Where to procure your Great Dane

You have decided you want a Great Dane. The next step is finding one. This can be a daunting process for many. How do you decide where to get your Dane from? There are basically three broad options: Ethical Breeders, Backyard Breeders and Rescue. There are huge debates over which is the correct choice and why. Below is a chart with the major differences between the three options and the implications of each choice.

When looking to add a Great Dane to your family, the initial financial implication is one of the biggest factors. At first glance Ethical Breeders are EXPENSIVE. Most people say “I don’t want to breed or show, I just want a pet, so I will get a cheaper one from the not-so-ethical group”. If the choice ends up being a financial decision, please have a look at the chart below and then decide what the best value for money alternative is if you don’t want to pay the premium price or wait for an ethically bred Great Dane.

ItemImplicationBackyard BreederRescue AnimalEthical Breeder
Price R2000 – R7000R1500 – R2500R >12 000
KUSA RegisteredThe principal and only fully internationally recognised registry for all breeds of purebred dogs in Southern Africa.Probably notProbably notDefinitely
The ONLY Canine Registry registered under the Animal Improvement Act and thus recognised by the SA Stud Book.
Hip and Elbow CertificatesEnsure that puppies have the best chance of not inheriting hip and/or elbow dysplasiaProbably notProbably notDefinitely
Eye testing (within 12 months preceding litter)Ensure that puppies have the best chance of not inheriting eye problemsProbably notProbably notPossibly
Heart Testing (within 18 months preceding litter)Ensure that puppies have the best chance of not inheriting DCM (Heart Muscle Disease).Probably notProbably notPossibly
Thyroid testing (within 12 months preceding litter)Ensure that puppies have the best chance of not inheriting thyroid problemsProbably notProbably notPossibly
Dogs can be returned at any stage of their livesThe breeder takes full responsibility for each pup they bred and will take them back at any stage for any reason.Definitely notDefinitelyDefinitely
Placed on contract sterilised or with breeding restrictionsPrevents unwanted litters.Definitely notDefinitelyDefinitely

Why KUSA Registered?

There are other canine registries in South Africa, not only KUSA. The main reason KUSA registration is one of the requirements of an ethical breeder, is that it is the ONLY registry registered under the Animal Improvement Act and as such recognised by the SA Stud Book. Others might operate under the Act, but they are not registered under it and as such not recognised by the SA Stud Book. KUSA is a FCI member and their pedigree is accepted by The Kennel Club (UK).

Please note: Being a KUSA registered breeder does not make you an ethical breeder, but you HAVE to be KUSA registered to be considered as an ethical breeder.

So, to sum it all up:

Ethically bred dog (>R12,000): Has a proper pedigree recognised by the SA Stud Book, has parents whose hips and elbows were screened and who quite possibly had other health screens done to ensure the pup has the best chance to be healthy and you know you can contact the breeder at any stage if you cannot keep the dog. You know that your pup has a good temperament and is suited to your home.

It is a premium price, but you get a premium “product”. If premium is not what you are after, then it is value for money you want. Compare the other two options:

Backyard Bred dog (R2000 – R7000): It might have a pedigree recognised by SA Stud Book, possibly has a genealogy certificate, probably has nothing of the sort. Its parents most likely were not tested for any genetic disorders, so it could well have expensive medical issues later in life. You will not be able to get any support from the breeder in future and rescue is where it will end if you can’t keep it. You have no idea what the dog’s temperament will be or if it will be suited for your home.

Rescue (R1500 – R2500): Basically the same dog as the one you would pay up to R7000 for from a backyard breeder. Only difference is now it is older, sterilised, temperament checked, will be placed in a home where it is compatible with the environment and if you have trouble, you can always take it back to the rescue. It might not be a puppy anymore, but that in itself is also a money saver. Puppies are EXPENSIVE. They eat expensive food, they destroy expensive stuff and they need all those expensive vaccinations in their first year. They need puppy socialising. A young Dane can be so much easier to cope with than a puppy.

If you just want a Dane as a pet, why would you pay up to R7000 for a dog and receive zero “after sales service” at a Backyard Breeder, when you can get the same dog with better “added value” at a Rescue for less than a third of the price?

List of Ethical Breeders

Links to Rescues

What is the problem with Backyard Breeders?