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Sometimes I feel like we are screaming from the rooftops, and nobody is listening.

I know the Great Dane rescues all feel this way. People that volunteer and work in rescue are TIRED. They are emotionally exhausted, and the problem?

It’s all our fault.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The rescues don’t need to be overwhelmed with pleas to help 100’s of Great Danes that have health problems, aggression or that have been abused, abandoned or neglected.

But they are. They are literally buried in these dogs.

side view of a dog
Photo by Paparazzi Ratzfatzzi on


In just two months, ONE Great Dane rescue took in over 100 dogs, and had to turn down many others. Read this:

? Poseidon: our true miracle boy. His bills continue to come in as he is now healthy enough to be neutered. He’s also heart worm positive.

? Luna: a sweet girl that we rescued and despite ICU care we could not reverse the neurological condition that she had and she passed away
? Luna: our pup we only had briefly as she passed away battling bloat/GDV
? Luna: one of our newest pups- she has a nasty flare with an autoimmune disease after being in a shelter, she required two days of ICU care
? Octavia: a terrified girl who requires a vet who could do home visits since her fear was so bad.
? Puppy Jack: attacked by another dog, had surgery to clean up his wounds, which then became infected, and he needed another surgery after that!
? Diva: a serious UTI when we first got her, followed by severe arthritis in her back when the cold snap happened
? Cricket and Mantis: have ruptured CCLs.. looking into options
? Aegues: severely malnourished due to terrible teeth, will require extensive dental work
? Maggie and Jada: gorgeous mastiff pair who both need major entropion surgery on their eyes
? Macy: became very sick when we got her with pieces of metal in her GI track
? Princess: will require surgery to remove a large mammary tumor
? Kahulah: will require extensive vetting for tumors in her mouth
? Daisy: had 15 gorgeous puppies and her body is still recovering from the traumatic birth. She has infections and sores all over
? Marvel: attacked by another dog before we got him, has a broken leg, may require amputation
? Bruno: new intake, may have a neurological disorder
? Yana: serious dental disease causing a lot of pain and suffering- will have multiple teeth removed
? On top of all this, we don’t talk about the Mississippi cruelty case Danes often because they are still tied up in the court system. These guys still aren’t healthy and we are continuing to pay for their care, of course. One of the puppies will likely need her eye removed (due to a birth defect), and another has kidney issues that we need to tackle.
? We are also taking in a boy with serious demodex this week, and may be getting a possible wobblers case. ?


That was just from one heartbroken Facebook post by just ONE rescue: Save Rocky the Great Dane Rescue & Rehab in Longview, TX.

If you don’t think this is a problem, read it again.

These are dogs that often have serious medical, temperament and training problems and need expensive interventions. Many of these dogs were sold to owners that abused and neglected them.

None of these dogs came from ethical breeders that gave a damn about where those dogs ended up or the health issues that they would face.

These dogs and the rescues pay the price.


Do you want this to stop? Do you want to stop seeing our rescues overwhelmed with unwanted and suffering Great Danes?

Do you want to stop hearing pressure from rescue advocates to ‘adopt, don’t shop’?

Would you rather see healthy, robust Danes or hundreds of Danes that are anxious and sick?


Every time you purchase a dog from a backyard breeder, even without knowing it, you make a direct financial contribution to this problem.

Unfortunately in the world of Danes, too many  breeders are operating unethically. They may appear ‘friendly’ and ‘diligent’ with clean puppies and half-baked ‘health testing’, but they:

  • Don’t care much about who buys the puppy, so long as cash was involved.
  • Don’t offer any kind of health or breeder support, and no honest return guarantee..
  • Indiscriminately bred dogs that have health, temperament and structural faults.
  • Think AKC papers are enough.
  • Don’t health test and prove that their dogs have quality genetics to pass on.


If you are reading this, it’s likely you are a good owner. We’d like to think that you wouldn’t abandon, abuse or neglect your dog.

But each litter of puppies is multiple dogs. When you buy a puppy from a litter of dogs produced by a backyard breeder, you directly reward and fund that breeder to continue making more puppies.

