What Does Euro Mean in Great Danes?

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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. What does Euro mean in Great Danes? We are here today to answer this question and settle the ‘Euro vs. American’ Great Dane debate once and for all!

There are actually a lot of misunderstandings about ‘Euro’ vs. ‘American’ Danes, and we’re going to clear that up today! Read on to learn about what Euro means in Great Danes.


What Does Euro Mean in Great Danes?

Common features of the ‘Euro’ type Great Dane include:

  • Shorter, bulkier and stockier structure
  • Heavier weight
  • Larger, more dome-shaped head
  • Bigger jowls and ears
  • Wide-set eyes that are often droopy and may have red haw showing

Being Euro does NOT necessarily mean that a Great Dane is European!

Many common traits of the ‘Euro’ Great Dane are considered significant faults by the actual European standard for Great Danes. Especially the red droopy eyes, dome-shaped heads and oversized jowls.

Many ethical 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.

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.

According to these standards, a Great Dane from Europe should look very much the same as a Great Dane from the U.S., as both standards are nearly identical on paper. 

A Great Dane is a Great Dane.

Below is a well-bred European Great Dane (used with permission).

Screen Shot 2021 05 11 at 10.25.22 AM

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.

Neither the ‘Euro’ nor the ‘American’ type dog meets the gold standard or goals for the breed as a whole.

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.

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What Does Euro Mean for Great Danes?

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.

To put it simply, the word ‘EURO’ is a term associated largely with ‘friendly backyard breeding’ . Many of those breeders are more focused on size, heft, and profits than they are on robust health and breed standards.

Use the slider below to toggle between a EURO (hypertype) and an AMERICAN (hypotype) Great Dane. Neither of these dogs meets the breed standard.

What does EURO mean in great danes 1

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.)

Screen Shot 2022 03 30 at 2.11.34 PM


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Hello Danes

Dane lover and believer in ethical breeding, training and rescue practices. Positive + Balanced trainer, owner of rescue dogs and dogs from breeders. Love the dog in front of you.

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