Great Dane Breed Magazine - Showsight

Great Dane Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard of the Great Dane General Appearance: The Great Dane combines, in its regal appearance, dignity, strength and elegance with great size and a powerful, well-formed, smoothly muscled body. It is one of the giant working breeds, but is unique in that its general conformation must be so well balanced that it never appears clumsy and shall move with a long reach and powerful drive. It is always a unit-the Apollo of dogs. A Great Dane must be spirited, courageous, never timid; always friendly and dependable. This physical and mental combination is the characteristic which gives the Great Dane the majesty possessed by no other breed. It is particularly true of this breed that there is an impression of great masculinity in dogs, as compared to an impression of femininity in bitches. Lack of true Dane breed type, as defined in this standard, is the most serious fault. Size, Proportion, Substance: The male should appear more massive throughout than the bitch, with larger frame and heavier bone. In the ratio between length and height, the Great Dane should be square. In bitches, a somewhat longer body is permissible, providing she is well proportioned to her height. Coarseness or lack of substance are equally undesirable. The male shall not be less than 30 inches at the shoulders, but it is preferable that he be 32 inches or more, providing he is well proportioned to his height. The female shall not be less than 28 inches at the shoulders, but it is preferable that she be 30 inches or more, providing she is well proportioned to her height. Danes under minimum height must be disqualified. Head: The head shall be rectangular, long, distinguished, expressive and finely chiseled, especially below the eyes. Seen from the side, the Dane's forehead must be sharply set off from the bridge of the nose, (a strongly pronounced stop). The plane of the skull and the plane of the muzzle must be straight and parallel to one another. The skull plane under and to the inner point of the eye must slope without any bony protuberance in a smooth line to a full square jaw with a deep muzzle (fluttering lips are undesirable). The masculinity of the male is very pronounced in structural appearance of the head. The bitch's head is more delicately formed. Seen from the top, the skull should have parallel sides and the bridge of the nose should be as broad as possible. The cheek muscles should not be prominent. The length from the tip of the nose to the center of the stop should be equal to the length from the center of the stop to the rear of the slightly developed occiput. The head should be angular from all sides and should have flat planes with dimensions in proportion to the size of the Dane. Whiskers may be trimmed or left natural. Eyes shall be medium size, deep set and dark, with a lively intelligent expression. The eyelids are almond shaped and relatively tight, with well-developed brows. Haws and Mongolian eye(s) are very serious faults. In Harlequins and Merles, the eyes should be dark, but blue eye(s) and eyes of different colors are permitted. Ears shall be high set, medium in size and of moderate thickness, folded forward close to the cheek. The top line of the folded ear should be level with the skull. If cropped, the ear length is in proportion to the size of the head and the ears are carried uniformly erect. Nose shall be black, except in the blue Dane, where it is a dark blue-black. A black spotted nose is permitted on the Harlequins and Merles; a solid pink color nose is not desirable. A split nose is a disqualification. Teeth shall be strong, well-developed, clean and with full dentition preferred. The incisors of the lower jaw touch very lightly the bottoms of the inner surface of the upper incisors ( scissors bite ). An overshot bite is a serious fault. Undershot and wry mouths are very serious faults. Even bites, misaligned or crowded incisors are minor faults. Neck, Topline, Body: The neck shall be firm, high set, well arched, long and muscular. From the nape, it should gradually broaden and flow smoothly into the withers. The neck underline should be clean. Withers shall slope smoothly into a short level back with a broad loin. The chest shall be broad, deep and well muscled. The forechest should be well developed without a pronounced sternum. The brisket extends to the elbow, with well sprung ribs. The body underline should be tightly muscled with a well-defined

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tuck-up. The croup should be broad and very slightly sloping. The tail should be set high and smoothly into the croup, but not quite level with the back, a continuation of the spine. The tail should be broad at the base, tapering uniformly down to the hock joint. At rest, the tail should fall straight. When excited or running, it may curve slightly, but never above the level of the back. A ring or hooked tail is a serious fault. A docked tail is a disqualification. Forequarters: The forequarters, viewed from the side, shall be strong and muscular. The shoulder blade must be strong and sloping, forming, as near as possible, a right angle in its articulation with the upper arm. A line from the upper tip of the shoulder to the back of the elbow joint should be perpendicular. The ligaments and muscles holding the shoulder blade to the rib cage must be well developed, firm and securely attached to prevent loose shoulders. The shoulder blade and the upper arm should be the same length. The elbow should be one-half the distance from the withers to the ground. The strong pasterns should slope slightly. The feet should be round and compact with well-arched toes, neither toeing in, toeing out, nor rolling to the inside or outside. The nails should be short, strong and as dark as possible, except that they may be lighter in Harlequins, Mantles and Merles. Dewclaws may or may not be removed. Hindquarters: The hindquarters shall be strong, broad, muscular and well angulated, with well let down hocks . Seen from the rear, the hock joints appear to be perfectly straight, turned neither toward the inside nor toward the outside. The rear feet should be round and compact, with well-arched toes, neither toeing in nor out. The nails should be short, strong and as dark as possible, except they may be lighter in Harlequins, Mantles and Merles. Wolf claws are a serious fault. Coat: The coat shall be short, thick and clean with a smooth glossy appearance. Color, Markings and Patterns: Brindle Color : The base color shall be yellow gold and always be brindled with black cross stripes. Patterns/Markings : Brindle shall have a black chevron pattern with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows and may appear on the ears and tail tip. The more intense the base color and the more distinct and evenly brindled, the more preferred will be the color. Too much or too little brindling are equally undesirable. White markings on the chest or toes; black fronted; dirty colored Brindles; are not desirable. Fawn Color: The color shall be yellow gold. Patterns/Markings: Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows with a black mask and may appear on the ears and tail tip. Deep yellow gold must always be given the preference. White markings on the chest or toes, black-fronted; dirty colored Fawns; are not desirable. Blue Color: The color shall be a pure steel blue. Patterns/Markings: White markings on the chest or toes are not desirable. Black Color: The color shall be a glossy black. Patterns/Markings: White markings on the chest or toes are not desirable. Harlequin Color: Base color shall be white with black torn patches. Merle patches are normal. Patterns/Markings: Black torn patches well distributed over the body; with whole or partial white neck. Black pigment may be seen on the skin in white areas. No patch should be so large as it appears to be a blanket. Eligible but less desirable, are black hairs showing through the white base coat which gives a salt and pepper or dirty appearance. Mantle Color: Black and white with a black blanket extending over the body. Patterns/Markings: Black skull with white muzzle; white blaze is optional; whole or partial white neck; a white chest; white on whole or part of the forelegs and hind legs; white tipped black tail. A small white break in the blanket is acceptable. Black pigment may be seen on the skin in white areas.

