The Great Dane Illustrated Standard part three
Ears, nose and teeth.

AKC Standard

Ears - shall be high set, medium in size and of moderate thickness, folded forward close to the cheek. The top line of the folded ear should be level with the skull. If cropped, the ear length is in proportion to the size of the head and the ears are carried uniformly erect.


High-set ears, be they cropped or natural, highlight the outline of the Dane head and create the desired alert appearance. Low-set cropped ears detract from the smooth lines of the skull, and the low-set natural ear gives the skull a round, hound-like appearance. Lack of erectile ability in the base of the natural ear will also give a hound look and should be faulted. Although it is desired that the cropped ear be of a length to properly balance the head and be carried uniformly erect, so long as the set of the ears is correct the dog with too short or too long an ear or with imperfect carriage should not be unduly faulted for this man-made error. There should be no preference between cropped and natural ears, either being correct.

Great Dane Ears cropped and uncropped

AKC Standard

Nose - shall be black, except in the blue Dane, where it is a dark blue-black. A black spotted nose is permitted on the harlequin; a pink colored nose is not desirable. A split nose is a disqualification.


In Harlequins, the degree of spotting or pink on the nose should not be penalized unless it affects the overall picture. However, a black nose is more desirable.

Great Dane Nose




AKC Standard

Teeth - shall be strong, well developed, clean and with full dentition. The incisors of the lower jaw touch very lightly the bottoms of the inner surface of the upper incisors (scissors bite). An undershot jaw is a very serious fault. Overshot or wry bites are serious faults. Even bites, misaligned or crowded incisors are minor faults.


There should be no penalty for "distemper" teeth or for teeth spotted or pitted from medication. Crowded lower incisors are deemed a minor fault; however, it should call the judge's attention to ascertain whether the crowding may be due to an inadequate, narrow lower jaw. While there is no requirement to "count" the teeth as for a Doberman or Rottweiler, obvious gaps should likewise be noted and faulted to the extent of deviation from the desired full dentition.

Great Dane Bite


AKC Standard

Neck, Topline, Body - The neck shall be firm, high set, well arched, long and muscular. From the nape, it should gradually broaden and flow smoothly into the withers. The neck underline should be clean.

Withers shall slope smoothly into a short level back with a broad loin. The chest shall be broad, deep and well muscled. The forechest should be well developed without a pronounced sternum. The brisket extends to the elbow, with well sprung ribs. The body underline should be tightly muscled with a well-defined tuck-up.

The croup should be broad and very slightly sloping. The tail should be set high and smoothly into the croup, but not quite level with the back, a continuation of the spine. The tail should be broad at the base, tapering uniformly down to the hock joint. At rest, the tail should fall straight. When excited or running, it may curve slightly, but never above the level of the back. A ring or hooked tail is a serious fault. A docked tail is a disqualification.


The elegance of the breed is created here. One should be able to draw a smooth line from the skull, down the strong, tapered, clean neck, over the withers to the short, level back, broad loin and very slightly sloping croup. The neck slopes smoothly into the withers. The tail is a continuation of the spine, extending the angle of the croup when at rest and curving up saber-like in action. Deviations from the Standard would include a short, thick neck; a "ewe" (Deer) neck; a long, thick and weak "goose" neck. Your hand should follow the neckline smoothly into the withers and should not come to an abrupt halt.

The length of the body has been described in the section dealing with proportion and calling for squareness of outline, but it is important to remember that the proper length should be achieved through the extension of the rib cage and not in the length of the loin.

Great Dane Neck

Neck Deviations

Great Dane Necks

Correct topline, underline, forechest and tailset


Great Dane Chest

Forechest Deviations

Incorrect Great Dane Chest

Bad Great Dane Topline

Topline Deviations

Bad Great Dane Topline

Great Dane Topline

Underline Deviations

Great Dane Underline

continue to page 4 (forequarters and hindquarters)
return to page 2 (Size, proportion, substance and Head)
return to page 1 (introduction)