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The History of the Deutsche Dogge

Excerpts from the book Winfried Nouc – Die Deutsche Dogge ISBN 3-481-2621-9

Our Deutsche Dogge - where it came from and how it became what it is today


Since the last half of the 19th century science has been trying to find out about the development of our domestic dogs. In the big rubbish heaps of the Kjökkenmöddiger (shell-eaters) they discovered the skeletons of the transitional forms from wolf to dog. Bones from dogs were found during excavations and are estimated to be between 8,000 and 10,000 years of age, have already revealed the diversity of the dog's subsequent forms. These primitive dogs have been given memorable names such as bronze dog, ash dog, peat dog, Pfahlhausspitz, camp dog, Wolfhound. "Qout canes tot colores, so many dogs, so many colors." Or even better, so many colors and so many forms, which, favored by natural and human selection, developed from these primitive types in the course of the various cultural epochs.
We are only interested in the group of doggen-like dogs. At the same time we do not want to fall into the mistake of seeing the origin of our Deutsche Dogge in direct descendance of one or the other original dog form, and of tracing the pedigree of a puppy who has now been waxed back to prehistoric times.

Doggen-like Dogs

The cynologists generally count breeds to the Doggen-likes with strong limb construction, broad-headed, very strongly developed snout part with deeply drooping lips, and a tendency to wrinkle the scalp. We meet them in today's breeds of the Tibetan dog, the Mastiff, the Boxer, the Dogue de Bordeaux, the Deutsche Dogge, the Newfoundland, the St. Bernard, Hovart and the Leonberger. But such forms are also found in the smaller breeds, for example, the English pug and the French bulldog, so that doggen-like does not have to be synonymous with size.

Hunting and fighting dogs of the Assyrians
The oldest picture of a doggen-like dog we find on a relief plate from a in the 12th century BC. built Babylonian temple, which in 380 BC was renewed by Nebuchadnezzar. Here we see a huge doggen-like dog being led by an Assyrian on a braided belt. This Assyrian fighting dog is very similar to today's Tibetan dog and, despite its seemingly short hair, is identical to it. In fact, the highlands of Tibet seem to have been the starting point of all doggen-like dogs. For the writers of antiquity repeatedly mention the Indian dogs, which were first held by Assyrians and Persians, later by Greeks and Romans. It can be assumed that this Indian dog refers to the dog of Tibet, which occurred at the foot of the Himalayas in India.
Alexander the Great had brought doggen-like dogs as a gift from his tour to India, which then founded in Greece the famous breed of Molosser. Later, these dogs were released from Greece into the Roman culture, and at the beginning of the era Molosser dogs came across the Alps into the countries of Central and Western Europe.

It is obvious that the culturally superior Romans already practiced cynological breeding and, in addition to the heavy fighting dogs, bred lighter, doggen-like forms for hunting. In addition, they already imported the widely praised British dogs, which were used in Roman arenas as fighting dogs against the Molosser of Northern Greece. The selection of these dog fighters did a specially proclaimed "procurator cynogie" based in Winchester. It can be assumed that these dogs, which later became so famous all over Europe, were descendants of the dogs introduced to England and Ireland by the Celts, who were crossed with the Irish Wolfhound.
From skulls found of large dogs it has been proven that at the same time there were also doggen-like dogs in Central Russia, Poland and Central Germany. We know from the Teutons that large, doggen-like dogs accompanied them on their military campaigns and distinguished themselves especially in the defense of the wagon castles. In the Alemannic laws of the 7th century AD, we already come across a number of dog types that were used for hunting. The killing of these dogs was punishable. "If someone kills a good dog, who takes a pig, a bear catcher who takes a bear, or who kills the cow and the bull packer, he will be fined with three solidis."

