The Big “Breeder” Debate



No matter where I venture online, it seems the topic of breeding, the practices of breeders, what is considered good breeding and what is classed as a puppy mill or back yard breeder, is a never ending discussion…in some places, a never ending WAR. While I agree that education and information is key to improving anything in life we want to see change for the better, I must admit that this discussion in particular has long since gotten old for me. Probably because the die hard folks on either side of the argument will never see anything other than that they are in the right.

Perhaps it’s the Libra in me that allows me (to my detriment at times lol), to see both sides of an argument. It’s what helps me to mediate arguments among friends and family, it’s what has helped me run forums without the ever present drama that is so prevalent in so many places online. I have the ability to look at things from both the emotional and rational point of view. I can and do, separate the two, so that on the one side I have facts and realities, versus what my heart and emotion would LIKE to believe, or would like to see happen.  Yet seeing both sides, often leaves people thinking you are sitting on the fence, that you have no concrete opinion on an issue. Not so…and this post is my ATTEMPT to explain my own personal views and arguments I have within myself, on the whole breeding issue.

Being as passionate about Great Danes as I am (or dogs in general really), it stands to reason that I too have my feelings on the breeding issue. To me, if you truly love and respect a breed, you will go out of your way to make sure you are breeding the absolute best specimen you can find. It makes perfect sense to me to do genetic health testing, although I also know it is not a guarantee of any future health of an individual dog…I know that it does indeed increase your chances of having a better shot at a healthy, longer lived Dane. Having a breeder who backs their pups to the end of their life, is obviously a great positive. It SHOULD be the law…but alas, as of yet it is not.  All of the things we say we want and look for in a reputable breeder, make sense and are great things to strive for.

Of course when someone is talking about wanting to get a puppy, your first words are advising them to research extensively the breed itself, then look for a Reputable breeder who: Shows, Health Tests, Is involved with their breed club and in good standing, has titles in obedience, tests the temperament of all breeding stock,etc. You list off all of the signs of a less than reputable breeder or puppy mill, advising them to not buy that puppy in the paper, and why.

But here’s the reality…like it or not.

In a country the size of Canada, there are only a small handful of breeders who would fit into that picture of perfection. These breeders do not breed often, do not have multiple litters every year, they have long waiting lists, they are VERY picky on who they choose to sell a pup to, they are not always right next door, or even in the next province. Many will not ship a pup….many have extensive screening policies that even the Pope would probably fail at. And all those things are GREAT.


The reality is that there are not enough “top breeders” having pups, to meet the demand of those who want one. There are many people, who, by the way would and DO make excellent pet owners, for one reason or another, do not agree with how they must go about getting a pup from these breeders.  I have read the contract/questionnaire forms from some of these breeders to people I know, and they laugh out loud at some of the questions being asked. They simply refuse to dish out $2000 for a dog that: A. They won’t be able to pick out for themselves. B. They have to explain their entire life story, give WORK references, financial statements, explain the relationship of every Tom, Dick and Harry who comes into their home…etc, in order to qualify. C. Have to spend big bucks to fly across country to meet the breeder first, then fly back again to pick up a pup IF they are lucky enough to be approved, then fly or drive back home with the pup.  D. Have to have strangers walk through their home and dig into their personal life in order to ascertain whether they are good enough to own a pup. There are more examples of course, but that’s just the ones that I’ve seen great pet owners refuse to consider going through in order to get a dog.

I know quite a few GD owners whom a rescue or “reputable” breeder wouldn’t have looked twice at, yet they are EXCELLENT homes for their dogs. I myself am one of them! I know that there are many dogs, hell, many PEOPLE who would give anything to have the life my boy has, yet had I asked one of those top breeders for a pup at the time I got Luke…I would have been laughed at, scorned even.

So let’s get real. We live in an age of instant gratification. We want it, we want it now. And really, those who know anything about life have figured out that life IS short…Why should Jane Doe wait four years to get that high bred puppy or not get one at all, because she doesn’t have a high enough fence, or she isn’t rich, or one of the other reasons she might be turned down? Do these breeders really think the person is going to totally give up on the idea of getting a puppy because THEY said the person wasn’t ready? Nope…don’t think so! Jane Doe is going to say to hell with that, I want a pup, I know I can give it a great life, and I’ll get that pup SOMEHOW, somewhere. So Jane goes to Kijiji or the newspaper..and finds a litter of pups.


