The Great Dane as we know it today goes back to ancient Roman mastiffs. The Irish Wolfhound was later crossed in. The mastiffs were mainly used as hunting dogs.
Great Dane: breed standard in history
The first German dog show took place in 1863 - dogs of the breeds Danish mastiff and Ulmer mastiff were presented there. The first type, also called "Great Dane" (English: Great Dane), usually came from Denmark and northern Germany. In contrast, the Ulm mastiff was characterized by a slightly higher weight. In 1880 a new, comprehensive breed name was introduced: the Great Dane. This term is still recognized in Germany today, while the name "Great Dane" is used in the USA, England and Scandinavia, for example.
Great Dane: Large but gentle
Danish mastiff: difference to the German variant
There are definitely differences in the two breed standards: the Great Dane and the Great Dane each have different color specifications that are necessary for official recognition. Even today, the "Great Dane" is somewhat sportier and less massive than the breed based in this country. The heads are usually smaller and more delicate. In contrast, the Great Dane usually has a beefier head with a shorter snout and long lips.
In the following video you can see a small breed portrait about the Great Dane: