as AOACs) the improvements have been simply incred- ible. We now have 6 colors, which are approved for exhibition. The classic breed type was probably stronger in the 60s and 70s but many of these dogs did not pos- sess the overall beauty that we see today. Most breeds go through periods of peaks-and-valleys with regards to overall quality or specific aspects. One area that is troublesome is the number of dogs that are not totally stable. This is a trait that is not uncommon amongst many breeds in today’s world of dogs. Lack of socializa- tion and “mommyitis” sometimes create a dog that is not completely stable or even legitimately shy. This cannot be condoned in this breed. My personal “big 3” when I judge are Breed Type, Proportions and Temperament. DST: I think the dogs of the 70s and 80s were better overall then they are now! We have extreme type with- out soundness now. SY: I feel they are much better now. The harlequins, blues and blacks have made tremendous improvements and today stand evenly in the ring with the fawns and brindles.
to see if it is a bitch or a dog. The planes, correct eye color, square jaw and deep muzzle, pronounced stop and correct chiseling are all important to the correct formation. ER: Expression is of primary importance. It is a ‘brick on brick’ head—two clean rectangles with absolutely paral- lel planes. The eyes (windows to the soul) show the dog’s intelligence and dignity. PW: The standard gives a clear understanding of head type. I cannot improve on that description. This is the essence of the breed. 9. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? PC: Possibly length of head needs to be watched that is not becoming so exaggerated that we lose our distinguished expression. KD: Length of muzzle and lip. I value and appreciate a good head on a Dane, but per standard, the length from the tip of the nose to the center of the stop should be equal to the length from the center of the stop to the rear of the slightly developed occiput, with lip to square the muzzle. Fashion has taken muzzle lengths so long that we’re see- ing too many down faces that are then, lacking stop. Lip is often so much as to appear cartoonish, occasionally hiding a lack of underjaw. J&JG: Not a trait of the breed, but more a trait of the times, lack of mentors. I feel without the help from the longtime breeders and mentors, we are losing style and type. I sat at a show this past weekend, mentoring two individuals who are wanting to apply to judge Great Danes. Several classes in, we were making concessions. You should be able to look at a class of dogs or bitches and their virtues should be more evident than their faults. One class in particular, both prospective judges asked me if they would be correct in withholding first place. Unfortunate- ly, I had to say yes. JL: Heads. SDS: Heads and rear angulation. WS: As is the case with many breeds I don’t know that we are overly concerned about the exaggeration of any spe- cific traits. We strive for continued improvement in areas where there are identifiable, general weaknesses. DST: Bad temperament. 10. How important is movement when you are judging and what do you look for? LC: Movement is very important, especially a very clean coming and going. LD: Movement is the ultimate test of soundness and temper- ament. Some Danes have a “lazy” gait which is incorrect. They should have long reach and powerful drive. ER: Very important. Long, easy strides, level back, proper tail-set and carriage, head held somewhat forward. Clean coming and going. Powerful and graceful, athletic. PW: While unsoundness is never an option, movement is of lesser importance to me than the proper outline of the
7. How important is size to breed type? LC: They are a giant breed, but balance is of utmost importance.
LD: Size is important, but not to the expense of soundness. A true 35" dog or 33" bitch is preferable to faulty speci- mens that are oversized. ER: “It is one of the giant Working breeds....” leads off the second sentence of the standard. So, yes size is impor- tant. They are becoming too large when their soundness is noticeably sacrificed, and too small when they are no longer commanding Great Danes. PW: Size is important. This is a giant breed. 8. What head characteristics are most important to breed type? LC: A sculptured headpiece, rectangular and expressive. A well defined stop and equal length from occiput to stop and stop to nose; straight and parallel planes. Full square jaw with a deep muzzle and under jaw. LD: The Great Dane head is extremely important in judging the breed. It sets type and is emphasized heavily in the standard. You should not have to look at the hindquarters
“A TRUE 35" DOG OR 33" BITCH IS PREFERABLE TO FAULTY SPECIMENS THAT ARE OVERSIZED.”
204 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2017
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