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Merle Color: A pale gray to dark gray merle base color with black torn patches within.

Patterns/Markings: May be Solid Merle (white on chest and toes is permissible) or Merle with a Mantle Pattern (solid merle blanket extending over the body; merle skull with a white muzzle; white blaze is optional; whole or partial white neck; a white chest; white on whole or part of the forelegs and hind legs; white tipped merle tail. A small white break in the blanket is acceptable. (Black pigment may be seen on the skin in white areas.) Disqualification: Merlequin, a white dog with ONLY patches of merle. Faults of Patterns/Markings shall NOT carry as much weight as faults of conformation and breed type. Any variance in Patterns/Markings as described in the above colors, shall be faulted to the extent of the deviation. Any COLOR other than the seven described shall be disqualified. Gait: The gait denotes strength and power with long, easy strides resulting in no tossing, rolling or bouncing of the topline or body. The backline shall appear level and parallel to the ground. The long reach should strike the ground below the nose, while the head is carried forward. The powerful rear drive should be balanced to the reach. As speed increases, there is a natural tendency for the legs to converge toward the centerline of balance beneath the body. There should be no twisting in or out at the elbow or hock joints. Temperament: The Great Dane must be spirited, courageous, always friendly, dependable and never timid or aggressive. Disqualifications Danes under minimum height. Split nose. Docked Tail. Any color other than the seven colors described. Merlequin

Approved July 9, 2018 Effective January 1, 2019


By Mrs. Paddy Magnuson

T he history of the Great Dane includes such extensive evidence that takes it so far back, although not claiming it was the original dog, his resemblance to the first authentic descrip- tion, and pictures of dogs, is so close, one cannot doubt his early ancestry. A Grecian coin in the Royal Museum at Munich, coined in 5th Century BC, shows a dog closely resembling the Great Dane. Dogs depicted in some of the oldest Egyptian monuments, dating from about 3000 BC, are cited by Cassel’s Book of the Dog as clearly to be considered ancestors. From second century of the Christian era, in Greece, is preserved a beautiful sculpture, representing a favorite dog of Alcibiades. Th is work of art by the great artist Myson, clearly resembles the Great Dane of today—convincing evidence of a common ancestry. History and pictures indicate the Sax- ons hunted wild boar in the forests of Eng- land before the Norman Conquest, with dogs clearly resembling the Dane. Th ese dogs are pictured in hunting scenes on tap- estries and paintings, of the 15th Century Historians believe ancestors of the Great Dane and other Masti ff breeds such as the Masti ff of Tibet, as indicated by Grecian statuary. In 1780, Reidel shows a spotted dog resembling a Harlequin Dane and calls it English. Blome, 1686, in his Gentlemen’s Recre- ation , shows a plate of a boar hunt in Den- mark and the dogs depicted resemble the Great Danes. Th is is the first evidence we have that Denmark contributed to devel- opment of the breed. A plate that was a gift to Prince George of Denmark. Whitaker, 1779, acknowledged a Danish dog, similar in type, shown on the Cunobeline coin of AD 43. A year later (1780) Riedel shows

“Edwards, 1800, describes the ‘GREAT DANE DOG AS 31 INCHES HIGH, FORM BETWEEN THE GREYHOUND AND THE MASTIFF, USUALLY CROPPED’, and alludes to ‘a beautiful variety called the Harlequin Dane’.”

a “Danish Jano-hund” that resembles a Great Dane with cropped ears. Edwards, 1800, describes the “Great Dane dog as 31 inches high, form between the Greyhound and the Masti ff , usually cropped”, and alludes to “a beautiful vari- ety called the Harlequin Dane”. Th is distinction between the breeds is interesting, as is Edwards’ statement (1800), “I do not know when the Danish Dog and the Harlequin Dane were intro- duced into England.” Taplin, however, in his Sportsman’s Cabinet (1803) illustrates a beautiful Har- lequin Dane, but calls him a “coach dog”. In 1847, Richardson in his handbook on dogs, shows a Great Dane of the “square muzzle”, much desired in the present stan- dard, while the “square muzzle” was not in evidence in the older illustrations. Cuvier gives the origin of the English bred Great Dane as the Matin, but Buf- fon says the Matin, exported to the North, became the “Great Danish” dog, and when acclimated in Ireland, developed into the Great Wolf Dog, known as the “Irish Wolfhound”. Histortorians frequently called Great Danes “Irish Wolfhounds”.

