Great Dane Breeder Scam

Have you heard about the Great Dane Breeder Scam? Are you concerned that the puppy breeder you found isn’t legitimate? You MUST read this post!

There are hundreds of people out there who are pretending to be Great Dane breeders. In this common and extremely fraudulent scam, they will show you cute photos of Great Dane puppies that are for sale. These scammers will say anything they have to in order to convince you that they have an adorable puppy for you.

They will take your deposit and then you’ll never hear from them again. 

Learn more about the signs of breeder scams, what to watch for, and how to avoid falling victim to this.

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How to Spot a Great Dane Breeder Scam

Here are common signs that a breeder is a scam. We will cover this more in depth below:

  • Nobody has heard of them
  • The scammer likely has a very nice looking website
  • They have a lot of information about shipping
  • There is often a lot of different puppies available
  • The available puppies are ready to go home, and may be “potty trained”, “kennel trained”, “vet checked” and “papered”
  • The puppies are priced low and there may be a ‘buy now’ option
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First off, know who the scammers target. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you looking for a puppy that you can take home ASAP?
  • Are you looking for a puppy that won’t cost an ‘arm and a leg’, or a ‘pet, not a show dog‘?
  • Did you find the breeder on Google, Craigslist or Social Media? 
  • Do you tend to be generally trusting of people, especially if they claim to be ‘family people’, ‘ill’ or in ‘hard times’?
  • Are you unsure of what the OFA is, and how it’s used by reputable breeders?
  • You are looking for an unusual or designer color?

Some people are more susceptible to being scammed than others. If you are looking for Great Dane puppies and hoping to find a deal, you are at risk.

A Great Dane puppy

Great Dane Breeder Scam Red Flags

  • A selection of cute Great Dane puppies in different colors that happen to be available right now
  • Buy Now/Purchase Online Option
  • High pressure sales or defensiveness
  • No reputation in the Community
  • Cannot or will not prove health testing and pedigree with legitimate paperwork
  • Strong focus on shipping Great Dane pups around the Country and directly to you
  • No application, contract or guarantee
  • Kennel name is an adjective (‘Pretty’, ‘Huge’, ‘Reputable’, ‘Large’)

    Want to read about these Great Dane Breeder Scam red flags in greater detail? Read on! 
A lilac Fawn Great Dane puppy stock image that may be used by scammers

#1 – A Variety of Great Dane Puppies are Always Available

Scam breeders often have a selection of Dane puppies for you to choose from in a variety of colors.

The puppies will be available and ready to go, as soon as you purchase.

Notice how in the images below (from a breeder scam) showcase puppies that are in different home environments (indicating that the images were stolen from social media)

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#2 – The Dane Puppies are Potty Trained or Crate Trained

Scam breeders will often tell you that the Great Dane puppies are ‘potty trained’, ‘obedience trained’, ‘crate trained’, etc.

They will say anything to make you feel less anxious about purchasing an immature Great Dane pup.

This is a major red flag; while ethical breeders may begin the process of potty, crate, and obedience training, no 8-12 week old Great Dane pup is going home with these skills.


#3 – The Great Dane Puppies are “Papered”

The scammers may tell you that the puppies are papered, AKC, or come with papers.

Additionally, they might used the word ‘champion lines’ to entire you further.

You will not find an AKC registered Great Dane puppy from fully OFA health tested champion titled parents for $650. It doesn’t exist. If a breeder is telling you that you have found this, they are trying to scam you.

#4-Buy Now or Purchase Now Option

This is an immediate red flag.

If a breeder has a buy now or “purchase this puppy” option on their site, run.

It’s a scam.


#5 – The Breeder Will Sell to Anybody

Scam Great Dane breeders do not care who you are.

You could be a dog abuser who keeps 100’s of dogs in cages; they don’t care. Scammers want your money, they aren’t interested in if you are a good, humane, ethical, educated home for the puppy they are selling.

Ethical breeders want to know where every puppy they sell is going, and will support you as the buyer for life. Ethical and Reputable breeders will be dedicated to their breeding program and to each puppy they produce.

#6 – High Pressure Sales Tactics

Scam breeders may use high-pressure sales tactics to get you to commit.

Here are some common phrases they may use:

  • I have several people interested in that puppy, if you want it, you must place a deposit now
  • My mother has cancer and we need the funds to pay for her meds
  • Somebody else already paid for that puppy, but, I have another one just like it and I’m willing to sell it to you for a little less!
  • If you pay for the puppy today, I’ll cover the cost of shipping him to you
  • We are reputable breeders and have just one puppy left, he could be in your arms tomorrow! If you let me know by 3pm, I can get him with our shipping service
  • If you aren’t interested in this puppy, I need to know asap. The price is going to go up and I thought you might prefer to get him before he’s not on sale anymore

#7 – No Reputation

Scam breeders will have no reputation in the community, despite claims of being ‘established family breeders’.

