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Buyer Beware!!

"Puppy Buyers STOP & think!!

Who funds research into the causes & cures for canine disease? What organizations provide you, often free of charge, vast amounts of expert information on the care of your chosen dog? Who provides scholarships for upcoming veterinarians & other K9 professionals? The AKC & such affiliates as the Great Dane Club of America do. Who funds & staffs these not-for-profit organizations? Their members do, by participating in "shows," and otherwise being active in the "Fancy" thru their membership in such clubs, and by volunteering their time & expertise. When you go to buy a puppy, buy from those who ACTIVELY SUPPORT THE BREED YOU LOVE."

How to Sort Breeders and Not Waste Time on Wierd Websites

The Great Dane Watch Dog (List of dane breeders suspended/fined by the AKC)

Do's & Don'ts

DO visit shows and call breed clubs & all-breed clubs to find a reputable breeder who is active in their breed and other dog related activities.

DO look in breed specific magaizines, such as the GDR. Look for ads that state what the breeder & dogs have accomplished, not those advertising litters.

DON'T look in your local classified section or internet classifieds! Reputable breeders don't need to advertise puppies for sale in these places!!

DON'T place ads saying "puppy wanted!" ANYWHERE! It is like wearing a sign saying "hey all you sleazy breeders come & get me!" (Nobody reputable will ever answer those and reputable breeders actually prefer you to be referred by one of their peers, or a rescue organization, or their club etc.)


There have been several cases recently of people receiving Dane puppies & finding out they are really only 4-6 wks old (despite "papers" & the Health Certificate "verifying" they are 8 wks!)
These guidelines below might help the unsuspecting from being caught up in some "greeder's" scam which pups these pups at a terrible risk (not just the airline trip, but shots too young,.etc. etc.). Bear in mind these are guidelines only--but not knowing the "norm" leaves the trusting buyer (& pup) in jeopardy, so, when having a pup shipped in, know:

*No pup can be legally shipped under 8 wks., but come 56 days they are "legal" as long as they have a Health Certificate issued in the past 10 days, & BTW, folks, this is nothing more than a document certifying the pup can fly (is of age & not contagious), is required to ship; so don't let anyone act like this is some proof of a healthy pup, or some bonus thing they are giving you (or worse, making you pay for!) then... ASK (pleasantly):
1)What size crate will my pup arrive in?
It should be at least a 300/maybe 400.
2)How much does this pup currently weigh?
Under 10 lbs means under 6 wks.
By 2 months a Dane pup should weigh at least 18-20 lbs., by 3 months at least 30 lbs.
The AKC works on an honor system & a breeder can write down the date of delivery without any checks. A vet who takes their word for it may be looking the other way, but just may not know the breed. The airlines trust what is written on the Health Certificate. So check! It's up to the honor of the breeder to be accurate & not save time, money & hassle by shipping young, shipping cheap or cramming pups in small crates.
IF YOUR INNER VOICE is warning you something is "funky" then back off; there is always another litter, another puppy, another chance to buy from a reputable source, so no rush is necessary, & no need to be *too* trusting! Ask questions; good breeders will have good answers & they won't mind a bit you care enough to be careful!

Red Flags of Less than Reputable Breeders

"I'd know if my dogs were not healthy."
"There's no history of (hip,etc.) problems in my line."
"We don't need to do health testing; all our dogs are guaranteed."
"OFA dogs can still throw dysplastic pups, so testing is useless."
"Testing? Whaddaya mean did we test him?"
"You cannot test anything but adult dogs. Anyway ours are fine."
"We send all our dogs with a Health Certificate to prove they are healthy."
"The vet said sire/dam was healthy at last vet visit." "Lots of danes eyes/legs, etc. look like that."
"Our girl had 17!! pups WOW!!!"
"Shipping at 6 wks....."
"It's normal for a Dane pup at 8 wks to weigh 8 lbs...."
"Some of our Danes top 200 lbs.!!!!"
"We have German dogs because they are bigger, better & live longer."
"Our dogs live longer than [other danes]."
"Free of genetic disease." (NOBODY can HONESTLY claim this)
"Our lines don't have health problems."

"We import the best and we breed for German type."
"Big boned, block headed danes with lots of stop."
"Bigger is better; we breed the biggest Danes around!"
"OLD Style heads so many still adore."
"All our pups are AKC."
"Champion bloodlines!"
"The father once won a 1st place when he was shown."
" Grandad of the mom is a Reserve Grand Champion."
"I just breed quality pets, not showdogs."
"I love my dogs too much to show them."
"I'd show him/her if I had time."
I'd love to show her but her ears just wouldn't stand/tail got broke/etc."
"I know he'd win if I showed him!"
"We'd show, but we sold off all the show marks, so had only 'breeders'."

"Now the mother's just growling as she is protecting her pups."
"We have the mother/father locked up, as they are protective."
"He'll warm up to you once you get him home."
"Most dane puppies do that (snarl, cower, pee on themselves)."
"He just hates the show ring!"
"We could never get him trained, but he is a real sweetie at home."
"She's just a little nervous about new people."
"These dogs of mine have true German temperament."
"You can train my Danes for guard & attack work."
"Our dogs are such good family dogs & so protective of kids."

