After reading and thinking through the ballot regarding Health Testing to enter the FUTURITY, do you think it would actually result in preventing any diseases from occurring in Great Danes? [346 votes total]

yes (109) 32%
no (229) 66%
no opinion (8) 2%


Post Info  Comment
Posted By: Danelinks

Posted On: 5 days ago
Views: 479
missing comment?

David........ you put your previous comment on POLL #34. It appears there.

Posted By: David Gaffney

Posted On: 5 days ago
Views: 488
missing poll comments

I find it interesting that a comment that I submitted within the last two days doesn't appear here.

Posted By: Sara

Posted On: 6 days ago
Views: 632
Futurity = Future?

So, if the question isn't about whether or not to health test at all and instead it's about whether or not we should be forced to health test, I'm not sure that I have a problem with it because I already health test.

If the question is why a health test should be required for a conformation event, then I guess it's about how a person views the Futurity. Personally, I see the Futurity as an arena to showcase the future of the breed rather than a simple conformation event - and again, personally, I'd prefer the future of the breed to be health tested.

If the question is about whether or not the GDCA should enforce it's code of ethics, yikes, most people disregard one point or another and I agree it's unfair to enforce some of it without enforcing all of it. But then, too, I think membership in the GDCA should hold us to some higher standard in terms of the health and welfare of the breed.

Posted By: Don

Posted On: 6 days ago
Views: 635

Years ago I had a bitch I could not get bred. Supplements, health tests nothing was wrong with her and nothing worked. I had every test done I could do at the time (it was in the early sixties). I finally was about to give up when a friend of mine said to take her to there Vet. I was reluctant but ended up going because I really wanted a puppy from her. I went to there vet and he asked if I had a thyroid test done, yes I said twice, here are the results (I had the results from all the tests with me). He reviewed the results and said the thyroid tests that are done on dogs will almost always come back within the average to normal range (this is nearly the same testing that is still done today on thyroids). He said I will put her on this thyroid medication and test her throughout the next several months. He tested her every few weeks and everything was going fine then came her next heat cycle. He told me to breed her, so I did. Well I'll be damned if she didn't have 9 healthy puppies. We gradually took her off the medication, I lived far away from this vet and I wanted to breed her again, I bred (without doing the medication again) no puppies. I went back to the vet and we again did this with the medication and low and behold 8 healthy puppies.
My point to this story is that, how can we even trust the tests that are done, to be accurate enough to trust them? I don't know why the above worked I'm no scientist, but it worked so how many other tests will not be accurate if this one is not? She always did test normal for thyroid even at 9 years old, but obviously something was not right. I think the biggest problem in breeding stock is that people are not honest anymore, so you never do know the truth behind the dogs pedigree if you didn't know the dogs close up personally. I know that most breeders have vast knowledge of there pedigrees, and what health problems they may have. All we need is a little honesty, and for people (breeders and owners) to stop breeding dogs that have SERIOUS health issues doubled and tripled and occasionally quadroupled on the pedigree. This is just my two cents worth. I think this is just what this breed has needed for quite some time now, education is the key to most things in life.

Posted By: Jessie

Posted On: 7 days ago
Views: 735

To Test or Not to Test, is NOT the issue. The issue is do we want to be REQUIRED to test before entering a futurity. If this is designed to increase testing, why not have a poll:




Posted By: Colette

Posted On: 7 days ago
Views: 764
Futurity and testing

I don't believe that it would prevent anything except for cutting down the amount of entries that we would get at Nationals.

I do health testing but I am also aware that it is truly only good for that particular day. Some health issues just happen and it doesn't even have to run in the lines. People must understand that these are living breathing animals and sometimes nature deals us cards that we don't like.

I am sorry but I don't know of one pedigree that doesn't have some type of issue back there somewhere.

