Great Dane breeders & how to find a good one..
Don't rush.. Take the time to locate a breeder that you are comfortable with and trust. Great Dane breeders that adhere to the GDCA code of ethics are working to maintain the health and true form of our breed.
Think of this as an interview process, narrow down your search by color, then by location. Ideally, it is best to choose a breeder that is near enough to personally visit. If this is not possible, request references and do some phone work.
Can't visit the breeder.. Ask for contact information and phone numbers! Call past buyers and ask about health and temperament of their puppy. What are they saying? Are they happy with their puppy? Request the phone number(s) of your breeder's Vet and call them. Ask about the overall medical history of the particular breeder's litters. Any on-the-level breeder should provide such phone numbers and contact information with no trouble. If they refuse, our advice is to go elsewhere.
Visiting the breeder.. Meet and greet the Sire and Dam if possible. Watch for good temperament, size, and structure. A Reputable breeder will allow you to visit their kennel, meet their dogs, and spend as much time as you want with your new potential puppy.
Look around.. Are the runs and yard nice and tidy? Notice fresh water and creature comforts on hand? What do the adult Danes on-site look like? Is this the result you are in search of?
Ask.. Are current litters housed in and among their humans, or are they off in a barn or isolated with the nursing mother? What food do you feed the puppies? Is it a high quality premium brand?
We have met a few timid Danes over the years. This is typically a sign of poor socialization with people at the kennel.
When visiting Great Dane breeders consider.. Great Danes can be timid to strangers at first but should warm up quickly. Stay for a while, relax, and get to know the dogs. The character of a breeder's dogs is a good indicator of what to expect of an adult from their line.
Keep in mind.. You should never be pressured! Watch out for the "we have two other couples who are interested" trick. Being asked to "think about it and come back" is a good sign and truly shows these people love their dogs.
Remember.. Most Great Dane breeders are working to better the breed, they love Great Danes! They do not sell wholesale to pet stores. Many are involved in showing and some actually work as show ring judges. Passionate Great Dane breeders are often members of a Great Dane club or Chapter on a State or National level.
Support.. Be sure the breeder you choose will be available if you call after the sale. You may need advice on nutrition, training, or simply have a question about your new puppy.
The paperwork.. Insist on a written contract and a health guarantee! Obtain a copy in advance if possible, take the time to fully read it and ask questions before you leave with a puppy. Most likely you will sign a contract promising to spay/neuter your Dane if you do not compete in the show ring. Typically, Great Dane breeders will request you return the dog to them if for any reason you can't keep it, this is a good sign. When registering your Dane with the AKC, you may also be required to include the name of the kennel somewhere in the dogs registered name. Something like (Fido "kennel name" Dog). If you are buying a puppy from an AKC registered litter, review our "Register Your Dog" for more information on "papers".
Health guarantee.. Insist on a written health guarantee if not offered. Their are potential genetic problems inherent to Great Danes. Good Great Dane breeders should openly discuss these issues and address your concerns. Many Great Dane breeders pre screen their breeding stock and receive health certifications in an effort to wean these anomalies out of their line. More on "Great Dane health screening" is available in "related articles" on our Great Dane puppy main hub page.