18, 2002 Two weeks ago I featured a portrait of very dark
brindle Great Dane named Stormi. She
is pictured above, along with a much lighter brindle named Tiggen.
Stormi's color generated some interesting email.
woman wrote, "I saw your onyx brindle and never really knew
for sure what color my girl Rustie was supposed to called. I am
sending you a picture of Rustie with her mom, Chloe, lounging beside
her. Chloe is 9 and Rustie is 7 1/2 years old."
Another wrote, "Stormi is a lovely color, isn't she?! I hadn't
come across mention of this color before and when I saw it, I thought,
'A dog like that couldn't be shown!' Reading on, though, revealed
they can be. It's good to hear there are some judges who can judge
Stormi for her conformation."
Judging the Brindle
One such judge is Dale Tarbox of Sandale
Danes. She is a well known breeder of champion fawns and brindles,
an AKC judge, and she chairs the Great Dane Club of America's Judges'
Education Committee. I asked Ms. Tarbox if she would be willing
to share her thoughts on the subject of "off-color" brindles.
She generously agreed:
Short Essay on Brindles
By Dale Suzanne Tarbox
Let me start by saying that as a breeder and a judge of
Great Danes, I follow the Standard of the Great Dane that
is provided by the Great Dane Club of America to the American
Kennel Club. In the Standard it says that the base color
of a brindle should be a yellow gold and always brindled
with strong black stripes." The more intense the base
color and the more distinct and even the brindling, the
more preferred will be the color." It also says that
"too much or too little brindling are equally undesirable."
all use different terms to describe the colors. "Onyx"
or "reverse" brindles are dark; the tiger-like
coloration is usually what we strive for. The base coat
color can differ also from a light fawn color to a deep
golden-red color to a "wheaten" color that looks
pale (no gold) and has a blackish tint to it. The preferred
base coat is the golden color, just as it is in fawns. I've
just heard another name that describes this lovely color
and that term is "apricot" brindle. It certainly
puts the correct base color in your mind. Lighter marked
brindles can still have the lovely golden base.
As a Dane owner, I find all brindle color acceptable as
long as any white and/or sooty color is kept to a minimum.
Even when judging, I put structure (how a Dane is put together,
angles, top line, body and bone) and head type above color
in making a decision as to who will win. Unfortunately,
not everyone feels as I do and they tend to penalize brindles
that fall on either side of the spectrum. There are enough
people who judge structure to finish the "off"
colored brindles. It just may take awhile longer. The acceptable
amount of brindling will vary from very sparse (mostly fawn
with very few stripes) to heavy (to the extent that black
appears to be the base coat with fawn striping) and anywhere
in between. Sometimes brindles have a definite mid-line.
On these brindles you will find good, strong stripes on
one side and very light makings on the other.
All of these Danes are brindles and they can produce fawns
and brindles when bred to a fawn or brindle. When you breed
a brindle to a brindle, you can get fawns and brindles and
you may get dominant brindles. Dominant brindles produce
brindles only, even when bred to a fawn. It is impossible
to tell beforehand what color the brindles in a litter will
be. Perfectly marked brindles can produce dark or light
brindles or both. Dark brindles (including onyx/reverse
brindles) and lighter brindles can produce perfectly marked
brindles. It is like tossing the dice.
A little side note on brindle personality. Many of us who
have owned them soon find out that they have a personality
that is a little different from fawns. They are very silly
and have a sense of humor.
No matter where your brindle falls in the color pattern,
he or she is still a brindle Great Dane and surely just
as beautiful and lovable as any Great Dane.
©2002 Dale Suzanne Tarbox, Sandale
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