Posted By: Cathy De La Garza

Posted On: 7 days ago
Views: 840

I find it interesting that the question is worded to facilitate the desired answer. The reason I assume what the desired answer is sought to be is because since my first instance of exposure to quote "PROFESSIONAL DANE BREEDERS" in 1969 or 1970 health testing was the giant man eating Grizzly Bear everyone was running from. As a teenager I was personally humiliated and called "stupid" at my first great dane club meeting for even bringing up x-raying hips before I bred my girl. The same person who treated me in this way in later years condemmed other breeders who did not OFA hips. Yes, old dogs do sometimes learn new tricks after they loose a few puppy sales.
These animals are not fuzzy children, they do not care "IF" they are shown or not. They only want to be in our pack as a valued and loved members and they deserve to have EVERY OPPORTUNITY to live a full, happy and HEALTHY life. How can anyone who loves this breed not want the same things for their animals?
Look guys...I'm not the health police...not the angel (or devil as some think) of ethics but one thing for sure, traits can be changed with sound scientific breeding practices. A hip grade is nothing different from trying to breed out light eyes or ugly heads. And shockingly as this sounds coming from me you can not throw out the baby with the bath water. What has to be and can be changed in this breed is the situational ethics that are displayed by a large amount of the breeders. The situational ethics of we all love our dog, or we all make money off our dog so it is worthy of being bred no matter what health proplems we are trying to hide.I find no dishonor in taking a beautiful fawn champion bitch who did not pass her hip OFA and breeding her to a male that has an hip OFA number and is out of two hip OFA'ed parents. Isn't that what you would do with her if she has light eyes? You would select a sire with dark eyes and most IMPORTANTLY had parents with dark eyes.You just shouldn't hide the fact she did not pass.Quit using scare tactics and intimidation to hide our problems. Quit being hypocritical, join with the rest of the real dog world of the AKC and understand what it takes to be a breeder instead of running every time something goes wrong with these dogs. Would I have given the same advice if the fawn bitch was butt ugly with no redeeming qualities and bad hips? No, absolutely not because that pet bitch had nothing to offer and on top of that she was unhealthy.
Now here comes the kicker...without verifiable health testing how can we make sure we are selecting for health? Would we need to go to the extreme's of mandatory testing as many of the other parent clubs have done if the dane fancy would have had the maturity to start selecting much earlier for these desired goals?
Let me make this even easier. In order of selecting breeding stock these are the health problems you can breed past...hips, eyes,and thyroid. These are the very serious problems that will stomp your heart into the ground and are what I would recommend you spay/neuter the animal and move on. Heart problems (DCM, HCM,long QT syndrome, arrymithias,valve problems,Aeortic Stenosis,Pulmonic Stemosis)& Epilepsy. "I CAN DEAL WITH UGLY BUT I CAN'T DEAL WITH DEAD". If I can't deal with dead as many years as I have toughened up to be able to keep breeding danes why on earth would any of you expect a pet person to be able to deal with that kind of pain ? We shouldn't care only about the dogs in our homes but especially the animals we put in pet homes.
We have some very capable breeders who breed for just one look and IMO they will not health test because they do not wish to lose any puppy sales or stud services. Some of these older breeders are testing but not recording the results. Testing but not recording is better that blindly choosing breedings. In their heart they are trying to avoid exactly what we are talking about here. They will not live forever and their small piece of the dane gene pool will be questionable because there are no verifications.
All of this is one big issue and regardless of how this vote goes the issue will remain. The AKC in my lifetime will end up being pressured enough that they will require mandatory health testing of some kind.Many other countries do this already. So if this doesn't pass this time you guys better figure out how you are going to get around the inevitability of your problem and how you will deal with the rest of the dog world.
Cathy De La Garza

Posted By: Bonnie

Posted On: 7 days ago
Views: 864

I have read the proposal and no where in it does it say that you have to PASS any of the tests, just have your dog tested.

Perhaps if it did I would agree with it.

Posted By: Mary Anne

Posted On: 8 days ago
Views: 955
CHIC: Public Health Perspective

"Mary Anne you are quite wrong about the data supporting that voluntary testing is working. One only need to look at the number of Danes who have CHIC number to know that a voluntary appoach has had a minimal result.Under 200 Danes even have CHIC numbers.Then look at Futurity catalogs and try to find many of the parents in either a CERF or OFA database".


When I first began looking at the issue of adoption of recommended screening tests in 2002, there were less than 10 Great Danes who would have qualified for a CHIC number. After the CHIC program was initiated, in Sept. 2003, there were 43. Less than two years later, we have about 200 (your number). While you may not be impressed and while there admittedly is a long way to go, compared to the rate of adoption of other types of (human) screening programs, these results would be considered quite successful.

