Great Dane Breed Magazine - Showsight

Great Dane Q & A

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

298 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2019

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