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History Comparison The Great Dane may not look like it, but originally, this majestic breed was used to hunt boar and to protect homesteads and their human family. Although dogs strongly resembling Great Danes have been found in drawings dated back to 3000 B.C. the breed as we know it today began evolving in the 16th century. Long-legged, strong dogs described as crossbreeds between English mastiffs and Irish wolfhounds, were imported from England to numerous countries around Europe, among them Germany. At this time, no breed standard had been created and there was no general size or look existed. The Great Dane was cherished by noblemen and aristocracy, they were spoiled rotten with luxury collars and the favourites got to sleep with their human owners.  To make a long story short; these dogs were generally called Englische Docke or Englische Tocke which means English dog. Fun fact is that the word “dog” since then is associated with molossoid type dogs in Germany. If we move along a little – in 1878, the name of the breed was changed to Englische dogge (English dog) to Deutche Dogge (German mastiff). Somewhere along the way, a man named Buffon came up with the name Great Dane, or as he said, Grand Danois (great dane). Since then, the name has stuck with the breed, and confuse anyone who is not yet familiar with their history in German courts.  The Labrador Retriever has a completely different background, which is closely linked to the history of the Newfoundland dog. Both breeds originate from the Newfoundland island in Canada, where they were both used to help fisherman catch their nets – and even more importantly, to retrieve ducks during hunts. They were brought out of Newfoundland to Europe by primarily English nobles who fancied these beautiful, sporting dogs. They spent the latter part of the 19th century to refine and standardize the breed.  The Labrador we know today is very similar to the ones brought to England all those years ago. The breed standard says “The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and nonagressive towards man or animal” and a noted judge of early days said that “If a dog does not possess true breed temperament, he is not a Labrador.”  Looks comparison The Great Dane doesn’t strike you as the typical mastiff, now does he. He’s got the size working for him, but has a more more majestic and elegant appearance than the usual molosser usually does. Already in the beginning of his existence, the breed was among the absolutely largest dogs on the planet, and this stays true to this day. A Great Dane can reach up to 32 inches to the shoulder, and weight up to impressive 175 pounds. They really are like ponies, these amazing dogs.  A Great Dane is tall and muscular with a square body and a deep chest. They are borne with floppy ears, but in some areas these are cropped as a tradition. This comes from their boar-hunting days, where anything floppy was something that could be ripped off by any contender, whether it be a boar, a bear, a wolf or another dog. This habit is however prohibited in some areas, so before you decide on doing this, please take care to find out if it’s legal in your area.  His head is perhaps what looks most like a mastiff on these awe-inspiring dogs. It’s not too heavy on the body, but there are the typical mastiff lips that, given the opportunity, can produce enormous amounts of drool. Coat-wise, the Great Dane has a short, smooth coat that doesn’t shed overly, but he does go through some more serious shedding twice a year.  A Great Dane come in a variety of colours, mainly concentrated to variants of black, white, blue, fawn, chocolate and silver.  The Labrador Retriever isn’t even remotely close to as tall as the Great Dane. He reaches “only” up to 24,5 inches and can weigh up to 80 pounds (more, considering he often likes his food a little more than necessary). Rather than square, the Labrador has a more rectangular shape to him, with his back longer than he’s tall. Like his golden brother, the Golden Retriever, a Labrador sheds continuously and needs brushing to help get rid of the excess.  Labrador Retrievers today have two lines; working lines and show lines. The former, the working line, is a slightly slimmer typed dog than the show line who can be prone to obesity. Depending on what you want to do with your dog, please make sure you don’t overfeed your dog, since obesity can create a lot of unnecessary problems for him.  Trainability Comparison The Labrador Retriever was bred to work with his people, so he’s eager to please, he’s intelligent and enthusiastic and devoted. Like any other breed, he’ll need to be socialized early one, to improve his chances of becoming that amazing, well-mannered dog we all want. He may be one of the “easier” breeds to train, but that doesn’t mean you should be lazy with him. Even a Labrador can become a monster if not trained and socialized properly, so it is important that you put down the time and effort. Time and effort is even more important with the Great Dane when it comes to socialization and training. As with any large breed, they need to be good representants of their breed as what people say about a dog automatically reflects on the human – that is; you. A Great Dane is social, friendly and eager to please, so there should really be no problem for you. Differently from many other breeds, the Great Dane thrives with a firm and consistent training method – that being said; positive reinforcement can be done firmly, yet kind and fair. But take the time and effort to make sure your Great Dane gets the chance to become that amazing, giant gentleman he’s meant to be. Temperament comparison Both these breeds are amazing pets. They like children, although the Labrador may be better at the Nanny-part than the Great Dane. They are both friendly and social breeds, they work well with other dogs and pets, and both of them are capable guarding dogs.  The Labrador Retriever beats the Great Dane when it comes to exercise, but don’t think for a second that the Great Dane is a couch potato. Oh, no, he needs his fair amount of exercise too, just not quite as much as the Lab.  Remember that the Great Dane has been used to hunt boar and bear. While he loves his family and enjoys pleasing his people, he still has a strike of that independence and strong-will that is so common among the mastiff breeds – and so unusual among the retrieving breeds. The Labrador would do anything to please his people, especially for a bit of food. 

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