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Old 04-12-2006, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It has always been my dream to own a Great Dane.

We lost our sweet 15 1/2 year old labrador retriever last fall. I am starting to want another dog.

So I've been thinking of Great Danes lately....



If you've had experience with one...please share!
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:59 PM
 
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i havent had one but i think they are GORGEOUS! there is a great dane breeder here, thekimballs. she will probably be able to give you lots of info on them.

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Old 04-13-2006, 07:04 PM
 
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I soo want one too. But we already have 2 dogs :-(


sorry no experience to share, just wanted to commiserate
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Old 04-13-2006, 07:14 PM
 
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LOVE to hear the dog experts on this one. One day we hope to have a dog, but I want to make sure it's the right breed. I've always loved danes and heard good things about them.

-Angela
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Old 04-14-2006, 02:18 AM
 
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My ex in-laws had one. She was the biggest scardy cat. She was afraid of many things (probablly a lack of socializing). She was also a big couch potato. She would sit on the couch just like a human. It was funny.
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Old 04-14-2006, 03:25 AM
 
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Hi!

I am always available for questions.

Buying ANY dog, but especially one as specialized and, candidly, unhealthy as a Dane is a buyer-beware proposition. Finding a good breeder who shares your priorities is a MUST.

I would never even consider a breeder who didn't health test (hips and heart are the biggies, and most add thyroid and others), and I would strongly recommend a breeder who shows. That's because showing opens you up to a peer review process and there really is a lot of peer pressure to do things the right way. Danes are also so extreme a breed that they get ugly FAST if you don't breed them super carefully. A sound dog will live a lot longer than an unsound one, so appearance does matter.

Once you've found some health-testing, reputable breeders, go visit them. LEAVE YOUR CHECKBOOK AND LEASH AT HOME. Never, EVER say "Oh, if I don't get it now it'll be gone." Yes, it may, but a good breeder will promptly refer you to another good breeder. You won't be left puppyless, and making an impulse purchase is a VERY BAD IDEA. I would not recommend buying a puppy on anything less than the second visit to any breeder. Come the first time, look for friendly, interested dogs, make sure the litter is home raised and not kenneled, and look at the house. Not a single breeder has a perfect home, but you at least don't want to be disgusted. The puppies should look healthy, active, friendly, and sociable.

One thing to know about Danes is that most breeders divide into color families. Fawn and brindle, blue and black, and harlequin and mantle are the big groups. We tend to move within our color families, so if you know which color you might be inclined toward it is a little easier to give a good referral.

If you're anywhere near MA/NH, come on over and visit! I have puppies right now and am happy to show you how I raise them, the temperament testing I do, how I feed (raw, holistic), my vaccine schedule, and so on.

Good luck and let me know if I can help in any way.
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Old 04-14-2006, 04:43 PM
 
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Well, not to generalize or anything, I'm sure each Dane is different, but we've been being terrorized by the neighbors 2 Great Danes in the last few months. They always get out, and they get very aggressive toward humans if asked to go home. I wouldn't even mind them, but if they're out, they won't let me go for a walk with my dog, Poley, (a border collie mix) any more - they just try to start a fight with her. She runs back home, but it's not very relaxing to pick up my 2 year old and try to stop the two huge dogs from attacking Poley enroute back. I've talked with their people several times, and they try, but they can't keep the dogs in the yard. So, if I were you, I'd avoid the Great Danes.

There are lots and lots of sweet dogs at the animal shelter - you can usually find one with a more predictable temperment that way. Then you don't have to get a pure-bred puppy, and never know that it has unpleasant inbred characteristics until it's too late. Puppies are fun, but I'd never pick out a "pure breed" one. Even if it doesn't bother you that there are thousands of dogs being put to sleep out there, and then others being needlessly bred and genetically engineered to look a certain way (no bias here of course ), I've met so many "pure bred" dogs who are just weird, and don't really get along with people or other dogs very well because they are genetically inbred. I don't mean to rant on the subject; when I was little, I was really into the whole dog breed thing too. On some level, it's appealing to control the physical characteristics of an animal so exactly, but if I really think about it, and think about it in terms of our relationship to the world as a whole, and to other beings, it just doesn't seem right to me.
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Old 04-14-2006, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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kimballs.....Thanks for all of the great information! The breeder we are going to visit next week was a breeder that I actually visited about 10 years ago! She is only about 15 minutes from our home.

