"Color Pure" Breeding
I inform my puppy buyers that they may get some flack from ignorant people that assume any Dane that is not a GDCA (Great Dane Club of America) standard color of fawn, brindle, black, blue, mantle or harlequin, MUST be produced by a horrible "BYB'er" that has no care for the well being of the breed and is only out to make a profit off of their dogs and sell them as "designer" colors. I find this ignorance by self righteous people and/or breeders very close minded and near sighted in the long term preservation of the breed. Great Danes have not had an official "standard" for hundreds of years. The first standard that "set in stone" these (originally 5 approved colors) from which Mantle aka Boston was not an approved colored was issued from the GDCA in the late 1800's.(I will do some more research on this, as the GDCA does not say on their website when they were established).
As many horse breeders will attest to, it is NOT the color of the horse, but the horse itself. It's counterproductive, in my personal opinion, to separate our breed into what is essentially different color breeds. Our breed is struggling for genetic diversity, and by self limiting these genetics, how can anyone understand the genetic ramifications of this "standard".
This is just the tip of the iceberg for me on this subject. I am not an ignorant breeder. I love the breed and I am just as passionate about it's self preservation that any of the self righteous breeders that think they must be superior to other breeders because they follow the color standard. YOU know who you are! :-) I feel sorry for your shortsightedness and inability to challenge a standard that you accept, just because it is written and voted upon.
I plan on continuing my horrible cross color breeding program (*sarcasm) because I feel that is in the best interest of MY dogs, MY breeding program and MY puppy owners, in order to produce the best Great Dane that I can, according to the conformation standards of the breed, and MY health and temperament standards. God Bless and many thanks to all my Vulpine puppy owners that have learned how I am, and enjoy our puppies together. I look forward to many more years of breeding and contributing to this wonderful breed. - VLP
**Interesting Update** There has been a new color pending approval in the standard which is merle mantle. Merles are already approved and showing in Europe. Stay tuned to see if this color makes the cut. I hope it doesn't encourage more harlequin breeders to breed their harlequins to merles though.
In the GDCA Breeders Color Code and Code of Ethics it is acceptable to breed a harlequin to a harlequin (which is essential a merle to a merle or merle to harlequin, etc.) Did you know that when you breed 2 harlequins together your probability of having deaf and blind puppies, and lethal whites that die in utero are always going to happen? I will say when I was more ignorant of the affects of this type of breeding, I have done harlequin to harlequin breedings. I have made a stance that I will not do this type of breeding anymore. I have had deaf puppies and some with vision problems. This is entirely avoidable and completely unacceptable!!!!! This type of breeding has been outlawed in other countries, and sad to say, I'm sure that this will not be the case for breedings in the USA in the near or far future. It is up to people that have ACTUAL ethics, to not purposely do this type of breeding and knowingly produce defective puppies. Those are the type of breeders that question MY ethics! I would pick a fawn to breed to a harlequin a million times over before I would choose to breed it to another harlequin. I do not think there is a problem with breeding merles, as long as they are bred properly and they are a color that is now on the road to being an approved show color. But breed them to the proper partners that accentuate their weakness and create better dogs, not choosing to hurt some puppies in order to get the best "show dog", rather than the best all round dog and an entirely healthy litter.
ALSO: If you meet a breeder that does harlequin to harlequin breedings and claims to have NEVER had a defective puppy, you are talking to a LIAR. It is statistically IMPOSSIBLE. Are they saying they can beat the statistics? The only way I know that these statics can be beat, is if you "cull" the defective puppies before anyone is aware of them. Many breeders can and still do cull (and I mean destroy) their defective puppies from harlequin breedings. So if you are considering a puppy from a breeder that breeds harlequin to harlequin and claims to have no defective puppies, you need to run, not walk from this breeder that is lying to you. If they will lie about this, what else are they lying about?
What about Cropping??????
Do you think it's ethical to cosmetically alter a dog by cutting over half of it's ear off, to train it to stand up? Or would you consider it more ethical to leave the dog in it's natural state? Again, I was duped into believing that you could NOT win or show your Great Dane without it having cropped ears. Shame on me for believing that. I needlessly submitted several dogs and puppies to this practice, just for cosmetic reasons. It DOES hurt the dogs. They cut half of their ear off and then do a running stitch up the side of the ear to make it calloused and you tape and train the ears to stand.
Again, this is illegal in other countries! Boy do they have their ethics right. Unfortunately, I still think that this will not change here in the United States anytime soon. I have made the choice to end this horrible practice on any of my dogs and any puppy I produce. All of my puppies leave on a NO CROP contract. They deserve better than this. This is not doing what is BEST for the breed. How is this beneficial to the dog??? Shame on these breeders for thinking their moral and ethical standards are beyond reproach, when they engage in this barbaric practice.
I think everyone is entitled to their opinion and they are entitled to crop their dogs if they so choose. I will not attack them for what they do, but I definitely will not keep my opinions to myself anymore. If your dog can't win without it's ears being surgically and cosmetically altered, then maybe you should reevaluation your breeding program.
It is a dis-qualifier to put in surgical "stays" in their ears, if they do not stand, to make them stand for the show ring. Do you think this happens? Damn right it does! I purchased a 10 month old harl dog from Canada a few years back. Imagine my surprise when his cropped ears were immovable! This "ethical" breeder sold me a dog that had perma stays put in his ears. This dog also had sired a litter prior to me purchasing this 10 month old dog, which I was also not informed about until the puppies were over a week old, by this same "ethical" breeder. I will not name HIS name, but if anyone knows my history and my dogs you can put 2 and 2 together.
Use your own ethical standards. Would you cut off half of your child's ears to make them look "prettier" by societies standards? I consider my dogs like my children. I will not do this, and will not condone this practice. If you do, please take a second look at your ethics, and perhaps think of what is best for the dog, not for their show career.
I think it's hard to beat the elegance of a natural eared dane. (See Baron below) LOL!