I actually calculated the percent of sires and dams of litters from the 2004 GDCA Futurity who had hip x-rays (either OFA, Penn-Hip or alternate accepted registry) and how many litters had either or both parents certified prior to the breeding that produced the nominated litter. These data were reported to the GDCA Board of Directors in January, 2005.

So, while you may not be impressed with the rate of adoption of screening tests in general or CHIC in particular, the proportion of previously unscreened stud dogs and brood bitches is declining at a RELATIVELY rapid rate. I think perhaps you lack perspective as to what constitutes "success" when it comes to the rate of adoption of a recommended public health practice. If you are expecting 100% or even 50% compliance within a couple of years of the promulgation of guidelines or recommendations for a screening test, that is completely unrealistic. To get some perspective, one might reflect on the percentage of women who actually undergo annual screening mammograms, the percentage of men who undergo annual PSA testing or the percentage of men and women over 50 who undergo screening colonoscopy for cancer. If any of those recommended health practices showed annual rates of rate of increase similar to that of any of the OFA tests in the first few years following their "official recommendation", physicians and public health officials would be impressed.

So one person's half empty glass is another one's half filled.......

Mary Anne

Posted By: Renee

Posted On: 8 days ago
Views: 1012
Response to Jessie

We are promoting breeding better animals when animals are tested which allows the breeder to make a more informed breeding choice. A breeder might choose to breed a dog with a problem but might want to breed it to a dogs they knew did not have the same problem. If we actually told people what they could and could not breed that could far more easily be seen as taking power away from the breeder to make their own decisions. In this case it is still up to the breeder what and to whom to breed. With testing they are just making a more informed decision.

Posted By: Renee

Posted On: 8 days ago
Views: 1013
Response to Mary Anne

Actually Mary Anne you are quite wrong about the data supporting that voluntary testing is working. One only need to look at the number of Danes who have CHIC number to know that a voluntary appoach has had a minimal result.Under 200 Danes even have CHIC numbers.Then look at Futurity catalogs and try to find many of the parents in either a CERF or OFA database. Guess what they are not there because like it or not volutary testing has not worked.People continue to breed dogs who are dysplastic or have genetic eye problems and defend themselves by saying its my choice. Unfortunatly the dogs and those who buy them are the ones who suffer.

Posted By: Jessie

Posted On: 8 days ago
Views: 1019

Someone needs to explain to me how we are promoting healthier animals in restricting the Futurity entry to only those who test especially when in their own words, ALTHOUGH TESTING WOULD BE REQUIRED, THE PASSING OR FAILING OF THE TEST WOULD HAVE NO BEARING ON PARTICIPATION IN THE FUTURITY. To me this means we will accept nominations from a breeder whose bitch is displastic because they know it is displastic.

I emailed the Board of Directors weeks before the board meeting with a suggestion from a collaboration of breeders at a show. I might add that I received several possitive comments from some board members but it was passed over by the board in discussion. The suggestion possed was to use possitive reinforcement rather than negative. Do something possitive for those people who do test, reward their efforts in some way. The suggestion was to not eliminate anyone from entering the futurity but instead, if at the time the bitch is nominated, give a break in the nomination fee if the bitch has been tested and an additional break in the fee if the dog has also been tested.

That to me is rewarding people who do test.

The issue of whether or not an animal should have to have a CHIC number is also deceiving. Check out OFA's web site. A CHIC number means the dog has had all the required tests BUT does NOT mean that it has passed all those tests!

Entering the Futurity is a reward to those of us who are a member of the GDCA or an Affiliate. I am very much in favor of testing. I am very much against being told I HAVE TO!

Posted By: Scot

Posted On: 9 days ago
Views: 1158
How far is too far?

Why are so many people misreading what has been said? I have not seen a message questioning doing health screenings (they are NOT tests), only the legislation thereof. I keep getting messages urging the fight against PAWS legislation but we have never had anywhere near 6 litters in a year or placed anywhere near 25 pups in a year. Based on the sound of some of these messages I should not try to interfere with this federal legislation since it doesn't affect me. PAWS is no more onerous than the legislation this poll is about. They are both are onerous because they are legislation, NOT because they are requiring anything in particular. This is what I meant by the misstatement of something & then arguing about it.
BTW, has anyone noticed that overseas Foreign semen pups cannot be in Futurity unless the stud is dead.

