Teeuwynn has owned dogs her whole life. She has enjoyed the companionship of everything from Pugs to Newfoundlands.
What's In a Name?
Great Danes are a majestic breed of dog of Germanic and northern Germanic origins. In German, the Great Dane’s name is Deutsche Dogge, meaning German Mastiff.
As one of the tallest breeds known, Great Danes are imposing dogs. The tallest Great Dane on record was named Zeus and stood 44 inches from toe to shoulder. These powerful dogs were used to fight boars and wolves. They were also used for hunting bears, boars, and deer at the noble courts of the land.
Great Dane Coloration
Great Danes come in a variety of colors including:
- Fawn: A yellow-gold color with a black face mask. This is the most common Great Dane color.
- Black: Pure black is considered ideal. White marks are considered a fault.
- Harlequin: Harlequins are pure white with black patches scattered irregularly over their bodies. Preferably, a harlequin will have a pure white neck. None of the black patches should ever get large enough to look like the dog is wearing a blanket, nor so small as to just look like dapples.
- Mantle: Harlequins with a mantle pattern are black and white with a plain black blanket covering the body. This color has a pure white base with black patches scattered irregularly and pleasingly distributed over the dog’s entire body. Again, a white neck is preferred.
- Blue: Great Danes with this color are a solid steely blue. Any white markings are considered flaws.
- Brindle: This is a colorful combination of stripes of black and brown, pale fawn, and golden red.
- Brown: This is a medium tan to more golden coloration.
- Fawnequin: A fawn-colored harlequin.
- White: This is the rarest color and most subject to genetic defects.
Despite their imposing appearance, Great Danes are very affectionate dogs. They are often called gentle giants for their innate, sweet natures.
The list below is a group of names from Nordic and Germanic mythology that could make some terrific names for a Great Dane.
The name Baldur means “lord of men” or “lord of warriors.” Baldur is the son of the All-Father Odin and the goddess Frigg. One day Baldur dreamed of his own death. His mother was so worried about this omen that she made every living thing promise not to harm her son. Unfortunately, she forgot to get mistletoe to make this pledge.
The sneaky god, Loki, dipped a spear in mistletoe and then got the blind god Höôr to unknowingly kill his brother. This name might be good for a male dog who is blindly loyal and perhaps trusts too much. Blue merle or blue Great Dane might fit the feel of this name well too.
Beyla is a servant of Freyr. The meaning of her name is somewhat unclear, but it seems to come down to “cow,” “bean,” or “bee.” This name might work for a Harlequin or Mantle-colored dog because their coloring is somewhat reminiscent of a cow.
Eir is a Norse goddess whose name means “help” or “mercy.” She is a goddess or valkyrie of great medical skill. Eir would be a great name for a female Great Dane who likes to help and nurture members of her family and other friends of hers. She may be a mother hen type.
Hariasa could be a name from Norse mythology. She is a valkyrie who watches the warriors in the field and sees who is worthy to go to Valhalla, the realm of the gods, to face the final battle of Ragnarok whenever that comes.
Others believe Hariasa (or Herjaza) is a Germanic goddess of war. Or her name may just mean the “goddess with a lot of hair.” This name is an interesting one. It might work best for a shaggier female Great Dane or for a calm dog who slips through the violence of the attack, hidden by her mask of hair.
Hariasa would also be a good name for a female Great Dane who likes to worry about others or rescue them. Valkyries have wings, so a Great Dane with a mantle or harlequin pattern might be nice for this name as it could be a bit reminiscent of wings.
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Heimdall is a god who could look into the future, and who has super good hearing and sight. In the end days of Ragnarok, it is said that Heimdall and Loki will kill each other in battle. Heimdall lives at the top of the rainbow bridge, Bifrost, which guards the Norse gods home of Asgard from the dwellings of mortals and other beings. He is the perfect guardian.
This name would be good for a dog who likes to guard his home against outsiders, even if just by making a blustery noise and looking intimidating at the door.
Loki is a capricious god who sometimes helps his fellow Vanrir and mischievously betrays them. He is not the most trustworthy fellow. Loki is also a trickster god who will betray others at will. But he is also very charming. This name might work well for a male harlequin Great Dane as harlequins are historically associated with magic and mischief.
