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DANELINKS.COM POLL # 44
Do you feel that the direction of the Great Dane Club of America is aligned with the best interests of the breed? [249 votes total]

 
YES (129) 52%
NO (98) 39%
NO OPINION (22) 9%
 


 
Post Info  Comment
Posted By: Scot Billings

Posted On: 3 hr, 7 min. ago
Views: 11
 
GDCA Board requirements?

Pam, I have a few clarifications/corrections to your message. To answer your first question, I never heard the "do as I say, not as I do" from a parent nor have Peg or I EVER used the phrase. You then infer that ONLY Breeders can better the breed & even leave stud owners out of it. People who ask to use a stud are not automatically entitled to use that stud. We research the bitch's pedigree to be sure that it is acceptable & to find out how close the line-breeding will be. I know of many stud owners that contemplate the use of their studs & don't just jump at the possibility. There are probably others that will but that doesn't make it the rule. You infer that only your definition of "Active" should be the major requirement for an officer of GDCA because the others can not "advance us in knowledge" but the one activity isn't the only important thing for officers of any club.
GDCA judges are NOT selected by a committee unless you consider the entire body as that committee. The judges are selected the same way as ALL GDCA officers are selected, by ballots from the entire membership. I will agree that a low number of members use the ballot but all receive the ballot to vote. I don't care if the clubs vote or not since they only get ONE vote each which cannot "sway" very much since they are a minority of the members. Write-ins would be difficult since too many people would write-in names that were not members of GDCA, only of an affiliate.


 
Posted By: Pam

Posted On: 12 hr, 44 min. ago
Views: 28
 
GDCA Best interests?


That is the question. We digress? No.
Why?
Because the points being brought up are valid. How do all these seemingly diverse topics relate to our original question?

Well, its the PARENT club. How many times did YOU have to listen to "do as I say not as I do"?

THATS exactly what is going on.
Color code is an example of "not as I do".
I dont know the answer to this question, but exactly how many ACTIVE board members, and ACTIVE officers own agility/obedience TDI dogs? And what percent of the dane population is that?
Oh, and by ACTIVE, I mean dane owners who have at least one brood bitch(female dane, over 2 years old, under 6 that has been bred). After all, shouldnt our leaders be CAPABLE of bettering the breed? I have to discount stud dog ownership, only because there is nothing for the owner to better. He needs to be able to keep a puppy, and well, I'm sorry but those come from girls, and someone else chose to use your stud. Their decision, not yours, even if you do get the option of PICKING a puppy. You had to AGREE to the breeding. Period.
Now, how many people on the board and how many officers fit?
One could argue that these leaders had met the qualification in the past. I would ask how they can advance us in knowledge if they no longer participate ACTIVELY. yes, I'm back to what constitutes active.
WHY? Because it is vital to Bettering a Breed. Bettering is FUTURE tense, not present or past. How can we advance if we cant get leadership that is forward thinking?
Too many people have spent too many years getting where they are.

Anyone doubt that politics is played in who judges our breed when the judge is chosen by a clubs "committee"? Look up their judging record with MB-F. Its a very educting experience. I once heard a judge admit to not being willing to put up an owner handler because the professional handlers had to make a living. ???????????????
Anyone want to tell the story of the past judge who admitted he wouldnt put a mantle and why? How does this better the breed?

Is this really negative or just a bit of truth that hits too close to home?

If it is negative, then I should have answers and not just gripe? Ok,heres an idea: lets vote for all positions of the GDCA. Lets make all votes private, and no club is allowed to cast a vote, so as not to unfairly sway its membership into voting for a particular candidate. All candidates are to be written in, no club shall recommend a person for a position. To facilitate this, all voting will be done through a secure sign in process on the GDCA website, or by mail or fax. There shall be no club meetings with in 1 month of a board or officers election. Lets try it once and see what happens?
Change is scary.