Are they listed in the breeder registry at www.gdca.org?

Do you know anybody who bought a puppy from them?

Still unsure? Ask in the Great Dane Bad Breeders, Owners and Information group, or in our NEW and growing Hello Danes group on Facebook.

If you feel uneasy, chances are you’ve found one of many common puppy scams!

(Hint: the photo below? This is from a SCAM website! YIKES!)

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An image from a scam Great Dane breeder website

#8 – They Stall when asked for more information

A scam Great Dane breeder will often become defensive if you ask too many questions, or they may stall by telling you lies about why they cannot answer yet.

Ethical, legitimate breeders want to answer your questions and help you find the right puppy for your family. They will be able to prove their dogs pedigrees, AKC titles, health test results, reputation, and more willingly and easily.

#10 – They Will Share Incorrect Information

Because the Great Dane scammers don’t actually have Great Danes, they often know very little about them. We’ve seen some pretty wild claims from scammers, including information that Great Danes:

  • Are small and compact
  • Have long fur
  • Grow to be 50-60 lbs at maturity
  • Eat very little food
  • Require no training at all

I’m not even sure how to take that seriously…

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#11 – The Breeder Solicited You

If a breeder reaches out to you to sell you a puppy (unsolicited), it’s a scam!

Run from anybody who sends you private messages on social media or via email to try and sell you a puppy.

This practice is usually a sign of a scam. If it’s not, you’re being pursued by a very unethical backyard breeder.

#12 – The Breeder Needs to Sell, Urgently

If the breeder needs to sell the puppies urgently, that’s usually a sign that something is wrong.

Many scammers will tell you that the puppies must be sold ASAP to pay for medical bills, or because they will be dropped off at the shelter if people don’t buy them.

This is a scam, meant to push you over the edge and make a payment.

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#13 – There is No Written Paperwork

This goes back to that shady ‘buy now’ button. Scam breeders rarely have applications, contracts, and guarantees. These are a MUST when choosing to purchase a Great Dane.

Ethical and reputable breeders will require an application, and once approved, there will be a written guarantee, Dane puppy advice worksheets, and a full contract to complete the transaction.

#14 – It’s All in the Name – Breeder Scam Names

A lot of scam breeder websites use ‘keywords’ and adjectives (descriptions) as their ‘kennel’ name or keywords all over their website.

Examples of shady keywords?

Tall Great Danes
Best Great Danes
Great Danes Puppies
Heavy Great Danes
Great Dane Pups
Reputable Great Danes

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#15 – Too Good to Be True Pricing

You won’t find an ethically-bred Great Dane from a healthy, proven, and fully-tested lineage for less than $1200-$3000. Expect to pay at least $1200 for a Great Dane puppy from an ethical and reputable breeder.

If the price is too good to be true, that is because it is.

Ethical breeders put a lot of time, money and effort into their pedigree and the puppies they produce. This is not cheap and selling puppies is, as a result, not often profitable for them, either.
Choose ethical breeders only.


The scammers spend a LOT of time trying to convince you that they can safely ship their cute puppies to you in just a day or two.

Puppies are not Amazon Prime! Shipping puppies is complicated, and ethical breeders won’t often do it. This process is not a ‘normal’ part of puppy buying.

If a breeder can ship your puppy overnight and have it in your arms asap, it’s a scam.


#17 Missing Ethical Indicators

Scam breeders will not be able to share legitimate health testing results with you. These breeders will tell you that the puppies they sell are ‘certified’, ‘health certified’ or ‘veterinarian checked. Tread cautiously as this is just a facade.

It is important that you always ask for information about the parent’s health testing: in particular the PENNHIP or OFA hip scans, thyroid panels, echocardiograms, and eye exams. 

Verify the health testing results of BOTH parents at www.ofa.org
This is a fantastic way to immediately rule out both scams and unethical breeders.

#18 – Social Media Puppy Scam

There are many fake Facebook (or Instagram) profiles going around of people who are pretending to be a breeder or dog owner with puppies.

They will make you feel they are legitimate by being a ‘real person’, and through private messages will show you photos of cute puppies.

“I’m not a breeder, this was an accident”
“My spouse/kid/mom has cancer/COVID/etc.”
“I’m selling the puppies for my mom/friend/co-worker”
“I got this puppy and don’t need/want it”

Once you place a deposit with them, they will often impose extra costs or offer excuses as to why they won’t be able to deliver your puppy that day.

