– Yummy! –
May 31, 2004 – For the past
several weeks we've been following a litter of three fawn Great Dane puppies
and Glenn Niske. I used the puppies as a "visual enticement" for a discussion
what constitutes responsible breeding.
Now I'd like
ends and add some comments.
About the Puppies
Cindy and Glenn live nearby, so it was easy for me to
in the car every weekend to visit and photograph their puppies. I want
Cindy for allowing me access to Hallie's litter, especially when the puppies
less than a week old.
For those of you who would like to know a little more about the dam and sire,
is CH VZTop Seventh Heaven's Hallelujah. The sire of the litter was CH Mister
Rhett Butler of VZTop.
Cost of Breeding
The primary goal of this series was to educate the public
how important it is to find a reputable breeder and to explain why it costs so
much to produce a quality litter. Although well-bred puppies might seem expensive
money on their puppies. The cost of a well-bred puppy simply reflects
a quality litter.
I provided a list of important pre-breeding
health tests for heritable disorders
described each of them. These tests are recommended by the Great Dane Club of
America. If you are screening a breeder, you should ask which tests have
been performed and request verifiable documentation.
Am I suggesting you should never, ever buy a puppy from a breeder who doesn't
do all the recommended health
Not quite. Some well-respected breeders who are of the "old
will tell you they do not run certain tests because they know their lines
feel the tests are therefore unnecessary. They may have a long waiting list
for their puppies because they are selling to people who know them – and
their lines – very well.
However, unless you have a VERY thorough knowledge of your breeder and his or
health tests for heritable disorders are imperative.
all reputable breeders performed such testing on a regular basis, it would become
the less reputable breeders (of whom there are many) would find it more difficult
my opinion, anyway.
Where to Buy a Dane
Personally, I know of no "quality" breeders who advertise Great Dane
puppies in the newspaper. Nor do I know of any who sell to pet stores. If I wanted
to add a Great Dane puppy to my household, I would
find a knowledgeable breeder who has a solid reputation for producing consistently
sound physical conformation, and reasonable longevity. While there can be no
absolute guarantee that your puppy will be long-lived and completely free of
certainly better if you avoid purchasing from a backyard
Don't Rule out the Rescues
Great Dane rescue
overlooked by the general
public as a legitimate source for obtaining a Great Dane.
If conformation and lineage are not big issues for you, then you might want to
organization with a good reputation. Many come to mind. These organizations carefully
screen their adoptees (and their adopters) to make the best possible match.
Most of the Danes in rescue
– and there are so many – were bred by backyard breeders
or puppy-millers. Buying directly from such individuals puts money in their pocket
them. In my opinion, it is far better to "pick up the pieces" and
by adopting a needy Dane that has been properly evaluated by people who care.
(You can visit my Rescue Directory to
find a rescue organization in your area.)
How to Find a Good Breeder
This can be
difficult, and quite frankly, you may encounter a good breeder who isn't
the least bit interested
in selling to you. Remember, reputable breeders
money, and they will not sell a puppy to you just because you came along with
best bet is to learn as much as you
can about the breed and
try to meet some reputable breeders. A good place to start is the GDCA web
site. You will find a wealth of information there, including a list of GDCA member
of the best ways to meet breeders in person is
some dog shows. If possible, find a Great
Dane Specialty show
are apt to see many Great Danes there, and you may meet
a breeder whose Danes especially appeal to you. Another way to become more familiar
with breeders and their lines is to subscribe to a Great Dane magazine such
as Dane World. Read the articles and
look carefully at the advertising. Mail
and message boards are
especially if you can find some that are patronized by serious breeders.
as many breeder web sites as you
can, and view them carefully with a critical
eye. How many Danes are on the premises? How often are
bred? Do the breeders exhibit their Danes? Are they titled? What do they have
Socialization? Are the parents' pedigrees available for review? Is there a contract?
Any sort of health guarantee? After
you've done all your homework and talked with a number of breeders in person
to who the better breeders are, versus who's just blowing smoke.
Do You Qualify?
start making serious inquiries about obtaining a puppy, expect to be questioned
a concerned, responsible breeder – and exactly the type of breeder you want.
A good breeder will try to determine if you can
a suitable home for one of their puppies.
owned a Dane? Why do you want one?
Will your Dane be a house dog? How long will he or she be alone every day?
Do you live in the city?
they? Do you have other pets? What do you do for a living? What is
expensive and the breeder
will want to
you can afford to provide proper medical care for your pet.) Can you furnish
references? These are just some of the many questions you may be asked. It is
your puppy's breeder to know as much about you and your family as possible.
it is important for you to know as much as you can about your puppy's breeder.
There's a lot more we could discuss when it comes to "the business" of breeding
Danes, but hopefully this has been a good introduction to the topic. My view
is that we should learn to recognize the better breeders and
efforts by providing good homes for their puppies, without whining about
the high cost of a quality puppy. At the same time, we should recognize that
groups all across the country are struggling to care for
thousands of homeless Danes, most of whom are victims of the greed, ignorance
of their breeders. These dogs have done nothing wrong and they, too, deserve
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