11 Secrets About Difference Between European and American Great Dane

Great Danes are adored for their splendor, massive size, elegance, and beauty. They are also called Apollo of dogs. But what is the difference between European and American Great Dane? It is also proven that both breeds’ standards are identical according to FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) and AKC (American Kennel Club).

  Basically, they are the same breed, but both are different in building and body shape. The European Great Danes are mastiff-looking and larger. And the American Great Dane is smaller due to greyhound roots. So, we have discussed the difference between European and American Danes so that you may know which one is your Great Dane and help you to make wise decisions.

Basics Difference Between European and American Great Dane

Key DifferencesEuropean Great DaneAmerican Great Dane
Height30 to 34 inches28 to 34 inches
Coat TypeShort, Dense, WrinklyShort, Dense, Taut
Head ShapeHeavy, Square-shapedSmaller, Rectangular
Weight180 to 240 lbs99 to 200 lbs
ColorsFawn, Brindle, Black, Mantletiger, Blue, Merle, PlattenhundeFawn, Brindle, Mantle, Harlequin, Blue, Merle
Body ShapeMuscular, LargeSleek, Elegant
TrainabilityHigh, Needs consistencyVery high
Health problemsCardiomyopathy, Bone and Joint Issues, Hip DysplasiaHip dysplasia, Cardiomyopathy
TemperamentGentle, Intelligent, Reserved, LovingLoving, Excitable, Gentle, Intelligent
Life Expectancy6-8 years8-10 years

Who is Responsible For the Variations of European and American Great Dane?

 Variations of European and American Great Dane

   Great Danes are facing identity crises cause of their breed standards. But the question is who is responsible for identifying them. So these entities are responsible for this.


   Breeders must understand the responsibility of the Great Danes. To alter or restore a breed, breeders play a crucial role. They must breed standard Great Dane by focusing on individual Great Dane performance, physical fitness, and temperament rather than physique, working capability, and health.

Dog Owners

   Currently, the Great Dane is primarily bred to be a show dog. Many dog owners prefer large dogs that show their class rather than the breed standard. Great Dane owners prefer calling their dogs champions over standard Great Dane.

Breed Clubs

   Though Great Dane breed clubs are not uniformly present, they are crucial to preserving the breed. They are responsible for guiding breeders, puppy buyers, and the public in general to achieve their ends.


   The government also play an important role in pet protection laws. For example, a strong law for protecting pets exists in Germany. So, spaying, neutering, and declawing are allowed only if the veterinarian recommends it. Ear cropping is also restricted.

Dog Shows and Their Judges

   The conformation dog shows of Great Dane do not maintain the temperament and appearance of breeds due to supporting the expenditures. They do not recognize Great Danes carefully and proclaim non-conforming breeds as champions.   

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European Great Dane vs American Great Dane Looks/Appearance

 Variations of European and American Great Dane

   The physical appearance of both breeds is similar, but still, there’s some difference. For instance, the European Danes are larger and have a blunter nose. In contrast, the American Dane is rectangular and has fewer prominent lips. Let’s inspect more about them.


   The size difference between both Great Danes is almost dissimilar. Both Great Danes are considered the giant breed of dogs. The European Great Dane has 34 inches in height and weighs about 240 pounds. However, the American Great Dane is 32 inches in height, a bit shorter than European Great Dane, and the weight is 140 pounds, which is much lighter.


   Both dogs were found 400 years ago. They were the protectors of families and were used for hunting wild boar. The real Great Dane can be dangerous in the hunt, but he is wise enough to protect the homes and stop on calling by his master or handlers, sweetly guard them.

   The breeders bred out their Great Danes in a ferocity manner rather than loving family members. A Great Dane combines English Mastiff, Irish wolfhound, and Greyhound. So, the European Great Dane looks like English Mastiff, and the American Great Dane has a sleek appearance and heritage of a Greyhound.


   The eyes of the European Great Dane are like a bloodhound, very droopy eyes. While the American Great Dane has slightly droopy eyes, it looks like an alert and active dog. The eye color of both Great Dane is the same. It depends on the heritage and lineage of their parent. Also, their eyes might be from deep brown to blue.

   Both Great Dane has a different color of eyes quiet. Also, if your Great Dane has two colors of eyes, then he is more unlikely to have cataracts and glaucoma. It is mostly found in Great Dane puppies.

Body Shape

   The Great Dane is the heritage of three dogs. So, each pup has attributes gained from these dogs. The Mastiff have an athletic build and a large body. The Greyhound are the fastest breed, so Great Dane is speedy. The Irish wolfhound is tall, giving the Great Dane a huge and massive height.

   The European Great Dane has a massive body and large full chest like Mastiff. He has a short, thick neck with a wide chest and girth that looks bulky. On the other hand, the American Great Danes have a less dense body and more speed than European Great Dane. He looks like Greyhound with a graceful appearance and compact muscles.


   Both Great Danes have naturally floppy ears. The ears of the European Great Dane are left flopping forward. American Great Danes have cropped their ears at the age of puppy so they could fit the breed standard by the AKC. Also, European Great Dane does not crop their ears. If you purchase an American Great Dane, choose a puppy so that the ears do not have been cropped.

   Also, you can request the breeder to not crop his ears. If you want Great Dane for a dog show, you must crop the ears for competing in a dog show.

