IS THE GREAT DANE THE RIGHT
DOG FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?
making the decision to purchase a Great Dane, ask yourself the following
Dane is a giant breed that takes up more room in the
house, needs an appropriate sized car to ride in safely
and will cost considerably more to maintain than a small
breed. Have you taken all this into consideration?
Dane, especially a rambunctious puppy, can knock down a
small child in play. A Great Dane must never be left
unsupervised with small children.
Dane can be very destructive to your furniture, woodwork,
garden, and personal belongings. Are you prepared to deal
have big medical expenses and require the same amount of
medicine as an adult person. Are you prepared to purchase
canine health insurance or face huge bills in the event of
a health emergency?
Dane MUST be obedience trained to obtain control. Are you
willing to put in the time and effort to train your dog
Dane is a sociable, friendly breed. Great Danes needs to
have human contact, affection, regular socialization with
other people and animals, and firm, consistent training.
Are you ready to provide this?
Danes require exercise appropriate to their age. Many do
not “self-exercise.” Are you committed to providing
proper exercise in all types of weather?
Danes have good noses and many have a “stubborn
streak.” When not on a leash, they need a fenced yard or
they may “follow their noses.” Can you commit to
putting up a sturdy, appropriate fence?
Danes can be excellent companions for almost any activity
you wish to pursue including jogging, but you *must* wait
until after your pup is two years old to avoid damage to
growing joints. If you are looking for a puppy, are you
willing to wait for it to grow up?|
Unless you can answer yes to ALL the above questions, then
a Great Dane is not the dog for you.
HOW TO FIND A
“GREAT” GREAT DANE
The best place to obtain a well-bred Great Dane is from a reputable
breeder. The key here is “reputable”. At all costs, avoid backyard
breeders, on-line brokers and puppy mills, who work with poor quality
bloodlines which may be genetically prone to a host of health problems.
White Great Danes may be deaf or blind and ‘designer’ colors are
usually bred by back yard breeders with no regard to quality or health.
Backyard breeders and puppy mills are only interested in making a
profit, frequently advertising in local newspapers or selling entire
litters to pet stores for resale.
HOW TO IDENTIFY A REPUTABLE BREEDER
usually members of The Great Dane Club of America or one
of its affiliate clubs and believe in working towards
improving the conformation and performance of the Great
Dane. GDCA and Affiliate Club members are guided by a Code
of Ethics and do appropriate health testing before
breeding. Recommended health testing for Great Danes
includes hips (OFA or PennHip), OFA Cardio, OFA Thyroid,
and eye certification (CERF). You can go to the OFA
website (www.offa.org) to review the health testing on the
sire and dam of your proposed puppy. Be sure to ask about
health issues in the pedigrees of the sire and dam.
questions of prospective owners in order to insure that
their puppy is going to a good home.
other arrangements are made, almost always require a
spay/neuter agreement and/or limited AKC registration for
usually involved in showing their dogs in conformation
competition, obedience, agility, rally, tracking or other
|Wish to be
contacted if for any reason a puppy they bred must be
placed in a new home.|
Finding a Reputable
the Great Dane Club of America, Inc., or local Great Dane
affiliate club and request names of breeders. You may not
always find someone in your local area.
shows and talk to breeders, handlers and other owners who
may be able to give you referrals on obtaining a puppy.
local dog-training center if they can recommend a local
American Kennel Club (AKC) http://www.akc.org/|
5580 Centerview Drive Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27605-3390
919-233-9767 or 800-252-5545
Dane Club of America http://gdca.org,|
click on “Organization”, then either “Officers” or
“Chairpersons” for contacts. For Breeders click on
“Great Dane”, “Breeding”, then “Breeders
Once you have decided
that the Great Dane is the right breed for you and you have located a
reputable breeder who has puppies available, the next step may be
receiving a set of photos in the mail or by email or an invitation to
visit the puppies. Although some breeders let buyers choose a puppy,
many breeders match the personalities of the puppies with the
personalities and lifestyles of the buyers. It is not unusual for the
breeder to select the puppy for you.
Questions a Breeder May Ask
Have you ever owned dogs before and specifically a Great Dane?
Familiarity with dogs insures a higher success rate in placing
a puppy in a new home. It is a particular “plus” if a
prospective buyer has had the experience of owning a unique
breed like the Great Dane.
2. Why do you want a Great Dane?
It is important to determine if a giant dog like the Great
Dane will be the right choice for a new buyer. This is a breed
that matures slowly, but will be very large at maturity.
It’s important for the buyer to be fully aware of this,
since “he got too big” is one of the reasons Great Danes
end up in rescue.
