The Great Dane was bred by German hunters to primarily hunt wild boar. Eventually, the breed was also used to hunt bear and deer. The Great Dane was originally a cross between an Irish Wolfhound and an Old English Mastiff.

Some historians claim that the Ancient Chinese wrote descriptions of a dog resembling that of the Great Dane in 1121 B.C. Other historians say that images of a dog that resembles a Great Dane can be seen on Ancient Egyptian monuments dating back to 3000 B.C.

Despite all of the occurrences of a large dog resembling the Great Dane throughout history, most historians and zoologists agree that the Great Dane as it is known today was bred by noble German courts to be a ferocious, ruthless hunting dog and a bed chamber dog that guarded his master as he slept. Great Danes are also loyal, loving companions. In the early 19th century, the Great Dane was called a German boarhound. As time went on, the German boarhound was renamed the Great Dane and became a luxury dog instead of a hunting dog.

Regardless of its grisly past as a barbarous hunter, the Great Dane is primarily known today as a gentle giant and a wonderful family pet.