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Research  Let’s begin with what it is that makes for a respectable Great Dane breeder. They should have a keen interest and extensive knowledge of Great Danes, that kind of goes without saying really! A sound knowledge of the breed is paramount to producing healthy litters. If you’re a first-time dog owner or a weathered dog parent, you want to be able to ask your breeder anything that comes to mind. No one can know absolutely everything about a dog and so it’s a responsible trait to ask questions. You want to gain as much information as possible before committing to a dog, they’re going to be a part of your family for a long time! And whilst not everyone will have all the answers, a responsible breeder should show willing to take your queries on board and ultimately find out for you.  A keen interest in the breed goes hand in hand with the knowledge of basic genetics. Now some breeders delve deep into the family trees of studs and bitches, whilst this is a thorough approach that is common practice with working breeds, it’s not always necessary. With Great Danes, you do however want a breeder that is aware of hip and elbow scores. So, what this entails is that before they’re mated, a bitch and a stud will be x-rayed so a vet can assess the conditions of their hip and elbow joints. Should they score well, they will have the green light to be mated. If they don’t, they will not be mated, they will either be paired with another dog with a better score or not be mated at all, its all dependent. This is to protect any future generations of Great Danes from suffering with arthritis in their joints. Bigger breeds are vulnerable to this, German Shepards, Labradors, GSPs, are all commonly joint scored before being bred.  Now, I’m not saying that you need to know about your new puppies great-grandmothers knees, it’s just something your breeder should at least be aware of. You also want to have that insurance that they have the evidence of doing their part to help their litter. If you find that the breeder is unaware or dismissive of the health concerns, you’re best looking elsewhere for a healthy puppy. You want to have 100% confidence in knowing that the breeder did everything to produce a healthy litter. Another key subject you should be aware of is your puppy’s parents! Seeing your Great Dane pup with its siblings and their mum is arguably one of the most important aspects of buying a puppy. If you are able to see your new puppy in the whelping box it was born in, eagerly suckling, groomed and fussed by mum ect, chances are that they were bred ethically. Whilst Great Danes aren’t known for being bred on puppy farms, not everyone that breeds them will be doing it properly. If you take one thing from this video, let it be this key point. Mum has to be with the puppies up until they’re ready to go to their new homes. If a breeder is making an excuse as to why you can’t see the bitch, walk away. A respectable breeder knows the importance of mum’s role in not only feeding and cleaning her puppies but also teaching them social skills. Puppies removed too early can exhibit behavioural issues or can have physical development issues from nutritional deficits.  Suitability  Now, let’s say you’ve researched and located a reputable breeder that will give you a gangly, lovable Great Dane puppy, you have to be able to give them the best home. Again, in the early stages, it is best to ask a reputable breeder who they think the breed is perfect for. They will know the breed inside and out, meaning they can make sure suitable homes are found. Great Danes are known as gentle giants; however, they also tend to not know how big they are! A family with very small children may want to either until their children at least stand taller than a Great Dane just to minimise any accidents that could occur. You want to be able to allow space for a dog that can reach up to 3 feet in height and 3 feet length. They will want to share your spot on the sofa! If you’re one of those people that enjoys a jog with friends, a Great Dane can be a perfect addition to the group! Whilst they’re pretty sedate, they need at least an hour of exercise a day. A gentle jog with your gentle giant is perfect for their aerobic fitness!  As much as you might prefer one breed over another, you have to be somewhat objective when looking at your suitability. If you live in an apartment with limited space or have no access to a garden, you may want to downsize the breed you’re after. However, if you have a decent sized, open plan property with either a bigger than average garden or easy access to secure, open parks, a Great Dane could become your best friend!  Insurance We’ve touched a little bit on the fact that Great Danes can suffer with medical issues due to their size and bad breeding, and that’s why it is imperative to get a solid insurance policy for them. We are blessed with the NHS for all of our own medical care and so vet bills can take a lot of people by surprise! Which can end in the hardest of decisions being made… *Having consulted a colleague in the veterinary industry, I have it on good authority that* Great Dane’s can come with their own challenges. Whilst you can implement preventative measures to protect against some issues such as bloating, there is little to be done if your Great Dane suffers from hip or elbow dysplasia. Bloat is a critical emergency and so it will result in surgery and a night or so in intensive care, which can set you back upwards of £500. Whereas dysplasia can be ongoing, needing long-term medication and even surgery, again, this won’t be cheap. Now, I’m not saying this to scare you. But I’d be doing you an injustice if I didn’t at least make you aware of it.  Don’t be that person that thinks it’ll never happen to them. Don’t take that chance with your pup. You wouldn’t take that chance with your car, and at the end of the day, that’s a replaceable machine. So we ask that you don’t take that chance with the life of your new puppy.  Overview I will leave you with a brief but vital conclusion to this video! At Fenrir, we aim to educate. If nothing else, we want to get the vital information out there. So, key points of a ‘Perfect Breeder’. Ensure that you see mum with her puppies. Ask questions; questions about the breed, questions about any concerns you have, questions about breeding regulations, any question you can think of, just ask! Be objective about breed is right for you and your situation, don’t just get a ‘popular’ breed without really looking into the needs of the dog. And lastly, please get a good insurance policy. A Great Dane can be an absolute joy to have in your life, do them a justice and have their welfare in your priorities. 

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