We have had an excellent and very encouraging response to the first Newsletter of the Great Dane Health Group and we hope to build on this in the coming months. Can people please register with their email address so we can automatically send them the Newsletter. Currently we have no plans to restrict areas. Anyone can go on the website but registration means we can contact supporters easily if we have any breaking news or require help with health surveys.
Health in our breed is such a major issue it is sometimes difficult to know where to start. We have a beautiful Breed and in order to go forward on health we need to dismiss some of the negativity people seem to carry around with them. Attitudes like ‘there are so many health problems in Great Danes we can’t do anything about it’ or ‘health is so bad in Great Danes it doesn’t matter what dogs you breed from anymore!’ are simply not acceptable. What has gone in the past is done. We cannot turn the clock back. We have to work with what we have now and take it forward. We can take some inspiration from other breeds and look at what they are striving to achieve. I think many Great Dane owners will be pleasantly surprised by what we can learn by their efforts.
The welfare of many Great Danes leaves much to be desired. There will be a section on Welfare on the website in the coming months. Rescues are struggling to help as many Great Danes as they can but they are often up against ignorance and peoples’ desire to make money from their dogs. The Public need educating about buying healthy Great Dane puppies and Breeders could do more to safeguard the future of the Breed. Ethics and endorsing progeny should be on the Home page of each Breed Club website. Owners using their dogs at stud should be more aware of their responsibilities too. There is so much we can do to help our breed by trying to put the welfare of our dogs first. At the end of the day we have no excuse not to do things better.
There were many responses and ideas about what we should be looking at and writing about. Bloat and DCM were high on the list along with eye problems. There were some very interesting ideas regarding confirmation, vaccinations, hip scoring, culling puppies, health testing, diet and exercise regimes, treatment of newcomers into the breed and breeding. Overall it was quite impressive to see what Dane Owners were concerned about. Hopefully we can explore all these topics and more. It will be fascinating to see where they lead us.
Another good idea was to have a monthly interview with prominent people within the Great Dane Breed and from elsewhere in the Dog World. How do they view the state of the Great Dane Breed and if they had one wish for the benefit of the Breed, what would it be? What is the impression from someone outside the breed and what experiences can they bring to us which may be beneficial to Great Danes. All I can say is watch this space!!!!!