Muzzle and Lips

   The European Great Dane has full, loose lips that cause drooling and slobbering. They have a squared-off and short muzzle. The American Great Dane has a compact, tight mouth. Also, they do not drool. They have a slim and long muzzle.


   Both Great Dane has short, straight, and shiny coat. However, the coat of the European Great Dane is heavy and thick than American Great Dane. The European Great Dane has an approved coat color by FCI, and the American Great Dane has acceptable coat color by AKC. Also, both breeds have the same color coat.

   The European Great Dane coat colors are mantle, fawn, black, harlequin, brindle, and blue. American Great Dane coat color includes fawn, harlequin, mantle, brindle, blue, and merle. The rules for brindle colouration are the same for both European and American Great Dane.

   The colors may be black and red, black and fawn, shades of grey, and blue. The brindling stripes are red or fawn base coats.   

European Great Dane vs American Great Dane Characteristics

   The characteristics of both Great Dane are different in their appearance. Let’s discuss it widely.

Exercise Needs

   The European Great Dane are very docile and relaxed breed. They are only laid around the family members and are the heritage of the Mastiff. They do not need much exercise; exercise them for thirty minutes a day for a healthy and happy life.

   On the other hand, American Great Dane needs more exercise. Because he is the heritage of Greyhound and is a very active dog, give him exercise for an hour a day for his massive size. Also, give both Great Dane exercise after an hour of taking a meal.

Guard Dog Capabilities

   The European Great Dane is mellow and does not bark much. Do not think about it if a person on your property whom you did not know. But his huge size can scare an attacker. The American Great Dane barks a bit and is a more cheerful dog. He is a great guardian of a family. If he sees a stranger in the house, he barks but does not hurt the person. Also, the American Great Dane is not aggressive, though.


    Both have different temperaments. The European Great Dane is friendly and affectionate. They are gentle and laid-back dogs. They love to cuddle and play around. The American Great Danes are high-strung and terrific family dogs. These dogs are more graceful and athletic than European Great Dane.


   The European Great Dane are stubborn learners. But they are intelligent and seek consistency. They will obey your orders and trust you. Also, follow your commands and schedules. In comparison, the American Great Dane is very slight and is easy to train.

Health Issues

   The European and American Great Dane are similar health problems due to their big body parts. Both Great Danes are prone to diseases, including Hypothyroidism, tears in the cruciate ligament, Addison’s Disease, Cardiomyopathy, Hip dysplasia, tricuspid valve disease, and wobbler syndrome.

   The European Great Dane has an extra-large size, so they are more susceptible to bone and joint problems than American Great Dane.

Life Expectancy

   The truth is that Great Dane has many health issues due to their DNA and size. So, they have a short lifespan. Typically, a European Great Dane lives only six to eight years, and the American Great Dane lives only nine to ten years. Also, some American Great Dane might survive up to 13 years but every bit of.

Cost of Puppies

   European Great Dane has a high price, almost $2000 to $3500. The American Great Dane puppies usually cost $600 to $3000. It also depends on whether the dog is from a dog show or a healthy pooch of a family.

So, what is the Right Great Dane For your Family?

   You must decide many things while adopting or purchasing a European Great Dane or American Great Dane. So, the difference between both Great Dane might help you to decide.

Why Should you Own a European Great Dane?

    European Great Dane is better for you if you want a large dog. They are not friendly to strangers and have loose skin, drooping eyes, and have mastiff appearance. The European Great Dane loves to lay back and is not active. So, if you are looking for a couch potato, the European Great Dane is the best choice.

Why Should you Own an American Great Dane?

   American Great Danes are right for family dynamics. If you want an active, high-strung, and confident dog, you should choose American Great Dane. American Great Danes have an elegant appearance and do not have massive size. So, these are the best pets and guard dogs for your family.


Do European and American Great Dane Bark a Lot?

   If a dog does not train properly, negative habits will develop, including barking. In contrast, the European Great Danes are calmer than American Great Danes. The American Great Danes bark a lot.

Which is the Largest Great Dane Dog Breed?

   The European harlequin Great Dane is the largest Great Dane dog breed. Also, it has a majestic appearance and takes more breeding lines.

What is the Rarest Color of a Great Dane?

   The rarest color of a Great Dane is white. It happens when merle genes possess, so the Great Danes are completely white.

Are Great Dane High Maintenance?

   Great Danes are low-maintenance dogs. The size of these dogs is beneficial, making them low-maintenance dogs because they mostly live indoors for safety purposes.

Do all Great Dane have Webbed Feet?

   Webbed paws in Great Danes are very common. The webbed paws help them to balance their body. So, most dogs have webbed in their toes.

Wrapping up

   A Great Dane is a cheerful and loving member of a family. They are calm dogs and have a strong focus on humans. Also, they are playful, funny, and goofy. So, it depends on whether you choose European Great Dane or American Great Dane. They are the same breeds but began to separate cause of pet owner choice and breeding practices.

   Their differences must be discussed because the dog owners purchase them according to their geographical standards rather than their real style. So, if this article is helpful and helps you understand the difference between Great Dane, share it with your family, friends, and loved ones. For any questions, kindly comment below. I will respond as soon as I can. Many thanks for reading!

Marian Haaz
Marian is a cat adoption expert. She has rescued and adopted several cats herself and helped find homes for dozens of stray cats and dogs.
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