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Potential Buyers--Before You Even Look at that first puppy ad...

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  • Potential Buyers--Before You Even Look at that first puppy ad...

    Please, please, please…take the time to research the breed, learn what reputable breeding means, and start your search for a breeder…and not a puppy. I guarantee you WILL avoid potential frustration and heartache, and will more than likely save money (over the life of the pup) as well. What follows are suggestions on how to search and obtain a healthy, well-bred, companion (pet) puppy—information obtained from various breeders, owners, and dog-interest groups.

    1. Learn About The Breed

    How do you know a Dane is right for you and your family? What will help you learn if you are able to afford and keep a Dane for its entire lifetime? One aspect of responsible ownership means planning properly ahead of time so you do not have to rehome the dog later in its life due to size, maintenance and health costs, training, “incompatibility”, etc. Start by reading the online (free) book, ‘The Great Dane – Model of Nobility’ by Dane breeder Jill Swedlow. Click here to read it in it’s entirety before you do anything else.

    **edited 2-08-11**

    Jill removed the download for Model of Nobility when she released her new book. Jill's new book is available here: Living with Great Danes
    Model of Nobility is available at some sites like Amazon.

    **end of edit**


    The official standard for Great Danes - Great Dane Club of America

    Health concerns in the Great Dane:

    2a. Learn What Reputable Breeding Means

    The ‘reputable/ethical breeder’ – a term you’ll see used quite liberally, but what exactly does it mean? And truthfully speaking, what constitutes an ethical breeder has been a topic of debate on many a forum. .Having/displaying ethics involves *some* set of principles of right and wrong, and personal opinion does affect how each person feels about what those principles are.

    But, there are some standards that for the most part are universally accepted. Obviously there has to be, else how could unrelated breeders worldwide consistently produce high quality puppies? The fact is, there have to be some guiding set of principles, a good 'ethic', that make this possible. An internet search from various dog-related interest groups (and not just this forum or Dane forums) has revealed the following:

    -An ethical breeder works hard to acquire information both about dogs in general and about their breed in particular. This means more than reading a few books or internet articles about them. It means talking to or corresponding with many of the authorities in the field, and collecting information on breed, pedigrees, etc. An ethical breeder shows a tremendous amount of breed knowledge.
    -Ethical breeders are honest about the faults, as well as the advantages, of the breed. This means being honest about the inherited problems that are found in the breed and that the breed is not a fit for every family.
    -An ethical breeder always breeds with the goals of conformation, genetic health AND temperament. It is a disservice to the breed to do any less.
    -Ethical breeders do not breed young dogs.
    -Ethical breeders utilize genetic health testing as one tool in a breeding program. In addition, as tests become available for other inherited problems, reputable breeders have their breeding stock tested.
    -Ethical breeders provide some kind of a guarantee with their puppies, in addition to the most basic requirement of being guaranteed healthy when they leave the house.
    -Ethical breeders sell non-show quality puppies and dogs only on Limited (non-breeding) registration.
    -Ethical breeders provide long-term support and advice. They are available to those who buy puppies (both their own and others) and provide help and encouragement.
    -Ethical breeders are willing to take back puppies they have bred and find homes for them if they ever need to be placed again. They recognize that the decision to bring this life into the world was theirs and they take the responsibility of protecting it.
    -Ethical breeders take responsibility for their mistakes. This responsibility includes accidental breedings, breedings which turn out badly etc. They do NOT let their dogs go to animal shelters or rescue agencies.
    -Ethical breeders are fully aware that without good, stable temperament in a dog there is nothing. The best show or obedience dog is nothing if they are shy or aggressive. There is no room for breeders who knowingly breed poorly tempered dogs. While the nature vs. nurture debate still rages, it remains clear that temperament is a strongly heritable trait. Breeding nervous/aggressive dogs is irresponsible.
    -Ethical breeders do not tolerate animal suffering.
    -Ethical breeders utilize the show ring as an unbiased means of evaluating their dog's conformation. While showing doesn't define a breeder as reputable, NOT showing indicates irresponsibility towards the breed. Even long-term breeders, should be utilizing the show ring vs relying on their own personal judgment of their dogs.
    -Ethical breeders do NOT capitalize on breed trends. For Danes, this would include breeding poorly conformed 'Euro' Danes, 'rare/uncommon colors', or producing puppies 'in time for Christmas'.
    -Ethical breeders follow the state requirement for puppy selling by not selling a pup under 8 weeks old. Note that some states do not have this requirement, but the minimum age is still of concern as puppies need this time with their dam/siblings.

    2b. Learn about what you are entitled to in a puppy

    The difference between a well-bred litter and a poorly bred one is like night and day, just as you would note the differences if you compared a finely made garment to a cheap one. Note this: in every well-bred litter there are non-show quality puppies available for the buyer looking only for a pet. Good breeders don't breed 'show' litters and 'pet' litters'. They breed with the goal of producing a better dog, and quite often only a small percentage of the litter is considered potentially show quality/breedworthy. The rest are wonderful non-showable pups, with the same amount of thought put behind them as their show quality siblings. A breeder that shows isn't just a canine 'beauty-pageant' hobbyist, or an elitist snob LOL. They are showing their dogs for various reasons, one is for other experienced breed enthusiasts to assess the quality of the dogs to prove (or disprove) breedworthiness.

