Great Dane Q & A
the great gap in breed type among the non-show breeders; spe- cifically the “Euro Dane” which is very incorrect. I think breeders need to avoid breeding just for one trait, and look at “the big picture”, aiming for breed type, soundness and ability. Pretty is nice, but the dog has to be functional and should be athletic enough to perform either as a pet hiking with the family or a performance dog doing agility or Fast Cat. I think a breeder can have a dog with breed type that can also be athletic. I also think a breeder needs to be careful about not “throw- ing the baby out with the bathwater”. Carefully determine what the problem is before removing a quality dog from a breeding program. Having a good mentor to talk through things like this is very helpful. How I feel about the influx of new judges, specialists and all breed, to our breed? I have mixed feelings; I think there are some new judges who do a great job and do have a handle on the breed. However, I feel there are an equal number who don’t have a handle on the breed and could perhaps use some more judges’ education. I feel all our various colors are confus- ing to some judges. I’ve always felt the handful of nice dogs within a show should always place somewhat consistently and that’s what I would expect within a show circuit. However, when a dog who couldn’t even get out of the classes then wins breed—well, that just doesn’t equate in my mind. My favorite dog show memory: winning my first point! That was so exciting to me. I was so nervous in the ring, did the individual gaiting pattern wrong, and did the “who, me?” thing when pointed at for Winners. It was thrilling and I try to remember that when a new person wins now in current shows. I think each serious breeder/owner/exhibitor of the Dane breed owes it to the breed to do the best possible job they can when entering a breeding career. Proper breeding practices, health testing, interactive puppy raising techniques and cor- rect placement can go a long way in “doing right” with our beloved breed. Each person should “give of themselves” and strive towards education.
guidance along the way when starting a showing and breeding career. The new person will be so far ahead of those who have not. Of course, it goes without saying a person entering a breeding program should have a good working knowledge of their breed; know the standard, what breed type is, what proper structure and temperament should be and what poten- tial health issues might be in a line. Research pedigrees and research again. Talk to people who actually owned dogs in those pedigrees and ask about them. Do your research on health history. I think a good breeder doesn’t breed for just one thing but strives for the balance of a structurally and temperamentally sound dog, with good breed type, and good health history in the pedigree—who could do the job he was bred for if needed. One trait never really mentioned in a successful breeding program is emotional strength and the ability to fall down and get back up. Breeding is hard and there can be much heartbreak involved. Knowing when to make difficult deci- sions, made logically and not necessarily with your heart, is very important. What I feel breeders need to concentrate on to improve the quality of Great Danes? That actually is a hard question. I think overall we have some great quality in our breed. I think rears are much sounder than when I first started in the breed, but that good shoulders are now hard to find. Heads are much better and there are some dogs out there with truly lovely heads. I think more breeders are doing health testing as recom- mended by the GDCA and that’s certainly a good thing. Hopefully as time goes on we will actually have genetic testing in our breed for some of the more concerning health problems. Life span still is in that 7-to-10 year old range. What I call the “core four” serious health issues continue to be the same; cancer, heart problems, wobblers and bloat. I do find it distressing one seems to see a number of dogs exhibiting shy or aggressive behavior. This should never be tolerated in a breeding program. I also find it disconcerting
“I think a good breeder doesn’t breed for just one thing but strives for the balance of a structurally and temper- amentally sound dog, with good breed type, and good health history in the pedigree—who could do the job he was bred for if needed.”
300 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2019
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