You have taken and past "the test", you understand the "big" factor and you feel comfortable a Great Dane is the right choice for you. You now have an important decision to make.
You have decided to go all in and get the full experience of raising a Dane from a puppy. We wont go into the details of general puppy basics here but it is imperative that you check out the "Health" and "Nutrition" section of this site. Nutrition for a Great Dane puppy is of utmost importance!
So how does one go about selecting a puppy? The answer is in all cases, carefully and selectively. The general rule of thumb is selecting with your brain and not your heart. Try to be as objective as possible as you begin to look at puppies for sale. Scrutinize everything about the parents and do NOT be afraid to ask questions to the breeder. In general, there are 3 places that you may find yourself looking for a Great Dane Puppy. Lets break them down.Show Breeder
The show breeder is the DYHAS recommended choice. That is because almost all of the show breeders out there take breeding as serious as a heart-attack. They spend many waking moments looking for the ideal specimens to breed and they strictly adhere to color standards. In this, we mean they know the breed standard by heart, and they look for conformity of the dame or sire to as closely resemble the breed standard as possible. This is because they want to preserve and better the breed and of course win shows, which are ultimately judged on how close the dog is to breed standards. In addition, they preform health tests on their dogs which can be costly. In most cases at a bare minimum the breeder will preform the following:
To learn more about what each of these are visit the GDCA.
The cons to buying from a show breeder is really the cost. In most cases they will be slightly higher, but one must remember that they put in the extra time and money into performing health checks and selecting great specimens. Out of each litter, a breeder will be lucky to get 1-2 puppies that they feel have the potential to show. The rest are usually sold as "pet quality" dogs.
So how does one find a good show breeder? Start at the GDCA website. Call the breeders on this list and talk to them. Get their opinions. In many cases if they do not have dogs to sell currently, they will know other show breeders who do.
Backyard breeders are called such because they simply breed dogs for a hobby. In most cases, sadly, it is driven by money. DYHAS does not take the opinion that all BYB are bad but we also strongly object to breeding for financial gain. In addition, most BYB have limited knowledge of breed standards and will simply mate two Danes they feel "look good" or "behave well". In most cases they do not show, nor perform health checks. They will claim the dogs as AKC or CKC registered but be warned this is a slight of hand trick. Just about any dog can be registered particularly to CKC (Continental Kennel Club). These organizations do not do checks for accuracy. They simply make your fill out a form and send some money in and in return you get a certificate. This is a buyer beware situation and DYHAS does not recommend buying from a BYB unless they can prove ample knowledge of breed standards and proof of health tests. In addition, any reputable breeder will make you sign a contract that states you must give back the dog if you can no longer keep it. A majority of Danes in rescue come from BYB's who refuse to take a dog back, again money being the key driving factor in their enterprise. DYHAS recommends you DO NOT buy from any breeder who does not stipulate this in their contract.Pet Stores
DYHAS is strongly opposed to buying Great Danes or any dog from a pet store. In all cases, these dogs come from puppy mills, dogs living in horrendous conditions who are forced to do nothing but breed their entire lives. Pet stores pray on your emotion, displaying the cute puppy in the window and often letting you play with it in a small room. They are usually sickly, and quite often succumb to disease. You as the owner usually have no recourse and end up paying for huge vet bills, because by this time you are emotionally invested in the dog. It is DYHAS opinion that Pet Stores are evil enterprises.. yes we said that. STAY AWAY. You can read some horror stories here.
DYHAS highly recommends you consider rescuing a Great Dane. Rescue Danes are the same lovable dogs that you would get if you decided to raise one from a puppy. In most cases the reason they are in rescue is because of negligent owners, not because it something is wrong with them. There are many pros to look at with a rescue. Of course first and foremost is that you are giving a Dane without a home a new lease on life. I have so many stories to share of Danes that have been rescued from terrible situations to go on to become loving family pets in a responsible home. One must also consider that rescues are a good choice because the fundamentals of training are usually already done with the dog. Those nights of waking up at 3am to let your puppy out are non-existent. You get a ready-made companion that is potty trained and probably knows basic training at the very least. In addition, the rescue staff also has very good knowledge of the dog before it is put up for adoption and can help you find the perfect Dane to fit your lifestyle.
There are some things that most rescues require in order for you to adopt. The biggest rule that most have is a fence rule. But if you meet the requirements to adopt, it will be a life changing experience for you and your family. The easiest way to get started is simply to Google Great Dane Rescues in your area. We will have a list of Dane Rescues in the Resource section of the DYHAS site.