Entertainment industry also celebrated the Great Danes. Brad
Anderson’s famous cartoon is about a Great Dane called Marmaduke. Every
child and adult watched Scooby-Doo’s mystery solving. In an animated film
“Oliver and company” (1988) there’s a Great Dane as well as in “All Dogs Go
to Heaven”. All this is to say that the history of the Great Dane is a
colourful one and still in the making!
There were several famous Great Danes associated with the military. One was even officially in the Royal British navy! During the WWII a British naval garrison at Cape Town in South Africa got all the necessary forms to enlist their mascot into the Royal Navy. Enlisted as a Christian, name Bone, surname Crusher, this Great Dane soon felt at home in several naval bases in the region. It was not only good for the local morale, it was also extensively on postcards whose selling contributed to the fund for war efforts. It died in 1944 and was given a sort of a military funeral!General Cornwallis took around his “English dogs” during the campaign for the American War of Independence (he lost). Buffalo Bill Cody always had his Great Dane “Turk” beside him. Manfred Richtofen, famous Red Barron, used to say he had to take his Great Dane Moritz on a couple of flights with him! And, of course, Frank Delano Roosevelt was a great lover of the Great Danes and had several of those.
In 1871, after the victory in Prusso-French war, king Wilhelm I of Prussia was crowned the Emperor of Germany, but the driving force behind it was Chancellor (Bundeskanzler) Prince Otto von Bismarck, a man who had great love for this race from his earliest youth. Prince Bismarck had had the Great Danes for almost 60 years, and his first dog was a great cause for fear with the peasants while he was living with his parents in Kniphoff. Anecdotes about his dogs abound, and a well-known one is when his dog named Tiras caused an international scandal having jumped at a Russian diplomat, since the Russian gesticulated energetically during a discussion with Bismarck. The dog erroneously interpreted the hand waving and jumped at the Russian diplomat, but didn’t bite him and thus peace was preserved in Europe after many apologies to Gorchakoff. Out of all historically known dogs only the death of this dog named Tiras was considered so important as to have been reported a news of epic significance. A dog that Bismarck extraordinarily loved and whose opinion on certain people he respected was named Sultan and it went everywhere with is owner. Bismarck and his Great Danes were so remarkable on the then European scene that they were sometimes a subject of caricaturists.
Ancestors of today’s Great Danes were connected with a few historical celebrities, for example with Alexander the Great. He and his world conquest could be blamed for the arrival of dogs similar to Great Danes into Europe. In the Middle Ages almost all European courts had large wild boar hunters, therefore the Great Danes are easily associated with the most influential persons of the time.