The Danes live in her home....she shows them...and she also has a boarding kennel.

Here is a link to one of her champs....(isn't he GORGEOUS?!)....


http://www.daneworld.com/ClarkTommy-StudDog05.htm

She has 2 litters due this summer. So it will be fun to go and visit and show the dogs to my boys.

If we decide to get one I am sure I will have lots more questions for you!

dovey....I hear what you are saying and I agree with you to a degree. We have a shelter cat that we got before we were even married who is such a sweetheart. The kids just adore him.

However, I don't think I feel comfortable getting a shelter dog when my children are so young. I need to raise a dog from puppyhood, IMO. My youngest is only 14 months old. He doesn't understand and I am sure he will be tugging on and laying on any dog we get! I don't feel comfortable with a dog with an uncertain history to be around such young children.

As for breeding- a good breeder is not going to inbreed and they are going to be very careful about those things. There are unethical breeders, for sure. But I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting a full bred dog. Great Danes (if raised right!) have such a great personality and are known to be great with kids.
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Old 04-14-2006, 07:06 PM
 
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I absolutely agree that Danes on the whole have very good temperaments and I am usually very happy to have someone with young kids interested in my dogs. Training is EVERYTHING--if you have owners who can't control their dogs, then any breed is going to go bad. When you have a bad dog who is 170 lbs, that's a nightmare.

The inbreeding is legitimate--most breeders inbreed. The one Lisa's visiting inbreeds very tightly and I'm sure would not mind me saying so, since it's a point of pride for her. It's the most effective way to "fix" certain traits, making them predictable in your bloodline. The downside is rarely temperament, believe it or not, it's the lack of genetic diversity in the breed that can lead to other issues like lack of resistance to disease. But you can have a very tightly linebred or inbred dog and it can be perfectly happy and healthy its entire life. I personally don't inbreed, but I am very much in the minority and honestly haven't had as much success in the show ring as many others who have developed a line that is absolutely predictable in its appearance.

I (obviously) don't have a problem with purebreds, and I think for many families they're the right choice. Purebreds (from a good breeder, NOT a pet store or broker) are predictable in height, appearance, and temperament. A breeder can tell you much more about how a purebred puppy will grow, behaviors to expect, training methods that work for this breed, and so on than a shelter worker can. Breeders DO genetically engineer dogs, which is what ALL breeding is. You drink milk from purebred cows, eat meat and eggs from purebreds, your wheat and corn and triticale and broccoli and seaweed are purebred. Purebred animals and plants produce in a way that is predictable, which is an aesthetic benefit, a health benefit, and an economic benefit.
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Old 04-14-2006, 08:16 PM
 
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thekimballs- Thanks for all the info! I'm a huge fan of the shelter mutt, but the one dog I'd ever get purebred is a Dane raised like you've said you raise yours. I actually live in NH so I may want go look at your pups sometime . I'm not in the place for a new puppy now with a baby, 2 young dogs, and building a house. After our house is done though, I'd love your contact info for when another dog may be an option for us.

To the op, I totally comisserate, I LOVE danes, so beautiful. I've heard very good things about their temperment and the ones I've met have held up to that.
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Old 04-15-2006, 01:07 AM
 
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I absolutely LOVE MY DANE.
I have a six year old female dane.
with natural ears.
They are great dogs and can have various personalities.
My dane is great with my son (2 1/2)and most other animals it's familiar with. Any new animal or person is always introduced, usually gradually.
My dane will kick or roll a ball around in the yard with my son, and is careful, mindful of my presence and has always been very well behaved and gentle. I have also been very involved in the action myself so there would be no opportunities for unexpected problem.
My dane is most always supervised when she is given her freedom, whether in the house or outside. She spends much time in a Large kennel.