 
Posted By: Scot Billings

Posted On: 3 days ago
Views: 165
 
Priorities

Mary Anne had said "in recent years the GDCA has perhaps lost sight of a very important priority---the need to educate breeders, judges, exhibitors and pet owners on CONFORMATION. And that lack of easily accessible, high quality, breed-specific education has contributed to what many feel is a trend toward mediocity, inconsistency or as others have described it, a loss of "Breed Type". That is one area where the GDCA, as opposed to individual breeders and mentors, is in a unique position to provide leadership." & that was what I was agreeing with most. One of the most important groups that GDCA should be helping educate is "OWNERS", including those that are not GDCA or affiliate club members. This cannot be done well with an Illustrated Standard that has conflicts between the Standard, as printed, & the Discussion. This is especially true with the poor "illustrations" that we have currently. It has been argued for about a decade that the current Illustrated Standard is lacking, to say the least.


 
Posted By: Jane

Posted On: 13 days ago
Views: 876
 
Priorities

I think the focus on Health and Welfare issues impacting the breed was overdue and one to which the GDCA needed to devote significant time and resource. However I also stongly agree with Mary Anne that the club should not loose sight of one of its other important responsibilities. That is the responsibility to educate. Our Judges Education program is a good one and it has received overall quite good reviews from the participants. However clearly we could do much more to educate breeders and exhibitors. Although some of this can be done at Nationals that means many and often those who need it the most cannot benifit since they may not regularly attend Nationals.The GDCA has made educational grants available to local club to host educational events but much more can be done especially in parnership with our local clubs. Hopefully the next few years will see the development of some creative education programs from which many can benifit.


 
Posted By: Scot Billings

Posted On: Mar 18
Views: 977
 
Illustrated Standard

In general I agree with Mary Anne but I feel that the education was better in the late '90s & some of the first years of the '00s. Regarding the Illustrated Standard, if it is possible I would recommend the re-issuance of the 1976 Illustrated Standard after revising the text to agree with the 1990 (current) Standard. At least that would give us illustrations that someone CAN learn from. That is why, when asked for my clarification of the Standard, I recommend that a person look at the '76 or '45 Standard & use that to clarify the '90 Standard rather than to get totally confused by the '95 Illustrated Standard. Too often I find that people use the wording seen in the '95 Illus. Std. thinking it is the same as the actual Standard. One mistake is saying that the standard refers to "natural ears" when in reality the Standard (regardless which issuance) states "folded ears".


 
Posted By: Mary Anne

Posted On: Mar 18
Views: 1012
 
Priorities

What Jane is saying is obvious.

However to bring this back to the poll question, I think the point Adam and others are trying to make is that in focusing its major programs almost exclusively on health and welfare, in recent years the GDCA has perhaps lost sight of a very important priority---the need to educate breeders, judges, exhibitors and pet owners on CONFORMATION. And that lack of easily accessible, high quality, breed-specific education has contributed to what many feel is a trend toward mediocity, inconsistency or as others have described it, a loss of "Breed Type". That is one area where the GDCA, as opposed to individual breeders and mentors, is in a unique position to provide leadership.

Many posts on this thread have commented on the lack of educational programs. A good first step would be for GDCA to produce a high quality Illustrated Standard to replace the current one. Many GDCA members, even members of the GDCA Board, never supported the current Illustrated Standard and urged its revision or complete replacement from the time of its inception--now over 10 years ago. Despite several committees which have come and gone, I cannot see any meaningful progress on this important document.

I think it's highly unlikely that judges and newcomers to the breed will learn to discern and appreciate the more subtle aspects of breed type without some basic tools in the toolbox. For example, a high quality Illustrated Standard with clear depictions of what is and isn't correct, along with photos or drawings illustrating not only faults, but superior examples of conformational aspects which are hard to describe in words. I think this goes a long way in explaining inconsistent judging and a tendency of judges to reward sound, decent moving Danes, but relatively deficient in the unique breed-specific traits we call "type". Or conversely, to overpenalize relatively less important, but easy to recognize faults they've memorized from the standard or carried over from other breeds. Unless a judge is also an experienced breeder who has gained expertise in evaluating subtle aspects of conformation by making breeding decisions or fortunate enough to have been mentored by one of the "greats", I can't see how we can expect judges to know what we (GDCA) can't effectively communicate.

