Ever since 1954 a mischievous Great Dane named Marmaduke has entertained us in newspapers across the country. He was originally created and drawn by Brad Anderson and and received help from Phil Leeming (1955-1962) and Dorthy Leeming (1963 – 1969). While mainly in jest, the comic covers anecdotes that many Great Dane owners may come across every day as well as ones if dogs could think like we do.
Great Danes are one of the largest breeds of dog (the AKC standard states they should be at least 30 inches tall at the shoulder for males, 28 inches for females and typically weigh 120 pounds for males, 100 pounds for females). Their size is the main “joke” of the comic strip as well as how he can be clumsy and think he is much smaller than he actually is (like most larger breed dogs).
Great Danes are also one of the oldest recognized breeds by the AKC – recognized in 1887. They were initially bred for boar hunting in Germany but were also used often as family companions and estate guardian dogs by royalty.
Marmaduke received the National Cartoonists Society Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award for the strip in 1978.
Marmaduke was also made into a film released in 2010 (where the family moves from Kansas to California). In the previews there are some shots that could be a real dog but most of it looks like CGI animation. Marmaduke was voiced by Owen Wilson. Tasha Zarnsky, James P Warren, Larry Madrid, Rowan Harland, Deborah Dellosso, and Dove Cresswell are all credited for being animal trainers for the film.
In the 2000 historical film, “The Patriot” General Cornwallis (Tom Wilkinson) had two pet dogs, both were Great Danes. Mars (played by Charity) and Jupiter (played by Vanilla). Of course, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) adopts these two dogs and while Cornwallis states that they’ve probably been eaten – the next scene shows that Benjamin is treating them very well – feeding them meat (while the troops were low on food). Later in the film, Benjamin returns the dogs to Cornwallis only to call them back as he exits the gates – much to Cornwallis’ anger.
Great Danes are very large dogs (one of the largest breeds in existence) and were considered a status symbol in England royalty at the time (1700s).
Elizabeth McMullan and Kathleen Pirelli are credited for being the dog trainers on the set.