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

J&JG: We are very passionate about Great Danes. They are wonderful, loving animals. Once you own one, or should I say owned by one, you will always want them in your life. I also feel that people see their size but may not know how gentle, cuddly and loving they can be. JL: Temperament is very important in our breed. They are the gentle giant of dogs. SDS: I have taken care of many different breeds, but I’ve never seen another breed that has the personality of a Great Dane. They have such a human quality to them. WS: I suppose it would be expected for anyone to compliment and extol the virtues of their own breed. I am certainly no different. The Great Dane possesses majesty unlike that of any other breed. Everyone is passionate about his or her own breed. The people in the world of Great Danes are simply obsessive in that regard. To take poetic license from Rogers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific”, “There is nothing like a Dane”. DST: After living with Danes for 48 years, I feel they are such people-oriented dogs. They are very intuitive to their owner’s thoughts and feelings. They are, and should be, the gentle giants and “The Apollo of all Dogs”. SY: I will never cease to be captivated by this breed, from the funny puppy, when they look more like cartoon characters than dogs, to the regal adults, to the dignified seniors that look into your eyes and melt your soul. 7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? PC: Missing the dog show! My co-owner and I drove 3 hours to a show, groomed and walked the dogs and took up a position on a hill watching other breeds and talking when we were asked by another Dane exhibitor why we didn’t show our dogs today? We answered we are showing and she informed us Dane judging was over! KD: We look forward to the Golden Gate Kennel Club benched show every year. Although it can be a long exhausting weekend for us, the Danes are fabulous ambassadors. They enjoy the attention and the public education opportunity just can’t be matched. It’s quite simply good for dogs. In hindsight, this show has also been the source of most of our most entertaining interactions. The crowd is often thick around our booth and we always have several dogs and people to represent them, so we can keep the dogs comfortable/ walked, while also keeping up with the public. Comments about saddles and questions about how much they eat are common. One year we had Tristan, an adolescent Harlequin dog, and his new owner/handler with us. The dog was lounging on the bench and two middle-aged gentlemen in the crowd couldn’t quite seem to get over him. They stood for some time, looking at him and pointing. I was talking to someone in the crowd to the side of them, so curious, I inched closer. The one was quite animated, repeating to the other, “¡Huevos rosas!”

J&JG: We have so many funny stories from our many years. Most happened during trips to and from the dog shows. At a dog show, I would have to say the funniest I ever experienced was when we were at an outdoor show in Pennsylvania. A breeder, who will remain nameless (only to the new people as us oldies know exactly who she is), needed to use the porta-potty. Evidently, she was unable to find someone to hold her dog at the moment! She went inside the porta-potty and had the leash of the dog around her wrist and strung outside the door. You guessed it, the dog saw something he was interested in and took off. Never letting go of that leash, out flew the breeder with her pants down around her ankles. That probably happened about 30 years ago and we haven’t stopped talking about it. JL: Even though this did not seem funny at the time, I was standing with a black male Great Dane at a dog show, getting ready to go in the ring, when all of a sudden, I felt a feeling of warmth and comfort going down my leg. Oh my, my boy is peeing down my leg. After getting over the shock of what was happening, I realized he was peeing down my white skirt. Yuck! Don’t ever let your guard down. SDS: I was just starting out in the show ring and I had a young Harlequin bitch that I was exhibiting at the very prestigious Ladies Dog Club, which was the day after our specialty. I wore a lovely outfit that looked like a dress, but it was actually a matching top and skirt with an elastic waist. As I was waiting to go in the ring, my dog jumped up on me, got her paw caught in my elastic waistband and pulled my skirt down around my knees. I was completely mortified. That was around 1979 and you will still never see me in the ring with an elastic waistband to this day. WS: I suppose this story is not so much funny as it is unfor- tunate. I was exhibiting at shows in North Carolina. We had won the breed and were waiting for the Group. The Terrier Group was being judged and the Non-Sporting Group was next in line. The lady that had the Standard Poodle was waiting at ringside with her dog. Running down the aisle came a young boy with a wand of cot- ton candy. As he passed the Poodle, the candy came in contact with the dog’s coat by its hip. The boy continued to move forwarded and the entire wand of cotton candy unraveled along the side of the dog. The lady had a well- deserved panic attack. They had to call the EMTs to get her under control—a funny mental picture to be sure! SY: I think one of the funniest thing that’s happened to me was that while I was showing a puppy, the judge asked me to take the dog around. I somehow managed to trip on something and proceeded to stumble, arms flailing, twisting in every direction until I managed to regain my balance. So proud that I had not fallen, we arrived back at the judge who asked, “Would you like to do that again?” My reply was an immediate and rather loud, “Hell no!” Both the crowd and the judge seemed amused.

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