Cuvier (1769-1832) wrote later than Bu ff on (1707-1789), one believes Cuvier had proof of Bu ff on’s mistake, the confu- sion being caused by the fact that the Great Dane was known in France for many years as the “Grand Danois”, i.e., Great Dane. Apparentedly, instead of the Matin, it was the “Great Danish Dog” he referred to, as having developed in Ireland. Th at Cuvier is correct is borne out by Youtt (probably the greatest English authority on quadru- peds), when he says, “the French consid- er the Matin as the progenitor of all the breeds of dogs that resemble, but cannot be precisely classed with the Greyhound.” Of course, he meant the Greyhound of his day. He classified the Matin as “a species in which are included a variety of dogs—the Danish, the Irish Greyhound, and the pure British Greyhound”, (of his day), then con- tinues to give a good description of a Great Dane, even concluding with “they are of several varieties of color, being fawn or patched with brown, grey, black or white, they are employed in France and Germany in hunting the Bear and Wolf”. It is important that these discrepan- cies be explained in order that one may

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“For many decades a breed existed in Germany, or really a number of similar breeds, of large, powerful dogs used for hunting, farm work and as protectors, ALL RESEMBLING ONE ANOTHER AND THE PRESENT DAY GREAT DANE, except they were coarser than the English Dane.”

concentrate on the unquestioned antiquity of the breed rather than the name. Th ere has been confusion between the Irish Wolfhound and the Great Dane, but there is no doubt the two breeds existed side by side, if the Irish Wolfhound existed at all and was not, in fact, the Great Dane and it is even di ffi cult to know to which breed some earlier writers refer to when writing of the Irish Wolfhound. Nevertheless, preponderance of records concludes the English-bred Great Dane, (where first known by that name) came from the Matin or Masti ff (mixed with a little Wolfhound or Greyhound blood) which in time, had descended from the Masti ff of Tibet. Whichever name we elect, it does not a ff ect the antiquity of the breed, as we have ample evidence of the early existence of a dog similar to the Great Dane in the paintings of Snyder, Rubens, Veronese, etc. Plus, there is strong evidence of a dog, similar to the Dane in Egypt, Greece, Denmark, France and England; however, strangely, we have no evidence to convince us of his earlier existence in Germany. It is claimed that the Deutsche Dog- ge, under other names, was at home in Germany, before the discovery of gun powder. Th e claim is well substantiated by old German steel and copper engrav- ings and with the bow, spear and club, accompanied by one or two of these big boarhounds. Tradition tells us, in ear- lier centuries, only knights and noblemen were privileged to own such dogs. Th ese huge Doggen, for more than 100 years, were kept on large estates in the Rhine- land as protection against robbing bands

of Frenchmen. Although it is proven that the predecessors of the present-day Ger- man bred Dane were in that country for centuries, it was not until 1885 that the breeding of these dogs achieved great popularity. From this time until 1890, one hundred and fifty or more Danes would be exhibited in one show, although the German Doggen Club was not found- ed in Berlin until 1888. For many decades a breed existed in Germany, or really a number of similar breeds, of large, powerful dogs used for hunting, farm work and as protectors, all resembling one another and the present day Great Dane, except they were coarser than the English Dane. It is claimed this is because of the absence of Greyhound blood in the German-bred Dane. Th ese dogs were earlier called Boarhund, Tiger Dog, German Masti ff , Hatzrude, Sau- fangeer, Ulmer Dogge, Metzerghund, Danish Dogge and Deutsche Dogge. Th ey di ff ered but slightly, and the names where they were raised or used, although they evidently came from the same ancestry. In 1880, in Berlin, the German breed- ers had determined to classify these large, powerful dogs as one Breed, to be known as “Deutsche Dogge” and that all other designations, even the name “Great Dane”, should be abolished “as it was almost impossible to distinguish between the dogs called by the several names, and much mischief was being done”. It was not until 1891, however, that the German Club adopted a precise o ffi cial standard. “ Th e Great Dane Club” was estab- lished in England in 1883. Claimed to be the oldest dog club in the world, and was

responsible for producing the rules which form the basis of those now governing dog shows across the world. However, it was in the last century, in Germany, the foundations were laid for the Great Dane as we know him today. Germany took this dog for her National Breed, calling it “Deutsche Dogge”. Th ere was much patri- otism for the Fatherland, wealthy industri- alists and businessmen took it as a chal- lenge to develop this magnificent dog, to the point it became known as “ Th e Apollo of Dogdom”. Between Wars Large kennels were developed in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Amer- ica, and as time progressed, the big, wealthy breeders imported and exported stock between these countries, using only selective bloodlines, kept only the best, and culling the ‘lesser’ whelps according to their interpretation of the Standard, developing great continuity of some very influential bloodlines. Whenever their stock was exhibited at shows, the dogs that didn’t make the grade “went back to the drawing board”. As a result in the 50s through the 70s and 80s, one could actually recognize the di ff erent bloodlines when in the show rings. With the amazing advances in technol- ogy, the ability to bank frozen semen, or ship fresh-chilled semen, we no longer are limited in our breeding choices, enabling one to apply insight, research and science as never before, to produce the best of the best, from the proven bloodlines of so many beautiful dogs—alive or deceased. Each day is history in the making and the beat goes on!

