Friday, 3 April 2015

The demise of the Great Dane




The two line-drawings at the top are taken from British Dogs, Their Points, Selection, And Show Preparation by W.D Drury, published in 1903. They formed part of the Great Dane breed standard adopted by the Great Dane Club (UK) at the time. The two pictures underneath are of modern show dogs (on the left, UK; on the right a French champion).

One hundred years ago, the breed looked like this...

b.1899
Today we see dogs like this (below) in the show-ring. It is not every dog in every ring, but it is in sufficient number to sound the alarm.




Can anyone truly think that this is any kind of an improvement on the dog of 100 years ago?

In France, particularly, the rise of what's often called the Euro-Dane is turning the breed into a Neapolitan Mastiff - a grotesque, floppy-flewed caricature of what the breed used to be.


© Falkhor Babinosaure

Better body... but who on earth thought that head was a good idea?

This is not just an aesthetic issue. Floppy flews are dysfunctional. There is no benefit to a bigger/heavier ear leather. Over-sized bodies elevate the risk of joint issues. Many Dane eyes are wincingly painful, too - both for the dogs and for any observer not subsumed into a breed culture that makes them oblivious to the every-second-of-the-waking-day discomfort dogs like this endure.

UK showdog
Almost every day I hear a breeder of a breed with dreadful eyes (Danes, Clumbers, Neapolitans, Bassets) justify the breeding of these dogs by telling me it's a minor issue compared to other bigger breed issues. But it isn't - not for the dog. If you think it's OK, please poke yourself in the eye with a dirty finger and leave the conjunctivitis untreated for a few days.

UK showdog
Then there's the swingeing longevity, or rather lack of it. Average life expectancy today? Just six years old, with cancer being the biggest cause of death, followed by bloat/digestive issues, heart disease, joint problems and spinal disease (source: Finnish KC database).  And it is not just Finnish Danes. The KC's 2004 health survey found a median age of death for the breed of 6 yrs 6 months.

I continue to be at a loss as to why poor longevity in Danes and many other breeds doesn't trigger a massive effort by Kennel Clubs and breeders to do something to tackle it. Instead, breeders seem to claim it as some kind of breed feature, something they accept as one of those things; not their fault... not much they can do about it.

This is not true. They can do something about it. 

I have a soft spot for Danes because I grew up with two of them. Neither of them were any great shakes. One had a digestive problem that kept him rake thin. The other was a nice-but-dim-Tim who died young of a reason lost in time. This is me with him when he was a pup at a fun dog-show in the 1970s (we came second in the dog-with-the-longest-tail class).



I remember being concerned about his slightly saggy eyes at the time; but the ectropion (as I now know it to be) was very minor compared to what you see in today's show dogs. They also used to be dry-mouthed; whereas today most Dane owners have to deal with globs of viscous slobber that makes the breed increasingly undesirable as a family dog.




Here's another beautiful Dane head from the 1970s compared to a modern UK show dog.


Many of today's Great Danes are a disgrace, with mostly no purpose other than to be an oversized, slobbery mess. They are a travesty of what they used to be.

Here's one of the reasons why... take a look at the points system that was in place for many years in the UK. Although no longer used in the UK, it helped set the agenda.  Most important? The head and the size. Least important, less so even than the tail or feet? Overall condition.



Want to know what do to do about it?

• international breed database that records health data and is open to all

• make death reporting (age and cause) a priority

• store semen when dogs are young and use it if they prove to be healthy into later years

• revise the points system (where still in use) to make condition/activity more important.

• rewrite the breed standard to reduce the minimum weight; introduce a maximum height and weight.

• worldwide symposium aimed at uniting breeders in a breed conservation plan

• breed them smaller. As with many giant breeds, there has been a creeping increase in size. Today's Danes are massive - much bigger than they used to be.

Big dogs die young. Bigger dogs die younger.

And bigger dogs with deep chests die even younger.

(The bloat situation is so bad in the breed that many breeders and owners do a pre-emptive gastropexy.)

This is also, perhaps, where the new International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) could play a role. If every signed-up KC contributed pictures of their top-winning dogs every year, the side-by-side comparisons would alert to the different types, prompting discussion that would hopefully help reign in excess.