While Jane has probably read all the horror stories and fights over breeding practices online, she has heard enough from friends who’ve had dogs, or seen it with her own previous dogs, that not all “BYB” dogs are going to be sickly or have temperament issues. Perhaps she even knows of people with those top bred, titled dogs who suffer from everything known to man, and has decided..if it’s a risk no matter which way you turn, and since she doesn’t qualify for a high quality pup, she’ll just have to take her chances with the little family who raises happy, supposedly healthy, friendly Great Danes from their proverbial back yard. Not only is this pup a bit cheaper, she can actually pick out which one she wants instead of paying a ton of money to be told THIS is the pup you can share your life with. So Jane gets her pup. She may or may not end up with an unhealthy dog. She has indeed, perpetuated the cycle of more dogs being bred that shouldn’t be…but in her eyes, she deserves a dog just like the people next door and down the street.

The arguments used against buying from a byb do not mean much to Jane.

So the breeder doesn’t offer a guarantee? The one who does, only offers it for up to two years, when we all know that most genetic issues don’t show up til after than anyways (thus why tests are done after the age of two and the reason we say no dog should be bred before the age of two) Many contracts state that you have to return the dog for a replacement pup. Well hello…who is going to live with, love and bond with a dog for up to two years, find out it’s sick and hand it back over for a NEW pup from the same people who gave them the sick one in the first place? It’s useless. Good in theory, but in reality, not many are going to make use of it…not if they truly love and want their dog through thick and thin, which is what we want from dog owners correct? The only way a contract guarantee means much to most people, is if it includes a full money back policy not including the return of the dog to the breeder. If they do indeed lose the dog, they might want to have that money to go to another breeder with different lines.

Explaining to Jane that by buying this one pup, she is putting money into the hands of the byb, making it possible for more poorly bred pups to be born doesn’t mean much to her either, because she tells herself the pup would have been sold to someone else anyway, or dumped in a shelter, or put down perhaps.

Jane doesn’t particularly care if the breeder wants to be bosom buddies for the next ten years, exchange cards and emails and personal life stories for the remainder of the pups life. As far as she’s concerned, the dog is now do with as she wants..not to be under the thumb of, or answering to someone else.

It’s true…if there was no demand..there would be no supply. Someone who is doing anything for the money is going to stop when the money dries up, and the venture is no longer profitable for them. But it is also true, that as long as we have a shortage of GOOD breeders, and these breeders only have a small supply of pups, whom only go to the best of the best of owners..then there will ALWAYS be a demand for pups. It’s that simple. The reality of human beings is that if we can’t get the best but we still want whatever it is, we will settle for second best. Not many people are going to give up their desire for a dog because someone else tells them to. It’s ludicrous to assume otherwise.


So how do we make it better? Education is the key. But not just of potential new owners, but potential breeders as well. And alienating them by treating them like idiots, like trash, by insulting and ragging on them is NOT going to make that person want to stick around for more “education”. Passionate as we are, we have to learn how to deal with people, the same way we learn how to deal with our dogs, otherwise we do more harm than good in the end. You can’t teach someone to better anything, if you are pushing them away. It’s that simple. We need to quit the bickering and making those who’ve already gotten their dane from whatever source feel like a piece of trash…and start coming up with ways to better the entire dog owner/breeder community. Lobby for stricter breeding laws perhaps. Make it easier for potential breeders to do it the RIGHT way…Get rid of this elitism that is so prevalent in the dog world, and sorry…NO ONE is going to convince me it’s not there, I see it every day just in forums, not to mention real life offline.

This is a hot topic for debate, and the problem lies in the differences each person has in what they consider to be proper breeding practices. No matter how much we fight and bitch and moan the truth of it is that as long as there are people wanting a Great Dane and not being able to get one within a reasonable time frame, without being made to jump through hoops of burning flames in order to get one…the demand for lower classed breeders will always remain.

We need to ask ourselves…is it worth the long term cost, by being so picky in who we allow the privilege to have these dogs, even though we do it out of our love and passion for the breed…Are we not in a way pushing those very people to go and support the very ones we’re trying to stop from breeding? It’s a catch 22, a most difficult situation…and until we can all stop bickering about it, and start coming up with some real solutions instead of insults and innuendos, nothing is going to change. It’s the real world…and sometimes logic outweighs emotion, and vice versa.

My story with Luke is not about me deciding one day, I want a GD pup, I want it now, I got him. I had spent years doing the research, I lurked on all those top breeder’s websites..I even had it narrowed down to the two breeders I would go to when the time was right for me to buy a pup. I didn’t search for Luke. I wasn’t looking to get a pup at that time at all. Had I been looking for a pup, I would definitely have gone the route I had long since decided I would go…with those reputable, top of the line breeders. IF I ever decide later on that I want another dane, which I can almost guarantee will not happen (Luke is my one and only, and no matter how much I love this breed, he can never be replaced) but if I were to do it..I would do it the right way. I’d wait my time…I’d plan it all to the nnth degree.