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I ’ve had this wonderful breed (or rather the breed has had me), for 47 years and I learn something new all the time. I am considered by others to be a breed expert. I find that strange because I consider my mentors, most of whom are gone now, the breed experts, not me. Nonetheless, I have been given this assignment and will do my best to explain judging the Great Dane. JUDGING THE GREAT DANE Being a non-coated breed, there is little need for a lot of hands on. You can see most of what you need to see—the balance, the angles, the topline, the croup—by just look- ing. Danes are a square breed and well-angled, so the first thing I look for is a balanced dog: height to length, bone to body, front angle to rear angle. Ideally, you are looking for a smooth flow from the clean, tapered neck down into the withers, sloping smoothly into the short, hard back, continuing to the VERY slightly sloping croup. This is where the elegance of the Great Dane is created. A male should carry more bone and body than a bitch, though neither should be fine in bone or lacking in body. Ideally, a Dane male will be 34 inches or more at the withers. Any male (even a puppy) is to be no less than 30 inches tall. Ideally, a female will stand 31-32 inches tall at the withers, and must be a minimum of 28 inches. These height requirements—30 inches for males and 28 inches for females—are disqualifications. All things being equal, the larger Dane is preferred, but not at the expense of overall soundness and balance.


Dale Suzanne Tarbox has been showing Great Danes for over 50 years. There are dogs of her breeding in the pedigrees of many of the top show dogs and producers here in the US and in many foreign countries.



“ Type, style, movement, and balance… important words when judging Great Danes.”

I will take a handsome, 35 inch, short-backed, properly angled male any day of the week. Same for female—a 31 or 32 inch well- proportioned female is more than acceptable. The Dane head is rectangular, finely chiseled, clean, distin- guished, and expressive. There should be a square jaw and broad muzzle. The planes should be parallel. Again, the masculinity of the male is seen in the head, as well as the femininity of the female head. The head should be in proportion to the body. The length of the muzzle and the length of the skull should be equal. A Dane should never be “cheeky”—we ask for flat planes. The Dane head is a very large part of breed type. I am a great admirer of eye expres- sion in this breed. The correct dark brown, tight, almond-shaped eye with its soft and gentle expression is something I treasure as a breeder of Fawns and Brindles. In Blues, a lighter eye is permissible as are blue eyes or eyes of different colors in Harlequins. The age old question... to crop or not to crop? It is one that breeders and owners have to ask themselves. Either is acceptable as long as the ear set is high and the ears are medium in size. Because Americans have not bred Danes for natural ears, they tend to be larger in size than English and Scandinavian Danes. However, we have breeders who are breeding for a smaller, more correct ear and most of the Danes with natural ears shown now have nice size ears. Once boar and bear hunters, and guard dogs, we have made Great Danes into companion animals. They are, however, compet- ing in the Working Group and need to be able to move as a unit, preferably with good reach and drive. Being put together properly helps them to move with less effort and proper stride. Again, when viewed from the side, the shoulder should have some angle and lay back, the topline should be straight, the hindquarter well muscled, the hock let down, and the pastern slightly sloping. The forequarter of the Dane carries the body’s weight, and needs to be correct to obtain the proper gait and soundness we strive for. The dog must be balanced to move as a unit and without effort. There should be no rolling of the topline and no twisting in or out at the hocks or elbows. Front fill, or forechest, usually comes with a properly laid back shoulder. It is an important part of the front assembly. Correct gait is an indication of proper structure. Color often confuses people new to our breed. My suggestion is to judge them “naked.” Faults of color are not as serious as faults of structure and type. The coat itself should be short, thick, and clean!

We have six acceptable colors: Brindle, Fawn, Blue, Black, Mantle, and Harlequin. (The Brindle, Mantle, and Harlequin are patterned.) Any variance of color or pattern shall be faulted to the extent of the deviation. Any Dane that does not fall into the described color clas- sifications is a disqualification. Notice we do not say patterns…just color. Therefore, a lightly-marked Harlequin or a heavily-marked Harlequin is not a DQ. A Mantle without a full collar is not a DQ, a Brindle without perfect chevrons is not a DQ. These are just a few examples of the deviations in patterns you will see. Colors will go from light to dark; again, deviations to be faulted to their extent. Our Standard clearly states what we consider ideal. Great temperament is paramount in this breed. The Standard says, “Spirited and courageous, never timid: always friendly and dependable.” The mere size of these dogs demands a dependable and friendly nature. We expect adult Danes to stand for examina- tion. A puppy may wag and take a step forward to greet a judge, this should not be penalized. Male puppies seem to be acutely aware of their “boy parts,” so when examining testicles on a puppy, please consider doing so from under the dog. I do this on all males. We have seen the temperament in this breed changing. There seem to be many more timid Danes and some—hopefully not many— aggressive ones. Neither temperament is acceptable in this breed. To sum up, I’d like to quote the discussion in our Illustrated Standard. “The essence of Great Dane type is created by the bal- anced combination of sculptured headpiece; long, tapered, clean neck; well developed body; strong bone; heavily padded feet; clothed in a glossy coat of correct rich color and moving with preci- sion and grace. A substantial deficiency in any of these attributes will result in a lack of true Great Dane type—a ‘common look- ing’ dog. The presence or absence of breed type is the single most important factor in assessing the overall quality of the Great Dane.” Type is defined as “typical of the breed”; in other words, how the breed should look, move and act. Danes may be of different styles. A style is defined as how, within the parameters of the breed standard, we achieve a final appearance (one that pleases our different tastes). Style is a preference as long as you remain within the parameters of the breed Standard. Type, style, movement, and balance…important words when judging Great Danes.