Additionally, in the UK, the Kennel Club now needs to make this breed a Category Three breed - one whose conformation demands urgent action.

To finish with an eye-cleanser,  I should say that there are still some nice show Danes around - this is the Dane that took Best of Breed at Westminster this year. The dog is too big, and his neck is too long, but the WKC winner is much more moderate than some of the travesties we are seeing on this side of the pond.



And how about this... a Dane in the Finnish show-ring. Beautiful - and pretty typical of the breed in Finland; a country so often ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to the health of purebred dogs.


So let's see more of them.. and a lot less of these.

© Falkhor Babinosaure
© Falkhor Babinosaure


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48 comments:

  1. Because what pet owners want most of all is more slobber and rheumy eyes.

    I haven't looked at the popularity stats, but anecdotally -- I don't see half as many Danes in pet homes as I used to.

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    1. probably because there re so many restrictions in place .. many places do not allow dogs as large as Danes.. yards are smaller.. many people moving to cites.. or those horrid "gated communities". Danes eat more than most dogs and certainly poop larger excrement. lots of reasons but I would venture a guess that few are eyes or slobber as many breeds have wet mouths and are still popular..

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  2. It makes me laugh when some of these enormous, shambling, droopy behemoths is described at a big game hunter. Yeah right. A dog like a Euro-Dane would get killed by a hog. It's too big to get out of its own way, it can't get past its own lips to grip a hog, & I would be surprised if it can even *see* the hog with all that skin hanging into its eyes.

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    1. Ha! I know it drives me up the wall when I watch the Harry Potter movies & the "boarhound" is a NEAPOLITAN MASTIFF. Argh.

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    2. Yeah, a modern Dane would have are tough time taking down a farm piglet forget an enraged 200 pound long tusked boar or a brown bear. I see paintings of the old hunting Danes from the 17th century and wish I could wind back the clock. My friend lost his 5 year old Dane to bloat. Terrible.

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    3. I actually think that they need a bit of that loose lip so they can breathe while holding the prey, but I think it is too loose in these photos above which takes away the eligence they have.

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    4. Um... dogs breathe through their nose.

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  3. Surely what pet owners want is healthy dogs with sound temperaments?

    The breed didn't change because that was what the pet market wanted, it changed when breeders started importing big dogs with huge ears, loose necks and floppy jowls. They started winning in the show ring and the breeders with more moderate dogs were left on the sidelines. Sadly we now see the result.

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    1. Yes it was an elegant tight dog that was also very athletic. I think for comparison it looked like a much larger more robust Rodesian ridgeback. I was still alive when these Danes were the norm. I cant be sure if they were still the norn everywhere or the new unimproved version simply hadn't got to Africa in the 70's when I was a child.

      Todays Danes are a mess and I would never get another one.

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    2. The old fashioned danes sure look alot happier than the fashion these days.

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  4. Wow, what an awesome blog entry. Yes, the trend with great Danes is very symptomatic of the problem with dog fancy today. Jowls and eyes are a mess, and you nailed it with your comments about size. Historically, this type of dog was known as the German boar hound, and true to its name, it was a fit and agile hunter of wild boars. Two things the breed enthusiasts don't mention are:

    1) Back then, the German boar hound was a type, not a pure breed, and
    2) Back then, the German boar hound weighed about 90 lbs, not 150 lbs.

    It's much the same story for other former working dogs that have become giant breeds today. Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, and English mastiffs all used to be smaller when they actually had a job to do, and had to be fit and agile enough to do it. At today's sizes, giant breeds are just too darn big. Too big to move about efficiently, too big for their joints, and too big for their circulatory system. And just as with the historical photos above, the jowls on these giant breeds used to be smaller, too.

    What's the deal? Why do these breeders have to ruin every decent, functional dog they can get their hands on? Does fashion matter that much, that it's trumps the health and well-being of the dogs they profess to care for? Sadly, so it seems.

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  5. Thanks for letting us know about these issues.
    Sometimes I think we don't deserve the right to be with dogs. So sad.

