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  • Just got home from a dog show - I have questions!

    I went to a local dog show today specifically to meet some local Dane people and to get as much information as I could. I got the contact information for a breeder just down the road from me who has agreed to let me come to her kennels, look at Titan, and ask some general questions about how to get started showing. She also told me about some free walk-in handling classes offered at a local dog training club, which is awesome and I'll definitely be going.

    All of this information and the show has left me with some questions, though. Lots of questions, actually, but I'll just ask a few here.

    1. About the handling class - if it's for beginners, should I be expected to come equipped with *any* knowledge whatsoever? I haven't worked on stacking with Titan or on him being handled by strangers. Should I work on those things before I take him so I don't hold the class up with my lack of knowledge?

    2. I've been informed by several Dane people at the show (very politely) that there is no way a natural eared mantle would get looked at for a potential win around here. Not sure if it's a regional thing or what, but the show had 11 fawns, 1 blue, 1 mantle, 2 black and 2 harles. 3 of the top 4 placers were fawns. The colored dogs (mantles and harles) barely got looked at. Apparently this happens a lot in this area - solid colors are heavily favored. Is this the case everywhere?

    3. How do you seasoned showers deal with what you consider to be unfair or biased judging? There were two dogs (the blue and a fawn) who were (I thought, and it was agreed upon by other Dane people who were onlookers) were the two best dogs in the ring. The fawn is one point away from his championship. The blue finished his championship at 9 months old. They were both heavily built dogs. They were also both young - the blue is 13 months, the fawn was 15 months. One placed 5th, the other did not place. An older competitor took the breed win. One woman said "this judge likes lighter, smaller dogs". Does this happen a lot?

    Other than that - what short tidbits of advice would you have for someone who owns a Dane that is not a show prospect, but would eventually like to give showing a shot? Should I just take Titan and get ignored by the judge but get experience in the ring? Or should I practice handling in low pressure classes and wait until I get a prospect puppy (probably in summer 2017)?

    Thanks for any information! I was really excited to meet other people with Danes and to learn. They were all very welcoming and friendly and took the time to talk with me outside of the ring, which I thought was wonderful.

    Oh, and as a side note, Titan looks freaking tiny now. The 13 month old Blue weighed 155 and there was a 10 month old harle that weighed 145 (holy crap, she was huge).
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  • #2
    1. About the handling class - if it's for beginners, should I be expected to come equipped with *any* knowledge whatsoever? I haven't worked on stacking with Titan or on him being handled by strangers. Should I work on those things before I take him so I don't hold the class up with my lack of knowledge?

    2. I've been informed by several Dane people at the show (very politely) that there is no way a natural eared mantle would get looked at for a potential win around here. Not sure if it's a regional thing or what, but the show had 11 fawns, 1 blue, 1 mantle, 2 black and 2 harles. 3 of the top 4 placers were fawns. The colored dogs (mantles and harles) barely got looked at. Apparently this happens a lot in this area - solid colors are heavily favored. Is this the case everywhere?

    3. How do you seasoned showers deal with what you consider to be unfair or biased judging? There were two dogs (the blue and a fawn) who were (I thought, and it was agreed upon by other Dane people who were onlookers) were the two best dogs in the ring. The fawn is one point away from his championship. The blue finished his championship at 9 months old. They were both heavily built dogs. They were also both young - the blue is 13 months, the fawn was 15 months. One placed 5th, the other did not place. An older competitor took the breed win. One woman said "this judge likes lighter, smaller dogs". Does this happen a lot?

    Other than that - what short tidbits of advice would you have for someone who owns a Dane that is not a show prospect, but would eventually like to give showing a shot? Should I just take Titan and get ignored by the judge but get experience in the ring? Or should I practice handling in low pressure classes and wait until I get a prospect puppy (probably in summer 2017)?

    Just wait and let them teach you in class. As a beginner you won't be expected to know things.

    Fawns and brindles are generally better quality than the color dogs. It isn't that the judge doesn't like a particular color, it just isn't as good as the fawns.