Effective January 1, 2019, the Merle Great Dane will be permitted to be exhibited in the conformation ring. The Merle has always been an integral part of the Mantle/Harlequin Family and is a necessary genetic component to produce Harlequin.

T he Great Dane Club of America is proud to introduce the Merle Great Dane to the fancy. It must be prefaced that the Merle has always existed in our breed. Unlike some other breeds where Merle is not present in the breed and is only present by cross-breeding, our breed, the Great Dane, has always had Merle present. So, judges must understand this very important fact. As with anything, science advances our knowledge. Genetic testing over the past twenty years has allowed us to further understand the Merle/Harlequin family. What we have learned is that Merle is the “Mother Color” of Harle- quin. Therefore, without Merle there would NEVER be a Harlequin. So, judges should understand that when you are judging Harlequin, you have, in your ring, a Merle that has the Harlequin modifier attached to it. The basic principle is that you always start with a Merle, then the Harlequin modifier is attached which then, in essence, bleaches or erases the Merle base coat background. It is a simple concept to grasp when one thinks of it in this manner. Merles will have a place in a breeding program as there are numerous options at a breeder’s disposal to produce approved colors while still using Merle. It was a great effort with commentary from the membership and numerous edits, but the Merle approval passed with strong support within the GDCA and was approved in 2019. Since then, numerous other countries have approved the Merle with an expected approval within the FCI as well for full privileges in the upcoming years.

Ideal Mantle Merle


Ideal Solid Merle



Acceptable Deviations in the Mantle Merle

NOTE: Faults of Patterns/Markings shall NOT carry as much weight as faults of conformation and breed type. Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 2

THE MERLE STANDARD ADDITION Color: A pale gray to dark gray merle base color with black torn patches within. Commentary *** Gray may appear to be a dark steel gray, a bluish gray, all the way to pale silvery gray. It should never appear mouse or brown in color *** Patterns/Markings: May be Solid Merle (white on chest and toes is permissible) or Merle with a Mantle Pattern (solid merle blanket extending over the body; merle skull with a white muzzle; white blaze is optional; whole or partial white neck; a white chest; white on whole or part of the forelegs and hind legs; white tipped merle tail. A small white break in the blanket is acceptable. (Black pigment may be seen on the skin in white areas.) Disqualification: Merlequin, a white dog with ONLY patch- es of merle. Faults of Patterns/Markings shall NOT carry as much weight as faults of conformation and breed type. Any variance in Pat- terns/Markings as described in the above colors, shall be faulted to the extent of the deviation. Any COLOR other than the seven described shall be disqualified. APPLYING THE STANDARD WHILE JUDGING Judging the Merle should not be a complicated new process. The simple way to look at the Merle Class which will have both Mantle Merle and Solid Merle together is by judging them just as other colors already recognized are judged. THE MANTLE MERLE When Judging the Mantle Merle, the exact same principles and standard, with the exception of the Merle Coloring, are applied as with the Mantle. There is no difference between the two (Mantle and Mantle Merle) except color. THE SOLID MERLE When judging the Solid Merle the exact same judging prin- ciples apply to the Solid Merle as apply to our solid colors such as Fawn, Blue, Black. The Solid Merle, however, does permit white on the chest and toes which differs from the other Solid Colors that deem it not desirable.


SPECIAL NOTES ON JUDGING MERLE There are NO Disqualifications for Markings and Patterns in the Great Dane Standard. Any deviations in the Markings and Patterns are simply faulted to the degree of deviation. The only Disqualifications are for COLORS not described in the standard, for example, the Merlequin which will be described next. Our Standard is now divided into Color and then Patterns/Markings. THE MERLEQUIN DQ Merlequin is described as a white dog with ONLY patches of merle. This means that there will not be any Solid torn black patch- es visible on their own, as in Harlequin, anywhere on the dog, only Merle patches (black will be present in merle patches; this is not considered a solid patch of black). As you can see from the picture, there are NO SOLID PATCHES OF BLACK. This is the Merle- quin. A dog with only PATCHES OF MERLE. If you have any questions regarding the new Great Dane Stan- dard, please contact me at . As the President and Co-Chair of Judges Education, I am happy to answer any ques- tions you may have.