When I came across my boy’s picture…I knew without a shadow of a doubt, like I’ve known NOTHING before or since, that he was mine. He was THE one…and although I knew the risks, there was nothing to be done about it. He was meant for me and I him and every single thing that has happened since the moment I laid eyes on his picture has proven that, a hundred times over. I should have never been able to get him at the time I did…the stars just aligned in the right place I guess you could say. Miracles occurred in my life for this boy to come home to me. It was never about having a Great was about HIM…which of course I cannot begin to explain and frankly, I don’t owe it to anyone to even try. He is here, he is loved beyond anyone or anything I have in me and frankly when he leaves this earth I pray I go with him because he is not just my dog, he is not a pet…he is more than I even comprehend at times, and to even contemplate a day without him now is like tearing out my heart with my bare hands. And I’m a tough cookie…trust me, nothing affects me if I don’t wish it to..I have the emotional control of a bloody robot…but not with him…Not for Luke. He ruined me lol. Or saved me, depending on how you look at it.

My point is…while it may seem hypocritical of me to try and convince people who are looking for a pup to go the reputable route…I do so because I HAVE heard the horror stories, seen the heartache so many people have suffered because they went with Mr. Jones and his untested dogs. I also see how the sheer amount of badly bred danes is changing the way our breed looks and behaves, and that is not a good thing. We who love this breed must want what is best for them…which means, better health, better longevity, better temperaments, better conformation. Too many GD’s are looking like sad examples of a greyhound mix…or too beefed up like a Neo Mastiff. Too many are scared of their own shadow or showing signs of aggression when it’s not who they are supposed to be. So yes…breeding IS a VERY important topic, one we have to take seriously and together as people who love and appreciate the breed, we MUST find a way to make their futures even brighter.

I pray every night to a God I have had my on and off’s with for years, that he will let Luke and I have many many healthy and happy years together. My biggest fear in this life is to lose him, but even more so, for him to suffer in any possible way. Because I know me, and I know that I am not selfish when it comes to my love for him, so if they day ever comes that he is suffering…it will mean my loss of him…because I will not let him continue to suffer through a life he cannot understand, just so I don’t have to say goodbye. So yes, you can bet your life that his health and wellbeing is of top priority to me. I do everything I can do to assure that he remains healthy. But I know it is a jack in the box type deal…you just never know when that evil looking clown is going to pop up on you. I pray he stays in that damn box for good.

I hope I’ve explained my thoughts clearly enough..I am now tired and in quite a bit of hopefully it makes sense.

Luke having fun in the snow

Just a little video of my boy playing in the backyard the morning after our big snow storm here. He was having a blast. Oh and I was wrong, it wasn’t Tyler’s poster he had, but an old part from a vaccume cleaner that for who knows what reason, had been under the deck lol.

Trust…How much of it do we have?

We all like to say that we trust our dog…that we know without a shadow of a doubt, how they will behave in any given situation. And most of the time, if we’ve done extensive training, exposed our dogs to many different situations and scenerios, we may just be telling the truth. That being said however, there is a real danger in us putting 100% unconditional trust in our pets. The truth of the matter is, at the end of the day? They are all animals. Just as human beings, some we can live with, love and share the whole of our lives with, can sometimes act unpredictably, do something we never would have expected and totally surprise us, so can our dogs. Frankly, in my opinion, it is incredibly arrogant of us to assume that we can predict ANYONE or ANYTHING’s behavior 100% of the time. Unless we are truly psychic, it’s just not possible.

Of course hindsight is 20/20. It’s very easy for us to say, well I had this dog for ten plus years, and my kids could do this and that to him/her, and he never so much as blinked. Or, my dog was never on a leash from the time he was a pup and yet he never got hit by a car, never escaped, never….you fill in the blanks. Lucky you! Because if that is the case, you are very lucky. Now ask the people who have had dogs act out of character by bolting out of the driveway unexpectedly one day, who ended up getting hit and dying. Ask the people who had well trained, well socialized dogs who out of the blue bit someone without any forseeable reason or warning. It happens.

I think if we truly want to keep our dogs safe and happy, we have to always keep it in the back of our minds that while we may have incredible bonds with them, we may have trained them extremely well, and the dog may be totally reliable up to this point…at the end of the day, they are still animals first and foremost. We cannot read every thought, every feeling, every instinct in our dogs, no matter how much we may want to think we can. Forgetting this, can be fatal.