    Judges do have their preferences as to build and sometimes color. There's nothing you can do about unfair judging other than don't enter under that judge again. Lack of entries tells them they are doing a poor job of judging. I would practice with your dog in matches and learn how to handle correctly so when you get your show prospect you can enter regular shows and sort of know the ropes. You learn by doing so you will improve as you start showing.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Hiraeth View Post
      I went to a local dog show today specifically to meet some local Dane people and to get as much information as I could. I got the contact information for a breeder just down the road from me who has agreed to let me come to her kennels, look at Titan, and ask some general questions about how to get started showing. She also told me about some free walk-in handling classes offered at a local dog training club, which is awesome and I'll definitely be going.

      All of this information and the show has left me with some questions, though. Lots of questions, actually, but I'll just ask a few here.

      1. About the handling class - if it's for beginners, should I be expected to come equipped with *any* knowledge whatsoever? I haven't worked on stacking with Titan or on him being handled by strangers. Should I work on those things before I take him so I don't hold the class up with my lack of knowledge?

      This depends on the class, not all are the same. I would contact someone (either someone at the club/facility who offers the class or the instructor if you know who it is) and just ask. Our local places assume that you know the basics but they welcome total newbies too. It's usually obvious pretty quick if you have no idea what you are doing and the instructor will give you a little extra guidance. You will learn a lot just by watching the others.

      2. I've been informed by several Dane people at the show (very politely) that there is no way a natural eared mantle would get looked at for a potential win around here. Not sure if it's a regional thing or what, but the show had 11 fawns, 1 blue, 1 mantle, 2 black and 2 harles. 3 of the top 4 placers were fawns. The colored dogs (mantles and harles) barely got looked at. Apparently this happens a lot in this area - solid colors are heavily favored. Is this the case everywhere?

      Color is harder to show than non (ie fawn/brindle) and natural ears are harder to show than cropped. It's not impossible but the odds are not in your favor.

      3. How do you seasoned showers deal with what you consider to be unfair or biased judging? There were two dogs (the blue and a fawn) who were (I thought, and it was agreed upon by other Dane people who were onlookers) were the two best dogs in the ring. The fawn is one point away from his championship. The blue finished his championship at 9 months old. They were both heavily built dogs. They were also both young - the blue is 13 months, the fawn was 15 months. One placed 5th, the other did not place. An older competitor took the breed win. One woman said "this judge likes lighter, smaller dogs". Does this happen a lot?

      Keep it all in perspective. KNOW YOUR JUDGES. Research them and see what they like. When you enter a show you are paying for THAT judge's opinion. Don't ask for an opinion and then be ungrateful for it. There are judges that I will not show to for various reasons; either I've seen them be far too political too many times or they don't like blue or they don't like the type that I am exhibiting. Don't waste your time and energy on them unless you are strictly going for fun and practice.

      Other than that - what short tidbits of advice would you have for someone who owns a Dane that is not a show prospect, but would eventually like to give showing a shot? Should I just take Titan and get ignored by the judge but get experience in the ring? Or should I practice handling in low pressure classes and wait until I get a prospect puppy (probably in summer 2017)?

      My recommendation would be to start going to handling classes and learn how to exhibit your dog properly and efficiently. Then I would recommend entering an International (IABCA or ICE) or UKC show and getting a feel for it there. If you are super successful and feeling very brave and confident, then enter an AKC show under a judge that will give you a fair look. Generally speaking though, in cases like yours, I typically advise against showing in AKC. It can be very overwhelming and competitive and more often than not, the AKC show ring scares off more newbies than it attracts. When you have a pet (assumption here, I know nothing of your dog/linage/show potential), natural ears, and color.... well, the odds are already greatly stacked against you. Most who attempt this end up getting discouraged, disgruntled and quickly lose interest. Much better to start with a good show prospect once you have some training and a little experience under your belt.

      Thanks for any information! I was really excited to meet other people with Danes and to learn. They were all very welcoming and friendly and took the time to talk with me outside of the ring, which I thought was wonderful.