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“The Great Dane Standard at a Glimpse” (Courtesy of The Great Dane Club Of America)

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“The Great Dane Standard at a Glimpse” (Courtesy of The Great Dane Club Of America)

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“The Great Dane Standard at a Glimpse” (Courtesy of The Great Dane Club Of America)

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By Dale Suzanne Tarbox

History I t’s hard to know exactly when the Great Dane came into being. Pre-biblical wall carv- ings, coins and tablets from Egypt and Greece show a large, unmistakable forerun- ner of the modern Great Dane. In many books, dating back to 1387, there are engravings of dogs at hunt, referred to as Aleuts, large dogs with square muzzles, cropped ears with body and size. During the late 18th and 19th century, the Ger- mans further developed the Great Dane. Th e German Boarhound, or Deutsche Doggen, was owned by estate owners, royalty and noblemen and used as hunt- ers of boar and bear and as guard dogs. Th eir fierceness was treasured. In the late 1800s, German dogs were imported into the United States. Th e American breed- ers started to breed to eliminate the coarseness and tough temperament of the German Danes. Breeding for a little more leg and a longer, narrower head; they contoured the Great Dane we have today. Th ey were no longer needed to hunt or guard and were developed into a noble companion dog with stable tem- peraments balanced with great size and dignity, the “Apollo of dogs”. Living with a Great Dane No breed is perfect for everyone. As great as they are, Great Danes have their problems; as do all breeds. Because of their great size and fast growth, (approx- imately 100 times their birth weight in “...developed into a noble companion dog with stable temperaments balanced with great size and dignity, the ‘Apollo of dogs’.”

their first year) they have a short life span, on average 7 to 8 years. Th ere are lines that have been more fortunate and good breeders try hard for more lon- gevity. Because of their deep chest and pendulous stomachs they are subject to a condition called bloat or torsion which can kill them if not treated quickly. Th ey are subject to spondylosis, an arthritic condition of the spine which eventually renders them unable to get up or down. Th ere are some bone growth problems that can occur, many of these can be the e ff ect of poor nutrition. A proper diet is essential. Needless to say, with the negatives that have just been written, there are still many of us who choose to live our lives with a Great Dane. Th ey are people dogs, living to be loved by us and to love us. Th ey are intuitive to their owners moods and are always there to comfort us when we need it. Even the most docile of Danes will instinctively know when someone is threatening their owners and they are quick to react. Th ey are devoted compan- ions. Th ey love to be part of the family, doing what we do. Hiking, swimming, even boating, anywhere their owner goes or anything we do; they want to be part of it. Temperament is of the utmost importance due to their size and potential power. Our standard says always friendly and dependable and that is exactly what we want them to be. An aggressive Dane should never be tolerated; while a timid one is equally unacceptable. Early social- ization is a must. Gentle discipline and

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socialization at an early age will make any puppy a better adult. Puppy kindergarten is an excellent start. Even a small Great Dane is a big dog, bad behavior can not be allowed. Danes, especially puppies, do not require a lot of exercise. Th ey do make good apartment dogs if walked often and given lots of attention. Like any breed, Dane puppies can get into mischief. Most Dane owners crate train their puppies until they are past the destructive age and can be trusted to be loose in the house alone. Th is past-time is not limited to Great Dane pup- pies; but to all puppies. Th e Great Dane is an intelligent breed. Although they appear docile and very laid-back, they love to be “busy”. Danes can be the best companions and still compete in conformation events, obedience, agility, versatility, fly ball, tracking, search and rescue and yes, even dock diving! One of their best abilities is as therapy dogs. Th eir bond with people and their intuitive nature makes them exceptional therapy dogs. Visiting nursing homes, school rooms and libraries during children’s reading activities. Th ey make great service dogs. Th eir size makes them useful for people with MS and Parkinson’s who need help with their balance. Th ey are truly gentle giants. Th e Great Dane Club of America has a website full of information pertaining to Great Danes, events, the GDCA Charitable Trust and breeder listing. BIO I fell in love with this breed when my mother sat an 8 week old brindle male Dane in my lap and said, “He’s yours!” Th at was in 1968 and my life has never been the same! I have been active in many facets of the breed. Breeding on a limited basis I have bred 6 Top Producers and 5 Top Twenty Danes. I have been an AKC licensed judge since 1990 and have judged Specials at the Great Dane National twice and have judged over 50 Specialty shows. I have served the GDCA as the Judges Ed Chair for 8 years and have been on the committee for 12; I am co-chairing this year. I have served on the Standard Committee several times. I am currently the AKC Delegate.



1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. How many years in Great Danes? Showing? Judging? Breeding? 3. What, in your opinion, is the secret to a successful breeding program? 4. What do you feel is the condition of the Great Dane breed today? Pros and Cons? 5. What do you feel breeders need to concentrate on to improve the quality of Great Danes? 6. How do you feel about the influx of new judges, special- ists and all breed, to our breed? Do you feel they have a grasp of the standard, do they know what compromises a good Great Dane? 7. What is your favorite dog show memory? 8. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. LOURDES CARVAJAL My love affair with Great

The secret to a successful breeding program is total evalu- ation of the faults, no kennel blindness. Stay with the cor- rect balance of a GD and do not breed for any reason than to improve your get. And that includes health, longevity and temperament. Loose line breeding and go to the correct stud when neces- sary to breed out. Always looking to improve, not perpetuate faults. Not all Champions are correct. What I you feel the condition of the Great Dane breed is today? A more elegant Dane that provides a lovely side view. An extreme head should not be their only asset. The Dane has become too extreme and other issues are going down the wayside: balance, shoulders, rears, topline and movement. What I feel breeders need to concentrate on to improve the quality of Great Danes? All of the above and concentrating on health. Good Danes do not happen overnight. Patience, study, mentoring and commitment to creating good Danes to be proud of through a lifetime is most needed. Overnight suc- cess only lasts that. HowI feel about the influx of new judges, specialists and all breed, to our breed? Do I feel they have a grasp of the stan- dard, do they know what compromises a good Great Dane? Some all breed judges understand the Breed, new non breed judges are that, provisionals, unless breeders, do not have a clue. I only blame AKC for giving licenses without enough demands on education to acquire one. My favorite dog show memory? Too many to mention. But overall the joy of success in an extremely limited breeding pro- gram and that those show dogs all came to bundle up with me in bed. Being companions is of outmost importance for this Breed of ours. Anything else I’d like to share about the breed: education, education and always by the Standard. The few left established lines through years are the correct mentors. Ask, understand what it takes for a breeding program. PAT CIAMPA I acquired my first Dane in

