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Scot Billings @ 11:14AM | May 3rd 2004

Ginnie, Thank you for the "expose" on breeding & it's lack of profit (even without incidental expenses being considered - travel, hours, etc.). I think every breeder thinks "Why did I do this?" more than once. We are still stubborn or crazy enough to do it again when we want a puppy to show. We are probably the type of people that hit our thumbs with a hammer because it feels good when we quit hitting it. I love some of the shots you have gotten from this litter.

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Ingrid Dohler @ 3:34PM | May 3rd 2004

Ginnie, what a great idea to write about this matter and to use it for your DaDane site! Hopefully, it will educate a lot of people and prevent many from planning to breed their dogs without the proper knowledge .
Thank you!

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Jennifer @ 6:27PM | May 3rd 2004


How strange that you would have this information on your website this week. I have a heartbreaking story to share about purchasing a dog from an irresponsible breeder and the painful lesson that we have learned. However, I want to start with the first Great Dane that I ever purchased.

We have a beautiful 9 year old Boston that we purchased out of the local news paper. We went to the home and met both the dam and sire and selected Sadie, whom was the runt of the litter. Sadie has been the perfect dog, she created my love for the Great Dane breed. My husband and I where very luck to have ended up with an angel like her. Unfortunately, this experience led us to believe that there was no need to go through all the hoops and look for a breeder when you could pick up a great dog on the side of the road or from the paper.

Now comes the lesson... February of 2003 I purchased a Beautiful Blue Merle named Lucy that I picked up at a home near my work. Again I met both the dam and the sire. No worries right, WRONG!! Lucy was a handful from the moment she came into the home. I have never had a dog that was so nippy and dominant. I should have taken heed when I notice that not only Sadie, but any dog introduced to Lucy hated her. None of the dogs she met wanted anything to do with her and avoided her at all costs. We just chalked it up to puppy hyper ness and that it would resolve in time.

In the meantime we were having a very difficult time getting her potty trained. I would come home after Lucy had been kenneled for only four hours and she would be standing in her own urine. We made many visits to the vet and I was constantly told to be patient, she's potty training... but my gut knew better. She had chronic bladder infections and the urine would literally leak out of her as she walked. I finally dropped her off at the vet and said that I don't care what it takes, find out what is wrong with her. Several hours later I received a devastating call from my vet. Lucy had been diagnosed with a rare condition called pelvic bladder. Basically her bladder is tucked deep in her pelvis, her urethra is only and inch long and instead of being a thin tube it was more of a gapping hole. I was sent home with a medication to help her hold her urine. It helped to some degree, but not for long. We had only three months at the most without an accident in the home. We met with two specialist since my own vet had never even seen this condition before. One was from the University of Minnesota and the other from the Midwest Specialty Group. The second vet had only seen 15 cases at the most in his 25 years of experience. We where told that there was nothing we could do, the condition was so rare that little was known and that surgery typically didn't work. We were also told that she was a "freak of nature" and that inbreeding was not the cause. We questioned her mannerism and asked if since she was messed up on the inside, was she mentally wrong. They assured us that we did not have to worry about it. Since the condition is so rare and so little is known about it, my husband and I questioned there ability to assure us that the dog was mentally okay.

I called the breeder 6 months into the trauma of owning this dog. The moment the conversation started, I knew why I had so many issues with the dog. The first thing the breeder asked me was if I was sure I purchased the dog from her. She insisted that she has never had a problem in the past with any dog and that she always gets letters from people saying how wonderful they are. I requested my money back since I had spent a large amount of money already just to diagnose the condition, she reluctantly offered half. I refused and told her to reconsider over the weekend, we would accept nothing less than the $600.00 I had paid for her. The breeder called back the following day and agreed to reimburse us. I offered her my vets number and said he was willing to discuss the condition with her. I also offered her the medical records, x-rays and future updates. She had no interest in any of it. During this time I also found out more about her breeding practices. She had many dogs that she had picked up from shelters and rescued from puppy mills. Definitely not the kind of dogs you should be breeding. I left knowing in my heart that she would breed the dam and sire again and was in the business only for the money, nothing else.

As time has gone on, we where still experiencing dominant and aggressive issues. I had taken Lucy to all the obedience classes and had look forward to getting into agility and ongoing trainings. However, and the harder we tried to resolve the issue of dominance the more resistant she seemed to become. Keep in mind, I'm 33 years old and have been surrounded by dogs all my life, training is not new to me.

