Known for their large size, and labeled “gentle giants,” the Great Dane is not only a powerful dog, but one of the tallest dogs in the world. The origin of this breed traces back to the Irish Wolfhound, with a mixture of Old English Mastiff. Commonly used for hunting boars, Great Danes though boasting a fierce appearance are friendly towards humans and other canines, playful, energetic, elegant, and known for their easy going personality. They are popular as family pets.
Built like a stallion, the Great Dane’s body presents a unique appearance. The head is rectangular in shape. The build is firm, and presents a well formed muscular body, arched neck, and medium size ears that are set high. These creatures are standouts in any crowd. Their coats come in various colors including blue, black, fawn, brindle, mantle, and harlequin. Males weigh 120-200 pounds, and females average 100-130 pounds. There are occasions where some Great Danes may weigh more. The large size of this animal can cause many health issues, and because of this they usually live less than ten years.
Now, the Marmaduke comic strip which has been drawn by Brad Anderson from 1954 to present day has brought this breed to the forefront, and a movie to the big screen. The search for the star of this movie sent Hollywood calling a residence in Renton, Washington.
Located on the eastern hill of Renton, Washington sits a cozy community of over 14,000 residents known as the Highlands. While bustling with much activity on any given day, the current rumblings pertain to a new, easily recognizable star whom calls this area home as well. Spirit, the 2.5 year old Great Dane lives here with his owner, Julie Evans. Standing 36 inches tall at the shoulders or withers, and weighing in at 160lbs, Spirit is now recognized by many as the face of Marmaduke (voiced by actor Owen Wilson.) Though a show dog that has won top prizes participating in shows in Canada and through the American Kennel Club, Spirit still had to endure testing to demonstrate he was worthy of handling the role. Testing provided spirit with the opportunity to demonstrate his skills, personality…
The role of Marmaduke is shared by Spirit and his 150lb brother, George who lives in beautiful Los Angeles, and is owned by the movie’s dog trainer. When another dog was needed to assist with scenes, George’s owner called the breeder (Daynakin Great Danes of Ferndale) to investigate whether George had a brother similar in appearance. Thus, was the discovery of Spirit. In the movie George handled a surfing scene, but Spirit was seen in the majority of the action segments.
Landing the role meant that Spirit and his owner were separated for seven months, but his recent return to the neighborhood that loves him has proven to be joyous. This young actor is at the beginning of his busy career, and can be found on various promotional tours welcoming movie-goers. How is Spirit adjusting to his new found fame? According to his owner “he loves the attention.”