Danes started as a child, but it was not until the 1970s that I acquired my first Gen- tle Giant, a Rescue named Morisca Moon of Carpa, CD who allowed me to share in her infinite wisdom. Danes then became my passion and in the late

1970s, I was in the show ring. My successes in the breed have been many for which I am very grateful and under the kennel name Rochford, together with Janet Quick, we have been committed to the health, longevity and quality of Great Danes. However, we do not breed anymore. I have been very actively involved in Puerto Rico and the United States in dog legislation, animal abuse laws, responsible ownership through the public school system, Great Dane Res- cue, Chairperson of National Specialties, the Board of GDCA and have also administered the GDCA Charitable Trust, but it is as a judge, that I feel I have culminated my dedication to Great Danes as I can give, with my opinion, something back to the Breed that I have chosen to dedicate my life to. We show actively with great success be it owner handled or at the level of campaigning. I live in Freeman, Missouri. Outside of dogs, I vol- unteer for a battered woman’s shelter that happens to be one of the few that has built a shelter for dogs and cats. And involved with several KCs , Great Dane Rescue and Charitable Foundations. I have 48 years in Great Danes, 45 years in show- ing, 20 years in judging and 19 years in breeding. I do not breed anymore.

1970. She started my lifetime commitment to this breed. Together with Helen and Tif- fany Cross we have have bred or owned 80 Champions in three colors along with obedi- ence and performance titles. I am a member of the GDCA and GDCNE. I am most proud of the

many accomplishments our dogs have achieved at National Specialties, a showcase for our magnificent breed. Also,

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“CONCENTRATE ON A TOTAL PACKAGE. Strive for true Dane type, balance, strength and the regal appearance that sets Danes apart from any other breed, with masculinity in dogs and fem- ininity in bitches.”

proud of the dogs we have bred who have attained HOF and ROM status. It has been an honor to be selected by my peers to judge bitches in 2000, breed in 2006, Top Twenty 2013 and bitches again in 2014. May I always have a Dane in my life! I live in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Now retired, I enjoy traveling to Florida in the winter, time spent with family and friends, reading and walking, but that is still with dogs! I bought my first Dane in 1970, started showing in obedi- ence then breed soon after that. I have been Judging for over 20 years, breeding since mid 70s. Always start with the best quality dogs you can find. Dogs offering correct breed type, good health and stable tempera- ments. Be able to fault your own dogs, love them, but know their faults and always look to improve on them. Surrounding your- self with top quality dogs will keep you aspiring to that level or higher. Right now there are many Danes with beautiful Dane type and this improvement is in all colors. For the most part move- ment has improved and I see far less shyness then even a few years ago. We need to continue to improve on croups, straight upper arm and correct eyes for that expression we all love to see. Concentrate on a total package. Strive for true Dane type, balance, strength and the regal appearance that sets Danes apart from any other breed, with masculinity in dogs and femininity in bitches. All breeder judges should know the true essence of our breed and hopefully carry that knowledge into their ring. I hope judges new to Danes take the opportunity to mentor with Dane breeders and at our National Specialty. It is impor- tant they award Danes with the majestic look and movement that we all strive for. Unfortunately this is not always the case and common Danes lacking in type are being awarded wins. Recently our standard has accepted a new color, now seven, and some changes to our standard. All judges must keep in mind that lack of true Dane type is the most serious fault. It is important that judges review standards and stay up to date on all revisions. I have been fortunate to have had many favorite dog show memories, but this one stands out. In 2013 at our National Specialty I decided to handle our young male myself in BOB. I do not handle regularly, nor should I. We started early AM and I was hoping for perhaps a cut or two with my handsome

young dog. Now late afternoon and we are still there, making all the cuts into the final group. We were awarded BOS to a top winning bitch who continued to show the same way she did six hours earlier. Us, not so much, but still a memory I will always enjoy! I can share that I have been involved with this magnificent breed for almost fifty years and I would do it all again. Danes are Great! JUDY HARRINGTON I live in Massachusetts

and enjoy many things out- side of dogs. Most sport- ing events, gardening, cycling recently with some friends that do Indianapo- lis to Pittsburgh type rides (not me), travel and very much enjoy being home when possible.

