Adopt or Shop?

Should you adopt or shop for your new family member?

There are pros and cons to both methods, but there is a lot of societal pressure to “save a life” and take your chances with a dog from a rescue situation (shelters, rescues, neighbors, Craigslist, etc.)
Responsible Breeders
As a responsible dog breeder myself, I’ve ensured that none of my puppies will ever end up in a rescue type situation. My contract, and many responsible breeders will require their puppy owner’s to return their puppy back to the breeder if they are unable to keep it for any reason. Of course, people being people, this has been violated a few times, but the puppy was always recovered from the situation and a wonderful new home found for the puppy.
When looking for a purebred dog, it’s almost impossible to find a puppy in an adoption or rescue situation.  There are young adults or older dogs, but most have a questionable past, and you do not have any health or temperament history on them or their parents.  When getting a giant breed dog like a Great Dane, temperament and health are the top 2 things to prioritize in your search.
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So when someone tells you that there are too many dogs that need saving, you can have the security of feeling that the breeder you have chosen, and the dog you are purchasing, come from a safe place with a good temperament and a health history that is known.  Most breeders also give you lifetime breeder support, which you will not be getting when you adopt.
Adopting
Adopting a rescue dog in need is a noble pursuit, and I applaud anyone that supports adoption and rescue organizations.  They are very much needed, and should get all of our support.  If you have the time and ability to rescue, that is amazing!  There are several Great Dane rescues in the United States.  They are listed below.  (If you would like your Dane specific rescue listed, please let me know).
Ensure that you are in the right location for the rescue you choose, and also read their requirements, as most require a fenced yard, someone home most of the time and no small children.
Donate
If adoption is not in the cards for your situation, you can always donate to one of the rescues as it is a tax free deduction and you are supporting the Adoption part of the breed even though you are not able to physically adopt one of their Danes.
There are many products available that support rescues in general, and I will leave a spot here for them.
In Conclusion
If you are looking for a puppy, want to know the history of the Great Dane you are getting and possibly have small children, you might want to consider purchasing from a responsible breeder.
If you are open to age, size and sex of the Dane you are looking for and meet all the requirements, adoption is an excellent way to help save a life!
Shop & Donate OR Adopt.  It’s a win/win for everyone.

Popularity of Great Danes Today

The beautiful and extra large Great Dane is currently at it’s peak of popularity after a slow but steady rise in the ranks.  According to the AKC (American Kennel Club) rankings, it peaked at #14 on the most popular breed list in 2016 which it held onto through 2017.  This is up from #28 in 2002.  The top 3 dog breeds have been the Labrador Retriever at #1, the German Shepherd Dogs at #2 and Golden Retriever  staying at #3 for the last 5 consecutive years and very close to the same in 2002 as well. The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1887.

The breed’s popularity continues to rise, and it’s easy to see why they are popular.  They are big and bold and make a statement.  You get attention everywhere you take your dog.  You get asked “Do you have a saddle for that thing?” on a regular basis.  They are sweet, kind and loyal.  A “velcro” dog with undying love for their owners and loyalty towards their family.

Although there are only 7 approved colors for show, Danes come in a veritable rainbow of colors, which appeal to many pet owners and breeders alike.  Due to breed club standards, they disallow many of the beautiful and unique colors that are specific to this breed, and this breed alone.  The harlequin color is one of a kind in the dog world.  The origins are speculative, and wall paintings of boar hounds of Ancient Greece do appear to have the harlequin pattern.

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By Tkoletsis – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6241658

As with any rise of popularity in breed, a  new generation of breeders join in to see what the fuss is about.  Being owned by the breed for over twenty years now and breeding this glorious beast for over ten, I’ve seen many breeders come and go.  Breeding is not an easy process, and the “breeders” looking to make a quick buck are generally gone before they get started.  So be careful when you are looking for a Great Dane, selecting  someone that is not a flash in the pan, so you’re not left without any breeder support a year or two down the road.

There has also been an influx of a hyper type of the breed from European countries.  When looking for a Great Dane you may be faced with what looks like two different breeds, a European breed and an American breed.  This is actually a fairly complicated issue right now, and I will write more on these specific topics in another post.

In my opinion, the “Keepers of the Breed”, i.e. show breeders and their Champion dogs have basically kept their dogs for a specific target audience, and left many wannabe breeders without an outlet to get a really nice dog or dogs to start their breeding program.  Therefore, new breeders looking to get a good quality dog look to Europe to get a Champion sired Great Dane because they cannot buy them in the USA.  Therefore the problem is being exacerbated because they do not have the opportunity to purchase quality stock that might actually improve the gene pool.

I think that Great Danes will continue to rise in popularity as more people meet them and see what beautiful colors and personalities they come in.  I’ve been told that how much having a Great Dane has been a goal of someone’s, and now that their popularity and availability is higher, keep an eye out for the continued rise of the Apollo of Dogs, The Great Dane!