I do not put Luke in situations where I am setting him up for the possibility of failure. I don’t just assume that because he’s never done something before, that he will never do it. I know that there is always that tiny possibility that something might set him off the wrong way, and he might react differently than ever before. I don’t let him walk along on busy streets offleash…I don’t let him leave my house, even to go out to the car without a leash on. Those are just examples that I use. There are many.

How often do we see someone in the park with their dog, or out on a walk, and that person will say “oh fuzzy butt just LOVES other dogs, he LOVES people”, and then all of the sudden the dog just takes a dislike to a person or other dog and a fight breaks out? Well maybe fuzzy butt DID love all dogs and people up to that point..maybe he just got bad vibes off of the person or dog at that moment.
Or a dog who is usually perfect on leash, who all of the sudden takes a “I think I’ll pull you down the street” notion one day? I’ve seen it. Luke has been perfect on leash since nine weeks yet once in a while he’ll have those times when he’s less than perfect for whatever reason, Maybe he’s just in a pissy mood and doesn’t feel like being totally obedient, who knows? It doesn’t mean he wasn’t trained, it doesn’t mean he’s bad, just means for that moment he isn’t doing what he normally does.  For heaven sake..I myself do things to surprise myself sometimes, and I’m ME!

My point I guess is this. Far too often, we humans think we are sooo smart, so above every other species, so in control, when in reality, we have barely scratched the surface. Never assume that you know EVERYTHING about anyone, human or dog. Training does not rid any animal of every single instinct it possesses. Even if you personally never witness some of those instincts.

Pets more trustworthy than people: Survey

Click on the link to read full article

Pets more trustworthy than people: Survey

This article is so true!LOL It proves that we Canadians are smart. We know our pets make better company than most humans we know 😛

Canadian pet owners would rather deal with their furry friends than other people: You bet we would! lol

The study revealed that 53 per cent of Canadians who own pets find them more reliable than people: No kidding! lol

Ninety per cent of Canadians talk to their pets and one-third have confided their deepest, darkest secrets to Fido or Milo or Hero. Yes…I talk to Luke about pretty much everything. Atleast I know he can keep his mouth shut and he never judges.

Pets have always been a social network of sorts. According to the survey, 61 per cent of pet owners say their neighbours talk to them more when they are with their pet, and about 41 per cent say their pets have helped them begin a new relationship with someone they might not have otherwise met.

Pet people seem to meet other pet people. THIS part I really can relate to. I have never been a groupie…never too keen on hanging out in crowds or large groups of friends at once…yet ever since Luke came into my life, I have met more people, speak or write daily to people all over the world, people who I share a lot of common ground with, even more so than just our love of Great Danes or other pets. Some of my closest friends now, are those I met online through pet groups or forums. I look forward to chatting with them daily, sharing our stories and experiences with our beloved animals, learning from one another. I talk more to people now than I ever did. Yes, the thread that binds us is our common love for our dogs, but we soon find other interests that we share and a closeness is formed when every day you’re sharing your life with these people. In offline life, I’ve met TONS of new people. Most of which I may never see again, but Luke has been the cause of so many great conversations, opportunities to educate those who are interested in the breed. I have found that my pet lover friends are more supportive and understanding in all areas of life, are there for you when you’re down, need prayers or advice, than people I’ve known my entire life. So yes, pets bring people closer together, there is no doubt whatsoever about that. Just look at what pet blogs have done to bring awareness and cause close friendships to form!

61 per cent of survey respondents said their pets deal with them differently when they are sick. Pet owners said their animals helped lift their spirits. Again, I can relate to this statement. As a person who suffers from chronic pain…I cannot begin to tell you the impact Luke has had on my life, on my health. If it weren’t for him some days? I’d never get out of bed. He has given me a reason to fight, to keep on going when every fiber of my being wants to just lay down and sleep. He gets me up and out there, pushing through the pain to take him on his walks, to play and laugh and have fun with him. Just looking at Luke makes me happier than anything else has ever done. He truly is and has been, a life saver to me…in more ways than I can say. He never leaves my side when I’m feeling really low or in a lot of pain. When I had my surgery to have my teeth removed, he didn’t even want to go out to pee lol. He never acted hyper or got the zoomies…never pushed me to get out there, but yet I did it, because I knew he needed me to. I wouldn’t have done it for anyone else!

