Great Dane Q & A
“Most of us older breeders are quietly still trying to build a better dog and ljaintain typeǂ ype is a ƅery iƙy subject as my type may not be your type.”
I am and have been in love with this breed since seeing my first one when just out of high school. I have spent a lifetime preserving the breed and sharing the joy they bring with their tremendous hearts ! They are amazingly loyal! Please learn the Standard and judge the dog ! SUSAN YOTIVE I live in Marysville, Ohio. What I do outside of dogs: this question was the most difficult, I work to afford the dogs. I got my first Great Dane right after I was married in 1972, a rescue merle. I bought my first bitch to show in 1974 and have been exhibiting since. I was approved to judge in in 1998. Although I breed mostly fawn and brindle, I have dabbled in black. I am lucky that my dear friends and co-owners have helped me develop the Krisda line through all the pitfalls of life. Buy the best bitch you can, preferably a line bred bitch. I discovered early on the “20 Basic Breeding Principles” by Raymond Oppenheimer and I found it a very valuable and still adhere to it. Know what your bitch needs and look for a dog, preferably with similar lines that won’t hurt her. I am not an advocate of outcrosses, it usually does not do what I thought it would and the offspring lack prepotency. I personally don’t have the time to waste trying to get back to what I want. The condition of the Great Dane today is pretty good. We still have the shoulder issues but it has been worse. The harle- quin family, the blues, and the black dogs have made amazing improvements in the past 40 years with the exception of the eyes. I would like to see a tighter almond eye without haws. In general they are up to and many time surpassing in quality the fawns and brindles today. Most of us older breeders are quietly still trying to build a better dog and maintain type. Type is a very iffy subject as my type may not be your type. I think if you do your homework, study your pedigrees, and look at the family of a line i.e. litter- mates, and offspring etc. the breed will continue to improve. Don’t beat yourself up over a breeding that is a disaster, it hap- pen to everyone. The many new judges I can only hope had good mentors. The Dane exhibitor will very quickly determine if they under- stand type or choose the generic dog. Unfortunately, we have lost quite a few great judges lately. My favorite dogs show memory is probably the honor of judging the Breed at the 2016 National.
I have owned Great Danes for 52 years, as soon as I finished college. I have been showing since 1970 and bred my first litter in 1972. I have been judging since 1990. The secret to a successful breeding program is knowing the history of the Danes you are using in your program. And, knowing what you have and what you need , and that you always need to improve. I have judged some large Specialties in the last few months and I was pleased to see some improvement in quality. I see some people striving for correct Danes. But there are those that seem to be making no improve- ment. For quite a few years I was discouraged with what I was seeing happen, straight fronts and rears, bad croups, leading to bad movement and bad tops. I have seen some improvement in these areas and it needs to continue to preserve this great breed! Breeders need to look at the over all dog, learn balance and movement and strive for it. Good “flow” comes from the cor- rect set of neck flowing into a correct shoulder, level topline and correct croup and a well angled rear. Learn it and strive for the overall dog ! I took my time learning the nuances of our breed before I applied to judge. I had already bred way more than the required number of champions. I think that quite a few of our newer judges could have waited a while longer to apply so that they fully understand the breed. I think opening the gates for all breed judges to get our breed quickly does us more harm than good as I look at many dogs winning and finishing that are not good Great Danes! I took six years to study and learn the important aspects of Dobes before I applied for them. I feel that I don’t want someone stepping into the Dane ring and doing a poor job, so I should make sure I am comfortable with a breed before I step into their ring to judge ! My favorite dog show memory? I have many, but perhaps, Best In Show from the classes on my Dane, BIS, BISS Ch Saul Sandale The Divine Ms O, was as exciting as anything ! She was handled in the Breed by my friend Terry Silver and in the Group and Best by her Breeder. It took my breathe away when Angela Porpora pointed to her and said “ I’ll have the Dane!” A second would be, when judging the Breed at the Nation- al. A Harlequin male stepped into the ring, fidgeted in true Harl fashion but every foot returned to the correct position. He moved and the hair on my arms stood up! Effortless, cor- rect movement on a beautiful dog. He was my BISS; BISS Ch The Architect Of Jericho, “AJ”. He also became a top produc- ing male and added, ROM and Hall if Fame sire to his name !
304 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2019
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