As individual breeders, I think we all exert our best efforts to improve our dogs and make progress in achieving our individual goals. But at best, we impact only a fairly small circle of associates. In contrast, the GDCA has the opportunity and the responsibility to promote progress in improving conformation globally. To me, that means much more than hosting the National Specialty.



 
Posted By: Jane

Posted On: Mar 17
Views: 1035
 
Conformatiom

Sean/Adam/Matt/Et al
Without called for conformation they are not a Great Dane, without temperment they are not what we want to live with, and without health they are not at here. This all means that we can not afford to ignore conformation, temperment or health. The struggle is to always balance all of the above to create a healthy animal,of good temperment that also looks like the Great Dane described in our standard. This is not an easy challenge to breeders but it is none the less the one that they must respond to be considered truley sucessful and also ethical.


 
Posted By: Matt Tessman

Posted On: Mar 17
Views: 1079
 
Confirmation


I see a lot of people here are unhappy about Adam's comments. I know Adam and know how feels about Great Danes. Since he is a very intelligent person and speaks in an intellectual way, some of his points are getting lost in translation. I believe what he is trying to say is that without correct confirmation and good breed type it doesn’t matter how pure of health, agile, or obedient your dog is because has lost its connection with being a true Great Dane if it lacks in confirmation. Look at some of the products of backyard breeders, except for the AKC papers saying it is a Great Dane, you would never know. Breed type and confirmation is starting point and everything else should follow behind it. I doubt Adam feels that you should breed with no regard to health, but rather consider the health issues (if there even is a health issue, some people don’t have them) importance the same as you might consider the parts of the dog. I don’t want a Dane that doesn’t look or act like a Dane simply for the sake of perfect health or agility course ability. I would have gotten into a different breed or a bought a mutt. A Great Dane would only be another dog if it loses its breed type and confirmation. I know this has nothing to with the GDCA but I wanted to say it.


 
Posted By: Mary Anne

Posted On: Mar 17
Views: 1266
 
Sean's Post - GDCA Funding Research

Sean writes:

Maybe I am mistaken??? Haven’t they, we the collective, helped fund a slew of scientific studies that are coming to light as we speak? Just yesterday, didn’t they post the news of the Merle Gene? A few weeks ago the Blue Gene? The on going DCM studies at TAMU? The osteosarcoma studies at MSU? The vWD studies with Vetgen?

Yes, Sean, you are mistaken.

Just to set the record straight, GDCA provided NO support for the merle gene study at TAMU. That research was funded by others/other breeds who have an interest in merle. It has turned out to have interesting and useful implications for finding the "harl gene", but in no way can GDCA take any credit for the recently published findings on the merle gene.

Ditto for the blue gene. GCCA provided no funding for this research. It was done by Dr. S. Schmutz and her group in Canada. They discovered the locus of the gene and developed a commercial genetic test, both for the blue gene and also the mask gene. While GDCA encouraged their members to provide DNA samples for validation of these tests, they provided NO monetary support.

I'm not sure what ongoing DCM studies Sean refers to at TAMU, but I think there is a project to provide low cost echo screening which is funded by GDHFA, not GDCA.

While it is true that GDCA has supported some multi-breed scientific research indirectly, through the American Kennel Club's Canine Health Foundation, Donor Advised Fund, the dollar amount of this support has been minimal.

To the best of my knowledge, GDCA has not funded any scientific research since the inception of the GDCA Charitable Trust 4-5 years ago.

The purpose of this is not to condemn GDCA for a failure to support research, but simply to set the record straight for the many like Sean who assume that GDCA is spending major dollars supporting research on the issues that concern Dane owners the most.

Within the past month, GDCA's Board voted to approve $25,000 in matching funds to support the harl gene project at Texas A&M. This is with the stipulation that the Charitable Trust must raise the first $25,000 so that the entire $50,000 project budget is covered. It is uncertain whether that project will come to fruition. It is completely dependent on the contributions of Dane owners, breeders and friends of the breed to the GDCA Charitable Trust. Hopefully, they will be generous and this project will get underway.



