Danes and Breeding

BlackGreatDaneWe have been looking and looking and looking for a Great Dane puppy for over a year. It’s more passively looking, as we don’t really support breeding, we want to rescue. With all the knowledge I have about dogs, training, and medical issues, I still feel like I am under-qualified to breed. I will always feel that way, unless I had a degree in Canine Genetics and Animal Behavior. I would need to know so much about the anatomy and medical problems of the breed I chose, that I wouldn’t have room in my head to do anything else. And besides that, how do I guarantee the safety and wellness of the puppies who go to homes?

I can’t. So, I don’t breed. I won’t.

White Dane

Lily, the blind Great Dane

There are some good breeders out there, and I know a few. But at the same time, our rescues are full. Our shelters are full, and there are SO MANY backyard breeders just making puppies without a thought to what this could do to the gene pool for that breed.

White puppies. Blind puppies. Deaf puppies. DEAD puppies.

This is what happens when breeders breed irresponsibly. Without doing the research. Without knowing the breed. Without doing knowing genetics, doing anatomy research, without checking the pedigree for a few generations up for each the dame and the sire.

These backyard breeders damage our dogs. They overbreed, they inbreed, they breed for the wrong reasons.

‘So my kids can see the miracle of life..’
‘So my kids can play with little puppies…’
‘Puppies are cute, everyone wants puppies..’
‘To make money’
‘My neighbor has a yorkie. I have a yorkie. Let’s breed them.’
‘I want a puppy, and this is how I can one…’

Great_Dane_PuppyThe list goes on of excuses. Never do I hear ‘To improve the breed’. Which is the correct reason to breed. Would you breed your children for any of the reasons above? If so… maybe you should think about your priorities.

Again, there are good breeders out there… just few and far between. Which brings me back to my original point. Great Danes. My husband and I (ok, mostly me) want one so badly. We are aware of all their genetic health problems. We know the risks, and know our dog won’t be around for as long as, say, a lab. But – unfortunately, they are still my favorite breed.

Over the course of 1 year: Many dogs we considered, we proceeded into the adoption paperwork about 4 of them. All fell through. Found out my neighbor is having puppies. Asked some questions. Found out the mom is a Merle. Dad is Black. No pedigree history, they won’t give me pictures. They aren’t registered breeders.

Worst of all: Breeding a Merle Dane can produce sensory defect pups or stillborn pups.

Merles should not be bred by anyone with only a handful of exceptions. The reason is not just the risk of sensory defects, since responsible breeding of appropriate colors can virtually eliminate that risk. Merles can’t be shown or evaluated by impartial third parties. Only someone who has been showing and breeding for decades and has a VERY compelling reason as well as the knowledge and experience to judge a dog’s faults and strengths accurately could even begin to responsibly breed a merle dog.

Doesn’t sound like that is the case… again… I’m puppy-less.


8 thoughts on “Danes and Breeding

  1. You’ll find your pup in a rescue…eventually 🙂 Or should I say, your pup will find you! Have you read Ted Kerasote’s new book, “Pukka’s Promise”? You might find it interesting, it has a lot of information on breeders and genetics, behavior, training, everything, but his chapters on finding the right breeder and all the research he did are really, really enlightening.

    • No, I haven’t read that book. I’m so deep in a few other dog training books right now, that I need to finish those first, and then I’ll pick up a few more. I’ll have to add that one to my shopping list!

  2. I really enjoyed this article. I too have very mixed feelings about breeders. I personally know someone who is a reputable breeder who breeds Akitas–and she breeds them not only for their breed standard, but for their personalities. All her puppies are extremely dog social, and therefore are enhancing the reputation of the breed one puppy at a time. At the same time, I know I will never buy a puppy from a breeder, because so many good dogs out there are dying in shelters every day. I think reputable breeders do important work in maintaining breed standards, but at the same time I can’t help it–every time I see someone buying a new puppy, I think about our own dogs who almost didn’t make it out of the shelter alive, and who are two AMAZING dogs.

    • Yeah… I think re same thing. I would really rather rescue, but then I risk having some baggage, which is ok-but It depends on what it is. Me, I’d adopt a really screwed up aggressive dog to learn how to handle it. But my husband… Not so. He wants a healthy puppy. We are really trying to meet in the middle, and he doesn’t want the baggage of a rescue dog.

      • It always makes me sad when people say that…I suppose finding a pure bred that is highly sought after like a Great Dane as a rescue could be more challenging, but I have met SO many sweet-natured rescue pups. Rescue dog doesn’t automatically equate with baggage…(although it sounds like I am preaching to the choir here *lol*). You might see if you can get hooked up with a rescue that does CGC work with their dogs. The rescue I am working with has some beautiful dogs coming in that are from a prisoner program. The dogs are rescued from shelters, then given to a prisoner in the program and can only graduate after they have passed their CGC test. You end up getting dogs that have a head start on settling into their forever homes…it’s a cool thing.

      • That’s a very cool program!! I’m located in Utah, USA. So up think you could ask to see if there is a program like that here?

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