- If adoption is not right for you, please only support responsible breeders with your puppy purchases.Things to look for in a responsible breeder:
● Be responsible for every puppy they produce for life
• Require all dogs be returned to them for any reason at any time if the new owner cannot care for them.
• Not allow the new owner of their dogs to place them into a home they have not approved or into a rescue/shelter.
● Be involved with the breed (NOT just producing puppies)
• Be a member of their local Great Dane club, the Great Dane Club of America, &/ or their local kennel club.
• Support rescue
● Screen all potential homes
• Not sell puppies to the first person with cash in hand, as gifts, or to pet stores and brokers
• Interview new owners to be sure they are prepared to properly raise a Great Dane
• Fulfill their obligation to each puppy’s needs, not buyer’s wants, and they will not place a puppy in a home unless they feel it is best for the puppy.
● Not sell pet puppies on limited registration with spay/neuter contracts. Limited registration means the dog should not be bred and AKC will not register any of its offspring. Registration in no way means a dog is healthy. It is simply a birth certificate showing parentage. AKC registration should not be makde a selling point by the breeder, but a lack of such should be a warning sign.
- Follow the Great Dane Club of America’s Code of Ethics
● Should be health Tested (NOT just vet checked)
• A yearly exam should be done on all dogs, but is not an indication of breeding health. More in-depth testing, some only done by specialists, is needed.
• Should be screened for hip dysplasia, eye issues, thyroid disease, and cardiac problems are required for Great Danes by the Canine Health Information Center.
• Always verify results of tests. Most are listed online at Orthopedic Foundation For Animals or the breeder may have results from PennHIP or CERF
● Should be AKC Registered
• There are many new registries that breeders are turning to when they are suspended from AKC or are breeding dogs with limited registration that shouldn’t have been breed in the first place. These registries do little for the betterment of dogs, some register mixed breed dogs, or purebreds with little to no proof of parentage.
• Registration in no way means a dog is healthy, it is simply a birth certificate showing parentage.
• AKC registration should not be made a selling point by the breeder, but lack off should be a warning sign.
● Showing in conformation and other venues
• It’s not just a beauty contest. Showing originally developed for breeders to compare their breeding stock and view potential mates, and it still is used that way. Dogs are evaluated based on the standard, which outlines all the qualities the breed should have.
• Structure is very important, especially with a giant breed dog having to support more weight. Form follows function and incorrect structure can have negative effects on a Dane’s health.
• Competing in rally, obedience, or agility and getting certificates for therapy or canine good citizens generally speaks well of the temperament and trainability of the breeders dogs.
• You were drawn to get a Great Dane, not another breed, for a reason. Having a Dane that exhibits the correct look and temperament is much more likely when their parents have been proven to adhere to the standard.
● Should be carefully selected
• Breeders do not pick a stud because of convenience, but rather how well he will complement their bitch. More often than not this means they will not own the stud.
• All dogs have faults and as a breeder they should be choosing mates to improve those faults.
• They should be able to tell you what their goal was for the breeding and why the parents were selected.
● Should be of proper age and not over-bred
• Breeding animals should be at least 2 years old, most health test aren’t preformed until that age anyway.
• Older bitches past their ideal physical condition shouldn’t be bred. Repeatedly breeding a bitch without giving her body time to recuperate can be very unhealthy.
Puppies should be
● At least 8 weeks old before going to new homes
• It is very important for puppies to stay with their littermates and mother to learn some proper dog behavior that we can not teach them, such as bite inhibition
• In some states it is illegal to sell puppy before 8 weeks
• Puppies begin on solid food before then, but that does not mean they are fully prepared to be separated from their mother. Some breeders will use this as an excuse to sell them early, generally to cut monetary losses for caring for the puppies longer.
● In good health and well socialized
• They should be raised in the home and handled appropriately from birth.
• The early socialization while at the breeders is very important for the mental well being of a puppy and helps them adjust to living in the human world. Being raised with little contact is not good for puppies.
• If there is any health issues with any puppies it should be disclosed to the new owner and held by the breeder until back to full health
• They should be kept groomed, with baths and nail trims. Not only should the puppies be clean, but it also helps get them used to grooming at an early age.
• Current on vaccinations and free of parasites
● Priced according to pet/show potential, not color or full/limited registration
• In Great Danes there are colors that can’t be shown, automatically making them pets, but just because it is the correct color does not mean it has the correct structure and temperament. No color is “rare”, just not showable.
• A solid dog should not be priced higher than one with a little white, unless there are other qualities deeming the one with white a pet puppy. It is acceptable for Fawns, Brindles, Blues, and Blacks to show with white on their chest &/or toes
• Evaluating structure can’t be done at birth, generally a breeder will evaluate the litter at 6+ weeks to determine what puppies have show potential
• Consider who is evaluating the puppies, if the breeder doesn’t show how sure can you be they know what show potential is
• Buyers do not get the option of full or limited registration, paying an extra few hundred dollars in no way effects the potential of an animal
• Show potential animals are sold on full registration only after careful screening to those that will also be responsible in their potential breedings and are generally co-owned with the breeder
● Be sent to there new home with some sort of “Puppy Pack” which should include
• A contract with the breeder stating any guarantees or requirements
• Contact information for the breeder
• Pedigree and parents health information
• A sample of food the puppy is currently on
• Lifetime support for the breeder if the buyer every has questions or could no longer care for their puppy
• AKC registration paperwork. Some breeders will hold papers until proof of spay or neuter, but should be able to provide photocopies
Red Flags to avoid
• Don’t require return of puppy if new owner can’t care for the puppy
• Does not do health testing or show parents
• Puppies are sold on first come, first serve basis
• Sell any pet puppies on full registration or sells to petshops/brokers
• Uses less reputable registries instead of AKC
• Charges more for mismarked puppies, or make claims of rare colors
• Advertises “Euro” Great Danes like they are another type &/or healthier
• Few questions are asked of new owner, other than “Cash or Charge?”
• Requires non-refundable deposits. Responsible breeders will give you your deposit back, they don’t want to push a puppy into a new home that’s having second thoughts.
• Puppies are sent to there new home before 8 weeks
• Will not allow you to see where puppies are kept or met the mother
• Has dirty, unhealthy, or unsocialized puppies
Where to start your search for a breeder
• UMGDR does not refer to any specific breeders
• The Great Dane Club of America has a list of breeders that are members in good standing
• Your local Great Dane Club should also be able to give your referrals
• Search for a breeder, not a puppy. Reputable breeders do not over breed their animals and do not always have puppies available and often have a waiting list.