GREAT DANE VS NEWFOUNDLAND
By William Atherton / October 22, 2020
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HISTORY The histories of these two powerful breeds could not be more different. The Great Dane is descended from the vicious German Boarhound who, as you can guess by the name, was used to hunt the equally vicious wild boar and large game in the forests of Germany. With the fall of German nobility, fans of the breed wanted to see it preserved and a considerable effort was made through selective breeding to mellow the temperament of the dog so they would be a suitable companion. The results of these efforts were the Great Dane we know and love today. Other than their size and fierce protection of their family, they share very little with their boar hunting ancestors. The Newfoundland was originally used like a deckhand on fishing vessels off the East coast of modern-day Canada. Their role was to save men who had gone overboard into the frigid Atlantic Ocean, haul fishing nets to shore, and carry or pull carts with the day's catch to market. The breed was exported to England where they were thoroughly developed and refined into the canines we know today. They have always been fierce protectors of their family but have also always been very docile and gentle giants. APPEARANCE Other than being two of the largest breeds in the world, the Great Dane and Newfoundland look very different from one another. The Great Dane is all legs and has a very sleek and lithe body with a huge stride. They come in a variety of colors with brindle variations and black and white being two of the most common. Dane's range anywhere from 100 to 175 pounds and the tallest dog in the world is generally a Great Dane from year to year. The Newfoundland has the opposite coat of a Dane, being built for swimming in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean they have a very thick double coat. One of the hallmarks of the breed is this very shaggy coat that can make them appear almost bear-like. Their paws are partially webbed to aid in swimming is less joule-y than the Dane. They are also slightly smaller at max weight, ranging from 100 to 150 pounds. TEMPERAMENT/TRANIABILITY/ENERGY Both breeds are nearly identical when it comes to their temperament, trainability, and energy. They both have reputations as gentle giants that have been earned through decades of calm companionship with small children and even with small animals. You'll find that the Great Dane and Newfoundland are very friendly and accepting of strangers, especially when they have been well socialized, though they do make people wary of dogs hesitate to come up and say hello. Both the Dane and the Newfie have quiet intelligence and eagerness to please which makes them both highly trainable and suitable for service work. the Newfie is still used frequently in search and rescue roles where water is concerned. They each have soft personalities that do best with a calm consistent canine leader who never uses harsh corrections or allows for blurry boundaries. With large breeds like these clear boundaries and leadership are a must. The energy of both the Dane and Newfie ranges from low to moderate once they've matured. They are both more than willing to go out on walks or even excel in agility or other canine sports, but they really love to curl up on the couch with their family more than anything. They are not lazy by any means, so if you're looking for a large active breed you accompany you on long walks or hikes then you’ll find both the Dane and Newfie ready to go on any adventure. SOCIAL NEEDS - OTHER CHILDREN/SMALL ANIMALS Again very similar in the social needs, the Dane and Newfie extend their gentle giant temperament to other children and small animals alike. The only real concern is their size which they take great pains to minimize without ever being asked to. Dane’s are exceptional with children and small animals but it’s hard to compete with the Newfie, dubbed a ‘nanny dog’ by the presidential Kennedy family. Both breeds are extraordinarily patient with small children and calmly supervise older children with uncanny intelligence. They do best with small animals when socialized but don’t often chase the ones they’ve been raised with. Even smaller dogs, which is pretty much all of them, don’t have to worry too much about being pushed around by their massive brethren thanks to their sweet nature. WRAP UP These two massive breeds are ideal for experienced owners with growing families. The Newfie has rightly earned their nanny dog reputation for their fondness for children and fearless protection of their family. The Dane is a regal gentle giant that is affectionate and utterly devoted to its family while being a quiet yet imposing guardian of thier home.