Thursday, 28 April 2016

And the answer to the question is...

Just over two weeks ago, I posed the question: what breed is this five-week-old puppy? Most people, not surprisingly, thought she was a Neapolitan Mastiff.

The answer? This pup is a Great Dane of the extreme type now favoured in some parts of Europe, particularly France.

For comparison, here's a 'normal' 5-wk-old Dane pupster.

So how will the first pup grow up?

Well here's her sire.


And here's her dam.

Compare those two with what Great Danes used to look like.

German Champion Bosco Von Der Saalburg (b: 8/8/1921)

German Champion Dolf Von Der Saalburg (b: 2/7/1924)
Want to see the rest of the 'hypertype' litter? (Source)

The  mastiffication of the Great Dane in Europe is one of dog-breeding's true horrors. Today in the French show-ring we're seeing dogs like this, bred by people who have completely lost the plot.

Interested in learning more about this issue? Check out Maria Gkinala's fantastic - if deeply depressing - Great Dane Gnosis blog. Her most recent blog entry features this hypertype Italian-bred dog.

He's an international champion, no less, approved for breeding by the European Union of Great Dane Clubs.  

We see some bloody awful Danes in the UK show-ring here, too - generally lighter in build, but with some truly dreadful eyes.

Astonishingly the owner of this UK dog chose to take her to an open show last summer, instead of to a vet.   

She didn't win, but to even think this is OK to exhibit..? 


  1. Good grief, the last dog's eyes! Can she see without the skin being pulled back over her skull?

  2. shweeeet. I'm no longer astonished at the level of stupidity of dog and cat breeders.

    How long will it take before they can be prosecuted for animal abuse?

    The stupid is ....stupifying.

  3. Well, I got that totally wrong. Holy Prince of Denmark! What an awful sight (pardon the pun). Why would anyone want to buy a GD pup that clearly has an eye problem from the onset and will eventually turn into a mastiff? I love the original shape of the GDs. They were seriously elegant dogs despite being so powerful. That said I have just had a look at the German Club and their dogs are getting heavier, too (both in body and head). Shakes head....

  4. The old Danes are works of art - sleek, well-balanced, strong without being heavy, like a taught bow...

    They "hypertypes" look like they're melting in the sun. Their poor eyes! And those mouths - how do they eat food without biting themselves?

    The last dog is an abomination who should have been RUSHED to the vet for those poor eyes. What that dog must feel with every light breeze that blows by her...

    WHY is this popular??? What could possibly be the attraction, here? If you want a lighter-built mastiff, they make those! Why ruin the Danes?

  5. Oh Lord, what have they done with those lovely elegant gentle giants... How can people be so blind and not see both the agony and the stupidity in this?

  6. and collies is happening the same thing from decades. These photographs above, make me think really to a coupling between a Great Dane and a Neapolitan Mastiff! I stopped going to Dog Shows for this reason: what I saw was a search of a little too hypertypical in all breeds, and always, always, in a pejorative way.
    Why does this happen?
    I think it depends on the dog-loving culture that there is very little between the breeders and the world population in general, but also by the ease with which the Kennel Clubs shall accord the ability to have the affix.
    This, in Italy, is causing a spread like wildfire, to individuals who have litters from a pair of dogs they own, without having any notion of the dog world, coupling, genetic, pedigree (in-breeding, line breeding, out crossing).
    If you so wish, I can provide the same example of photographs of the collies that are seen today in the ring of the Show Dogs in Italy: today, the collie, is always smaller, always more "in the square", (especially the females), hypertype stops (so they seem a Chow Chow, and thus lose the typical and beautiful expression of the collie), and high e curled tails like the Samoyed and also the fluid motion, similar to a flight, of the collie, is disappearing. I refuse categorically to breed the collies like these!
    The standards were born two centuries ago, conceived and accurately described. Of course, the world goes on, and life changes, in all species, including human, they change, but we are certain that evolve? It seems to me to see, even in the human being, more a involution, than a evolution!
    We take the human example: man has lost the traits typical of the male, with the jaw strongly outlined, the shoulders are more and more sloping, rather than having a trunk shaped of trapeze with straight shoulders and well developed.
    The women haven't no longer the point narrow life, it is almost completely disappeared, her breasts are always smaller (we omit the fact that nowadays women have large breasts and always similar to that of a 18 year old because they resort to plastic surgery ), they haven't no more the hips similar at the breast circumference (which, in a perfect body, were almost identical, or slightly above measures by the hips), but, despite I'm not neither an ethologist, nor an anthropologist, this is the ' exact expression of different kind of life and the reduction of children per family and an increase in caesarean sections. Mother Nature has created the woman with wide hips, to better accommodate the children in your belly and allow natural parts more frequently! Why do we have this spasmodic need to change what Mother Nature has made perfect? Of course, humans have selected dogs for their own purposes, which were all specific for help at work or the company and is also true that most of the trades have changed and some have almost disappeared, but not for this, we have the right to distort the breeds, especially following just a personal aesthetic taste!
    I think that all this is absurd and anything but ethically correct!!

