lifespan of a European Great Dane is typically 6 to 8 years, while the lifespan of an American Great Dane is 9 to 10 years. They have been known to survive up to 13 years in some situations, but that is about all.

American vs European Great Dane: Health Problems

In terms of health, the American and European Great Danes are very similar due to their large body types. Both breeds are prone to the following diseases:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Tears in the Cruciate Ligament
  • Disease of the Tricuspid Valve
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Wobbler Syndrome

Bear in mind that European Great Danes are considerably more likely to suffer bone and joint problems than American Great Danes due to their extra-large size.

Wrapping up American vs European Great Dane

American vs European Great Dane
The lifespan of a European Great Dane is typically 6 to 8 years, while the lifespan of an American Great Dane is 9 to 10 years.

Whether you choose an American-bred Great Dane or one of European ancestry, the Great Dane is a delightful companion and loving family member. They have a strong focus on people and are often calm. They may be playful, goofy, and a lot of fun.

Even though the American and European Great Dane are fundamentally the same breeds, they began to diverge due to breeding practices and pet owner preference. There is certainly a need to discuss their differences because many pet owners are purchasing them based on the prestige of their geographical indicators instead of their actual style.

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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.

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Did you know?

Did you know that the beloved Scooby Doo’s canine breed is modeled after the Great Dane? Scooby, like the majority of Great Danes, has lanky, slender legs and a long, stocky torso. Scooby, on the other hand, has a less elegant structure and body type than the majority of Great Danes making him a bit more cartoonish.

 

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