Magni was one of the sons of Odin. His name means great. He and his brother, Móōì, are foretold to survive the mighty, world-changing events of Ragnarok. When Thor struck down the giant Hrungnir he fell and landed upon Thor’s neck. Thor was trapped and gasping for air. But his young son, Magni, arrived and with his mighty strength tossed the giant’s body off of his father.
Magni would be a great name for any strong, brave male Great Dane.
Mimir is known for being very wise and knowledgeable. Mimir has a famous well from which he drinks every morning to gain knowledge. Later, after he is dead, Odin sacrifices one of his eyes at this well so he can still gain Mimir’s insights and knowledge by drinking the water.
The name Mimir could work for a calm, knowing Great Dane who always seems a step ahead of everyone else.
Nanna is the wife of the god Baldur in Norse mythology. When Baldur died, her grief was so terrible that she too died shortly thereafter. Nanna is thought to mean “daring” or “brave.” This name could work for a number of female Great Danes, especially ones who are particularly brave and true or ones who would die for their family rather than live alone.
The All-Father, leader of the Norse Gods, this one-eyed god ruled Valhalla and the surrounding realms. Odin's name means “frenzy, inspiration, or rage.” His areas of specialty as a god covers war, art, wisdom, and death. Valhalla, where Odin lives, is where the Valkyries take all the noblest warriors to prepare for the end times.
Odin could make a unique name for a black or black and white Great Dane. It could also work for a Great Dane who has lost an eye somehow.
Syn, whose name means “refusal,” is the goddess of watchfulness, doorways, and truth. Syn guards doorways against those not worthy to answer, and she will not allow anyone to lie in any sort of formal trial.
Syn is a very upright, stern individual. She suffers no fools. No one can get past Syn’s judgment. She cares very deeply about right and wrong. This would be a cool name for any Great Dane who seems to have a sense of fairness. Due to the name, you could do a play on words, and give this name to a black Great Name.
Tanfana is a rather mysterious goddess who seems most likely to be related to growth, largess, and the harvest. She is also known for an incident where one of her temples was unceremoniously torn to the ground. Some say Tanfana “stands wrapt in thicker darkness.”
Because of her identity as a goddess of plenty, this name could be good for a very friendly, exuberant female Great Dane. However, the reference to being wrapt in thicker darkness could also make this name good for a Black or Black and White Great Dane.
Thor is the Asgardian god of Thunder. He is extremely powerful. Thor protects both men and gods. Well known in both Norse and Germanic mythology, Thor is described as a massive, fierce, red-bearded man. Thor is perhaps the most famous god in Norse mythology.
This name could be great for a male brown or brindle mastiff with a little more reddish coloring. It also works for any powerful male Great Dane.
Tyr is a Norse god of war, but he presides more over the aspects of law and justice. When the gods wished to trap and bind up the terrible wolf Fenrir, the wolf would only agree if one of the gods would put their hand in his mouth to prove they would let him go again. Tyr was the only god to agree to this. When Fenrir realized they were not going to let him go, he bit Tyr’s hand off.
This name could work for any brave and noble male Great Dane. It would also be good for any Great Dane who has either lost a limb or suffered a wound that makes him limp.
Zisa is a very protective Germanic goddess. Her symbol is the acorn. She is said to have saved the city of Augsburg from the Romans by having a feast day the night before they attacked so all the warriors in the realm were in the city and therefore the ambush.
In addition to her protective nature, Zisa is also known for untying knotty problems. She is a very caring and quiet goddess who just wants the people who worship her to thrive.
Zisa could be a good name for a sweet-natured female Great Dane. The name might be nice for a Brindle Great Dane puppy as the brindle coloration reflects the colors of an acorn well.
Great Danes 101
© 2018 Teeuwynn Woodruff
Breanna on March 22, 2019:
Named my GD Sif. She's almost 6 years old and I can't imagine what life used to be before my GD baby.
Kyka on January 24, 2019:
I've had 4 Danes in my life so for and in all but 1 case I just happened to name them Greek names. A female Mantle named Kyra(named for Kyra Nareese from Star Treks Deep Space 9). A blue Merle named Rio and the 2 that currently share my home, a blue male named Ari and a black female named Kyrie.
All with separate and distinct personality traits.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on April 26, 2018:
We used to have a Great Dane as kids, and he was called Blue...because of his colour. He was a lovely dog, I did love him. They make wonderful pets.