Yesterday was an absolutely wonderful day. I ❤ dog shows. I mean, the dogs are the best part of course. But I really enjoy people watching and more importantly watching people interacting with the dogs. It is incredibly difficult to take selfies with dogs, just FYI. They are almost always blurry. lol I was supposed to have finished reading my camera Dummies book before this show so that my mentor could give me some expert tips on using this DSLR. I did not finish the book; I haven’t even finished chapter 1 yet. So instead of expert tips, she gave me an introduction instead. Maybe next month I’ll be more prepared for her expert tips.
My mentor has introduced me to the Great Dane world. She has taught me more about the breed than I would have ever learned from reading, introduced me to countless owners/breeders/handlers/judges, and explained the overall big picture and the nitty gritty of the dog show many times over. If you are ever interested in a show dog, find a mentor through your local breed club. It is the best way to get an in at these shows. She has taught me so much in 1.5 years and I couldn’t be more thankful for her friendship, knowledge, and love of these dogs.
I do a lot of standing in the background and watching when I could be mingling. After a few minutes of quiet observation, I can tell what dogs are absolutely devoted to their owners, which dogs want to be anywhere but at a show ring, which owners put their everything into their dogs, and which owners are only there to make money off their dogs. It is an interesting dynamic. Thankfully, that last group is a very small minority.
I met a lot of lovely dogs and lovely people yesterday. For whatever reason, it was the day of bitches (technical term that still makes me giggle… yes, I am immature). I didn’t meet a ton of dogs, just girl after girl. It was funny. Last year, I met a dozen dogs and maybe 2 bitches. So this was a change in perspective. I still want my boy though.
When I get my dog, he will be a fawn. Molly is incredibly sweet, the exact temperament of the dog I want. However, she is much too small for my preference. She is obviously a Great Dane but she is very slim with delicate features more like a Greyhound instead of a Great Dane. Her size is about on par with what a bitch should be at today’s standards (I saw a lot of bitches that looked just like her) but it definitely isn’t what the breed was intended to be and isn’t to my preference at all. She might be able to outrun a boar with her size but she’d never fight one and win.
This beast of a dog is only 14 months old (maybe 16 actually) and she is massive. Last year, Freya was already massive. She is almost full grown now but man, she is a big bitch. While I love her to pieces and she is the only bitch I would probably ever take home voluntarily, her size has unfortunately been holding her back in the ring. She is a beautiful Great Dane and everyone says she is beautiful. But… Because she has the size of a dog rather than most current bitches on show, she isn’t winning like she should. On her own, she is impressive. But when you put her up against 5 other waif-like bitches, she looks so out of place. Story of my life Freya, story of my life girl. ❤
I didn’t actually meet this bitch but she spent a lot of her time being a table dog. For what it is worth, it is kind of horrible to let Great Danes do this. They are so big that before long, this bitch is going to be walking on that table like it is a runway rather than just using it to be a peeping tom. When she wasn’t staring me down like I stole her favorite toy, she was doing her damnedest to make that guy in the blue sport coat love her. It was quite cute. He was trying to watch the show and she was all in his face.
Near the end of the show, I finally met a new dog. I didn’t catch this guy’s name but he was a hulking blue that was also just so sweet. His owner and I spent a good amount of time talking about the ethics of breeding. She has a bitch at home that she intended to breed to this hulk. Spent a ton of money on her, bred them once last year but lost all the puppies, and was about to try again when her bitch started having strange dog flu-like symptoms. A trip to the vet got this bitch a diagnosis of hereditary dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and brought an end to the owner’s chance of breeding her very expensive bitch.
Heart disease is one of the major hereditary plagues to Great Danes, followed closely by hip dysplasia, and much lower but still prevalent, vision and hearing issues. Bloat is also a critical issue for Great Danes, and all large breeds, but I don’t think that is hereditary, more environmental. While talking to this lady, she didn’t once lament the monetary loss she has suffered because her bitch was disqualified for reputable breeding. All she talked about was how it lowered her bitch’s lifespan and she was very upset to say goodbye to her girl any earlier than she must.
I love that ideology. It isn’t about making money for this woman and other reputable breeders. Sure, puppies are cute and they can make the breeder a nice little sum of money if there are enough of them in a litter (fun fact: most good breeders lose money on each litter… no one is getting rich off these puppies). Extending the standard of the breed is important so breeding puppies with a hereditary heart condition is in line with backyard breeders and puppies mills, not a qualified breeder that really puts the breed first.
I am missing the show today unfortunately. I forgot I have a family party this afternoon so all of my plans for today are shot. I’m off work tomorrow though for the holiday so I’ll get back to my Sunday plans on Monday minus the dog show. I only have to be present in body at this family party so I’m going to take my camera and my book to practice. I think I will be ready for the June show up near Cleveland.