I purchased my first Great Dane in the late 60s and she went on to win the National Specialty as Winners Bitch owner handled and was a wonderful brood bitch and foundation for Justamere Great Danes, my kennel name. Breeding would always be my first choice if I had to make one. I enjoyed suc- cessful litters and some not so much, as all breeders do but enjoyed the possibilities of the combinations and the ones that work, you know how that feels. I began professionally han- dling dogs in several breeds and was a member of the PHA, no longer bred Great Danes and fell in love with the Australian Shepherd breed and specifically the Propwash Aussies. When I retired from handling and began judging in 2000 there have been Aussies in my home. The secret to a successful breeding program is to be a good judge—by that I mean you must be able to evaluate the good points and the faults to know what combinations might pro- duce what you want and need. But even more important is to know the pedigrees that you are combining in the strengths and weaknesses of the lines. Since most Dane exhibitors know what I like I seldom have an entry that isn’t a quality entry. My recent judging entries have been very encouraging in that I have had some outstand-

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Dane” and care literature I have since authored stemmed from my experiences with Jake. It soon became obvious to my relatives and non-doggy friends that Danes had become a lifestyle and not just a pass- ing fancy. Five years after getting Jake, I was sharing my life with four Danes, active in the local Dane club, involved in rescue, and trying my hand in both the conformation and obedience show rings. While my involvement in obedience ended with a judge saying “I didn’t know Danes could heel in their sleep,” I was more successful in conformation. Currently, I handle both my own dogs and those of others in the confor- mation ring. I also have a busy “home style” boarding facility operated out of my home. In the course of my “career” in Danes, I’ve owned, bred and/or co-owned numerous AKC and CKC champions, along with obedience and agility-titled Danes, Honor Roll and Reg- ister of Merit holders and Top Twenty contenders, therapy dogs and movie stars (in the Marmaduke movie). One of my most memorable weeks was when “Troy” (Am. Can. Intl. BIS Ch. Penadane Daynakin Solitary Man) went Best in Show, and then won the GDCA’s 2000 Top Twenty a little over a week later. He was piloted to those wins by the late Jane Chopson. (I will always be grateful for her help, advice and mentoring.) However, the most important thing is the joy, love and companionship these wonderful gentle giants have given me over the years. Through all the good times and bad, I hope to continue to share my life with Danes for as long as I live. My husband, Jack Henderson, and I live in Ferndale. This is located in the lovely agricultural area in the northwest cor- ner of Washington State. Honestly, we don’t have much of a life outside of dogs! We either are going to dog shows, caring for dogs, or doing some other dog-related thing. Once every 4-5 years we go on a dog- less vacation and then I don’t know what to do with my time! I obtained my first Great Dane in 1974, a fawn male I called “Jake”. I started showing in conformation and obedi- ence with him. While not a show dog, he was a great start in the breed and I learned much from him. I know for a fact he was MUCH smarter than I was. Being the owners of a Dane pet morphed into being serious about showing and then breeding. My first litter was in 1976 and produced my first homebred Champion. From there I was hooked and have con- tinuously shown and bred Danes since. I have been extremely honored to have been chosen twice by my peers to judge the Great Dane Club of America’s Futuri- ty. However, I have no aspirations to become a licensed judge. I enjoy showing my own dogs and also handling for other people and do not want to that up. Wow, so many aspects go into a successful breed- ing program, it’s hard to recap them and not forget something important. I think there are two important factors a new breeder/ exhibitor should do to aim towards success. The first is to obtain your foundation bitch from a long-term breeder with extensive experience and a successful breeding program. The second is to have a good mentor. There simply is no substi- tute for starting with a quality Dane and having experienced

ing dogs and bitches in all colors. I did a very large entry in the Chicago area a year ago and I would say that the breed is in better shape now than it was a decade ago. I believe that Great Dane breeders have consistently bred for good breed head type on the pro side. On the con side, I find straight shoulders and lack of good sound drive in the rear more frequently than I would like. I feel breeders need to concentrate on a combination of the physical characteristics along with the now numerous health and genetic evaluations and tests that are available now to make wise decisions. Nothing is written in stone and there are some things that may be worth taking a chance on and others not worth it at all but you need all of the info to make informed decisions. The judges that have taken the time to be mentored and truly care about doing a good job (and truly most all do want to do a proper job) have a good grasp of the breed. I have always appreciated getting a call from someone who has judged and has a question about some decision and wants clarification of a question. It means they care. Give new judges a few tries, it’s all a learning process and they won’t know a breed after semi- nars, visits, and mentoring over a short period of time the way you will with 30 years of experience. My favorite dog show memory is going Winners Bitch with my first Great Dane, Lovett’s Bitta Amber, owner handled at the Great Dane Club of America Specialty in New York under Nancy Carroll Draper with Lina Basquette going 2nd in Open Fawn and telling Nancy she did the right thing! A lifetime of memories, friends, travel, great dogs, and the amazing dog show family of support that we all have was sealed that day. The Great Dane is one of the most magnificent dogs on the face of the Earth! They command admiration and with their large size have an amazing elegance and carriage. The gentleness and loyalty are beyond compare and when this is combined with sound structure and movement the visual will be memorable. GEORGIA HYMMEN As a child, I’d always

wanted a large-breed dog, but was never allowed one while growing up. Once an adult, I decided to pur- sue my dream of owning a Great Dane. My involvement with Great Danes began with the purchase of a pet fawn male,

“Jake” in 1974. I well remember the day I went to get him— he was in a pen with about 20 other puppies. I got a deal on him because he was small and didn’t have a mask. Time soon taught me that what he lacked in size, he made up in attitude! He was a joy, a love, and a challenge, and I learned much from sharing my life with him. Much of my focus on education can be attributed to him—I was so unprepared for Dane owner- ship when I got him. Much of the “think before you get a

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