If you are looking for a Great Dane puppy, or are just interested in the breed, you may be curious about a lot of things. A very common question that we get is “What does Euro mean in Great Danes?”
There are actually a lot of misunderstandings about ‘Euro’ vs. ‘American’ Danes, and we’re going to clear that up. Fair warning, we like science and the written standard.
What Does Euro Mean in Great Danes?
There are many Great Dane breeders in the U.S. who breed ‘Euro’ Great Danes. Occasionally they come from European lineage, however, more often they are simply dogs who have the ‘Euro’ look.
In other words, being ‘Euro’ and ‘European’ is not necessarily the same thing.
Common features of the ‘Euro’ type Great Dane include:
- Shorter, bulkier, and stockier structure
- Heavier weight
- Slower movement, less athletic
- Larger, more dome-shaped or apple-shaped head
- Bigger jowls
- Heavy ears that may be long and set low on the head
- Larger feet
- Mastiff-like features
- Wide-set eyes that are often droopy and may have red haw showing
No matter what you think about the different, heftier look of ‘Euro’ Great Danes, it’s important to note that many FCI European Great Dane breeders are actually pretty frustrated that so many people think all European Danes are droopy and heavy. Interested in more information about ‘EURO’ Dane breeders? Read here.
This ‘Euro’ Great Dane below is suffering from poor structure related to breeding for size, heft, and the ‘Euro’ look.
Euro vs. American Great Danes
Every purebred dog has a written standard. The idea that there is a huge difference between American and European Great Danes is a myth.
The U.S. follows the standard written by the Great Dane Club of America, while Europe uses the standard written by the FCI.
Below is a well-bred European Great Dane (used with permission).
Well-bred dogs have good structure, health and type (they look like the breed standard)
Just as ‘Euro’ might imply that a dog is heavier and drooper, many use the word ‘American’ to imply that a dog is lighter and more ‘greyhound’ like.
To compare, here is a well-bred Great Dane from the U.S., bred with the standard in mind. He is neither too refined, nor is he droopy and heavy. He is still a large, well-built dog.
Bruce and the European-bred dog above are nearly the same.
What does Ethical Great Dane Breeding Look Like?
In many ways, the deliberate pursuit of some exaggerated ‘Euro’ traits is unethical and problematic.
Great Danes are already huge dogs and should not be intentionally bred for larger and stockier frames, droopier eyes, and larger jowls, especially if structural health, eye health, heart health, and longevity are casually ignored as a result.
If you are looking for a Great Dane breeder, Euro or not, verify the following:
- Both parents have received and passed full health testing, including hip x-rays, heart echocardiogram, thyroid panel, and eye exam.
- Both parents have excellent structure, including neat eyes, tight feet, straight backs (no ‘roach’ or sway), well-developed chests and well-angled limbs.
- Both parents have excellent temperaments, free of aggression, fear and anxiety.
- The breeder will support you for the life of the dog.
It’s ok to prefer a Great Dane with larger stature. Unethical backyard breeding practices, however, have led many to believe that all ‘American’ Danes are ‘refined’, which is just as unfortunate as the practice of intentionally breeding for size and droop, regardless of health.
Use the slider below to toggle between a poorly bred EURO (hyper type) and a poorly bred AMERICAN (hypo type) Great Dane. Neither of these dogs meets the breed standard.
For comparison, below are some very well-bred Great Danes that could fit any proper written standard (GDCA/U.S., GDCC/Canada, FCI/Europe).
(Most of these photos are credited to Tina.)
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