Great Dane Breed Magazine - Showsight


All too often new non-breeder judges go out there looking for a square dog, when the best ones might be slightly longer than tall (and have the length of leg to car- ry it and stay in balance). Danes are partially descended (hundreds of years ago) from a combination of Molloser (Mastiff) breeds (substance and power) and Greyhound breeds (coursing ability to hunt wild boar). All of these breeds and their cousins are described as longer than tall. Squareness was added to our standard mid-20th Century only as an effort to steer away from long, swaybacks. The wording was “square as possible” meaning not absolutely square as to not interfere with the desired “long reach and powerful drive”. Our current standard allows for females to be somewhat longer. The focus should be on finding the best Great Dane and I think new judges to the breed should place less emphasis on squareness. Head- pieces are an important consideration. Students of the breed need to learn the distinctions between poor, aver- age, good and excellent ones. Based on their respective breed standards, heads in Great Danes are just a small notch lower in importance from the Bulldog and Boxer; however, should given more weight in one’s evaluation than the head qualities of say, a Doberman or Siberian. PW: Non-breeder judges do not seem to understand “ele- gance”. It does not mean fine boned. Think big and beau- tiful. You are looking for Serena Williams, not Audrey Hepburn. You are looking for Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I., not Tom Cruise. 5. What traits do you see popping up these days that are going in the wrong direction? What is getting better? LC: The breed is way too extreme on head and lack of body and correct movement. Improving is the same thing that makes them looks better—the head. ER: Hindquarters over the years have generally improved. We still breed some very nice headpieces, but perhaps not as many classic ones as years ago. Breeders should also pay attention to missing teeth. A bad tail carriage, though not carrying a lot of weight in the breed standard, can really spoil the overall appearance of an otherwise nice animal. Though many could use more development in front and rib cage, we do not see as many Danes toe-in and/or elbow-out as years ago. “... I LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUED IMPROVEMENT THROUGH THE NATURAL INCORPORATION AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF MERLE GREAT DANES...”

PW: Length of back is a serious problem in the breed. This is a square breed. On the positive side, in some parts of the country, they have managed to combine size with great head type. 6. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? PC: I do think that I have seen the most improvement in the colors, but on the whole, improvements have been made and if we are not better than 20 years ago, we are at least as good. KD: I think in many ways they are better and in some ways strengths and weaknesses have shifted between color families, as focus has changed. In my own harlequin family, I think we have excelled in the last 15 years. Like the breed as a whole, fronts were suffering and I see improvement in this area, in many lines. Heads have also improved with more consistency, in the harlequin family overall. With recent scientific discoveries we are also able to breed desired patterns more intelligently and efficiently, without having to rely on trial and error to narrow down genotype. As the membership has recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of developing a standard for the Merle Great Dane, based on the results of this scientific research, I look forward to continued improve- ment through the natural incorporation and acknowl- edgement of Merle Great Danes into the show ring and breeding programs. J&JG: As a breeder and handler, I feel they are cycling. When I started 40+ years ago, there were many really good dogs—beautiful with much breed type. I’m afraid to mention any names as I don’t want to leave any out, but in my area alone three that come immediately to mind are Ch. Rojon’s The Hustler, Ch. Dagon’s I’m Pixie and Ch. Rojon’s Oh Boy. Did they have faults? Of course they did—all dogs do; however, their virtues outweighed their faults. You had to study them to find the fault. You didn’t have to study them to find the virtue. JL: Yes and no! When I first started judging, the Great Danes looked different in different sections of the country. In some areas, there would be no bone; in some areas, they had too much substance; in other areas all they thought of was having a big head. Now, when I travel to judge sweepstakes, or compete with my dogs, I feel that even though shoulders are still a problem in our breed, for the most part, I like that we are getting more constancy in the breed. SDS: Yes, I have seen tremendous improvements in the harlequins, blues and blacks over the past 40 years. Dane type is now very consistent between the colors. I see heads that are outstanding and fronts that are improving. WS: Comparing today’s dogs with those of the past is some- times a slippery slope. The Danes of today, especially in certain areas of the country, have good quality. There have been dramatic improvements in the overall quality of heads and in some of our colors (previously referred to


Powered by