Overall, I’m not pleased with the state of Great Danes in America. They’ve become either tiny and delicate, or disproportionately tall and scrawny. When I was young it was typical for even a fawn male, which tends to be smaller than say a mantle, to weigh in about 170 pounds.
This is a nice quality Dane here, but still very small and to my eye, insubstantial for an intact male. Back in the day, ya didn’t see the average Dane with long chicken legs, snipey heads, and narrow chests outside of poor quality puppy mills. It’s hard to find even a good male like the one in this pic these days.
I believe the rewarding of AKC show judges for “elegant” and “refined” has weakened the Great Dane overall. My opinion, for what it’s worth. And the explosion of uninformed pet owners that breed without a clue to what makes a truly beautiful, sound Dane has made the selection of Great Danes a frustrating experience for anyone who remembers what Danes used to look like, move like, and their former longevity.
It’s been 40 yrs since I met my first Dane, and the widespread weenie-ness of Great Danes I see these days sent me looking for European bloodlines a few years ago. The European breeders have generally maintained the working dog body: shorter, heavy boned, muscluar and athletic Dane.
This intact brindle is more like what I remember, and what I admire as the traditional standard. This dog could work for years and never wear out. If he could pull a cart, he could pull me up a steep slope once in awhile without developing arthritis at 5 yrs old.
My philosophy is a dog was created to work for and with humans. Once upon a time, they weren’t accessories, not intended for nothing more than to be well, decorative. Since I need a Dane that can work, can bear weight, can carry a pack, I cannot have a delicate decoration.
That being said, there are some American Breeders with strong, well built, substantial dogs to choose from. And I’ve stuck to the desire for ENS and rules of seven socializing that the breeder must do before an 8 wk old comes home with me. I will certainly clicker train, and use the “Control Unleashed Puppy” once I get them, but the breeder has as much or more to do with a pups future success than most people realize.
My American Breeder Choices
Saravilla Danes has American Danes, with the harl lines, which produce harlequins, mantles, and occasional blacks. They also work with ChromaDane, who won’t have pups available even next year. They are excellent breeders using ENS and other socializing techniques in their pre-7wk old puppies.
There is nothing insubstantial about their dogs, and I like that. Unfortunately I don’t prefer the harl/mantle color for Danes, just as a matter of personal tastes. But if their dogs have the goods for a working dog, I gotta put on my big girl panties and care less about superficial stuff like coat color.
Saravilla requires a good kibble, and approves of neutering after sexual maturity even for companions. She also is a welcoming and visitor-friendly lady. So a trip to Ohio is in my near future! My only concern is working dogs tend to have higher energy levels, and having Chronic Fatigue…
I may ask for a show quality male, and have a go at conformation shows. It’s expensive and alot of work, but it is the best way to learn what really makes a dog’s body structually sound, what it takes to have smooth ergonomics so the joints last, and a tolerant disposition. All of which is essential for a working dog.
Being an experienced Dane owner, I got the basics of conformation: a straight topline, good angles in the stack, a nicely shaped head. But there’s a big difference between an experienced owner’s eye, and a breeder/shower’s eye. There’s much to learn there.
It’s a strange name for such a majestic, laid back fellow. But he’s no scrawny string bean. His owner strictly follows the GDCA code of ethics in breeding. I’ve known them from Facebook for awhile now, and they seriously know their Dane genetics!
Green Bean is not only gorgeous and well built. He is a (get this) a Dock Diving Dane, who watches the fireworks in the park, and never gets in a flap.
I’m aware of the “black dog syndrome”, and would expect perhaps more access challenges if one of Beanie Boy’s pups becomes my service dog. But heck, any Dane attracts serious attention in a grocery store or restaurant.
I have come to love Bean’s owner, and trust their judgement. They were “there” for me during the heartbreaking ordeal with Levi, and gladly volunteered to help me find a puppy that I would have a much better chance of success with. Kindness makes a world of difference to me.
LIBERTY DANES https://www.facebook.com/#!/libertydanes.lrs?sk=info
I’ve not had much contact with this lady yet, but I do now have a phone number. She not only trains, shows, and uses her harl lines for assistance dogs, she has a Dane SD herself. I am hoping like crazy she will agree to mentor me, teach me, and make a durn good owner trainer out of me. Her expertise in puppy aptitude testing would make a huge difference for me, reducing the chances of another wash out.
Again, the harl lines I don’t prefer, but even if I purchase a black Bean boy, I hope very much she will become a world of help to me. She has experience in both the conformation ring and the service dog training arena. And the center she works and trains at is only 3 hours drive time from my home.