The new person seeking a Dane , if he is determined to ‘buy from a good breeder’ has a hard task ahead of him. He must first decide what he actually wants . Color and maybe type, or style of Dane, and then he must find a breeder he feels he can trust to sell him a good puppy. In the mind of the buyer (as the ‘consumer‘) he often sees himself as ‘always right’ . That it is his place to give a breeder the sixth degree on all matters pertaining to said puppy , sometimes giving off a mistrustful air because ‘you cant trust these breeders’. He often wants and expects a guarantee with the pup. ……..

Imagine being a breeder for a moment.

You hand raise a litter spend a lot of time and effort and money procuring (its bloodlines , sometimes by importing new lines) chosen a breeding you think is compatible and as problem free as you can, rearing feeding and vetting it as you a re expected to , to then part with these pups to the public whom you have tried to ‘sort the grain from the chaff ‘ with to find good homes that you think will do the right thing, you a re expected to Trust the new owner to do what you ask of them to ensure your puppies will be loved, and reared etc as you would yourself, getting no guarantee what so ever to that effect, and if something does go wrong, you get he blame wholey and soley. Whatever goes wrong with a pup seems always to be the breeders fault, regardless of whether it is blatantly clear the owner has done the wrong thing. Perhaps it is time we as breeders asked for a guarantee that puppy owners do exactly what we ask? I am sure the idea would be met with indignation by potential puppy owners, but when put into this context perhaps the new owner can see that the health of a pup begins with a breeder but its ongoing well being is in the hands of the owner.

It has become clear that a lot of people don’t research the breed well enough., for instance, over time I have encountered Dane owners who may have owned one for ‘years’ who didn’t know about bloat. (know what you are’ getting into ‘ in other words)

I find this to be incredulous given the amount of info on the condition and the fact that it is one of the 2 main problems that befall the breed (the other being cardio). The potential owner should thoroughly research the breed and its issues , but also realize that the breeder ‘is not God’.

Many People looking for that ‘top quality’ puppy also expect that breeders ‘test’ for everything going. Well some do and some don’t, but that doesn't automatically mean that the former will have problem free stock and the latter not. Apart from the fact that not all conditions are 100% genetic, testing ,whilst it assures the breeder and the purchaser that the parents of the pups a re ‘problem free’ , it doesn’t not guarantee that the thousands of possible genetic combinations that any one mating can produce are also clear, and the breeder is unable to control this aspect of the breeding. One can only make breeding decisions based on the available knowledge one has, depending on how much one has had to do with the background bloodlines, as well as the honesty and or background knowledge of other breeders on said lines.

Lay people and ‘dog experts’ in the media have often decried the idea of in or line breeding, and certainly it has its pit falls, but it is the devil you know , as opposed to constant out crossing, and though a breeder needs to outcross at some point, there in lies pit falls and it begins again, finding out whether or not the lines have hidden issues. (even mongrels who are the epitome of the ’outcross’ can wind up with genetically induced problems, as it isn’t always the recipe for good health as often touted) Buyers who want something ‘well bred’ assumedly want something exhibiting ‘breed type’ which can only happen by certain breeding practices namely the employment of in or line breeding that ensures the retaining of type., otherwise constant out crossing, apart from becoming totally out of control over the genetic input, leads to a lack of breed type (and could lead to loss of true color specifications ) and you can end up with ‘a large dog’ who vaguely resembles a Great Dane but is hardly what the standard describes.

‘Breeding purebred dogs is like being asked to walk through a minefield and be told only where some of the mines are, but not all of them.’

With any breed comes issues of health and unfortunately this is part and parcel of purebred dogs. How a breeder deals with issues that surface, as indeed they will,( they longer you are in a breed the law of averages dictates eventually you will see them), will determine the quality and resultant heath of the bloodlines involved. But as I said it isn’t as simple as testing and that solves it all. Breeding dogs is like being asked to walk through a minefield and be told only where some of the mines are, but not all of them. A breeders task , in order to maintain breed type and negotiate through the minefield of problems that can occur in that breed is not easy. The buyer can only hope that the breeder is as ‘in control’ of his lines as much as possible, but should not expect hat he is able to control things to a point where he can guarantee nothing is going to go wrong with every dog he ever bred. (Including whatever vageries befall it in the buyers hands) This is totally unrealistic. He should also be aware that no long term breeder gets away with it all squeeky clean and the breeder who calls the kettle black will himself have skeletons in the closet, so relying on the heresay of rival breeders isn’t going to ensure the dog he buys is a healthy one.

The dog buyer would accept himself getting a heart condition without blaming his parents, and if indeed they were themselves healthy, would he just put it down to bad luck-or bad management of his health? Perhaps we should sue our parents when something goes wrong with us!. Buyers should try to understand what a breeder is up against, and put it into perspective. By all means a buyer has the right to expect at time of purchase as healthy and sound a pup as possible , and all being well will have that dog for its whole life span with no problems. He must realize however that being a living thing it can be beset with illness, it may fall victim to something inherited from generations back the breeder had no idea about, and its health and soundness can be affected by outside factors, and he must also take some responsibility for the dogs condition, as from purchase onward, it is in his hands, not the breeder.