JUDGING THE GREAT DANE
I ’ve had this wonderful breed (or rather the breed has had me), for 47 years and I learn something new all the time. I am considered by others to be a breed expert. I find that strange because I consider my mentors, most of whom are gone now, the breed experts, not me. Nonetheless, I have been given this assignment and will do my best to explain judging the Great Dane. JUDGING THE GREAT DANE Being a non-coated breed, there is little need for a lot of hands on. You can see most of what you need to see—the balance, the angles, the topline, the croup—by just look- ing. Danes are a square breed and well-angled, so the first thing I look for is a balanced dog: height to length, bone to body, front angle to rear angle. Ideally, you are looking for a smooth flow from the clean, tapered neck down into the withers, sloping smoothly into the short, hard back, continuing to the VERY slightly sloping croup. This is where the elegance of the Great Dane is created. A male should carry more bone and body than a bitch, though neither should be fine in bone or lacking in body. Ideally, a Dane male will be 34 inches or more at the withers. Any male (even a puppy) is to be no less than 30 inches tall. Ideally, a female will stand 31-32 inches tall at the withers, and must be a minimum of 28 inches. These height requirements—30 inches for males and 28 inches for females—are disqualifications. All things being equal, the larger Dane is preferred, but not at the expense of overall soundness and balance.
BY DALE SUZANNE TARBOX
Dale Suzanne Tarbox has been showing Great Danes for over 50 years. There are dogs of her breeding in the pedigrees of many of the top show dogs and producers here in the US and in many foreign countries.
188 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 2020
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