Scooby-Doo is a male Great Dane, although not a typical one. His creator, Iwao Takamoto, purposely broke many of the rules that make a prize-winning Great Dane for comedic purposes.
In a 2006 interview, Iwao Takamoto said the following:
“The Great Dane was supposed to be the biggest dog around … and there was a woman [at the studio] who actually bred and reared Great Danes. So, she came over and spent a solid hour describing all of the positive things that make a prize-winning Great Dane. And I selected about five things, I think, and went in the opposite direction. For instance, a good, strong straight back, so I sloped his back. A strong chin, so I under-swung his chin … and I think straight hind legs she mentioned. So I bowed them …”
Scooby-Doo’s nephew, Scrappy-Doo, is a male Great Dane as well.
Initially, when the Hanna-Barbera Studio was creating the series, they had two ideas for Scooby-Doo. One was a small courageous dog, and the other a big cowardly one. They then concluded that the latter was more comedic - and used that to create Scooby-Doo.
A few years later, they introduced Scrappy-Doo as the small and courageous dog they hadn’t used for Scooby-Doo.
Image used: “scooby_doo_pic 4” by spadge6868 @ Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.