      Oh, and as a side note, Titan looks freaking tiny now. The 13 month old Blue weighed 155 and there was a 10 month old harle that weighed 145 (holy crap, she was huge).
      And this blurb is just because it won't let me post without it...
      *Jennifer*
      Member GDC of Mid-Florida
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      • #4
        I'm following this with interest too, I'd like to show for fun at some point. Not with Peach, of course, but at some point with a show prospect. Side question really quick: to show AKC, the dog must be on full registration, right? In looking for a breeder, if you outline your intentions of showing, maybe trying to get a championship, but NOT interested in breeding/abiding by no breeding contract, is it a red flag if the breeder only sells "pet" dogs on limited registration? I've been doing a little ground work trying to find a good breeder and that cropped up with one of them.
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        Peach, merle Great Dane
        Born July 7 2014
        Peach & Emily!

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        • #5
          Yes, the pup has to be AKC registered. Both parents need to have AKC numbers. Buy from a breeder that shows and will work with you.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by emeko View Post
            I'm following this with interest too, I'd like to show for fun at some point. Not with Peach, of course, but at some point with a show prospect. Side question really quick: to show AKC, the dog must be on full registration, right? In looking for a breeder, if you outline your intentions of showing, maybe trying to get a championship, but NOT interested in breeding/abiding by no breeding contract, is it a red flag if the breeder only sells "pet" dogs on limited registration? I've been doing a little ground work trying to find a good breeder and that cropped up with one of them.
            As in only sells pet dogs altogether, or only sells the pet puppies on limited registration? If the breeder doesn't show and only sells pets, that would be a red flag. I believe many breeders will co-own puppies that are going to show homes, and they might not want to sell their show potential puppies to pet homes. Dogs do have to be on full registration to show.
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            Chaucey
            Asaah ~ xxx Asaah LaLa, CGC, registered therapy dog

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            • #7
              Originally posted by oceanbluedanes View Post
              This depends on the class, not all are the same. I would contact someone (either someone at the club/facility who offers the class or the instructor if you know who it is) and just ask. Our local places assume that you know the basics but they welcome total newbies too. It's usually obvious pretty quick if you have no idea what you are doing and the instructor will give you a little extra guidance. You will learn a lot just by watching the others.
              Thanks so much for your responses. I was hoping you'd have a moment to respond, as I know you show at a very high level.

              I'll call up the training club and ask what they expect. Titan is well behaved, as far as 6 month old Danes go (I think), but I would want to show up and be prepared.

              Originally posted by oceanbluedanes View Post
              Color is harder to show than non (ie fawn/brindle) and natural ears are harder to show than cropped. It's not impossible but the odds are not in your favor.
              Why is this? Is fawn just the preferred color in the breed?

              Originally posted by oceanbluedanes View Post
              Keep it all in perspective. KNOW YOUR JUDGES. Research them and see what they like. When you enter a show you are paying for THAT judge's opinion. Don't ask for an opinion and then be ungrateful for it. There are judges that I will not show to for various reasons; either I've seen them be far too political too many times or they don't like blue or they don't like the type that I am exhibiting. Don't waste your time and energy on them unless you are strictly going for fun and practice.
              This makes a lot of sense. How do you find out which judges do and don't like your type? Just by entering a show and experiencing their judging firsthand, or word of mouth? It makes sense - I used to show horses, and some judges definitely had preferences that we were aware of.

              Originally posted by oceanbluedanes View Post
              My recommendation would be to start going to handling classes and learn how to exhibit your dog properly and efficiently. Then I would recommend entering an International (IABCA or ICE) or UKC show and getting a feel for it there. If you are super successful and feeling very brave and confident, then enter an AKC show under a judge that will give you a fair look. Generally speaking though, in cases like yours, I typically advise against showing in AKC. It can be very overwhelming and competitive and more often than not, the AKC show ring scares off more newbies than it attracts. When you have a pet (assumption here, I know nothing of your dog/linage/show potential), natural ears, and color.... well, the odds are already greatly stacked against you. Most who attempt this end up getting discouraged, disgruntled and quickly lose interest. Much better to start with a good show prospect once you have some training and a little experience under your belt.
              That sounds like a really good way to start for me. I hope that people will be understanding if I enter the ring with Titan, and not laugh or whisper behind their hands. I'm going to have my local breeder evaluate him to see what she thinks. My breeder thought he was a prospect at 8 weeks old, but I'd like an unbiased and impartial opinion before going further. Titan's mother was not finished - she had 12 points when my breeder had an accident and could no longer show. His father is finished.