My dane is very smart and was easy as cake to train. Though she does have her vices. Danes under any circumstances cannot be left to their own devices unattended. Their anxieties will surface if they are left to themselves this can result in disasterous and disasterously funny but not welcome episodes of ............disaster. I have interesting stories of broccli and flour but thats a story for another day.
If i were going to recommend a dog I would recommend a dane, but only if the person fully understood that this is not a dog that should be left alone with a young child of any age. It's not a childs' dog. You must make sure that boundries are established. Don't trust a dog that size alone with a child even under the best of circumstances.
The Great Dane is the dog of choice for me, knowing that it's another child in it's own right.
Feed ORGANIC DOG FOOD, Danes can get gassy too.
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Old 04-15-2006, 09:53 AM
 
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Don't forget rescue organizations--they are available for every breed!
The lifespan of Danes are shorter than many other breeds--usually in the ten year range.
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Old 04-15-2006, 05:22 PM
 
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I didn't read any other posts so I'm sorry if this a repeat.

I don't have direct experience with great danes, but family friend does. She does basic obedience training and boarding with dogs. They have a nickname of "gentle giants" and IMO if trained and respected this is absolutely true. But with any large dog, they can do more damage than a small dog so you have to be careful there. A great dane can do a lot more damage to your sofa if it's using it as a chew toy than a chihuahua.

ETA - Oh, and I'm sure this is obvious, but as puppes they eat and eat and eat. A LOT. Or at least more so than the samll-medium sized dogs I'm used to.
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Old 04-15-2006, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The Dane rescues that I have come across required that children be no younger than 6-8 years old. So that's not an option for us right now.
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Old 04-18-2006, 03:56 PM
 
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We just adopted our Dane from a rescue. We fostered-to-adopt, so we got to see how the dog would work in our home before we adopted. The first Dane we had was fabulous. He was with us for about a month and then we found that he wouldn't be a good match for a family with small children. He was never overly aggressive with dd, but would grumble at her and we felt like it wasn't a chance we were willing to take. Sending him to another foster was heartbreaking, but it worked out better for all of us in the end. He ended up being adopted by his new foster home and now lives with a middle-aged couple, their 16 year old son, and two other Danes. He's happy and doing very well.

The dog we have now is wonderful. She is an almost 2 year old brindle with very unusual markings (she looks like a fawn with widely-spaced tiger stripes), natural ears (of course!), and a "sport" tail - half of her tail had to be amputated when she came into Rescue d/t a severe infection. She's purebred and was bought at Petland for $1400 (another rant for another day WRT to pet stores selling purebred pups - grrr!), then left out in a backyard and neglected. Considering her background, she has done pretty well in our home. She was only 94lbs when she came to us and you could see every rib, every vertebra, and every nook and cranny of her pelvis. We've put about 15lbs on her and she could use another 15-20lbs or so. She's finally to the point that I can take her out in public without people looking at me as if I were starving her. She loves our dd and they will sit on the couch together and watch cartoons. She has had some separation anxiety issues, but I don't think that's anything specific to the breed or to rescues in general.

I would think long and hard about getting a puppy with two little ones in the house. Your little ones are likely to get knocked over and stepped on. You will be dealing with puppy behaviour in a 100+lb dog. Our rescue will not allow families with small children to adopt puppies. It's not them being snotty. They just see a lot of animals coming to them at 1 year old because people didn't know what they were getting into and once the dog started knocking the kids over, it had to go. They want lifetime placement for the animals.

We were very hesitant to adopt one under 2 years old, but went ahead with it because she was so good with dd. That being said, so far today dd has been stepped on 3 times and "bit" once. (She was not really bit, the dog yawned and she stuck her arm in her mouth.: ) They take up a lot of space and don't seem to be aware of their size.