So here we are, May of 2004 and Lucy was put on the last medication to help with her continence issues, unfortunately it's not working. We are also still experiencing nipping. Lucy nipped me on the neck when I quit petting her one day and a few days later when I was looking at a sore on her back, she turned with her mouth over my jaw, it was awake up call for us. The areas she is going to is significant and was of great concern. We have tried everything, and had many discussions with our vet and training school and have had no luck. We where already doing everything they suggested. Children are nervous around her so she needs to be leashed or kenneled when they are around (we have 14 nieces and nephews 12 under the ago of 6). Friends and family see a dog that "just isn't right." If Lucy had only the issue of continence we would be buying diapers and deal with it. Since we have the nipping and aggression at 18 months of age, last night we made the agonizing decision to put her down and both cried until 3:00 in the morning. Her appointment is set for Tuesday at 10:00. She will be fed steak for dinner and breakfast and sleep in our bed for the first and last time. Although we have had all these issues and many many people have assured us this is the right decision and question why we waited so long, it's unbelievably painful, our hearts are broken. We feel as though we let her down in some way but have weighed the guilt against the fear of her hurting someone and the fear is greater than the guilt. If Lucy had been the first Great Dane I ever owned, It would have ruined my opinion of the breed. I'm so grateful the my old Dane Sadie had shown us the true nature of the breed.

I will never buy a dog from the paper of the side of the road again and will only go to a reputable breeder. I don't think people realize the consequences that can occur from a poor breeder. Unfortunately, we learned the hard way.

Heart Broken in Minnesota

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Chantel O. Johnson @ 6:39PM | May 3rd 2004

Oh the beauty of baby puppies! Thank you, Ginnie, for the perfect Monday wake-up ~

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Chantel O. Johnson @ 7:00PM | May 3rd 2004

I would also like to add...along with the wonderful "feel-good" DaDane gives us from week to week, I also appreciate that Ginnie uses her wonderful web site to enlighten us all on issues that should not be ignored. I greatly appreciate the serious topics of health & well as the beautiful memorials, pictoral show coverage, fun & fantasic art & photography...amoung other stuff! How lucky we are in this breed to have such a web site! I am hoping many, new & old to Danes, will view this current topic of responsible breeding with greater thought than gorgeous puppies. The puppy pictures are an intoxicating attention grabber....the accompaning write up & comments are sobering.

Again Ginnie, thanks for your service to our beloved breed.

Chantel & the Boys @ LeCheval ~

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Micki Santy @ 7:40PM | May 3rd 2004

Thanks for posting these puppy pix, as well as the educational hints for would-be breeders. I am waiting for the day when I too will be owned by a Dane, and watching these little guys and gals as they develop is just great!

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Sunni @ 7:48PM | May 3rd 2004

Ginne I am so glad he loved the treats! Thank you!

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Valerie @ 2:57PM | May 4th 2004


I so love the baby pics. Wish I could be there myself.

Your site has been one of my favorites long before I welcomed another Dane into my life.
I continue to refer folks to these pages for reference in addition to your great t-shirts.

Looking forward to next week.

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Lisa @ 5:19PM | May 4th 2004

Thank you for this page and the info! These puppies are so beautiful. A few months ago I had such serious puppy longings that we now foster itty-bitty babies for the Humane Society. Our current foster is a doxie mix...& it's hilarious to see our rescue Dane play with her! Amazing how gentle 135 pounds of muscle can be!

I'll show this page to my husband...he told me that he wishes he could breed our (neutered) Dane because of his incredible disposition...I had a hard time explaining to him how important it was to know his history, which of course we know nothing about since he's a rescue. I think this page should do the trick!

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Terri @ 2:36PM | May 5th 2004

Ginnie and Heartbroken in Minnesota:

Thank you for your article on breeding and picking breeders. I, too, had a bad experience with what I thought was a good breeder.
In 1999 a purchased a black dane from a breeder who was a friend of a friend. Since she was my friend's friend I did not do a thorough check of her practices. Her dogs looked in good health - but looking back now I realized she bred for blues and I don't think she paid much attention to temperment. To make a long story short I ended up having to put Kili down after he bit two of my daughter's friends and also my daughter. After exhausting all the training solutions we could I realized I could not have a 170 pound dog that was aggressive to children. I live on a street with a bunch of children. I now have a Golden Retriever - Ben. I did exhaustive research on his breeder. She did an excellent job!!

I came to your site when I got Kili and have enjoyed it ever since. I get my Dane "fix" every week. Ginnie, thanks for your site and giving me a chance to tell my story.

Heartbroken in Minnesota, my heart goes out to you.


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Barbara @ 5:20PM | May 5th 2004

Dear Ginnie and Heartbroken in MN:

Ginnie: Thank you for the wonder

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Laurie @ 3:16PM | May 7th 2004

What beautiful babies!!! They grow up so fash.

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