              I don't know if I'd end up discouraged or disgruntled unless fellow exhibitors were rude. I think, by the time I got into the ring, I'd have a very clear idea of what I should expect. Which isn't much, considering how many things I have going against me. The biggest thing I want is experience. Titan is calm, friendly, good natured, biddable and learns quickly, so I think he'd be a good dog to *learn* with, but probably not a good dog to campaign with any seriousness.

              Thanks again! I'm going to start going to handling classes and picking up as much knowledge as I can
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              • #8
                It sounds like today was fun and informative. I’m so glad everyone was welcoming and polite to you while explaining some of the difficulties of showing color lines and those with natural ears. Generally the show folks will try to be positive. It’s to their benefit to encourage more people to get out and show. The more dogs competing the more points that can be awarded. Big shows are good for everyone.

                It’s true that it’s more difficult to finish dogs outside of the fawn and brindle category. Partially that’s because breeding them is less of a challenge…color wise. If you breed a fawn to a fawn…or a brindle…you will get a fawn or a brindle. Both are show colors so now you can move on to picking the best individuals to take to the ring. There are quite simply more to choose from which means more quality individuals. With Harl/Mantle breeding you will probably only get a few (at best) show marks in a litter. Sometimes those aren’t the best individuals in the litter (the pup with the best conformation might be a merle which you can’t show) so you actually have NO show prospects….bummer.

                Then of course comes the second challenge…natural ears. It’s tough to show in the U.S. with natural ears. Cropped ears are not required but until the AKC bans ear cropping, natural ears will always be at a disadvantage. That in itself if probably the main reason I will likely never go back to the show ring. I have cropped puppies before but will never do it again. It’s just a personal thing…I will never mutilate an animal for human vanity. That’s just me. Others can do it and I won’t condemn…it’s just not for me.

                Third challenge…politics. I’m not talking about personal judges preferences. Every judge will have a personal preference. Some will like smaller and lighter…as you mentioned about today’s judge. Some will like them with more bone. Some will be all about a beautiful head. As Ocean Blue said…you pick your judges. I get that….politics are different and unfortunately they are a big part of showing. Some really great individuals will never earn a championship because of politics…it’s just the way it is. You can always consider a handler…especially if your handler is a judge or someone who is well known. If a judge sees another judge in the ring he or she will almost always give them a better look because he might be the one being judged next week…or next month. That’s the way politics works and a handler is one way to get your dog on equal ground. The down side is, it would take the fun out of it if you are really looking forward to showing yourself. Plus that would add an extra expense to showing.

                I’m not saying this to discourage you from showing. Showing can be a lot of fun and rewarding too. (I only showed Danes a little but LIVED the national horse show circuit). It’s just good to be aware of the realities too. If you want to show you should go ahead and give it a try (maybe in one of the other sanctioned shows…not AKC) otherwise you will never know if you like it.

                I would love to see more natural eared Danes out there. If it ever became commonplace I might consider heading back to the show ring myself.

                Oh and you mentioned how BIG some of the dogs were. Titan is still a baby…about 6 months right? He will be a lot different at 10 – 12 months.
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                Ashley (8/28/06), Sweet Pea (7/31/15) and Kaylee (3/30/07) Love my spotty girls!!
                R.I.P. My Sweet Molly (12/17/2000 5/28/13) I will never forget you.