I think we’ve seen enough evidence on the many positive effects therapy dogs have had on the lives they touch while on the job. There is no debating that animals are truly remarkable creatures who we humans can learn a lot from, if we just get past that human-like mentality that we are above everything else on the planet, smarter, more evolved……better. The more I see of the human race and its’ actions..the more convinced I am that animals are the greater species 🙂

Great Danes in the News

I decided I really wanted to start sharing any news stories I come across in regards to the welfare of Great Danes. Since I don’t watch the news lol, I am relying on the help of my facebook friend Meredith, who is a real advocate for animals and is aware of news stories. So thank you Meredith, without you these posts wouldn’t be possible. I hope by sharing these stories, new and old, we can spread awareness of what is happening to and with our beloved breed.


April 9, 2008

Dead dog walking

Animal shelter employees work to save life of emaciated Great Dane


Police: Long Island Woman Starved Pet Great Dane


A Long Island woman faces up to a year in jail after police say she failed to provide food and medical care for her two-year-old Great Dane who ultimately died.



Animal cruelty arrest

The Nassau DA’s office says a Farmingdale woman faces animal cruelty charges after she starved and neglected her 2-year-old great Dane, which later died…….

Video and More HERE

Great Dane starved to 82 pounds
Farmingdale , NY (US)

Incident Date: Monday, Nov 22, 2010
County: Nassau

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 3 files available

Alleged: Rose Neira

An emaciated dog of one of the largest breeds died despite desperate efforts by veterinarians on Long Island to save it.

‘Zack,’ a two-year-old Great Dane, weighed only 82 lbs. when he was taken from the home of owner Rose Neira, 30.

The Farmingale resident is accused of starving the dog and failing to provide proper medical care.

According to the American Kennel Club , a Great Dane is “extremely large and known for being strong yet elegant, with a friendly, energetic personality.” A normal, healthy Great Dane typically weighs 125 lbs.-150 lbs.

‘Zack’s’ bones protruded from its body and its nails were damaged and overgrown. Its ear cavities were caked with dirt, said the Nassau County officials.

Acting on a tip, investigators from the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office removed the dog from the home on November 22.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Neira initially told investigators the dog was suffering from a parasite, but she could not provide evidence of the dog in a veterinarian’s care.

‘Zack’ was treated for 10 days at the Oyster Bay Animal Hospital were it died on December 1 from heart-related problems.

Neira is charged with misdemeanor counts of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring an Animal and Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance.

She faces up to one year in jail if convicted. Neira is due back in court on January 3.


Read more: Pet-Abuse.Com – Animal Abuse Case Details: Great Dane starved to 82 pounds – Farmingdale , NY (US)


Starving Great Danes and Owner Gets Only 90 Days in Jail

Read the blog post HERE

Court Delays in Great Dane Starvation Case

Hempstead, NY – Meredith Foster, an animal rights activist, was outraged when she first learned about the case against Rose Neira, 30, a woman accused of severely neglecting her 2 yr-old Great Dane, Zack.The dog was confiscated from Neira’s home….

Read More HERE


After that heart wrenching news…it gives me pleasure to share this latest news about the heroic acts of a Great Dane and his owner 🙂

Great Dane stops sex attack, corners suspect


Happy Belated Holidays Everyone!

Mom has been lazy with my blog again, but she’s trying to catch up by visiting as many blogs and commenting as she can. We hope you had an awesome Christmas and New Years! Ours was nice, very quiet. Mom didn’t feel up to doing the big family gatherings this year, so we stayed at home and had our dinner with my human brother Tyler and Patty. I got some turkey dinner…I LOVE turkey! Here’s me watching Patty stuff and baste it 🙂


I got some great prezzies too!

Did someone say prezzies? For me? Im on my wayyyy!

Let’s see what’s in here

Is that a steak?? But it squeeks!

FINALLY I get the one Mamma kept hiding from me!

Ohh a new stuffie!!!!

Mamma hers said we have to WAIT to eat.. Crying or Very sad I’ll just chill here wit my doggy til it’s ready


Or maybe try a little rubber steak to tide me over?

So, christmas is over and a new year has begun. Mom says we have some goals she’d like us to achieve. She wants to work on fun new tricks with me, and try to get together more often with our fellow dane friends. I heard Mom and Patty talking about me going to the vet later this month too. Something about being neutered? I don’t think I like the sounds of that!! More on that topic later….

Anyway I better go..nap time! See you on your blogs.


Hi everyone…so sorry I haven’t been around to visit and comment lately. Things have been pretty hectic here, alot of changes and personal issues happening, but I’m trying now to catch up, I’ll get to everyone sooner or later.I’m also busy working on my Great Dane Owners forum…Today I did up a brand new background/forum skin, so far I like it. I’d love to see some fellow dane owners join us there for chat and fun, and all things dane. We truly are a close knit happy dane family…and would love to see some new faces and danes on board 🙂

See u all later on! Jenn