 
Posted By: Rebekah M

Posted On: Mar 16
Views: 1417
 
Best Interest

Does the GDCA have the "best interest" of the breed. I actually sort of chuckled when I read the question. The IDEA of the GDCA is great but so is the ending of most fairy tales. Are there those in the GDCA that truly are trying to do what is best to preserve our breed for generations to come YES, but are there those that are only in it for the best interest of themselves YES. But I think that can be said of every facet of life right or wrong. Having said that while I feel the GDCA has made many improvements I still fee as though it's pushed around but a select few...... period. The whole thing has become a popularity contest if you ask me. But I whole heartedly agree with Sean when he said we as breeders shoulder the responsibility of the best interest of the breed. So to blame it on the GDCA is ridiculous. I'm going to do what is best for the breed regardless if the GDCA says to or not. I don't live and die by the mandates of the GDCA. I use my own common sense to tell me what's right and wrong and what I feel is ethical and just. It's called having a mind of my own. If the GDCA one day says "breed dysplastic dogs it's ok" does that mean that my own judgement is going to take a back seat to the GDCA just because they are the parent club. NO !!!! Yes that is an extreme and very simplified example but I'm sure you all get my point. Now I am IN NO WAY saying we should not have guidelines. Guideline serve a purpose and that is to GUIDE. Without them I feel the breed would collapse. Which brings me to another point. The breed as a whole. I feel as though Adams post carried a very elitist tone and quite frankly came across as being to the contrary of "best interest" of the breed. To plainly suggest that anything other than conformation is nothing more than a type of frivolity with no real importance or that a "pet mentality" was in some was to be discounted is IMO ludicrous. I don't know about you Adam but I WANT IT ALL. I not only want a Dane that carries correct conformation and is healthy enough to live many years to reproduce that correct conformation, but I want a Dane that is intelligent enough and athletic enough to be able to weave in and out of those polls on command but that is sweet enough to lay on the floor with my 6 year old as well as soft tempered enough to sit confidently next to my 76 year old uncle in his wheelchair. So if wanting a complete package means I have a "pet quality" mind set then give me pets everyday all day. Because to me if we aren't breeding for the complete package WHAT'S THE POINT????? Then we are exactly what you hear all these BYB's say about conformation. Just in to have pretty dogs.


 
Posted By: Sean

Posted On: Mar 16
Views: 1526
 
Do your thing


“””Could it be because many amateurs passing themselves off as breeders””

You don’t think every other breed out there has the same “amateur breeders”?


"However, I can tell you that many people who probably have more experience and success than you and I combined do not share your point of view. I guess there may be some, but I've never come across any."

Oh I agree I am still “wet behind the ears” when compared to a number of the breeders out there.

My original post was about strides we are making in the world of genetic research, with the help of the GDCA. The fact that WE as breeders shoulder the responsibility for the breed. The fact that the health testing requirements voted on last year did not pass by the narrowest of margins. Those were my examples of why “I” believe the reason the GDCA “ is aligned with the best interests of the breed”. The rest of the “issues” are politics and can be debated for hours on end, much like any political discussion.

My comment on “”NOT who wins a freaking specialty””

Is based on the simple fact that many specialty judges are our long time friends, associates and breeding partners. So results are often always skewed. Like it or not that’s the way it is.

I did not intend to get in a ****ing contest over my comments. However, it is obvious we are on opposite sides of the spectrum. My believes are what they are, and you have yours. We have gone way of topic so I will close.

See you at the shows.


 
Posted By: Sara

Posted On: Mar 16
Views: 1562
 
goals of the parent club

Up front, let me say that this is my opinion. I do not speak for a group, simply myself.

Up front, let me say that "type" for me is what identifies a great dane - it's that subjective something that takes your breath away when you see it.... it makes you swell with pride if you're the owner or breeder. For me, it's why this is my breed.

With that being said, I also believe that type is one facet of the breed - and type alone is not enough for me. I want that dane to be more - I want it to be sound of mind and body; I want it to be intelligent and strong; I want it to be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound (ok, not really, but you get my point!)

I want the parent club to hold me to higher standards than average - to challenge me to strive for excellence and never settle for mediocrity. As a voting member, I will continue to use my vote towards these goals.


