Great Dane Breed Magazine - Showsight

Great Dane Q & A

GINA JAEBLON I was raised in New York with English thoroughbred and Tennessee Walking horses and taught riding in my young adult life. When I met my first Great Dane, my passion did a total turnaround. Instantly falling in love with the harlequins, I took on the challenge (and what a challenge it is!). “Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that made all the difference.” Fifty proud years of breed- ing/showing and 20 years of judging. And I have just begun. I live in a southern suburb of Ohio. I can’t say that any- thing occupies my time like my dogs! Maybe a trip to the Casino now and then. I have 50 years in Great Danes; yep, I am old! I have been judging about 20 years. Another passion of mine. The secret to a successful breeding program is linebreed- ing, if I were to pick the most important factor. Researching a pedigree with a fine tooth comb; and tightly linebreeding on your highest quality dogs. I have only outcrossed about 3-5 times in my whole breeding program. You will never have real consistency on a regular basis if you continue to outcross and never know where your faults are coming from. My highest form of a compliment is somebody saying “they can recognize a GMJ dog”! The condition of the Great Dane breed today: can I plead the 5th? Breeding today is to the flavor of the month; a best friend, to spare somebody’s feelings, a “pretty” head, convenience of being down the road—thinking a faulty bitch can be correct- ed by breeding to a dog that doesn’t have those faults. No! An exhibitor sitting beside me said: “my bitch has no head—look at that dogs head, I need to breed to him!” Not even knowing his sire or dam. Nor his pedigree studying pedigrees and getting to know about what the dogs in their pedigrees have produced in the past. As in every field, some are so very willing to learn they want to learn all aspects, not just read the standard and look for a pretty head. I have mentored some great new people that are

truly interested in the ‘soundness’ of a Dane and the structure required for good movement. They focus on doing it correct. While others I feel, do not have the betterment of the breed at heart. My favorite dog show memory is probably the honor of judging two Great Dane Nationals. Breed for the sole reason of keeping a dog of excellence for yourself. Show only dogs that you have evaluated carefully and find sound and good moving. Place the mediocre ones. Pick a mentor carefully for his/her consistent success and experience and listen to what they have to say; for more than six months! Don’t become a breeder that “settles” for second best because of convenience or friendship. If possible; evaluate your keep- ers at 6-8 months of age, rather than 6-8 weeks. Keeping and breeding a mediocre dog is the slow downfall of our breed. JULIE NARZISI I’ve owned, bred, and showed Great Danes for nearly thirty years. I have been judging Great Danes for ten years. I’m approved for some other working breeds as well. I live in Atwater, Ohio which is in the Cleveland area. I’m a retired commercial/industrial electrician and I’m currently enjoying life with my four remaining danes. To answer your question about the current of the breed, I would have to say that there many nice dogs out there and there is a fair amount of consistency due to the fact that many breeders are choosing to use a limited number of sires. That being said, sometimes perfectly acceptable specimens are being overlooked due to the fact that they are “different” than the competition. Sometimes, the one that is “different” is the correct one. Currently, in the breed, I would like to see more substance overall, more masculinity in males, more stop on heads, fewer gay tails, and more ground covering, effortless movement. I think the influx of new judges can be a good thing if they have a good idea of what the standard says. When I’ve men-

“DON’T BECOME A BREEDER THAT “SETTLES” FOR SECOND BEST BECAUSE OF CONVENIENCE OR FRIENDSHIP. If possible; evaluate your keepers at 6-8 months of age, rather than 6-8 weeks. Keeping and breeding a medio- cre dog is the slow downfall of our breed.”

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2019 • 301

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