All in all, we are very happy with our Dane. We look at our close friends' dogs and realize how lucky we are. We've become Dane snobs now that we've gotten to know the breed. (i.e. "A Great Dane would NEVER do that.") Watching my friend's 1 year old Australian Shepherd take a dump on the floor at Home Depot the other day after watching it misbehave on-lead just reinforced to us that we made the right decision with our dog. Even as a "teenager", new to inside family life, she is still better behaved than most other dogs we know.

She is a great companion. They bond quickly and are very eager to please. They are very sensitive and their feelings are obviously hurt when you have to get onto them. She's very gentle and quiet. She'd never be a good guard dog unless squirrels were trying to break-in. Then she'd let 'em have it. She's a good listener and can follow basic commands. We will be doing a basic obedience class with her soon, just to polish up her skills.

I highly recommend the breed, I would just really think about getting a puppy with young kids in the house. Honestly, even if I didn't have a small child, I don't think I would be interested in a puppy. If you are going with a breeder, be sure to interview extensively. Here is a good link about what makes an ethical breeder and what you need to ask when you interview:
http://www.phouka.com/puppy/bdr_ethics.html

Good luck!
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Old 04-18-2006, 05:29 PM
 
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I wanted to quickly speak to the young kids/young puppies rule. Most (probably all) shelters and many breeders won't place Dane puppies with young kids. It's less for the jumping thing (for breeders, anyway) than the behavior of young kids. They're unpredictable, often cruel, noisy; all the things that drive a Dane nuts.

I personally will put a puppy in a young family (though kids must be out of infancy)--my dogs are raised with babies and kids and I begin the no-jump policy immediately, and I've not had a problem with my guys being in young families. I also won't breed anything without a very laid-back temperament, which is unlike many breeders (the "up" attitude--still very stable but more active--is much more successful in the show ring, so many breeders prefer it). BUT I always make young families come meet me at least once, preferably twice, and I watch how they interact with their kids. If they're firm and kind with their kids, they'll be firm and kind with my dogs. If their kids are out of control or poorly controlled, their kids will be (inadvertently) cruel to any puppy I put with them, and they'll be more likely to not train a dog well.

If you can demonstrate to a breeder that you are an authoritative parent to your kids, and that your kids won't be allowed to victimize the dog, and that you understand that this dog is going to get very big before it gets a brain, you should be seen as a good owner prospect. I maintain a revolving population of adults, adolescents, and puppies with my own young family, and though the kids do certainly learn that getting knocked over is an everyday event, nobody has been hurt or even all that disgruntled. I think you'd have the knocked-over problem with any dog over 10 lbs, honestly--any dog hitting your knees is going to knock over a kid, and Labs/Aussies/the other more common smaller dogs have a MUCH higher activity level.
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Old 04-22-2006, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Joanna- thanks for your thoughts on the puppies and babies/toddlers/kids situation.

I am still wrestling with the idea of *when* we should get a Dane. I know we will get one someday..just don't know when the right time would be.

We want to have more babies (praying for a large family) and I'd love a big, lovey dog for my kids. But I do worry about the puppy thing.

A lot to think about.....
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Old 04-22-2006, 11:18 PM
 
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We have a Dane.
She's wonderful! She's so good-natured! She's a bit hyper, but that's okay. My son's the same way! The only problems we've had with her are: she jumps up on people, she digs through the trash, and she eats paper and cardboard (recently shredded two rolls of paper towels that she found!)
Ebony plays basketball, soccer, and baseball with us. She has always been gentle with our son. We've had her since DS was a few months old. She looks after him like another mother or a big sister! She has never barked at him or snapped at him. In fact, she has put up with an amazing amount of abuse from him without seeming the least bit irritated!
She also gets along really well with our English Mastiff and our cat. As well as anyone who comes over to visit.

You can find me on Facebook. PM for info.
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Old 04-22-2006, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you lotusdebi....it's good to hear from someone that has gone through puppyhood with a Dane AND a baby.

I am going to PM you....
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