 
Posted By: Mimi Kim

Posted On: Mar 16
Views: 1602
 
Hotly Disagree

Adam states:
The National Specialty is meant to be the consummate embodiment of this. Unfortunately, it seems that as of late the National Specialty has become more of a vacation where you bring your dogs rather than a true competitive event. Conformation has become an afterthought, with parades, gala events, dinners, agility, and rally receiving increasing notoriety. While these can be enjoyable events, they are not requisite indicators of intelligence or soundness and they will never maintain the integrity of the Great Dane as an individual breed. This is also the case with the "performance specific" litters being bred by some; they simply will not enrich the breed as an artistic entity.

Mimi states:
They won't, Adam? I TOTALLY disagree with you on this, and I am sure many others do, too. How can you state that these animals, competing in agility, obedience and rally are not some of the most well bred danes in the breed...many are. Type (which is subjective, at best) without soundness, agility and intelligence is NOTHING. Adam, do you have any idea how many problems in temperament and soundness we are battling in this breed? I have only been involved in danes for the last 14 years, but I have seen it all. These performance danes, DO have a tremendous amount to contribute to our gene pool, and if you have ever lived with a shy, unstable, unpredictable or dysplastic dog, then maybe you would see this.
Our standard is NOT being represented by many danes in the breed ring. Typey dogs with a inordinate amount of health problems? Poor tempered dogs being bred because they are top winning; top icons in our breed breeding unhealthy and dysplastic dogs? I don't think that is contributing to the breed at all.
These performance danes, that you appear to look down upon, most certainly NEED to be recognized as a quintessential part of the breed.
I know a heck of alot of top danes, in my years, that wouldn't pass one temperament test; one health test or be able to weave through poles like the uncropped white dane; because their rears and hips would collapse. Just my opinion, of course.
Mimi Kim Saravilla Danes




 
Posted By: Adam Protos

Posted On: Mar 15
Views: 1632
 
Do your thing

.........."We still have an alarming number of them in the show ring being bred with debilitating and potentially deadly diseases with no cares in the world, and these breeders are supposed to be mentors to people? Oh I forgot, they look like a well bred Dane should, so that’s okay, right? Because conformation is of the utmost importance here?"

I find it self serving and revealing that my post would be interpreted in this manner, in fact I thought that it was apparent to anyone who cared to read it critically that I was saying just the opposite. Everyone wants healthy, long lived dogs, but that is not a stopping point. After all, we are in Great Danes, and without conformation there would be no breed to post about. At that point you would be just as well served to go down to the animal shelter and get yourself a healthy mixed breed.

It is true about the lack of consistency and quality in the ring today. Why could that be? Could it be because many amateurs passing themselves off as breeders (which I don't claim to be) who spend all their time expounding upon imaginary health issues rather than trying to breed the best Great Danes they can. This is the whole point, a bunch of distractions and fictitious divisions have been put in place that cloud the real goal of breeding better Danes. This is exactly the mentality which mires the GDCA and the direction of the breed.

Also, the implication about successful conformation enthusiasts not having an interest in their dog's health is simply absurd. Who has more invested in their dogs than people who have devoted their life's work to building a successful breeding program or bloodline? Are you telling me that these people don't care about the longevity and vitality of the dogs which represent a significant investment in terms of time, money, and effort? They have the most at stake and the most to lose. It's a simple question of investment and return. This just doesn't make any sense.

I personally find this health topic fixation redundant, boring, silly, and unproductive. It is just not rooted in reality. Show dogs are no more unhealthy than dogs of pet quality, and implying so is nothing more than the creation of a false value system in which one can pretend to be successful.

Sean, we don't know who you are, where you are, or who you associate with. However, I can tell you that many people who probably have more experience and success than you and I combined do not share your point of view. I guess there may be some, but I've never come across any. The fact remains that people who have had serious, result based success in the breed give conformation a high priority. Also, most have dogs as healthy as anyone's.

Actually, as you pointed out, it's probably best that you don't care about which dog wins "the freaking specialty." Do your thing, but do not proclaim to have a prescription for what's in the best interest of the breed.