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    1. yes showing the pictures of before and after and those sore eyes is worth doing. in spite of all the claims of so called breeder experts that such things are dogs that are fine really...makes you realise how experts like that are the worst enemies of man's best friends. .and common sense person on the street can see the truth staring at us in the face.

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  6. I wish every breeder would read this article and think long and hard about the message. It is unfortunate when the potential for profit and a rosette clouds good decision making. The dogs suffer, but breeders don't seem to care. I hope that rosette was worth it.

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  7. Agree with every word.I have a beautiful boy (in my opinion) who was bred by a very dear friend,but due to him not being enormous size ( 31") he gets knocked in the ring & either placed behind the what I consider "over the top" Dane or binned.No over done flews & baggy eyes,moves like a dream too.

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    1. Can I see a picture of him. I have a modern Great Dane but would like to see how they use to look. Thanks!

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  8. Very biased, hardly any UK dogs in the photos, points scoring unheard of here in the UK. As usual, totally inaccurate, whilst not disputing Danes have problems. Try finding a cure for gastric torsion, now that would be the most worthwhile thing you could do

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    1. Thank you for the correction re the point system in the UK - I have now added a source link above from which you will see that it was in use in the UK for many years, although not now.

      As for a cure for torsion... look at the chest on the 1899 dog and then look at today's dogs. Breed them like they used to be.

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    2. The thing I find most alarming about the giant breeds is life expectancy and high expected veterinary costs for things like HD and cruciate tears (also bloat). Size per se doesn't matter unless it comes at a cost. I don't fancy exaggerated heads, but it would be good to see evidence beyond pictures of excessive drooling and red eyes that this is harmful. My 10 yr old Lab has sloppy flews . . . she was fine as a pup . . . sometimes you get less beautiful as you age. Breed photos are easily selected to make a point, even if the point isn't true.
      100% agree about reporting age of death.
      Did the older style Danes often make it to 10 years? Were they less prone to musculo-skeletal problems? Is there evidence that the bloat problem has gotten worse over time?

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    3. not only a vet but a judge as well. You are multi talented.. Too big and neck too long? take it up with the many judges who have awarded Niko.. torsion in large deep chested dogs has been a problem for a long time.. many dogs in the past died a horrible death because of it. Your comment . "breed them like they used to be" is entirely wrong.. and sadly people will believe you that all you have to do is "breed them like the used to be" to cure this problem . Thank dog we have real vets and breeders ( are you a Dane breeder?) that ARE tackling this problem.. not only through scientific studies but by funding them as well. thank goodness the preemptive surgery is available. It saves the lives of many dogs.. not just Great Danes. We should be very thankful that it exists.. not calling it out as a bad thing.. or saying it can this problem can solved by breeding them "like they used to be".More pseudo science and tempest in a teapot

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    4. Aw Bestuvall... I'm sure you're right... No problem here... walk away... keep your mouth shut, Jemima.

      Want to find me a study which shows that 50 per cent of Danes suffered from torsion 100 years ago? Because that's what the figure is today.

      And I suggest you look a little more closely at the 1899-vintage dog and compare his chest to the current dogs - much less deep than the modern dogs. I am sure that some bloated - it's an occasional dog-thing after all (I almost lost one of my one retriever crosses to bloat two years ago) - but one in two; at a time when there was unlikely to be any vet around to save a dog's life? I don't think so.

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    5. I can't speak for all Danes but as someone who was in the breed in the 1970s I can say we never had a Dane that suffered torsion nor did we have any with skeletal problems or muscle injuries. We might of course have been very lucky and certainly bloat was around in those days but it wasn't common. Certainly nothing like 50%. Danes were known to have relatively short lives even then but we had Danes that made it past 10 and a bitch that made it to 11.5

