We hear this one a lot. As a matter of fact, you may feel this way yourself.
“I need a pet, not a show dog”
If you aren’t showing your dog, of course you don’t need a show dog. But that isn’t actually the point here.
Show dogs are loved family pets. Through the process of obtaining points in the show ring, they prove in some way that they are quality examples of the breed standard. By being good examples of the breed, they are more likely to pass on quality genetic traits.
You may not need a show dog, but you DO need a healthy, well-tempered Great Dane.
A thoughtfully bred Great Dane puppy from a breeder that does full health testing, obtains titles for their dogs (either in show, obedience or work) and offers lifetime support is most likely to become a well-loved, calm, easily trained, robustly healthy and loved family pet.
Many people believe that show dogs are inbred, abused, not allowed to be dogs or have fun, and are being forced to ‘parade around’ in a beauty contest for the enjoyment of humans.
Have you met a Champion show dog? They are some of the most well-cared for, well trained and beautifully tempered dogs out there.
Show dogs that do well in the ring typically have star power. They want to be there and thrive on the attention and environment.
Because they are excellent examples of the breed standard, they can move comfortably and are free of anxiety, aggression and fear.
Show dogs are most often well-loved family pets above all. They are allowed to play, to get dirty, to run with other dogs and to sleep on the bed.
A thoughtful show handler will know how to work with the dog to make showing a positive and fun experience, and will recognize when doing so isn’t a great activity for that particular dog.
Show dogs that want to be there are very proud of themselves and love to show off!
We believe that competing in shows, obedience or trick competitions is WAY more enriching, interesting and fun for a dog than sitting on a couch all day. There is absolutely nothing abusive or wrong about working with dogs and competing with them in shows of all kinds.
Breeders that show or title their dogs breed with quality in mind. They want their puppies to be healthy, robust and have outstanding temperaments, because promoting the breed and contributing to the health of the breed is important to them.
Each litter will have several puppies, and only some are ‘show’ quality. The rest will still be very well-bred dogs and they all need amazing pet homes.
Don’t be afraid to consider purchasing your next Great Dane puppy from a show breeder or a breeder that truly cares about their puppies genetic lineage, health and trainability.
Backyard breeders and careless breeding practices are literally ruining Great Danes.
Giant Breed dogs have no room for error when it comes to structure, yet many breeders that don’t show their dogs to prove their conformation completely disregard hip, foot, elbow and spinal health.
When you seek out a cheap breeder so that you can buy a ‘pet, not a show dog’, you are more likely choosing a breeder that in contributing to the following genetic problems in Great Danes:
Aggression and fear
Bloat (has a strong genetic link)
Cancer (genetic links are believed to be a contributing factor)
Heart Disease and thyroid disorders
Allergies and other nutrition, gut health and environmental sensitivities
Anxiety, over-excitement, reactivity
Poor overall breed type (lacking the robust, healthy and graceful Apollo ‘look’ of the breed)
Structural disorders that lead to pain and early arthritis
Wobblers and other degenerative muscular and bone disorders
Lower overall average life expectancy for the breed as a whole
Backyard breeders and puppy mills are almost solely responsible for the reason why so many dogs are in rescue.
AKC papers are not enough to prove that a breeder is operating ethically.
Ethical breeders care very much about the overall health, longevity and personalities of the dogs that they produce & study their pedigrees.
They support the dog and buyers for life, and never want to see one of their dogs in rescue.
They fully health test (Hips, elbows, heart, eyes, thyroid and genetic disorders) their dogs.
Cheap ‘pet’ breeders on the other hand are often operating in volume, sell puppies based on merits unrelated to the actual health and structure of Great Danes (‘designer color’ or a specific % of ‘Euro’), rarely health test their dogs beyond a ‘vet check’, will sell puppies to anybody with money to buy one, and are less likely to offer support or a lifetime return guarantee that keeps dogs out of rescue.
Basic idea here, you are correct. You don’t likely need a show dog unless you plan to show, title and breed Great Danes.
However, if you are choosing to purchase a dog from a breeder instead of a rescue, you have a responsibility to make sure that you are supporting only breeders that are contributing positively to the health, temperament and longevity of Great Danes as a whole.