 
Posted By: Matt Tessman

Posted On: Mar 15
Views: 1640
 
GDCA's Interests

I think before anyone can answer yes or no, we need to know what the best interests of the breed are and what role the GDCA plays in those interests. Many of us have very different interests in the breed. So what are the best interests for our breed? I feel first and foremost, like Adam very eloquently stated, a Great Dane needs to look, act, and be the embodiment of the Great Dane standard that the GDCA has set before us. This includes health, temperament, and breed type characteristics. The GDCA's job was to create and maintain a standard, teach it to AKC judges, promote the breed, and further the important heath and welfare issues.

Are these things in the best interest of the breed? Are they doing any of these things? Are they doing a good job? These are the questions I would be thinking about, not attacking others that are posting their opinion. This is starting to look like Danesonline here. Many people have many opinions of the GDCA. Some good, some bad.

The GDCA has created a very good standard but has revised it at times to accommodate the times. Is this is a good thing or lowering the bar? Judges have been inconsistent and more likely to put up who they saw in a magazine in recent years. Is this the GDCA's fault? I don't see many Danes going BIS lately. Is this a failure to promote the breed or a decline in breeding? There have been many new advances in Dane health discoveries. Were these studies of the issues that affect Danes the most? I am sure the people who have encountered DCM don't care about the merle gene.

There are a lot of questions without answers about this subject. That is why this is a poll of peoples' opinions, not an expedition for the resolution. My opinion is this breed is not under attack by health issues. We have a very healthy breed compared to all the others. And what issues we do have can be brought under control by not breeding dogs and bitches we know have those problems. Even if it means ending your current bloodline. What is under attack is the essence of Danes themselves. Ugly, undeserving dogs are not only winning, but can flourish. Bad judging, over advertising, and most peoples' inability to know a good dog when they see one has lead to a decline in the quality of Danes even in the short time I have watched it. Whose fault is this? If it is the GDCA then the answer is no, they do not have the best interests of Great Danes at heart. Is it the Dane community's fault? Raise a stink about it, educate yourself, and breed the best dogs you can.
That's my opinion, and I don't expect anyone to care, but if I have made any good points here then hooray for me.


 
Posted By: Sean

Posted On: Mar 15
Views: 1672
 
Ugly vs. Dead

“”As a breed specific club, striving for health is simply not enough”””

Its not??? Why don’t you tell the Basenji club that.

They as a group HAD to set out to eradicate certain diseases that put their breed in serious jeopardy. As have other Breed Specific Clubs. Could we be faced with that in the future?

"""This is the difference of being in show dogs. Trying to push this pet mentality over the breeding practices which attempt to produce excellent, competitive specimens would be unproductive at best. The goal should be the breeding of healthy show dogs for competition, not simply healthy pet quality dogs."""

Pet mentality???? Adam, I believe you have been in this breed for a handful of years. Correct??? While you are passionate about your beliefs, you will realize sooner or later that this is a heartbreaking breed. Weather or not you ever venture into breeding or just continue to own them. All of our dogs have baggage. We all started out with someone else’s work. My perceived “pet mentality” comes from years of heartache and success in show dogs. We still have an alarming number of them in the show ring being bred with debilitating and potentially deadly diseases with no cares in the world, and these breeders are supposed to be mentors to people? Oh I forgot, they look like a well bred Dane should, so that’s okay, right? Because conformation is of the utmost importance here? Speaking of, tell me what should a Great Dane look like? Go to any show and tell me how much consistency is in the Dane ring? We have too much variation in Type, or what people perceive is “Type”. Walk to the other Breed rings do you see that same inconsistency? Why is that???

Do I have the answers? Hell No. Nor will I proclaim too.... JMHO


 
Posted By: Adam Protos

Posted On: Mar 15
Views: 1764
 
Ugly vs. Dead?

Sean, the distinction you are drawing between conformation and health using alarmist rhetoric is an artificial one. No one that I know strives for unhealthy or sickly dogs. The truth is that the poor specimens of the breed are just as unhealthy (and often times more so) as the excellent ones which many attempt to tear down in an effort to validate their own sub-par results.