Before you place a deposit or pay any money to the breeder, we recommend that you ask them to meet you in person or do a live video chat and show you the puppy. There is no legitimate excuse for a breeder to skip this important step.


#19 – Shady Reviews

Testimonials and reviews are intended to boost your confidence in the transaction. We recommend that you proceed with caution. The strange usage of language, spelling errors, and omissions often indicate fraudulent reviews.

We are SICK of Great Dane Puppy Scams!!!

If you are about to place a deposit with a breeder that has many of these red flags, you can send us an email to inquire. We will look into it and verify if the breeder you are dealing with is legitimate or not.

[email protected]

Here’s how to start looking for a reputable Great Dane breeder

We receive several emails per month from people who are concerned about scams. It’s VERY common. If you are needing to ask us for help, chances are that you’ve found a scam.
Never, ever place a deposit until you see the puppy (video chat or in person) and verify the breeders pedigree and health testing information with the AKC and the OFA.

Grab this infographic and please share it on your social media or website! Help us spread the word about these insidious and common scams.


If you are still unsure whether or not you’ve come across a fraud, go down this checklist:

  • Do a reverse image search (use Google) of the images the breeder has shared with you.
  • Ask them for references (be careful, they can fake this!).
  • Ask your local breed club and enthusiast groups if they are familiar with the breeder, if they aren’t , ask them who they recommend.
  • Search for and ask about the breeder in the Facebook group Great Dane Bad Breeders, Owners and Information
  • Ask the breeder that you are working with to provide information about the puppies AKC registration and CHIC (OFA) numbers. Verify this information with the AKC and at www.OFA.org
  • Ask them for more photos of the puppies. Are their markings the same from one photo to the next? Structure? Backgrounds?
  • Ask them to do a live chat where you can SEE the puppies and the parents. If they will not do this, or won’t do it without a deposit, RUN.
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Legitimate Great Dane Breeders:

  • Are very interested in you as the buyer and have questions about your experience with Giant breeds, puppies, and having a dog in your home.
  • They will want to know about your veterinarian, home life, fencing, and work schedule.
  • A legitimate breeder will have CHIC#’s for both Dam & Sire that you can verify at www.OFA.org
  • They will have an application, a contract, and a return guarantee.
  • You will not likely be able to purchase a puppy right now, and may have to get on a waitlist.
  • An ethical breeder will be cautious about shipping puppies, if they ship at all.
  • Real breeders will send you photos and show you the puppy via video and video chat.
  • Ethical breeders will use Puppy Culture, ENS and other socialization programs
  • The best Great Dane Breeders will prove their dogs temperament and structure with AKC (American Kennel Club), CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) and FCI (European) obedience/CGC, trick, sport and/or conformation titles.
  • They keep a close eye on the written standard and actively breed to improve it and the health of their pedigree.
  • Will have a positive reputation in the Great Dane community among other legitimate, ethical breeders, conformation judges and breed fanciers and are affiliated with the GDCA/GDCC in some way (as a member or as somebody who is mentoring under a mentor. www.gdca.org is the best place to begin your search for an ethical Great Dane breeder.
  • Won’t be selling puppies purely on the merits of being ‘designer color’ or ‘Euro’.

Quality, REAL Great Dane breeders will be PROUD of their program and happy to share information with you.

Ethical breeders will market their pups on the basis of their true strengths including health, structure, and disposition.
These breeders WILL NOT use terms like “Euro,” “Champion,” or “Potty Trained.”

Have you been scammed? We’d love to hear from you! Tell your story below!

If you are unsure if the breeder you have chosen is a scam or not, or is operating ethically, send us an email. We are always happy to verify. [email protected]

All of the images below are from SCAM Great Dane Breeder Websites:

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Read more:

What Does Euro Mean in Great Danes?

Is My Great Dane Puppy Knuckling?

About The Author

12 thoughts on “Great Dane Breeder Scam”

  1. I had recently lost my Boerboel due to illness and he had to be put down. This left a huge hole in my heart which meant I was thinking clearly. I wanted a great dane and because I was so desperate to fill that void I got scammed. So I am now out $920 and left feeling like I lost another dog. Lessoned learned. Wish I had seen this site first and used my head and not my heart. The site is https://familygreatdanes.com/ and while they act legitimate I figured it out during the shipping process and luckily stopped myself from getting scammed even more.

