standard has served us well over the years yet we
have all watched it abused & ignored by judges and
not subject to change? Can our standard use
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!
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
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
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
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
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.
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 !!
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 ?
know this from hands-on experience & 36
years of exhibiting, breeding, and not just
judging.....but listening !
Gina M. Jaeblon