"We welcome pet buyers."
"All our dogs are sold on/with full papers."
"Glad you called! We got 2 females for $500 each still left."
"We'll sell you any pup in the litter you like." (a knowledgeable breeder should select the proper home for each pup based on the PERSONALITY of the pup)
"We've been breeding for 20 years and have 100s of happy puppy buyers!"
"Read what our delighted buyers have to say about us."
"MostPayment Types Accepted: EZ Credit Terms"
"Credit cards welcome."
"Terms & payments available!"
"We have special pricing & can help you with a deal on one of our dogs."
"We ship worldwide; satisfaction guaranteed!"
"We'll bring your puppy right to your door."
"We'll just meet you in a rest area with the pup you choose once you've paid."
"You can pay us the rest with the pups from her first litter."
"IF you buy two, we'll give you a special deal."
"Since this one is deaf, I'll lower the price."

"Buy this merle & you can breed your own harles."
"Buy this white & you'll be able to make whole litters of harls."
"Oh-sure, that white puppy can hear. And isn't he pretty? "
"We have rare, unusual & special colored pups to show you."
"Is he show marked? No, but you can still breed him."
"She is show-marked, so that means show quality." (theres should be heck of alot more to a show prospect than color)
"Harls come in lots of colors besides black and white."
"This blue brindle (merliquin, fawn boston, etc.) is really rare."

GENERAL SALESMANSHIP (DO they come on too strong/too practiced?)
"When only the best will do!!!"
"We just want to make sure you are pleased with your puppy!"
"Satisfaction guaranteed!!"
"I don't breed for the money but for the love of the breed."
"My danes are my babies first and foremost. "
"pets & breeders, looking for good homes."
"Gorgeous, wonderful, super special, amazing, terrific pups!!!!"
"Good Christian family with really great Great Danes for sale!!!"
"Loving mother who cares for each litter like her own children."
"We guarantee you we are reputable--not a puppy mill!!"
"Members of the AKC"
"Affiliated with the DNA Sire Program"
"I hardly ever have litters & love all my babies so, so much!!"
"Read about our kennel philosophy/mission statement."
"All __OUR__dogs are loved!!" (Like others are not?)
"Our dogs never end up in rescue!!!"
"We breed for temperament, type & health on all our dogs."(Who doesn't)
"Our accomplisments include raising happy, healthy dogs."
"At Danes4saleKennel, we are working hard to breed the best..(again who doesn't?)
"We are improving our dogs every generation."
"We hope soon to have something good enough to show."
"We've had some super dogs thru the years, we just never got around to showing, but ours are real winners!!"
"This pups was priced at $1000, but for you, I'd be willing to go...."
"Members of the Local Whatever Humane Society (or any work related-non-dog group)."
"We'll just send her; I know you'll like this merle girl just as much as a black male."
"His last litter was sired when he cleared a 6 foot fence."
"Snooty breeders read this section!!" (Dead give-away for a bad breeder who has been harassed by reputable folks.)

Ask questions!! If someone tells you the sire of their litter is the "Reserve Grand Champion", ask them what that means! Ask to see photos or certificates backing up these claims. You might just catch them feeding you a line of bull.
Ask to see OFA numbers & Thyroid panels (any reputable breeder will gladly show them to you.) It's not uncommon for someone to say they OFA when they don't since most people don't ask for proof.
Ask what their idea of proper or correct temperment is. It should match the breed standard. Beware of people advertising "german temperment."
If they claim their dogs are "typy", ask what that means. It should mean they look like the standard says a DANE should look. This is a term very widely used- by both knowledgeable breeders & those who've learned the language that sells their pups! If they have been in the breed for 20 years, ask what they've accomplished! What have they contributed to the breed? If they have been breeding only the two (or more) dogs that happen to be in the backyard at the time for 20 years, they have not contributed much!

Why, you ask is a RESCUE organization so concerned that you buy a puppy from a reputable breeder???

Because, if there were no irresponsible breeders, there would be no need for rescue organizations. Not only do you risk your family and your pocketbook by buying a puppy from a person who didn't breed responsibly, you encourage them (if indirectly) to DO IT AGAIN. Even if YOUR dog does not end up in rescue, how many of it's littermates will, and even if your pet is spayed or neutered, how many of it's littermates will be used a breeding machines by "nice" people just like the ones outlined in this article?? (you see, sometimes it takes more than being a "nice" person, to be a responsible breeder).

Related Links

Puppy Selection Considerations
Getting A Dog
Recognizing an Unethical Breeder
Questions A Breeder Should Ask You
Questions to ask your breeder
10 Rules of Ethical Breeders
Novices Interviewing Breeders
The Romance of the Boarhound
How To Read An OFA Certificate(courtesy of Blue Knight Labrador Retrievers)
Adopting an Adult Dog
Puppy Mills
No Puppy Mills

questions or comments

A big thanks to JT (and Cindy!)
for the graphics used on this site!