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    6. I have been breeding for 20+ years. In those years, and of the countless pups I have produced, I have had exactly two cases of bloat. One, was dietary bloat, caused by that particular dog's problem digesting almost any kind of food. The other case was twisted bloat, and that would have been entirely preventable if I would have been able to prevent him from wrestling with his son after tanking up on water. Neither of those dogs were bred by me. The one with the dietary problem was just a fluke, and his problem could have happened in any dog. The dog with twisted bloat had just tanked up on water, then went outside. His son was already outside, but I was not aware of that. The two boys loved to wrestle, and normally I would not let them outside together after one or both had eaten or drank a lot, because I knew they would wrestle. This one time, I didn't realize his son was already outside when I let him out. I made a mistake, and the dog died. I still blame myself for that 15 years later. Contrary to popular belief, twisted bloat is most often caused by exercising after eating or drinking. The few cases I have heard of bloat in this area occurred at boarding kennels run by veterinarians, who should know better. In such places, the standard practice is to feed dogs, then let them out to play and exercise. That is the reverse of how Danes should be treated. Twisted bloat is almost always preventable by playing/exercising first, eating/drinking, then resting until the load settles, just like you or I would at Thanksgiving. Twisted bloat is very common in cattle and sometimes horses as well. I do not believe in stomach stapling, and I educate all my puppy buyers about proper feeding/exercising Danes. Not one has ever had bloat in 20+ years. Your 50% statistic is absolute nonsense. My dogs average 8-10 year life-spans as well. One of my females' parents both lived to age 15. We have also never had any problems with hips, bones, or other major genetic issues. As a long time breeder, if you ask me what causes most problems in Danes, it is the God-awful practice of "Line Breeding" otherwise known as inbreeding. That should be outlawed by AKC and the government. I don't inbreed, and I also don't crop ears. I spend far more money on my dogs and pups than I make back. So, before you go lumping all breeders into an evil, greedy category of bad guys, you better really look at the facts. I breed because I love this breed. My dogs and pups are healthy, and they are sweet, loving, gentle giants. In 20+ years, I have yet to have an unhappy puppy buyer.

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    7. Terry Janes what's the name of your kennel?

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    8. I would also like to know some further information about your kennel Terry Janes.

      I'm never having children, and I've loved Great Danes since I was a child, so it's always been the plan to get one eventually - when I've obtained a secure place of residence, preferably with a bit of land. However, the last few years, as I've come across stuff like this, and my own research into to the very common horrid health problems the breed suffers I've been thinking I should look for a Great Dane mix which would hopefully be healthier.
      It sounds like you have a very good breeding program though, and I may be interested in keeping your contact information handy for when it comes time that I am looking for my new family member.

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  9. no stats.. just looking at a few pictures.. at least you could verify your statements with those pesky things called facts? We have the facts for today BECAUSE of breeders and scientists.. who actually keep the records and help to find cures for the problems. even you owned a dog that died for some "unknown reason lost in time" maybe it was bloat.. who knows.. not that you were around in 1903.. during that time ..perhaps they died of distemper before bloat could get to them.who knows?. maybe you should contact the judges and ask them about the size or neck on the dane you mention. Or at least clarify with "in my opinion" but then you would say this blog is nothing but your opinion.. so I will agree with you there. You know if you became a dog show judge you could cure the problems of every breed by putting up the dogs you like best.. the ones who match your idea of a perfect specimen. Come on I would love to see that

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    1. No stats to back your counter arguement either bestuvall. The same old unless you are a breeder of the dogs or a judge your opinion counts for nothing.
      Really stand back and take a look at the mess at what you are making of pure breeding and how you are filling the so helpful vets,who are happy to feed your ego's, pocket.
      The cure is easy, but getting a breeders thick skull around the fact that the way they look is the illness, unfortunately how you so elquently show, is harder said than done.
      Keep those tunnel visioned specks on, Bestuvall.

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  10. Being a good Dane (or any other breed) should never come at the expense of being a good DOG. The Westminster Dane and the Finnish Dane are glorious compared to the other dogs- more balanced-looking, no massive, heavy heads bogging them down.
    I wonder what a judge would have to say about the 1899 dog, if it were to step in the ring today? Not only about the head, but the structural soundness of the dog as well.
    -Crystal

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  11. Very interesting. We have two Danes. One an ex show dog (Huge jowls etc) and one deemed "not good enough to show". The second one is much closer to the older Dane standard. He has had GDB but he's athletic and spritely. He turns 10 this year. I often wish the breeder had not required him to be de-sexed.

