“For many decades a breed existed in Germany, or really a number of similar breeds, of large, powerful dogs used for hunting, farm work and as protectors, ALL RESEMBLING ONE ANOTHER AND THE PRESENT DAY GREAT DANE, except they were coarser than the English Dane.”
concentrate on the unquestioned antiquity of the breed rather than the name. Th ere has been confusion between the Irish Wolfhound and the Great Dane, but there is no doubt the two breeds existed side by side, if the Irish Wolfhound existed at all and was not, in fact, the Great Dane and it is even di ffi cult to know to which breed some earlier writers refer to when writing of the Irish Wolfhound. Nevertheless, preponderance of records concludes the English-bred Great Dane, (where first known by that name) came from the Matin or Masti ff (mixed with a little Wolfhound or Greyhound blood) which in time, had descended from the Masti ff of Tibet. Whichever name we elect, it does not a ff ect the antiquity of the breed, as we have ample evidence of the early existence of a dog similar to the Great Dane in the paintings of Snyder, Rubens, Veronese, etc. Plus, there is strong evidence of a dog, similar to the Dane in Egypt, Greece, Denmark, France and England; however, strangely, we have no evidence to convince us of his earlier existence in Germany. It is claimed that the Deutsche Dog- ge, under other names, was at home in Germany, before the discovery of gun powder. Th e claim is well substantiated by old German steel and copper engrav- ings and with the bow, spear and club, accompanied by one or two of these big boarhounds. Tradition tells us, in ear- lier centuries, only knights and noblemen were privileged to own such dogs. Th ese huge Doggen, for more than 100 years, were kept on large estates in the Rhine- land as protection against robbing bands
of Frenchmen. Although it is proven that the predecessors of the present-day Ger- man bred Dane were in that country for centuries, it was not until 1885 that the breeding of these dogs achieved great popularity. From this time until 1890, one hundred and fifty or more Danes would be exhibited in one show, although the German Doggen Club was not found- ed in Berlin until 1888. For many decades a breed existed in Germany, or really a number of similar breeds, of large, powerful dogs used for hunting, farm work and as protectors, all resembling one another and the present day Great Dane, except they were coarser than the English Dane. It is claimed this is because of the absence of Greyhound blood in the German-bred Dane. Th ese dogs were earlier called Boarhund, Tiger Dog, German Masti ff , Hatzrude, Sau- fangeer, Ulmer Dogge, Metzerghund, Danish Dogge and Deutsche Dogge. Th ey di ff ered but slightly, and the names where they were raised or used, although they evidently came from the same ancestry. In 1880, in Berlin, the German breed- ers had determined to classify these large, powerful dogs as one Breed, to be known as “Deutsche Dogge” and that all other designations, even the name “Great Dane”, should be abolished “as it was almost impossible to distinguish between the dogs called by the several names, and much mischief was being done”. It was not until 1891, however, that the German Club adopted a precise o ffi cial standard. “ Th e Great Dane Club” was estab- lished in England in 1883. Claimed to be the oldest dog club in the world, and was
responsible for producing the rules which form the basis of those now governing dog shows across the world. However, it was in the last century, in Germany, the foundations were laid for the Great Dane as we know him today. Germany took this dog for her National Breed, calling it “Deutsche Dogge”. Th ere was much patri- otism for the Fatherland, wealthy industri- alists and businessmen took it as a chal- lenge to develop this magnificent dog, to the point it became known as “ Th e Apollo of Dogdom”. Between Wars Large kennels were developed in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Amer- ica, and as time progressed, the big, wealthy breeders imported and exported stock between these countries, using only selective bloodlines, kept only the best, and culling the ‘lesser’ whelps according to their interpretation of the Standard, developing great continuity of some very influential bloodlines. Whenever their stock was exhibited at shows, the dogs that didn’t make the grade “went back to the drawing board”. As a result in the 50s through the 70s and 80s, one could actually recognize the di ff erent bloodlines when in the show rings. With the amazing advances in technol- ogy, the ability to bank frozen semen, or ship fresh-chilled semen, we no longer are limited in our breeding choices, enabling one to apply insight, research and science as never before, to produce the best of the best, from the proven bloodlines of so many beautiful dogs—alive or deceased. Each day is history in the making and the beat goes on!
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