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                • #9
                  Did you go to Novi?
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                  Chaucey
                  Asaah ~ xxx Asaah LaLa, CGC, registered therapy dog

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                  • #10
                    There's an absolutely stunning natural eared fawn bitch I know of from a very high profile show breeder that couldn't get a point. She's everything you could want in a female dane from nose to tail, and even with the well-known breeder on the lead, the judges wouldn't put her up. A real pity, IMO.
                    Tracy
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                    Mouse April 2010
                    Echo -- run free, Sweetie! Jan 9, 2007 - April 24, 2014 Lost to osteosarcoma at 7 years, 3 months. RIP.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ilovemydanes View Post
                      It sounds like today was fun and informative. I’m so glad everyone was welcoming and polite to you while explaining some of the difficulties of showing color lines and those with natural ears. Generally the show folks will try to be positive. It’s to their benefit to encourage more people to get out and show. The more dogs competing the more points that can be awarded. Big shows are good for everyone.

                      It’s true that it’s more difficult to finish dogs outside of the fawn and brindle category. Partially that’s because breeding them is less of a challenge…color wise. If you breed a fawn to a fawn…or a brindle…you will get a fawn or a brindle. Both are show colors so now you can move on to picking the best individuals to take to the ring. There are quite simply more to choose from which means more quality individuals. With Harl/Mantle breeding you will probably only get a few (at best) show marks in a litter. Sometimes those aren’t the best individuals in the litter (the pup with the best conformation might be a merle which you can’t show) so you actually have NO show prospects….bummer.

                      Then of course comes the second challenge…natural ears. It’s tough to show in the U.S. with natural ears. Cropped ears are not required but until the AKC bans ear cropping, natural ears will always be at a disadvantage. That in itself if probably the main reason I will likely never go back to the show ring. I have cropped puppies before but will never do it again. It’s just a personal thing…I will never mutilate an animal for human vanity. That’s just me. Others can do it and I won’t condemn…it’s just not for me.

                      Third challenge…politics. I’m not talking about personal judges preferences. Every judge will have a personal preference. Some will like smaller and lighter…as you mentioned about today’s judge. Some will like them with more bone. Some will be all about a beautiful head. As Ocean Blue said…you pick your judges. I get that….politics are different and unfortunately they are a big part of showing. Some really great individuals will never earn a championship because of politics…it’s just the way it is. You can always consider a handler…especially if your handler is a judge or someone who is well known. If a judge sees another judge in the ring he or she will almost always give them a better look because he might be the one being judged next week…or next month. That’s the way politics works and a handler is one way to get your dog on equal ground. The down side is, it would take the fun out of it if you are really looking forward to showing yourself. Plus that would add an extra expense to showing.

                      I’m not saying this to discourage you from showing. Showing can be a lot of fun and rewarding too. (I only showed Danes a little but LIVED the national horse show circuit). It’s just good to be aware of the realities too. If you want to show you should go ahead and give it a try (maybe in one of the other sanctioned shows…not AKC) otherwise you will never know if you like it.

                      I would love to see more natural eared Danes out there. If it ever became commonplace I might consider heading back to the show ring myself.

                      Oh and you mentioned how BIG some of the dogs were. Titan is still a baby…about 6 months right? He will be a lot different at 10 – 12 months.
                      Thanks for the information! It makes sense that there will be more quality fawns and brindles to choose from as opposed to the other colors. It's just sad that other colors aren't looked at as much because of that.

                      I'm looking forward to handling, so I don't think I'd want to hire a handler. Part of the fun for me would be interacting with my dog in the ring, going out there as a team and either winning as a team or not placing as a team. I know that it may put me at a political disadvantage, but I'm used to it. When I showed on the hunter jumper circuit, it was all about politics. The judges knew which horses had just been imported to the tune of $100K or more, and which people they were unwilling to make unhappy with their placings. I was never at the receiving end of that kind of win - I always had to earn mine on my much cheaper mare that I had bought as a filly and trained myself. I'm used to the odds being stacked against me and to the disappointment of frequent failure but the occasional true thrill of winning and knowing you earned it

                      And yes, Titan is just barely over six months old. It's incredible to think he may be along the size lines of those dogs in just four to six short months!