These are most often the kinds of puppies that could end up with preventable genetic health conditions, problems with temperament that come back to their genetics and early whelping, and abandoned by other owners that weren’t educated or prepared for them.


Some of these might get your hackles up. But think about the 100 dogs SRGDRR took in from Jan-Feb 2021.Just because YOUR puppy is fine and well cared for, doesn’t mean that the others from that breeder are.  If you do any of the following, you are contributing to the problem:

  • Shopping for Great Danes puppies on Craigslist, in ‘AKC Great Dane Puppies‘ or similar Facebook groups or in Marketplace, from Amish Farmers (most often puppy mills), ‘Adopt a Pet’ or other puppy pile websites, or in pet stores.
  • Purchasing a Great Dane puppy from a breeder that offers them for the lowest price because you need a pet, not a show dog‘.
  • Purchasing a Great Dane from a breeder that pressures you to take the puppy home before 8 weeks of age, lies about the age of the puppies, and/or doesn’t thoroughly socialize the puppies.
  • Purchasing a Great Dane from a breeder that is breeding underage dogs (under 2 years).
  • Purchasing a Great Dane from a breeder that is breeding dogs with structural (roach back, flat feet, excess droop, entropion, etc.), health (heart disease, hip dysplasia, bloat, etc.) and/or temperament (aggression, timidness, soft, fearful, out of control) problems.
  • Purchasing a Great Dane from a breeder that doesn’t care at all if you breed it, rehome it, or even have it seen by a veterinarian because ‘It’s your dog, do what you want’.
  • Purchasing a Great Dane puppy by clicking ‘Add to Cart’.
  • Purchasing a Great Dane puppy from a breeder that skips or only does partial health testing. A ‘vet check’ or ‘veterinary clearance’ is NOT ENOUGH. We cannot stress this enough.
  • Breeding your own Great Dane just because it has a neat color, ‘Euro‘ lineage or AKC papers.


Health problems, training issues and temperament problems are major reasons why dogs end up neglected, abused or eventually surrendered.

A solid majority of those things are preventable through ethical breeding practices, educated ownership, and by making conscious choices as a consumer to either adopt or ONLY purchase dogs from highly ethical and reputable breeders.

It is up to us to stop supporting backyard breeders that are creating unhealthy, poorly-tempered Great Danes and then not supporting them for life. Choose ethical breeders or rescues only. The breed depends on you to make the educated choice!

animals dogs dutch green grass
Photo by Matthias Zomer on


There are 100’s of dogs that need homes and we believe there are only two choices: adoption or ethical breeders. 

Ethical breeders care about health and structure, and understand how genetics can make or break the health and longevity of the puppies they produce.

They fully health test Dam & Sire with no exceptions: this includes x-rays, echocardiogram, eye exams, genetic screening and blood panels.

They only breed dogs with quality genetics in health, structure and temperament.

Dogs from exceptional and ethical breeders are not often, if ever the ones overwhelming our rescues, breaking hearts and landing in homes that abuse them.

Stop supporting backyard breeders, puppy mills and breeders that only care about the cash in your pocket. If we can put them out of business by turning our backs on them, we can quickly put a stop to this huge, huge problem.


There are MANY ways to step up:

  • Advocate. Flag posts on Facebook or Craigslist from breeders trying to sell puppies.
  • Educate. Share blog posts like this one, and Facebook posts from rescues.
  • If you wish to purchase a puppy, ASK QUESTIONS! Verify actual results from health screening (OFA.ORG is a great place to start), ask the breeder how they socialize the puppies (hint, raising them around children or chickens is NOT enough!), ask them if they honor a lifetime return guarantee. Read their contract. Ask for references. Study the pedigree. Meet the parents and compare them to the written standard for Great Danes.
  • Reject any breeder that isn’t operating ethically, no matter how much you want to ‘save’ the puppies. Report them to authorities if needed.
  • Foster, Volunteer & Adopt, even if you purchase your dogs from breeders. You can still offer to run social media accounts, transport dogs or fundraise.

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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