3. Do you have an enclosed or fenced in backyard?
The dominant sense of all dogs is the nose, which gives them
the tendency to roam. They may become injured or lost. The
large size of the breed makes some people over-react to a dog
this size. Chaining a Dane (or any breed) to an outdoor
doghouse or tree is inhumane and can result in serious injury
4. Where will your new puppy live?
The friendly, affectionate nature of the Dane and the fact
that this breed craves the companionship of other animals and
people means that it will be happiest in the house where it
can be cared for by a loving family.
5. How long will the puppy be alone?
Breeders are reluctant to place a Great Dane puppy in a home
where it will be alone for excessively long periods. Even the
companionship of another dog or cat will go a long way in
providing companionship for a new dog. The affectionate Great
Dane does not do well by itself for extended periods.
6. Are you willing to spay or neuter a pet Great Dane?
Spaying or neutering is usually required by responsible
breeders who do not want their valuable bloodlines be used by
novice and backyard breeders.
7. Can you afford not only the purchase price of this
pet but also the maintenance? New owners need to be aware of
how much it costs to keep their pet well cared for and
8. Is the decision to purchase a Great Dane a unanimous
one in your family?
Danes who go into a family situation where not everyone wants
this unique breed may start out with a couple of strikes
9. May I visit your home or have a friend visit?
Breeders may want to come to your home to see for themselves
where their puppy will live, or, if they live some distance
from you, they may ask another breeder to do this for them.
10. Who is your vet?
The breeder will want to know that you have a reliable source
of veterinary care for your Dane and may want to speak with
him or her. You will need to find a veterinarian who has
experience with large breed dogs.
Questions to Ask a
How long have you been breeding AKC Great Danes?
Good breeders have usually been involved with Great Danes and
showing their dogs for a minimum of 3 or 4 years.
2. Do you belong to the Great Dane Club of America or
an Affiliate Great Dane Club?
Membership in these clubs involves working within a code of
ethics that gives greater credibility to a breeder. Some
unscrupulous people have been known to claim false membership
in clubs so you want to verify such memberships.
3. What type of activities do your dogs participate in?
A majority of breeders are involved in conformation
competition. This would indicate that their Danes are probably
good physical representations of the breed. Other breeders may
participate in obedience, tracking or other companion
4. What type of health problems do you see in your Great
Virtually every breeder who has been involved with any breed
will encounter some health problems from time to time, so
beware the breeder who says he/she has never seen any
problems. Refer to the section on Health to familiarize
yourself with some of the common health problems in the Great
Dane. Ask what types of health testing the sire and dam have
5. Do you have any puppies available, and if not, when do
you plan another litter?
In some parts of the country, there is frequently a shortage
of Great Dane puppies. Some breeders receive up to 8 or 9
calls a week for pet puppies with no litters being anticipated
for perhaps another 6 months or longer. The majority of
breeders will put your name on a waiting list. Other breeders
whose lists are full are usually more than willing to refer
you to other reputable breeders in the area.
6. What kind of warranty do you offer?
Guarantees vary among breeders and are sometimes connected to
your agreement to raise your puppy according to the individual
contract agreed upon.
7. What is the price of the dog?
Pet puppies might be less expensive than show prospects, but
many breeders feel they have put equal love, effort, time and
money into all puppies in a litter and have the same price for
both pet and show puppies. What separates a show potential dog
from a companion only may be trivial, therefore, don’t
expect to get a “cheap” puppy from a breeder and never
request the one who has “something wrong” with it.
8. What type of paperwork will the breeder provide?
Reputable breeders will provide a bill of sale, a four
generation AKC pedigree, and a contract detailing the
conditions of the sale. AKC registration papers will be
included unless they simply have not yet arrived back from AKC
in the mail. Most reputable breeders will also give you
information in writing in the form of articles, pamphlets or
even books to help you raise your puppy. All health and diet
information will be spelled out in detail here and in
conversations with your breeder.
NEVER BUY A GREAT
DANE FROM A PET STORE OR AN ON-LINE BROKER
Pet store Great Danes and those from on-line brokers come from backyard
breeders and puppy mills. Most likely, you will not know who bred your
dog or have anyone to contact if you have questions or a problem. The
health of these Danes is generally at risk because they were not bred by
knowledgeable breeders devoted to improving the health and appearance of
the Great Dane. Pet store puppies are separated from their mothers at
too early an age and usually do not have the chance to develop healthy
bodies and temperaments. In fact, pet store Danes often become seriously
ill and end up costing their owners hundreds and even thousands of
dollars in veterinary expenses. Pet stores, puppy mills and on-line
brokers do not guarantee the long-term health of a puppy.
Most poorly bred Great Danes are smaller than those from reputable
kennels and often lack the majestic head and expression that define the
breed. They may, instead, look more like Greyhound or Labrador Retriever
mixes. Despite the inferiority of the dogs they sell, pet stores usually
charge as much, if not more, than reputable breeders of quality Great
No matter how impatient you or your children are to get a Great Dane, it
is always better to wait, even a few months or longer, and get one from
a good breeder!