LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
   
Just my opinion.......                                
                   submitted by Gina Jaeblon

 

12/16/04
 
Our standard has served us well over the years yet we have all watched it abused & ignored by judges and breeders alike.
Are we not subject to change?  Can our standard use revision?
Take note, it is one of the longest & most detailed of the breeds, harboring so much on detail; ultimately making the significant qualities (overall balance [and mostly] soundness,  fronts, rears, movement) fall by the wayside. For 35 years I have watched judging, sat ringside with judges, listened to some in lunchrooms; discussed intensely with many....amazingly enough that don't even have a clue as to what is in our Standard!
Has anyone ever seen a ''split nose''?  Should our ear set  be even worthy of mention; our tails held to specification, color of noses, shape of eyes; white spots on toes, chests... (?)...given noteworthy importance?
New judges don't even want to take the time to absorb most of it,  therefore becoming oblivious to it's true meaning.  I am amazed at the feedback from so many all-breed judges, especially the newer ones.   And ''breeders'' ......many pay no attention whatsoever to the underlying importance of our standard when it comes to breeding or showing their dogs.
A beautiful headpiece epitomizes the breed ....BUT the Great Dane is not JUST a ''head'' breed as I've heard from so many judges.  Many penalize the whole dog due to this misconception.  The Great Dane that looks ''pretty" standing, the last minutes of judging - many times takes precedent over the sound, balanced, good moving dog.  Upon discussion with an all-breed judge of her selection of an obvious poorer quality Dane for WD over the superior specimen, she proceeded to state:  " he had a tooth missing" !  One judge standing with me outside the ring when a harlequin with a large black patch on his neck went WD commented " How can he put up such an incorrectly marked dog "!  (I tried to explain that our ''standard'' allows for this...in vain!)
Should a dirtier fawn with excellent conformation, head & movement be denied?  Should a harlequin with several merle ''spots'' yet good conformation & movement, be ignored?  Should a superior specimen be out of the ribbons because its eyes are light brown as opposed to dark brown; or one blue (in the case of harles)?  Too much of our standard is devoted to minor detail, especially color; ultimately convincing  judges to make decisions based on these details alone.
Interpretation of the standard is too varied because it's explanations are long & involved.  Tradition has it's place, but not in our standard.  Our ultimate & sincere attempt to educate is lost in detail.  It needs some concise revamping; concentrating on the facets that are absolutely necessary to seriously improve our Danes so that novices & new judges can truly appreciate our breed for the correct reasons.

Gina  M.  Jaeblon
GMJ Harlequins / Mantles Reg.
www.gmjharle.com

 

Part 2

12/18/04

With a genuine smile :)....to my esteemed YOUNG colleague ; our danes are not competing in a beauty contest.  They were ; are ; and always will be first & foremost "WORKING DOGS''.   Style & showmanship , are wonderful , but we must look at the dog as a whole ; not in parts or sections. That is part of the BIG problem, I'm afraid to say.

In all honesty - the word ''type''lies in the eyes of the beholder & how each judge interprets the standard. . The inability to interpret it,  for whatever the reason , makes our standard lost to so many judges who thereby fail to recognize a good specimen in the ring..  If asked ; every judge views ''dane type'' so differently ; as it is NOT mentioned in the standard as an explanation. If it is so important, why is it not specifically explained ??
Our goal is not to set us apart from other breeds by looking ''pretty''. It is to produce a well balanced great dane that can PRODUCE ; does not embarrass us in the group ring and perchance more of our breed can start winning BIS ! To say a dane has no breed ''type'' becuase one may not approve of his headpiece is misguided. To this end, I have found many breeder-judges who know each word of our standard , praising it to the ultimate...BUT...never judging by it !!
A correct dog is ''correct'' in any breed. Soundness is not simply movement. It is the balance  & the sum of ALL parts. Some of the ''prettiest'' winning danes of all time have NEVER produced. And isnt that ultimately what it is all about ?
I know this from hands-on experience & 36 years of exhibiting, breeding, and not just  judging.....but listening !
Gina  M. Jaeblon

 

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