    Showing accomplishes many things, but just one thing it does for you, the buyer, is a chance to see the breeders dogs out in the public, in comparison with their peers' dogs, and in full view of all. It's a wonderful way to learn about the dogs, and see how their dogs react to the stresses of a dog show.

    The plain and simple fact is, buyers cannot afford to ignore what goes into the breeding of the puppy they choose.

    So the excuse, ‘I don’t need a show breeder, I’m only looking for a pet’, is just that…an excuse! Do NOT settle for breeders who refuse to breed responsibly!

    3. Learn how to look for reputable breeders; do not rely solely on the recommendations of others

    The best thing you can do is educate yourself on how to shop for a breeder and a puppy. Quite frankly, why ask for breeder recommendations from complete strangers; people who will not have to live with your choice, people who may or may not give you accurate or unbiased information?

    Your search and research should be for breeders, not puppies. You have to research to find someone who is breeding healthy, conformed (structurally correct) dogs--breeders whose goals are to produce pups better than the dogs preceding them. Breeders who have no goals other than to bring in extra $$ should be avoided like the plague. Think about it this way...if you want to buy a new car, you want to buy a quality, well-made vehicle, with a good history of minimal problems, and one where the dealer will provide long-term support and maintenance. Would you find the same looking in the classified ads for the cheapest car available? Of course not. I hate to compare a living thing with a piece of common property, but I'm hoping you'll see my point in the illustration.

    Now...the next step (you should be asking yourself this right now) is how to choose a reputable breeder, with so many bad ones out there? You can't properly screen breeders if you don't know what you're looking for. So turn to the experts who can help:

    How to "shop" for a breeder and choose a puppy wisely, by J. P. Yousha of Chromadane: This includes the 'secret to buying wisely'.

    The ABC's of Buying A Purebred Pup, by Jo Kurtz of Hof Kurz Great Danes

    How to Sort through breeders and weird websites:

    Buyer Beware- Do's and Don'ts:

    It sounds like lot, but it's a necessary part of buyer self-education to help you pick the pup that will bring the most happiness to you for the next several years to come. It will also help avoid the heartache of the many problems being seen in poor quality Danes today because of disreputable breeders...FWIW, even the breeders that seem "nice" outwardly are contributing to the problem. Being a ethical, reputable breeder entails much more than a nice phone voice, and/or a seeming great love for animals. As mentioned earlier, there are principles and ethics that play a large part.

    As per JP's article above, your next action should be...visit shows. You can go to, select your state and look for shows in your area (look for all-breed (AB) shows thru the kennel clubs or Specialties (S) through the local Dane club.) Go, purchase the catalog and learn!

    Hopefully the many would-be Dane owners out there can and will take advantage of this information so as to have obtain a happy, healthy dog for years to come.
    A dedicated Dane owner
    Last edited by dolmod; 02-08-2011, 04:22 PM.

  • #2
    What an excellent resource you've created!

    Foto Danes

    Ch Payaso Flighty Star Alliance RN CGC CHIC


    • #3
      I dont think this information can be given enough times!

      Great job Cindy!
      Divine Acres Great Danes
      Divine Acres The Legend "Bruce" 5 1/2 months old..5th generation of DA Danes!


      • #4
        Great Post !!!



        • #5
          Great job Cindy! This thread needs to stay at the TOP!

          Michele, Roscoe, Ava, Romeo, (RIP Daphne)
          Be part of the solution by not being part of the problem. NO BYB's!!


          • #6
            Originally posted by DaphneandRoscoe View Post
            Great job Cindy! This thread needs to stay at the TOP!

            Capone & Sookie


            • #7
              I'd like to add that even if you are looking for an adult or older pup that needs a home, these same breeders may have something or know of a well bred dog available to the right home, or point you to a GOOD rescue they support as dog lovers.

              The next twelve years of your life is a long time. A couple of months digging around online and meeting people before you make the leap will NEVER be regretted, even if you go with a totally different breed.


              • #8
                This is a very good article! Very well written I think that everyone that is thinking of getting a pet should read this.


                • #9
                  LOVE IT! Wonderful resource!


                  • #10
                    GOOD JOB Cindy!

                    Couldn't Debbie or Paul make it a sticky that stays on top since over 70% of the newbies need exactly this kind of information?
                    With best regards,
                    Jeannette Luca & Leo and now Lilly & Sophie


                    • #11
                      Was just going to ask if we can pin this post. Should be "required reading" for anyone new to Danes -- before they start looking for puppies.
                      Lissa's furkids: Jupiter (RIP), Merlot (RIP), Savannah, and Poet
                      Visit them at:
                      AKC CGC Evaluator #9661 since 2003
                      Feeding RMB since 2001


                      • #12
                        Definately a must read! Great job Cindy!

                        Lori, Desi & Grimm
                        RIP my beloved Murray 5/17/07-09/13/12
                        Join Boise Danes ...!/
                        Proud to be a Boise State Bronco!


                        • #13
                          Excellent!! Cindy. Nice job.
                          Linda and Rocky
                          Jesse 1998-2007
                          Harley 1998-2002
                          Breeze 1973-1982


                          • #14
                            Perfect! Thanks for taking the time to do this, Cindy!

                            Dori: 7 years (TDI, CGC), Toby: RIP SWEET BOY (CGC), Cami: 7 years (TDI, CGC)



                            • #15
                              Great Job Cindy.

                              Now to get the buyers to read BEFORE they purchase a puppy.