This section is from the book "British Dogs, Their Points, Selection, And Show Preparation", by W. D. Drury. Also available from Amazon: British Dogs: Their Points, Selection And Show Preparation.
The Great Dane is not so heavy or massive as the Mastiff, nor should he too nearly approach the Greyhound type. Remarkable in size and very muscular, strongly though elegantly built, the head and neck should be carried high, and the tail in line with the back, or slightly upwards, but not curled over the hindquarters. Elegance of outline and grace of form are most essential to a Dane; size is absolutely necessary; but there must be that alertness of expression and briskness of movement without which the Dane character is lost. He should have a look of dash and daring, of being ready to go anywhere and do anything.
The Great Dane is good-tempered, affectionate, and faithful to his master, not demonstrative with strangers, intelligent, courageous, and always alert. His value as a guard is unrivalled. He is easily controlled when well trained, but he may grow savage if confined too much, kept on chain, or ill-treated.
The minimum height ot an adult dog should be 30m; that of a bitch, 28in.
The minimum weight of an adult dog should be 120lb.; that of a bitch, 100lb. The greater height and weight are to be preferred, provided that quality and proportion are also combined.
Taken altogether, the head should give the idea of great length and strength of jaw. The muzzle, or foreface, is broad, and the skull proportionately narrow, so that the whole head when viewed from above and in front has the appearance of equal breadth throughout.
The entire length of head varies with the height of the dog; 13in. from the tip of the nose to the back of the occiput is a good measurement for a dog of 32m. at the shoulder. The length from the end of the nose to the point between the eyes should be about equal or preferably of greater length than from this point to the back of the occiput.
The skull should be flat rather than domed, and have, a slight indentation running up the centre, the occipital peak not prominent. There should be a decided rise or brow over the eyes, but no abrupt stop between them.
The face should be well chiselled and foreface long, of equal depth throughout, and well filled in below the eye, with no appearance of being pinched.
The muscles of the cheeks should be quite flat, with no lumpiness or cheek bumps, the angle of the jaw-bone well defined.
The lips should hang quite square in front, forming a right angle with the upper line of foreface.
The underline of the head, viewed in profile, runs almost in a straight line from the corner of the lip to the corner of the jaw-bone, allowing for the fold of the lip, but with no loose skin to hang down.
The lower jaw should be about level, or at any rate not project more than the sixteenth of an inch.
The bridge of the nose should be very wide, with a slight ridge where the cartilage joins the bone. (This is quite a characteristic of the breed.) The nostrils should be large, wide, and open, giving a blunt look to the nose. A butterfly or flesh-coloured nose is not objected to in harlequins.
Dotted Line shows Faulty Lip.
The ears should be small, set high on the skull, and carried slightly erect with the tips falling forward.
Next to the head, the neck is one of the chief characteristics. It should be long, well arched, and quite clean and free from loose skin, held well up, snakelike in carriage, well set in the shoulders, and the junction of head and neck well defined.
The shoulders should be muscular but not loaded and well sloped back, with the elbows well under the body, so that when viewed in front the dog does not stand too wide.
The fore legs should be perfectly straight, with big flat bone, the feet large and round, the toes well arched and close, the nails strong and curved.
The body is very deep, with ribs well sprung and belly well drawn up.
The back and loins are strong, the latter slightly arched as in the Greyhound.
The hindquarters and thighs are extremely muscular, giving the idea of great strength and galloping power. The second thigh is long and well developed, as in a Greyhound, and the hocks are set low, turning neither out nor in.
The tail is strong at the root and ends in a fine point, reaching to or just below the hocks. It should be carried, when the dog is in action, in a straight line level with the back, slightly curved towards the end, but should not curl over the back.
A Well-carreied Tail.
A Badly-carried Tail.
The hair is short and dense and sleek-looking, and in no case should it incline to coarseness.
The gait should be lithe, springy, and free, the action high. The hocks should move very freely, and the head should be held well up.
The colours are brindle, fawn, blue, black, and harlequin. The harlequin should have jet black patches and spots on a pure white ground; grey patches are admissible but not desired; fawn or brindle shades are objectionable.