EDITOR'S?NOTE: This is the final installment of staff members writing about their favorite pets:
Most children's first word is mommy or daddy. Mine was dog. This was probably because from the day I was born I lived in a house with two massive great Danes, who were nearly the size of miniature ponies. Actually, the first time I saw a pony, I said, "doggie!"
Great Danes are usually 120 to 160 pounds. Despite their size, they are not nearly as threatening as they seem. Actually, most Danes wouldn't hurt a fly, unless, of course, they or their masters were threatened.
The Great Danes
Illustration by Allie Vugrincic / JFK High
The breed is known primarily for its size. The world's tallest dog on record is a Great Dane named George, who stood 43 inches from paw to shoulder and 7.2 feet from head to tail.
These gentle giants are believed to have originated as a standardized breed in Germany or Denmark, earning them the nicknames of "German Mastiff" and "Danish Hound."
They come in a variety of coat colors including black, blue, harlequin, brindle, and, probably the most common, fawn. Great Danes have naturally floppy ears, but the ears are often cropped to give them the classic pointed style, which was popular when the breed was used for hunting.
Today most Great Danes are family pets, but they have also made their way into popular culture. Danes have made appearances in many TV shows, movies, and comic strips, including Astro from the Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, and Marmaduke just to name a few. Great Danes have even made their way into sports, becoming the mascot for the University of Albany in 1965. They are also the official state dog of our neighboring state, Pennsylvania.
Great Danes make great family pets because of their good nature, but as puppies they can be, well, destructive. Forget chewing on shoes, these dogs will eat entire pieces of furniture. Of the four great Danes I've had, every single one of them has destroyed something.
Lacey, our first Dane, chewed on all of the baseboards. Bojo unraveled half a room of carpeting. Carrie wore out all of the grass in the backyard, forcing us to put down mulch, and Jake, our last great Dane, slowly and methodically demolished a full size couch.
However, for dogs that should come with a warning label, they are great pets, and in the end are more like people than animals.