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  12. Don't disagree with observations on heads, jowls and huge ears but have personal experience of several of my Great Danes living well into their 10th year and some beyond their 11th into their 12th. I put that down to a good raw diet and good lines.

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  13. Aaaaah I 100% agree with Jemima's blog post and I haven't even read it, well at least not beyond the ever sexy Jem at a dog show bit, which stopped me in my tracks.

    I agree whole heartedly anyway. We my siblings and I also grew up with two Danes in the seventies, they were super dogs, nannies, best friends and confidantes. We knew the breeder who lived in the area, a Mrs Hawthorn. I just loved visiting them and being surrounded by these magnificent animals.

    Eventually I persuaded my Dad to get us two. He wasn't keen in the beginning as he only kept hunting dogs but he warmed to these lovely inquisitive bundles of puppy in an instant and they became our house and lap dogs from day one. One was a deep burnt gold and black stripped brindle and he could run like lightening. I expect had we lived in India he might have been called tiger but as we didn't and lived in Africa instead he was christened Cheetah by the farm workers who had never seen a tiger. The other a honey fawn called Grace we got a year later, was all that her name suggested. Both were truly lovely dogs and companions to our whole family.

    I could wax lyrical for months on these two but to cut it short they were very healthy dogs and lived to 15 and 16 even their hips where almost sound to the end. They became slower and slower as they reached the last few years. One bright sunny Sunday morning after the mist had lifted from the hills neither would get up off their settees on the veranda. They just stared into the distance completely oblivious that another day had dawned. My dad decided to call the vet. They had asked gently with a lick of the hand to be let out the night before as sometimes they slept out if the weather was very warm. Maybe they knew it was time. It was such a deep sadness saying good-bye for us children and we never got another Dane.

    Years later in the early 80's in my 20's when I was living and working in Antwerp I went to an international dog show in Rotterdam as I had been working there for a few days. I was excited as I hadnt been to an international dog show there werent any in the UK in those days where I lived before moving to the continent. I never forget that day. I rushed straight to the ring where the Danes were and got the shock of my life. Great, heavy quivering, sad, cow hocked beasts with salivating monster heads. I couldn't recognise them at all. But what really upset me were their hanging eyes the exposed flesh, even the ears had been horribly mutilated. It was a complete nightmare. These animals couldn't even walk never mind run properly. When the harlequins came out it was just too much to bear confused and upset I left before the class had even begun. I remember reaching out to stroke one panting and heaving, head shaking, body wet, covered in phlegm it was just all too terrible. I went to the borzois which where in a much better shape. It was an Incredibly sad moment.

    I remeber Mrs Hawthorn patiently explaining to us that the harlequines where quite different to other Danes, she didnt breed them. But to me none of these dogs I saw was acceptable not one.

    Im so glad this blog entry has been written because I've festered for years on this one and never quite got over it. Luckily we dont see many Danes here in Hong Kong or Im sure I would be upset all over again.

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  14. 5 for activity 15 for head?! Bizarre. No wonder they can hardly walk today.

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  15. If you have or had any dog who has suffered GDV, please help Dr Claire Sharp with her research:

    http://www.akcchf.org/research/funded-research/1937.html

    GDV can affect any dog, but large, tall dogs are more at risk. I recall reading in one study that when the thoracic depth:breadth ratio is taken into account, large mongrels have an equal risk compared to large breeds. There's no evidence I'm aware of that wild dogs or wolves and other dog-like animals do not also suffer GDV. Prophylactic gastropexy and the peace of mind it brings is popular in the USA amongst owners of a number of large breeds.

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  16. Finnish dog enthusiast6 April 2015 at 09:21

    https://picasaweb.google.com/doggiyhdistys/SuomenMuotovaliot2014#

    This link is to Finnish Champions 2014 -gallery hosted by the Finnish Great Dane Club. They host other galleries as well that can be found in the Picasa, there are veterans and international champions etc. I thought the Finnish bitch pictured in Jemima's post is very elegant, but probably not the most typical to be seen in the show ring. But I'm sure she is not a rare exception either. In the galleries there are of course dogs with different features (especially, as one would expect, the int champ gallery is very different from the lightly built bitch).

