Great Dane Breed Magazine - Showsight

great dane Q&A

with PAt CiAmPA, KAthleen DAvis, John & Jesse GerszewsKi, Joy lobAto, susAn DAvis shAw, bill stebbins, DAle suzAnne tArbox & susAn yotive

SUSAN YOTIVE I reside in Marysville, Ohio. I am semi-retired; I work part- time and spend the evening sitting on my front porch watch- ing UFOs (unidentified farming objects) drive by. It’s been over 40 years that I’ve been in the dog world. I have mostly shown Great Danes but I have owned and shown Pembroke Welsh Corgis. I received my license to judge in 1998.

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. Unfortunately, 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. SY: No, I believe the breed is in good condition. 4. 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

1. Describe the breed in three words. PC: Majestic, balanced and loyal.

KD: Devoted, gentle and impressive. J&JG: Noble, distinctive and loving. JL: Remarkable, dependable and gentle. SDS: Gentle, huge and trainable. WS: Noble, loyal and loving. This breed has a preponderance of fans outside of those that actually own them. DST: Impressive, balanced and sound. SY: Elegance, nobility and power. 2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? PC: Correct bred type and a distinguished expressive head combined with powerful, balanced movement! KD: Balance and soundness—of both body and mind. This is a giant breed; soundness in structure and temperament is absolutely critical for health and longevity. J&JG: 1) Temperament. The breed is too large to have any- thing but a stable, confident temperament. 2) Head. The head is really what defines it as a Great Dane. Parallel planes and pretty expression are a must. 3) Balance. Overall balance and good proportions. JL: I want to see an overall balance of structure and movement. SDS: Temperament is first on my list, followed by head and correct movement. WS: The most important traits for the breed are those that generate the image of “The Apollo of Dogs”. Aside from the desired specific anatomical aspects as defined in the breed standard, the Dane must possess great size, completely stable temperament and an overall appearance that gives it a nobility possessed by no other breed. The whole should be greater than the sum of the parts. DST: Good temperament, angles, soundness and head type. SY: Accused many times of being a headhunter, what I really love is a beautiful, balanced outline. I want no question in my mind whether it is a dog or a bitch. Of course, a clean chiseled head on a long arched neck with lovely expression doesn’t hurt. 3. 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.

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