Posted By: Sean F. Smith

Posted On: 9 days ago
Views: 1222

Personally I would have liked to seen a better ballot instead of the current one that is so vague.
I would have loved to have seen one more along with what the AbdFC (Bouvier) has for their Futurity, they passed it in 2001.

It states:

“””For Futurity nominated Bouviers to be eligible to compete in the futurity competition, both parents must have certification of health clearance in at least three of the following areas, two of which must be Hips status and OFA Cardiac.

Hips (OFA, PennHip or equivelent Foereign)
Elbows OFA
Cardiac OFA
Glaucoma (Tonometry from certified opthamologist)
CERF * (Has to be Current cannot exceed 12 months to the date of mating)
**Exemptions are only made to sires that had died prior to the year 2000.””””

Dane people are crying about one test????? Give me a break; most of us test for hips anyhow so how will that affect you?

There are a number of breeds that require health testing before they can enter a Futurity. The GDCA is just coming to the party late. Have these other breeds increased health because of the requirements? I have no early idea.

Vote is about all I can say..

Posted By: Karen Martin

Posted On: 9 days ago
Views: 1230
health testing

I think that the GDCA is at least TRYING to do something. It's better than doing nothing. There is no perfect way out there to make sure we have healthy stock to breed from except to screen them and multiple times through their life. Until there is a better way some of us are doing the best we can with what we have. When there is a better way we will do it also. It really blows my mind that people really have a problem with health screening our breed. If we can do anything at all to improve it at all while we are here to help, lets do it. Maybe after we have something going it can be revised and made even better. At least it's a step in the right direction. I know as a breeder we screen for anything that we can and use that information to better our breeding program and sometimes to eliminate someone from our breeding program. It scares me to think that all the testing that even I do and we have things pop up you never expect. What is happening with the dogs out there who have screening available and are not using it. I guarantee you they are having problems they don't even know to tell the next person about. So to me ANYTHING that we can do to help improve the quality of puppies we produce the better. I will support the GDCA in any effort they have of helping us to improve our breed.

Like someone else earlier said. There are other breed clubs who are very strict about who they refer as breeders and about health screens done on those dogs. I'm not sure the futurity issue is the best way to do this but it's a start. I think that having health screened dogs in order to be on their website as a breeder is a great thing. Maybe even a way of showing which breeders do health screens and let people choose who they want to buy a puppy from that way. It's at least an informed decision.

Posted By: Scot

Posted On: 9 days ago
Views: 1276
Ballot s are due

The Ballot has the footnote "Ballots are due by midnight on October 5, 2005

Posted By: Steve

Posted On: 9 days ago
Views: 1304
Dave Miller's last post

Dave, I believe the ballots are due in by Sept. 30th. According to the GDCA website anyway.

Posted By: Mary Anne Zanetos

Posted On: 9 days ago
Views: 1375
Response to Bev

With all due respect, Bev, the data show you are absolutely wrong on this point.

Voluntary health testing has been incredibly successful among Great Dane breeders and owners.

In 2004 I published statistics, by year, on the number of Great Danes undergoing OFA hip x-rays, OFA cardiac and OFA thyroid (I did not have CERF data). The time trend graphs speak for themselves. Stats for 2004 and 2005 reflect even higher numbers of Danes being screened.

I cannot get the graphs to copy to this note, but anyone interested can see them on page 72 of the Sept/Oct 2004 issue of Dane World magazine.

To repeat....Opposition to this ballot is not about opposition to health testing. It's about the coercive approach. As the old timers would say, you get more flies with honey than vinegar. So far, the "sweet" approach has been working.

Posted By: Bev

Posted On: 10 days ago
Views: 1389

Just a question after reading this thread. So if every one is so willing to voluntarily test and so in favor of screening and so willing and share results what is the big controversy about? Could it be that some who say they are willing to do this really are not so willing and in fact don't do this. If not one must ask why are they so resistant? It seems it "is thou dost protest too much".