    1. Oh gosh we are heartbroken for you; not just for the loss of your Boerboel, but because somebody used this moment to take advantage of you. Thank you for sharing your story and your comment with us, and with others so they know! The scammers are ruthless!

  2. I am looking for an ethical, experienced, and reputable breeder in the eastern WA/Montana/ Idaho area and I’m definitely having trouble locating breeders! Unfortunately, this page has the wrong link to the GDCA website. It’s http://www.gdca.org , not http://www.gdca.com. When I click on the button to search your list of breeders, it takes me to a page that says ” [drts-directory-view directory=”danebreeders”] ” and there’s no list or ability to search a list. I’m guessing that this is simply human error and possibly because some of this website is still being developed, but wanted to let you know! Thanks!

    1. Hi Kami,

      Yes our page had a glitch with our built registry and we had to deactivate it temporarily while the problem is resolved. Super frustrating for sure! Great catch on that error, we have it as .org in other places but that was an oversight. Thank you! Look into Daynakin Great Danes in the Washington area, if they don’t have a litter upcoming or don’t have the colors you want, they are a great resource! https://daynakingreatdanes.com/

      1. Hi Chris,
        I figured the issue was something along those lines. Creating and maintaining a website can be frustrating for sure! Thank you for the recommendation! Daynakin Great Danes is one of the breeders on my list. There are a couple more I’m researching, but they aren’t breeders listed on the GDCA website. They are listed on AKC’s marketplace website and they do all the appropriate testing (CHIC #’s listed). If a breeder isn’t registered with GDCA, does that mean they’re a backyard breeder or are there reputable breeders that are just not focused on conformation showing? I can definitely understand how people fall for scams or end up buying a puppy from a backyard breeder! There are so many breeders who know enough to market themselves, but clearly know little about breeding!

        1. Yes, if you know of a good business registry plugin for Wordpress I’m all ears HAHHA! We’ve tried several and they all have problems. We have tons of breeders and rescues and trainers to list, too!

          The AKC marketplace can definitely be a good place to search for breeders that aren’t yet affiliated with the GDCA but that have ethical practices, yes! It’s also a hotbed for backyard breeders so it still requires a keen eye.

          It’s actually a bit tricky to become affiliated with the GDCA – you have to be sponsored by TWO people who have been members of the GDCA in good standing for 2 years. I believe there are many breeders not currently listed with the GDCA who are mentoring with GDCA breeders that would be a legitimate choice. It’s a good reason to reach out to Danyakin or otherwise and see if they can point you to a newer breeder that they’ve been mentoring and may have sold a show puppy to.

          Basically – if you’ve found a breeder that has CHIC#’s on both dogs (verifiable), with dogs that appear to meet the breed standard in structure and temperament (you can search the Apollo of Dogs Facebook group to see how structure is evaluated) https://www.facebook.com/groups/614289895271371 and the breeder is able to confidently discuss the pedigree, temperaments, etc. with you that’s fantastic!

          I like to also personally see CGC and/or therapy titles on puppies from the breeder too, it tells me that they consistently have stable temperaments and dedicated owners. We like to see breeders showing their dogs, but we also know that many dogs from the top show breeders are unobtainable/waitlisted and there is a HUGE market for thoughtfully bred, healthy sound pet Great Danes from responsible breeders.

  3. Do you have a list of scammers? We were scammed and would like to give the scammer’s name, etc. Also still looking for a Great Dane and a list of scammers could be helpful.

    1. Hi Alex, we are SO sorry to hear you were scammed!!! We are sad and angry for you. It’s easy to fall for and the scammers are pretty ruthless, unfortunately.

      We do have a list of known scammers but it’s out of date, I need to update it! Unfortunately as soon as a scam becomes known, they just make a new website and do it again with a new name.

      You can see the list here: https://www.hellodanes.com/scam-great-dane-breeders/

      Feel free to reply to this comment with your fake breeder and we will add it to the list. We would also love to publish your story, if you would like to share it! You would remain anonymous. You can send us an email [email protected] with how you were scammed. Your story can help others avoid this headache. Again, we are so sorry 🙁

      http://www.gdca.org is an excellent place to start your breeder search!

  4. I am usually very suspect and of course did my homework. I am ashamed to say I was scammed. I had a contract and email threads. The day they were to send me the puppy they wanted an additional $1000 which I refused. They threatened to have me charged with pet abandonment which I didn’t believe. They called me and tried harassment. I filed with the BBB but they said they cant help me. I filed with my bank and Zelle. The person’s name was listed as Jerome Sisco. I even have his fake contract.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story, that is absolutely heartbreaking. It is unbelievable what lengths these scammers will go to if it means they can threaten you into paying them!

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