As a breed specific club, striving for health is simply not enough. While I understand the value and enjoyment of a healthy pet Dane, these dogs will never contribute to the progression of the breed. This is the difference of being in show dogs. Trying to push this pet mentality over the breeding practices which attempt to produce excellent, competitive specimens would be unproductive at best. The goal should be the breeding of healthy show dogs for competition, not simply healthy pet quality dogs. Rescues and shelters are full of healthy pets as it is.

In regard to conformation events, the best dog does not always win. However, it is the overall theme of the competition which drives the maintenance and progression of the breed. Simply because individual circumstances are not always ideal, does not mean that conformation has no value. Further, a winning record does not automatically equate to valuable breeding stock. However, conformation events provide a system and rubric which gives exemplary specimens the opportunity to be recognized and considered for breeding. It is seldom a truly inspiring dog will be consistently denied. At their root, even though they may be occasionally distorted, conformation events are about the evaluation of breeding stock, upon which the future of conformation and health rests. After all it has to be a Great Dane, that's why we're in the breed to begin with, isn't it?


 
Posted By: Jane

Posted On: Mar 15
Views: 1789
 
Best Interest

To me "best interst of the breed" is not just about assuring the long term health and well-being of dogs nor is just about promoting breeding animals with outstanding conformation. It is not just about promoting stable Great Dane temperments,intelligence and trainabilty. It is not just about proper care of dogs nor is it just about rescuing those dogs who need it. It is not just about educating judges, breeders and newcomers alike. It is not just about hosting a National Specialty which serves as a showcase for the best breeders have to offer.It is not just about working on legislation impacting our rights to have Great Danes. It is not just about providing leasdership and support to local Dane clubs. It is about all of this and probably more.


 
Posted By: Sean

Posted On: Mar 15
Views: 1809
 
A specialty

""While it is important to spearhead efforts to improve the health and longevity of our dogs, the focus should never overshadow conformation.""

I am just going to answer this by quoting a friend… You can change ugly, but you cannot change dead.

""So, in short, I do care which dog wins "a freaking specialty," and if you really care about Great Danes you should too.""

Really? Do you also believe that the best dog wins every time? Or maybe we should all be breeding to the big winners?


 
Posted By: Adam Protos

Posted On: Mar 15
Views: 1833
 
"A freaking specialty"?

Sean says: "Those to me that equals the betterment of the breed, NOT who wins a freaking specialty, or crosses that color barrier..."

With all due respect, Sean, this is exactly the attitude which many find so disconcerting about the current direction of the Parent Club. While it is important to spearhead efforts to improve the health and longevity of our dogs, the focus should never overshadow conformation. This is a breed specific club, hence the "Great Dane" part in the Great Dane Club of America. It then follows that for the organization to maintain its structural integrity, it must maintain and promote the breed itself. This is the very function of conformation events, to maintain the breed's value as an artistically distinct individual. This is why we are in Great Danes.

While these other issues are important, the breed is not maintained through CHIC numbers, agility, or the dog dancing being pitched by corporate entities whose main objective is to enlarge their market. Some would argue that the increased accessibility of these events justifies their presence. Increased accessibility is not always a good thing, especially at the expense of conformation, the very cornerstone of our breed. Events which are not breed specific endeavors must never be given the same priority as conformation.

Like it or not the breed is maintained through the competition that conformation events create, without that we're nothing more than a group of people who love dogs, but not specifically Great Danes. For example, the American Veterinary Association also advocates health related research, are we to believe that there is no distinction between their mission and that of the Great Dane Club of America? Surely not, the role of the GDCA goes far beyond that of just a health and welfare organization, although that is a component. However, the question asked if the GDCA has the breed's best interests at heart. Simply equating this to health is a grave oversimplification and reeks of a mentality of underachievement. Simply put, it is not enough. The club's role is breed specific, and this is part and parcel with conformation. This is the bedrock upon which everything else is built.

The National Specialty is meant to be the consummate embodiment of this. Unfortunately, it seems that as of late the National Specialty has become more of a vacation where you bring your dogs rather than a true competitive event. Conformation has become an afterthought, with parades, gala events, dinners, agility, and rally receiving increasing notoriety. While these can be enjoyable events, they are not requisite indicators of intelligence or soundness and they will never maintain the integrity of the Great Dane as an individual breed. This is also the case with the "performance specific" litters being bred by some; they simply will not enrich the breed as an artistic entity.