Posted By: Dave Miller

Posted On: 10 days ago
Views: 1424
GDCA Health Screening Ballot

Folks; I think this issue is incredibly important to our breed. Beyond where you are with regard to this ballot you must realize that all of us are getting the opportunity to vote. There is no sinister back room ploy to deny anyone the right to free expression, nothing is being rammed down the memberships collective throat. This initiative was born in response to the membership and will pass or not the same way. That is as it should be!
Some have raised the issue of verification, the CHIC initiative is self explanatory and the one test option implies compliance and reponses are easily verified. The notion of not limiting participation regardless of the result is just that. This was not meant to be a justification for exclusion.

Ask everone you know to return that ballot by October 5th.!

Posted By: Mary Anne

Posted On: 10 days ago
Views: 1471
What's The Real Question?

Sandy, Gina, Dawn, Scot and others bring up varied and legitimate questions that need to be asked of those who wish to impose their political views under the guise of improving the health of Great Danes.

The real question is, “Are these health screenings really so valuable and so valid in predicting risk to offspring that the GDCA has a legitimate right to impose them as a litmus test of a responsible breeder?”

Is it possible to wholeheartedly endorse VOLUNTARY health testing but reject the notion of compulsory testing as a condition for Futurity eligibility? That is my position, one shared by many others. I absolutely believe breeders should avail themselves of screening tests as well as other medical information which helps identify problems which may have a genetic basis. Health screening tests ARE valuable when used for their intended purpose, namely, as a tool for providing information about otherwise unobservable aspects of breeding stock (e.g., radiographic evaluation of hip joint conformation). To portray opponents of this proposal as persons who reject medical technology or are less informed or less conscientious as breeders is absurd.

I believe most of those opposed to GDCA’s proposal already perform at least one of the four optional health screenings on their dogs. With very few exceptions, this proposal would not eliminate their litters from competing.

What is at the heart of the issue is the motive behind this proposal and the amount of benefit to be derived from re-introducing restrictions on Futurity entries. Can new restrictions on the Futurity really be justified on the basis of improving health? Has the GDCA or the members suporting this ballot supplied any projections of the health improvement the proposed changes would make? These would be simple calculations if there were data to support this position.

Many feel the GDCA leadership is using this proposal more as a “club” to enforce the GDCA Code of Ethics (which does not require any specific health screenings) than a genuine attempt to improve the health of the breed. I think it’s a reasonable question to ask:

How can one expect a meaningful reduction in any disease as a result of a haphazard policy which allows dogs to take any one of four screening tests at the discretion of the owner, especially since IT'S NEITHER NECESSARY TO PASS THE TEST OR DISCLOSE THE TEST RESULT TO A PUBLIC DATABASE?

This seems like lip service to health: a gesture, without substance. But it does force breeders who want their puppies to be Futurity eligible to submit to health testing in order to participate. That’s the crux of the matter in a nutshell.

Even if one has no problem with the use of coercive tactics, there’s still a more general philosophical issue. Should GDCA eliminate dogs from a conformation event on the basis of non-conformational criteria? What about the slippery slope this creates once they open the door to this type of pre-judging? For example, we now have genetic tests that can determine a dog’s coat color and mask genotype and the presence of genes associated with many diseases. This means we can detect dogs that carry undesirable colors, maskless (dyed) fawns or brindles and “color enhanced” blues and blacks. All of these are currently competing against their correct genotyped counterparts. What about dogs which carry for vonWillebrand’s disease or the myriad of other undesirable traits we can detect with genetic tests now or in the near future? Should GDCA disqualify litters produced by bitches whose sire had dilated cardiomyopathy? Where do you draw the line and who draws it?

The GDCA membership needs to give this matter some very careful thought before voting. If the proposed ballot issue passes, it will become easier to institute additional non-conformational criteria for Futurity eligibility. And, you may not get to vote on the next set of restrictions the GDCA Board decides is in “your” best interest.