    There was also a mention of collecting photos of top winning dogs of each country, to alert to differences in lines in different countries. Maybe there are similar galleries already existing in other countries as well? If found, could someone please post a link?

    The Great Dane is sadly known for very low life expectancy ~ bloating tendency, cancer and heart problems in Finland as well. I believe the situation is not as dire as in some other countries perhaps due to less exaggerated features or more emphasis on health issues, but sadly I also think slight shifts in conformation and size are not going to help much or quickly enough.

    It would be interesting to hear about breeding practices and health screening in different countries. In Finland if one wants to breed their Great Dane and get the puppies registered, one is required to get hips and elbows screened and the heart examinated. I don't think this is very strict requirement, as only the worst levels of dysplasia cause disqualification from breeding. But that is the case for most breeds, I guess. The GD Club has suggestions that are not mandatory, but required for getting the Clubs approval for the mating. This basically means that once approved, one can get announcement of the litter born into the Club's "Puppies for sale" category. If there are close relatives with health problems, they may for example recommend getting the heart ultrasounded or EKG'd, eyes officially checked and thyroid hormone levels evaluated.

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    1. I greatly admire what Finland is doing with respect to dog breeding. Maybe I'm romanticizing, but I love the fact that your are at least trying to record deaths, as well as cause of death, in official Kennel Club records.
      I see that the KC database gives an altogether lifespan of only 6 yr 5 mo for great danes (not clear why the database separates by color). see, eg. http://jalostus.kennelliitto.fi/frmTerveystilastot.aspx?R=235.3&Lang=en

      Danes are a lovely breed, with sorrow they they so often die young.

      Is there any systematic effort, in Finland, to breed for longevity?

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    2. As caring breeders are able to access more infornmation they can make better decisons. I personally beleive the Judges are the biggest problem, people want to win and those who see no harm will breed to what's winning, more enlightend (especially those who have been aroudn long enough to see trends come and go) may carry on a more moderate course and breed what soem judges call 'Plain' dogs. Plain often means dogs that don't stan out, dogs that stand out often do so becaue they are somewhat exagerated, and that starts the rot.

      It is no accident that long time breeders in many breeds are often said to be breeding old fashioned dogs, (so no longer win) if they stick to what they knew and know to be correct., and of course they can't breed in isolation and have to use other breeders dogs The biggest problem is that things change subtly over time and with people being in dogs on average only five years and few making a real study of their breeds historically, the changes creep on, often to the detriment.

      I had not realised Danes heads were getting so bad, as when I showed in the ol working group in the late 80's I knew quite a few clean headed Danes.

      Now the Finnish Kennel clubs Koiranet is a marvelous thing, and all real tiem with latest regsitraions all there (it's so easy to check teh dog yrou interested in usign hasn't sired too often, if he has adult offspring their health resutls etc) you can trace so much information, if they added a facility for photgraphs as the Swedish kennel club does on the page for a dog, that might be helpful too.

      What we need to see is all kennel clubs sharing data, (I have a breed numerically small in UK so have to import regularly to have a viable gene pool) then we would be able to know the true levels for COI's, health stats etc. Surely all the Kennel Clubs with reciprocal arangements could use an integrated program, and give us easily accessed info like Koiranet, not the slow and cumbersome MYKC where you can only see two generations of ancestry at a time!!!

      It will never happen, you can't even get registration data out of the American kennel Club, (they do issue a lsit of popularity) people in the breed don't know how many of their breed is registered each year, (so do not know which dogs are being overused etc) and even then it's only active registrations, as all pusp in a litter are not all named and fully registered.

      What's the big secret.

      Re age of death, our kennel club will note it in the dogs records, but it is nowhere to be seen, why not?.

      Which reminds me I will let them know of the death on Good Friday of my beautiful top winning show girl, and healthy Norwegian Elkhound who was still doing an hours road walking to the night before I had her Put To sleep.

      She had a massive seizure/Stroke, and I decided at 15 years 5 months that it was best to let her go having lived life to the full to the end with no infirmities.

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    3. That's sad Barbara, they dont live long as it is even the healthiest of the precious characters.