The reality is that having fun with your dog does not necessarily equate to the betterment of the breed. For instance, even though it’s enjoyable for those involved, a white, uncropped, Great Dane with a docked tail who is running through sticks on an agility course does not exactly maintain the direction of the breed as the "Apollo of Dogs." In case you've forgotten, I didn't just invent that phrase; it's taken from our Standard.

This slow erosion of the commitment to the integrity of our breed as an individual is not the fault of any one person or administration, but rather has taken place over many years. However, the fact remains that until we place people in positions of power who understand and are experienced with the breeding and rearing of quality Danes we cannot move forward as a breed in either a health or conformation arena. The truly exceptional breeder strives for and is able to attain both. These are the people who should be shepherding our breed, not handlers and dog food company representatives. This seems to be a trend not only in the GDCA, but is systemic in the sport of purebred dogs.

Health and conformation are not about vaccine protocols or what you feed, but rather they are built upon quality breeding. If you don't have sound breeding behind your Dane, concentration on these side issues becomes insignificant. The breeder is the true foundation upon which Great Danes are built and without a sound foundation, how can anything of substance materialize? Although there are some tests which may help a breeder in his quest to create excellent specimens, if the dogs being used aren't stunning examples of Great Danes, where is the value from a breed standpoint? This is where conformation events become paramount.

So, in short, I do care which dog wins "a freaking specialty," and if you really care about Great Danes you should too.



 
Posted By: Sean

Posted On: Mar 15
Views: 1886
 
GDCA???

After reading this discussion jump from topic to topic… I am still scratching my head as to what most of these posts have to do with the best interests of the breed? We as breeders shoulder the responsibility and hold the "best interests of the breed" in our hands. The GDCA does not govern your breeding practices. They do not choose whom you breed or don’t breed too. They do not limit you to competing in events of all kinds.

Maybe I am mistaken??? Haven’t they, we the collective, helped fund a slew of scientific studies that are coming to light as we speak? Just yesterday, didn’t they post the news of the Merle Gene? A few weeks ago the Blue Gene? The on going DCM studies at TAMU? The osteosarcoma studies at MSU? The vWD studies with Vetgen? The push for more breeders to health test their stock…

Those to me that equals the betterment of the breed, NOT who wins a freaking specialty, or crosses that color barrier...


 
Posted By: Jill, Two

Posted On: Mar 14
Views: 1972
 
Double Standard

Gosh...You think it's a problem that the majority of the fawn and brindle breeders on the GDCA Board of Directors either own mixed color bred dogs or allow their dogs to be used in mixed color breedings? Naw....

No more of a problem than the judges on the GDCA Board having a virtual lock on specialty judging assignments while showing specials and trading wins under fellow Board members all over the country.

Code of Ethics? That's for someone else!


 
Posted By: Cindy

Posted On: Mar 14
Views: 2011
 
Double Standards

Mimi…if ‘doing the right thing’ means staying true to the color code, then why the need to revisit the standard? I’m in total agreement that educating newcomers is muddied by the double-standard to which you refer. In fact, every time I see an advertisement for Dane offspring from a mix of black and fawn parents, it feels, to me, like an actual endorsement for that practice. So yeah, newcomers must surely be confused. Are the convictions of long time respectable breeders, towards pure color breeding, beginning to vacillate? Say it isn't so!!


 
Posted By: Scot Billings

Posted On: Mar 14
Views: 2027
 
GDCA or GDCJCA?

I didn't realize that there was a plan to change it to the Great Dane Conformation Judge Club of America. Will we still allow "Performance" people to be members?


 
Posted By: Jill

Posted On: Mar 14
Views: 2028
 
GDCA

Correct. They should have the same guidelines (or similar) to be President for the club, as it takes to become a judge. Someone who mix color breeds or hasn't bred any litters or "x" amount of Ch's should be excluded. The people on top should have the experience needed to rule, teach and guide the people. From all sides of the sport.