    1. I would be very interested in seeing the examples of Collies.

    2. Me too; I own a rough collie, and although she is of smooth collie lines (both parents were smooth collies), I'm very interested in the breed. I do think that some rough collies seem 'frumpy' and like small balls of fluff and impractical.

    3. Allevamento La Casa dei Collies di Paola Cuppini it is the size of the pelvis that is most important to giving birth not the circumference of a woman's hips. I am 5ft 4inchs tall with 32 inch hips. I have given birth a few times naturally and relatively easily, because I have a wider pelvis than a man, not bigger hips.

  7. Those original danes, they are truly lovely to look at. They look functional, strong, robust, and like they'd be full of energy and spirit. The horrible examples from today's era, however, look like they'd struggle to break a trot, and if they even did, they wouldn't be able to see where they were going. I have a dobe, so I do very much like the look of the old dane; you can see by those pics why people think there is great dane in the dobermann's heritage, they don't look at all dissimilar. Its a travesty, totally and utterly. Another noble, functional breed reduced to a slobbering, jowly, blind mess. I don't think I'll ever understand some dog people. You have to be as visually impaired as these poor danes not to think there is something wrong here.

  8. Im perhaps just a little proud to say l still managed to get that wrong, and truly disgusted to discover the truth.

    The whole litter is a wreck! Those poor little pups. I can tell you some of the best working mastiffs types and breeds available today don't look like that, ever, any age! Tight eyes, dry mouths, tight body muscle and skin, functional.....if the Danes heads looked anything like them I wouldn't bat an eye lid.

    This is like putting the horribly sad dysfunctional head of a Neapolitan on a grey hound.

  9. That's to say just as with these Danes most show mastiffs (any breed) in closed registries are hyper types too, significantly different to how they once were as a working type. Had in hand with loss of function we are just so used to seeing hyper show type mastiffs that the type has become erroneously synonymous with the word mastiff. Mastiffs need to be protected from the hyper type as do Danes

    So less of the "Daniff" and more emphasis on the hyper across the board.

    If you look at the portrait of Deutsche dogge, 1895 "Great Dane Genosis" we see a terrific ideal looking dogge. Extraordinarily balanced dog (the painter loved and knew a thing or two about dogs that's for sure) with a completely dry mouth, imposing size and muscle and proportional dry solid bone, almost perfect angulation for any dog. It looks ready to leap from the canvas. I could hang that on my wall and be inspired for ever. But it seems no one was, no one at all.

    That type and ideal is extinct both in the minds of breeders and the dogs you see today, even working boer hound types and that truly is a tragedy.

    The very first thing you notice beside the head on the dog next to it for comparison is that remarkably it actually was a living dog and is not just the horrifically bad drawing or portrayal of one. Also a brindle, a photo from 2005. Despite bigger bone the hind end has become completely unhinged. Withered appendages that exude a sad crippled nature with almost zero muscling across the loins. The pelvis has tipped dramatically, the tail has died and the angles of the legs are so extreme they are almost completely useless. You could easily be forgiven for thinking this dog is suffering a serious wasting disease or has had an unfortunate accident in the back end that has left the hinds permanently atrophied.

    Its not hard imagining how this dog moves either, unless its to fall and collapse backwards its going to have to go wide behind and cow hocked or not at all. The all "important" drive completely compromised as the power is pushed out sideways into crumbling weak knees and hocks. Sure the font legs are also going to paddle the air ineffectively as though the dog was in dire danger of drowning.

    About as broken as a showing GSD, and given the size I wouldn't give this dog very long at all before its cruciates give out and its hips fail completely.

    The breed is drowning in lack of functionality. I have seen good ones here and there, mostly black ones that are also not deemed sufficiently typy for the show ring, but this breed has so much bad going on besides just a failed phenotype that even these I hardly give a second look.

    After seeing Deutche Dogge , 1895 I can honestly say Im not interested any more in modern Dane at all, any type. The breed could only really be "rescued" if completely reinvented using any material that still survives in other breed types and landraces outside of the dog and Dane showing world entirely.

    Cross breeding would be essential to create even the semblance of a boerhound, but one has to ask if considering all and what's left between their ears if the Great Dane as it exists today in any form is ideal or even necessary in its recreation.

  10. for once the AKC seems to be ahead of the Europeans in terms of maintaining a sensible standard!

    1. The written standards are the same..people are changing the breeding..

    2. No, not really. In fact not at all. The standards are almost identical. Same for the GDCA/AKC and FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale). Except the Great Dane Club of America's standard has (way too much) exacting, detailed colour, and colour distribution requirements which play havoc with the gene pool in that country in some instances as they serve to split the breed into smaller gene pools.