19th century - A name becomes a term

There is probably no other dog breed whose name caused so much confusion: Saupacker, Hatzrüden, Fanghunde, Danish Mastiff, Ulmer Dogge, Tigerdogge and Bismarckdogge were the names under which the Deutsche Dogge was known in the mid-19th century. This is where old names meet those of local breeding areas. Southern Germany, here above all Württemberg, became well-known by the breeding of the white-black spotted Deutsche Dogge, called Ulmer Dogge. The breeders of northern Germany favored the blue and fawn colors, often referred to by laymen as Danish doggen.
How the term "Tigerdog" comes to our white-black spotted is not entirely clear. Perhaps the name derives from those great doggen of that color, which are reportedly held together with tigers in zoological gardens or performed in circus arenas. It is also possible that the name derives from the piebald horses, as we find them in the Apaloosa or Indian horse (tiger horse).

In the middle of the 19th century, Germany was caught in the fashion of "dog sport" emanating from England. The first German dog show took place in 1863 in Hamburg-Altona. Doggen also appeared at this event, with eight of them registered as Danish doggen and seven as Ulmer Doggen.
Also in the following shows in Hamburg (1869 and 1876) and Hannover (1879) is addressed in this distinction, although in 1876 a group of judges already declared that it was impossible to maintain this division, since this is one and the same race IN QUESTION. Their suggestion was to combine all colors under a common name "Deutsche Dogge". However, the final decision on this was not taken until 1880 in Berlin, when chaired by Dr. Ing. Bodenius in a judge's meeting the name »Deutsche Dogge« is determined.

We can be proud of the fact that this name has become a cynological trademark and Germany is recognized as the country of origin of this breed by all member countries of the worldwide Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). But no roses without thorns. In France and the Anglo-Saxon countries, our Deutsche Dogge is still known as the "Grand Danois" or "Great Dane," meaning "great Dane." Why exactly this name, which incidentally for the first time was literarily used by the French naturalist Buffon (1707-1788), will always remain a mystery. In any case, there is no indication that Denmark has a special share in the creation and formation of this breed. I suspect that political resentment has led to a different naming; a reaction of our western neighbors to the national consciousness displayed in Germany those days.
In 1870/71, the Franco-Prussian War of Prussia was won and King William 1st proclaimed Prussia in the Palace of Versailles to the German Emperor. Founder of this first German Reich was the Chancellor Prince Otto von Bismarck, a man whose love was the Deutsche Dogge since his earliest youth. So what could be more natural than to choose the name >> Deutsch << for the naming of a large, majestic race and to declare the »Deutsche Dogge« the national dog.

Anecdotes: Bismarck and his Deutsche Doggen

Prince Otto von Bismarck was known for his admiration of this breed, and he also owned a few dogs (Deutsche Doggen). One of them almost caused an international incident when he showed his dislike to a Russian diplomat. There was a lively conversation between the German Chancellor and the Russian Prime Minister Gortschakoff. The latter gestured much harder than usual, which led the Great Dane Tyras, lying on her blanket, to suppose an attack on her master. She jumped at the proud Russian and threw him to the ground. Many apologies were made and accepted. Gortschakoff had not been bitten, but only frightened; so peace in Europe remained undisturbed.
If another Deutsche Dogge of Prince Bismarck, Sultan, did not like somebody, the Chancellor used this judgment in his decision.

... as a law student and civil servant in Berlin, during his travels to many countries, during his diplomatic career in Frankfurt, St. Petersburg, Paris and elsewhere, including in Varzin and Friedrichsruh, Bismarck always had the company of one or more of his favorite dogs , Probably Sultan, who died in Varzin in 1877, was his favorite dog.
Of all the dogs that have a place in history, Tyras is the famous Ulmer Dogge of the German Chancellor - the only one whose death was considered so important that he cabled as an event not only of European but of cosmopolitan interest throughout the world has been. In fact, the fame of Tyras did not even end with his life; because the cable has reported to the world that the first visitor thereafter on the birthday of the prince was the youthful crown prince, who brought as a gift a new dog of the type of the mourned Tyras.