      Imagine a dog only living for only six years due to intentional breeding practises. It's condemning them to a mortality rate of the dark ages when we didn't even have knowledge of bacteria, viruses....

      What caught my eye and breath was your statement "with people being in dogs on average only five years"

      Are you talking about people who show dogs in general? If so this could explain why they feel so little for the breeds welfare. Five years! Its not even the full length of a dogs life even a very much shortened one! Obviously just in it to win? I had never thought it was so obvious. That alone raises serious questions about animal welfare.

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  17. this article is ridiculous...!!!!!

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  18. I was reading how breeders of the popular "Euro Dane" type believe they are breeding Danes closer to the original type! I can't in my wildest imagination work out how they came to believe these dysfunctional monsters look anything like the original.

    Sadly I also see any number of American breeders proudly presenting their dogs as having "Euro Dane" in them and many exports to breeders there.

    I think there is an issue with Danes becoming too light in some countries, losing substance. If you look at Viceroy Redgrave he appears to have very good bone and I imagine a boer hound would've needed to be strong. He's a very fine balance between mastiff and hound, neither extreme. I think his chest is 100% correct.

    I dont think these Euro Danes are the real deal or the solution to more substance. A healthier drier mouthed mastiff outcross would be far better some height would be lost but that's a good thing. We don't want giantism in dogs it prediposes them to being crippled messes in the same way true dwarfism does.

    Im not found of the "elegant, flashy" Danes as they call the overly light numbers in America, and Im not fond of the Euro Dane either. I think both are extremes and vastly different to the original. Mixing the two wont improve anything, the results will just be extremely tall dysfunctional short lived dogs with ridiculous heads. Too much stop, too much everything.

    Another breed comes to mind. In my opinion (as with everything I've said here) the same fate befell the Rhodesian Ridgeback in America, flashy no substance. There are far better ones in Southern Africa that have have been returned to the more solid more powerful dogs they were a (importantly with or without the ridge) and without reverting to an overly mastiff type. Outcrossed to the boerboel, a dry mouthed very functional mastiff. A working type ridgeback and extraordinarily lovely to behold. Filling the eye in an instant, moving like a dream, extremely athletic solid dogs in short everything you could want in a ridgeback perhaps except for the ridge in some cases and that's only a healthy thing.

    I like Viceroy redgrave's outline a lot these were definitely the kind of dog you got in the 70's. None of the immense slab sided, skinny, excessively tall, head heavy, cow hocked, tipped pelvis things of today. Incorrect conformation is the largest factor in bloat Im convinced. That lets face it could also never make a boerhound in the field under any circumstances.

    The Australian pig dog even comes closer to the original than either of these extremes, way closer.

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  19. I would respect you if you didn't support puppy farming, like it or not you do.

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    1. Hmmm. How do you figure that, then?

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    2. Don't know you, Jemima, there are only two kinds of dog breeders on the planet: Show Breeders and Puppy Mills.

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  20. Love my breeder who opted to retire my boy because he is looking to get rid of the droopy eyes in his lines...

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  21. Ooooh that finnish dane, maybe my dane dream will be realized one day after all...

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  22. The Westminster winner dane, with a shorter neck looks more like the Danes I see here in Texas (USA) My friend's registered show Dane "Dante" Is this jet black dream... and when he comes over, I've never had slobber on my couch where he lays.

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  23. I wasn't aware danes were looking like this in some places. Had one in the 70s and he was much lighter built. despite heavy bone and good height at shoulder, very athletic. Have the two Bill Siggers books - some beautiful German imports in the 30s, very handsome dogs.
    For interest, Irish Wolfhounds have a new database at iwdb.org - free, open source, and with over 125,000 pedigrees - into which owners are encouraged to enter age and cause of death of their hounds. Over time we should be able to get at sufficient information to assist researchers and geneticists far better than we can at the moment. The database only went live in March 16. It has cost under 200 euros to get it to where it is now.
    Between 1880 and 1930 Danes were ancestors of wolfhounds... i doubt these euro danes would be considered at all houndy or desirable as outcrosses nowadays.

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    1. Thanks for the nudge re the IW database.. a FANTASTIC resource. I will blog about it separately when I get a mo. Congratulations to all involved.

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