November 3, 2003 – On the last
day of the Nationals, a young couple wandered
through the vendor's tent with a pair of puppies in tow. They lived
in the area and decided to visit the show because it offered
an ideal opportunity for socializing their young dogs. One of their
puppies was a lightly marked harlequin;
was winding down and not much was going on, many of the nearby
vendors (myself included, camera in hand) rushed over to see the
pups. They were adorable. The white puppy, as is so often the case
white Danes, was completely deaf. The couple told us that they had
purchased the harlequin puppy and at the last minute the seller asked
them to take the deaf puppy as well. He told them it was "hard to
find good homes for his deaf puppies" and he thought they would take
care of him. Well, he was right. The deaf puppy had indeed lucked
into a wonderful home. His
owners appeared to be intelligent, responsible and caring individuals.
They told us they are working hard to learn the ins-and-outs
of raising a deaf
While we were chatting, I looked
into the deaf puppy's eyes and thought I saw the tell-tale signs
of an early vision abnormality that will likely accelerate with
age. This disorder is very common in deaf danes. The puppy's owners
seemed unaware of the fact that their puppy may have a vision
problem that could lead to blindness. They were enjoying
the day, enjoying their puppies, and it was a nice family outing.
So I said nothing about it.
they left, Deb Rahl, director of the
Dane Rescue League (MAGDRL), and I looked at each other and shook
our heads. The breeder of this pair, it seemed,
was routinely producing litters with deaf puppies. Deafness in Danes
is a genetic defect easily avoided through knowledgeable
practices. Unfortunately there are many irresponsible "backyard breeders"
all over the United States cranking out deaf Great Dane puppies.
These puppies can become increasingly difficult to manage as they
because of their size, many deaf Danes end
up in rescue – or worse. MAGDRL and other rescue groups encounter
these "deaf refugees" all the time and do the best they can for them.
As you might imagine, it can be difficult to find stable, permanent
homes for adult deaf dogs the size of a
Hopefully the puppy we met that day will
live a long
happy life. It certainly looked like he was off to a good start.
We wish him all the best. You can learn a little more about deaf
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