For almost 60 years, Prince Bismarck owned specimens of Deutsche Doggen, among which were usually one or even several of exceptional size. His first dog, which he got when he lived with his parents in Kniephof, was one of the biggest, scary for the surrounding farmers. This dog later accompanied his young master to the University of Göttingen. When Bismarck was once summoned to the headmaster for throwing an empty bottle out of his window, he took his huge dog with him -  to the great terror of the venerable gentleman, who promptly found his refuge behind an armchair, where he remained until the dog was removed from the room.
Bismarck was fined five thalers for bringing this dreadful beast to the Rector's shrine, in addition to the penalty he was given for the original offense.

The Deutsche Dogge of today
The different color varieties

The Deutsche Dogge is bred today in five recognized colors: white / black spotted, black, blue, fawn and brindle. However, these colors may not be mixed together in the breed. They are grouped into three groups or color varieties white / black and black, blue, fawn and brindle summarized.
Of all the colors, breeding the spotted paint is probably the most difficult. Jokingly, this breed has often been called breeding for millionaires. The breeders of this color are going into a lottery game. Bringing together well-coloured parent animals may well result in not a single well-coloured animal appear, but the litter of black animals or even so-called misscolours, which we call Grautiger, Porzellantiger and albinos. We do not want to investigate why this is fact. The inheritance of colors and, moreover, the merle factor that accompanies this color change is a chapter for experts.

The fawn / brindle color variety is "relative" easy to breed. The result of a litter can be predetermined in this regard. Fawn paired with fawn will result in fawn offspring, which differs only in the shades of fawn. This is called recessive inheritance, both parents have only genes of fawn color. The breeders have experienced that the color fades and becomes pale when only animals of the same color are brought together again and again. For this reason, they always intersect fawn with brindle for the pigment refreshment at certain intervals. In the litter then fawn and brindle puppies are to be expected. Brindle paired with Brindle usually produces fawn and brindle puppies. Breeders, who only breed brindle Danes, have to expect, that the black stream grows closer together and the remaining basic color becomes pale or ashy. Both looks ugly. If you, as a buyer, once regard such a newly born litter of this color, do not be alarmed. The little ones look "dirty-ashen" in color and often have a dark eel mark on their backs. With age, color and pattern become clearer and clearer.

Like the fawn Deutsche Doggen, the blue ones have only one dye. Blue paired with blue therefore always results in blue puppies. In the past, this has led to inbreeding in a small breeding base. From time to time, therefore, one has made a fawn intersection in this color variety. This well-dosed crossroads not only eliminated bugs, but also led to the conclusion that the type of color buff has improved. If one otherwise met with blue Deutsche Doggen, which were very slender in physique and carried delicate, almost Doberman-like heads, today there are consistently animals that carry the the prominent head, as in the fawn / brindle Color impact prevails. A so-called fawn crossbreeding produces black animals in the first generation. On the pedigrees these black animals are marked and may only be used for the blue breeding. They are not to be confused with the black animals from the harlequin breed.

Standard and studbook

Until the middle of the 19th century, the breeding of the Doggen was still largely intuitively controlled. In a manual for hunters (1820 angle), for example, requirements are included, based on the 18th century assassins. "A good hound dog - be it dyed and drawn as he wishes - must have a strong, not too short head, which emanates in a somewhat long pointed muzzle, armed with four good claws, and have a broad chest. The legs must not be lacking in the proper strength. A major mistake, however, is when they are goose-skinned, that is, when they pass through the fetlock. "
If we ask ourselves today since when it is possible to speak of a planned breed of Deutsche Doggen, then we can start from 1879, the year of the first Breeders' meeting, in which a common standard was also discussed. A standard includes a more or less detailed description of a breed such as head, neck, trunk, size, color, and indicating the faults to be eliminated. It is based on a certain breed type, that is, the probably rarely achieved "ideal animal". The standard to which we refer today dates back to 1891. It was published by the Deutsche Doggen Club DDC, which was founded in 1888 to promote this breed. In 1897, the first volume of the Great Dane's Stud Book appeared with 538 entries. Editor of this book was the Deutsche Doggen Club.




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