      The American Great Dane Club, with completely unacceptable tragic results, does not ban the breeding of harlequins to harlequins like the DDC German Great Dane club does just for one example....the Americans in fact advise it on their web site. They break the breed into four possibly even more essentially entirely separate breeds based on colour.

      The "Great Dane Breeders Color Code" (sic), "should not carry upon them" and etc.

      Otherwise it's simply different interpretations of the exact same standards at play here.

      Bigger is supposedly everything, but especially in a Dane.

      It's fast not becoming unusual to see American breeders proudly marketing a good percentage of Euro Dane in their puppies. Even claiming to anyone voicing concern (usually for the scarier reasons of nationalism than welfare) that Euro hyper style dogs are all American because "after all that's where Americans got their Danes to begin with" and "the standards are the same". The Euro Dane look looks to be spreading. Consumers and breeders prefer the look, size and bone even though it comes at the expense of the breed.

      I wouldn't personaly claim so called "all American Danes" are any better than the equivalent Hyper Euro Danes, for different reasons, but the standards certainly aren't any better but in fact worse.

    3. Do you think that a lot of these horrendous changes trend and become popular because the dogs no longer have to work, or do a job? I know some horse breeds were getting extreme, and they stopped allowing conformation championships without the horse having won certain performance classes first. If these dogs had to do the job they were bred for I daresay those pups would grow up pretty useless. Put that in the standard "able to perform job they were bred for".

  11. UrbanCollieChick29 April 2016 at 11:31

    I used to have this crazy notion that Europeans were much more in tune with nature and LESS likely to do things like this. Wow! I'm so blown away with rage and disappointment.

    Would NEVER get one of these dogs! Revolting! Twisted!

    1. Europeans are Champions of Hypertype in all even remotely mastiffy breeds. They lead the way with Mastini, Dogue de Bordeaux etc. Mediterranean countries first. Then Eastern Europe jumped on the bandwagon. And things got really extreme...

    2. Maybe you shouldn't see Europe as one country, even if you don't have a clue where Oslo or Osnabrück really are, even in the world of Great Dane breeding.

      Are the Europeans or any single European nation "LESS" likely to do this to a breed of domestic animal than America?

      That's an unequivocal YES.

      Are "Europeans" more in tune with nature?

      Who honestly forking knows. However I expect given that 46% of Americans are creationists Europeans might just take the lead here. At least they're comfortable with the starting point that they are in fact related to all those creatures great and small.

      Any rage and disappointment you feel is probbly just your scary naivety.

  12. There are very few functional mastiffs of any kind remaining, including the German Mastiff (i.e. German boar hound or Great Dane). Historically they weighed around 100 lbs and were both fast enough and strong enough to hold down wild boar long enough for human hunters to slay them. Most of today's Great Danes are freaks: too tall, too heavy, too clumsy, and of course too inbred to be effective hunters. They also only live about half as long on average as normal dogs do. These deformities of baggy jowls, wrinkly skin, and droopy eyes are awful, but Great Danes were already inbred freaks when this latest sad craze came along.

  13. I think someone's fence wasn't working and when the 'mistake' breeding incurred instead of neutering the cross breeds they instead looked others square in the eye (ironically) and claimed this was an intentional breeding. I think DNA should sort some of this out.
    It was early in my career when I noted the correlation of puppies that couldn't see and their fear aggression. All we need is more greater than 100# fear aggressive dogs.

    1. this was an absolutely intentional breeding and the breeder is repeating it this year...

  14. This is what I think about as a Great Dane. She belonged to my grandfather and lived to be 9 years old.

  15. your viper's tongue will eventually fall, and the theft of my photos will be punished !!

    1. Fair use, get over it. And do something about those poor puppies eyes.. Like you know, NOT BREEDING THEM.

    2. I am going to continue breeding the type of dog which I like! only to read your nastiness and see you stealing my pictures..... poor women

    3. Poor dogs you mean?!

      Im glad you read it at least.

      Hopefully even if you're not the breeder a little flicker of light still ignites in that dark murky brain and you can see that breeding dogs with painful eye conditions is a crime.

  16. That black and white irish marked harlequin bitch haunts me and not in a pleasant way either.

    How can anyone live with that, hope to pick up some points at a dog show!

    It's like Edvard Munch's silent scream, Der Schrei der Natur. If not a slaughter house, lunatic asylum and general mental health crisis what could possibly be the inspiration for breeding such a dog?

  17. This is happening in many breeds.Look at the Serbian Rottweilers,very short muzzles.Look at the Rottweilers winning in AKC sickle hocked.People are breeding so far from the standard everywhere.Plus they are winning.Judges should be fined for putting up dogs who deviate from the written standard.