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I am SO curious how we’ve gotten to this point.

We have two extremes!

On one side, we have people saying ‘adopt don’t shop’. They scream this from the rooftops as if all of the dogs in rescue are a good fit or even available to every person who wants a dog.

On the other side, we have people who think that all it takes to be a breeder is to have a dog with AKC papers. Diligence, ethics, and care be damned.

Then there are those of us in the middle.

I believe that there is room for BOTH ethical breeders and rescue.


The Rescues are FULL!

This right here is the #1 reason you should probably NOT breed your dog.

The rescues are full of dogs from breeders who didn’t care where those dogs ended up.

They weren’t diligent about health and temperament, and created puppies that ended up in rescue because of abuse, lack of education, aggression, allergies, wobblers, blindness, deafness, and separation anxiety.

Do you want to contribute to that problem? 

The rescues are not full of dogs from careful, thoughtful, ethical breeders that have proven their lines, fully tested their dogs, socialized the puppies, and supported buyers for life.

Adopt don’t shop believes that all dogs should come from rescues.

An unintended consequence of this is that it ALSO means that all dogs come from backyard breeders.

It is that simple, and what is happening is that more and more we are seeing dogs with insane health and temperament problems that make them a poor fit for many families.

Don’t be a backyard breeder. Empty the rescues by not contributing to the problem in the first place.


Ethical Breeding Matters

There is absolutely nothing wrong with thoughtful, careful breeding and with choosing to purchase a dog from a reputable breeder.

All breeders start somewhere. We just encourage you to start closer to the finish line!

Keep in mind that one of the main tenants behind ethical breeding is lifetime support.

If you aren’t willing to stand behind the puppies you create and their owners for life, stop now.

See how many of these items you can check off. If you can’t for some reason, ask yourself if breeding your dog really is the best choice.

Are we kind of snobby about this? Yup.

Hint, you should be too! Being labelled as a ‘backyard breeder’ isn’t cute. 

  • The dog you want to breed is a purebred Great Dane with a known lineage.
  • You’ve studied and can verify that the lineage, and your dog is free of aggression, anxiety, IMGD, bloat, wobblers, seizures, entropion and Von Willebrand’s disease.
  • The breeder you got your dog from meets all of the requirements on this checklist AND supports you.
  • The dog you want to breed has full (not limited) registration/papers (AKC or Canadian Kennel Club only).
  • The dog you want to breed does not have flat feet, a roached back, a short neck, weak rear, cow hocks, steep croup, excessive jowls, incorrect front limbs or extremely droopy eyes.
  • The dog you want to breed has good angulation, especially in the front. (Unsure what this means? Study the written standard and join the following amazing and friendly structure groups on Facebook:
    The Apollo of Dogs – Great Dane Preservation Society
    Great Dane Conformation Clinic
    Great Dane Heads
  • The dog you want to breed is an outstanding example of a ‘gentle giant’. He or she should be courageous and friendly, not timid or aggressive. Having a Canine Good Citizen and/or AKC Temperament Test title is a huge bonus!
  • Your dog is at least 2 years old.
  • You are willing to pay for, at minimum the following health tests: veterinary check, Hip + Elbow x-rays, thyroid test, Echocardiogram, Eye Exam with a board certified opthamologist, genetics screening (color), genetics screening (other as needed).
  • You are willing to not breed your dog if those tests are not passed with flying colors.
  • You understand color genetics, including what causes Double Merle puppies and are focused first and health and temperament.
  • You have potential puppy buyers lined up before breeding and are willing to be extremely diligent in choosing owners.
  • You are willing to support your puppies for life, and that includes ensuring that they never end up abused, neglected or in rescue for any reason.
  • You are willing to keep the puppies for a minimum of 8 weeks, and employ a dedicated socialization program (Puppy Culture is a good example).
  • You will only sell the puppies on a limited contract, especially until your breeding program is well established and you know how to choose buyers that are interested in your lines and ethical breeding.
  • You are willing to find a suitable mate that meets all of the above requirements.

We support rescues AND thoughtful, diligent breeders.

We believe that educating people about the difference between backyard and ethical breeders can pave the way to clearing the rescues much faster than ‘adopt don’t shop’ ever can, and will promote health and stable temperaments in the breed that we love.

We have to turn this ship around, folks. Too many Danes are being bred with severe health problems and questionable temperaments.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

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