                      Originally posted by oshagcj914 View Post
                      Did you go to Novi?
                      I did! I heard the turn out was better yesterday, but I couldn't make it for the Dane's ring time yesterday afternoon, so today it was! Do you know anyone who was there?

                      I'd like to go to some different shows. A few participants commented that the fact that the Novi show allows pets is a big turn off and decreases the number of exhibitors.

                      Overall, though, it was a fun and friendly atmosphere. All of the Dane people were welcoming, which I have heard isn't necessarily the case with some other breeds.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mnmouse View Post
                        There's an absolutely stunning natural eared fawn bitch I know of from a very high profile show breeder that couldn't get a point. She's everything you could want in a female dane from nose to tail, and even with the well-known breeder on the lead, the judges wouldn't put her up. A real pity, IMO.
                        That is a pity. If judges can't see past the ears to the dog, then we're going to eliminate qualified (and exceptional) breeding stock by not allowing them to be finished.

                        It makes me want to show natural eared dogs just to prove it can be done. But if high profile breeders can't make it happen, I highly doubt I could, either.

                        I wonder if/when the ideas about cropping will change here as they have in Europe. Aesthetically I prefer cropped dogs, but I think that both cropped and natural dogs should be able to be campaigned successfully if they're quality dogs who fit the standard.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hiraeth View Post
                          I did! I heard the turn out was better yesterday, but I couldn't make it for the Dane's ring time yesterday afternoon, so today it was! Do you know anyone who was there?

                          I'd like to go to some different shows. A few participants commented that the fact that the Novi show allows pets is a big turn off and decreases the number of exhibitors.

                          Overall, though, it was a fun and friendly atmosphere. All of the Dane people were welcoming, which I have heard isn't necessarily the case with some other breeds.
                          Most of the members of my raw feeding co-op live in Michigan and there's quite a few who breed and show. I wanted to go yesterday, but instead I decided to adult (aka work, booo). I might go to the Indy winter classic bullmastiff specialty and I think there's an all breed show too on Valentine's weekend, depending on what the husband wants to do. Have you been to any Dane specialities? Those are the most fun. I've been going to the Hoosier Dane Club speciality and I always go to the Old Fort Cluster show here too.
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                          Chaucey
                          Asaah ~ xxx Asaah LaLa, CGC, registered therapy dog

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hiraeth View Post
                            The judges knew which horses had just been imported to the tune of $100K or more, and which people they were unwilling to make unhappy with their placings. I was never at the receiving end of that kind of win - I always had to earn mine on my much cheaper mare that I had bought as a filly and trained myself. I'm used to the odds being stacked against me and to the disappointment of frequent failure but the occasional true thrill of winning and knowing you earned it .
                            I know exactly what you mean. Nancy Walton Laurie (one of the Walmart heirs...and one of the richest people in the world) was one of my weekend competitors. I had raised and trained my own mare but could still beat her ... sometimes... but not at the World Show or the Congress where the politics were ridiculous!! Her trainer would warm up the horse...help her up and hand her the reins at the gate while I was doing everything myself. It's OK...I got a ton of satisfaction from my accomplishments too. (and the fact that I watched my girl being born
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                            Ashley (8/28/06), Sweet Pea (7/31/15) and Kaylee (3/30/07) Love my spotty girls!!
                            R.I.P. My Sweet Molly (12/17/2000 5/28/13) I will never forget you.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by oshagcj914 View Post
                              As in only sells pet dogs altogether, or only sells the pet puppies on limited registration? If the breeder doesn't show and only sells pets, that would be a red flag. I believe many breeders will co-own puppies that are going to show homes, and they might not want to sell their show potential puppies to pet homes. Dogs do have to be on full registration to show.
                              In the email it says although many of our dogs are champions most of our dogs are sold for pets. All are sold on a non breeding contract. I will have to clarify if they sell pups on full registration to show without breeding. I really would like to learn and go through the showing experience. I'm looking into UKC to for fun with Peach for now.
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                              Peach, merle Great Dane
                              Born July 7 2014
                              Peach & Emily!

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