Posted By: Scot Billings

Posted On: 10 days ago
Views: 1610
Silence & some reasons for it

I think that you will find that many of the long time breeders are tired of entering a conversation & being told they don't know what they are talking about, actually because the message the LTB sent was not read correctly & the misquote is what they are taken to task about. Many people have learned that silence saves arguments.
We are having discussions about Health Screenings but calling them "tests". Tests tell you of a specific malady or maladies while screenings tell you what there is a possibility for, "Maybe". These screenings are being done for supposedly genetic problems but the current definition of "Genetic" is something we don't really know the cause for, therefore it must be genetic. The biggest problem is that many "long-time-mail-listers" know that Education works while Legislation often doesn't. You can educate people the reasons for health screenings & may be successful often. Legislate for the same thing & your success will be seldom. Another problem, IMO, is to say that only one group or laboratory has the right answer. Some screenings done only once are useless since they must be done regularly to have any effect.

Posted By: Jane Doe

Posted On: 10 days ago
Views: 1663
their silence is deafening

Why poll #16 had different results? It was sprung on us but now we have had time to think about it. I am trying to learn, and its not easy. And I do realize that most important issues are not simple. But in order to be able to process the different views to make informed decisions on matters like this, we must be provided with information and viewpoints from those with real experience.

Where is some input from more of the "long time breeders" on this subject? Are they so intertwined with the judges and handlers at the GDCA; or are they puzzled and have no idea what's going on here; or could it possibly be true as one implied earlier that none of them were able to learn to use a computer? Can't be that, we know they're reading this.

All we hear is that we new people don't know what we're talking about and that we are not willing to listen. Well, the truth is, their silence is deafening. With only a few exceptions, almost none of the successful breeders will speak a word. I find this very frustrating, but one of the most interesting aspects of this whole serious discussion.

Posted By: Deb

Posted On: 10 days ago
Views: 1678
Know/research your pedigree

Wow, this poll has certainly ilicited great

Individuals environmental factors, lifestyles
are all different.

We all want the most time to spend
with our beloved breed that has a shorter than
most lifespan to begin with.

Bottom line: How long did the ancestors live?
What did they die from?

Answers to these two questions speak volumes.

Posted By: Dawn

Posted On: 10 days ago
Views: 1701
Mandatory Testing for Futurity

Because folks keep insisting that everything is genetic, they want to make it mandatory to test the parents of any dog entered in the Futurity? To me this is basically a waste of time as long as people are vaccinating their dogs and the environment keeps wreaking havoc on every living organism on the planet. Mercury, that is in every vaccine, is the most dangerous metal on the planet. It does damage to living organisms, therefore, I can't help but feel that most testing is a waste of time and money. I do all the health tests, but not for the same reasons most breeders do. I can not accept the results as the "Be All, End All" when it comes to what can happen to any dog alive. Fluoride in the water can and will ruin a thyroid... so if people are giving their dogs tap water, or course many of them are going to have thyroid problems. Not all, but too many, any way you look at it. I had a dog who has NO cardio in his lines die from Cardio and it was attributed to Parvo. There are just way too many variables when it comes to these diseases that we are being expected to test for before being able to show in the Futurity. You can not believe the "studies" that are out there for diseases, because just like it has been for years... soon there will be a new study contrary to the first one. As for Gene markers, if they really want to find them... they will. Whether they are really there or not. What are we to do if they find out that EVERY dog has these markers? Kill all our dogs? We won't have to worry about testing then.
I was beyond angry when we were not allowed to "Opt out" of the Purina program, as I thought that we lived in a Democratic society. Being forced to not only be a part of a program sponsored by a company producing dog food that many people do not use, and now the thought of these mandatory health clearances for the parents of a puppy in the Futurity are only going to make the entries go down. I do hope that the GDCA realizes this before it is too late. I know of several breeders who have already stopped entering the futurity because of not being able to "opt out" of the Purina program.
I, for one, had a bitch who had to be bred before all her health clearances could be done... due to split heats. One breeding fixed her problems, but her get would not have been allowed to show had this testing been mandatory. It will get to the point where people just won't want to be bothered with the Futurity if there are too many restrictions. For crying out loud, there aren't even any points when you win the Futurity... now they really want to take all the fun out of it! Some people won't be staying as long at the National, if they aren't showing in the Futurity, and if there aren't that many dogs entered, why bother to be there early to even watch? Money will be lost. I am sure that is not what the GDCA has in mind, but they truly need to think about these possible consequences before trying to make this mandatory.