The "Code of Ethics" of the Great Dane Club of Northern California, Inc
The "Code of Ethics" of the Great Dane Club of Northern California, Inc. - a guide for the owners, breeders and stud owners of Great Danes.
- Code: "A system of principles or rules."
- Ethics: "A principal of right or good conduct, a system of moral values, the right conduct."
"Of or relating to moral action, motive or character; conforming to professional standards of conduct." The CODE OF ETHICS is presented as an informative guide for both current and future owners, breeders and stud owners of Great Danes. The foremost aim is the welfare and improvement of the BREED. The Constitution and the By-Laws of the Great Dane Club of Northern California, Inc. (Article 1; section 2; paragraph a-h) indicate what the objectives of the club shall be. This CODE OF ETHICS details certain practices and membership obligations necessary to implement these objectives, thereby showing a concerted effort to protect an advance the interests of the BREED. In applying for membership, applicants agree to further the club's objectives and conduct all their activities in connection with the BREED in an ethical manner.
The Great Dane is a wonderful breed with many sterling qualities, but it is not the breed for everyone. The Great Dane is an indoor dog, people/family oriented, and in need of quality attention. The novice owner has a responsibility to their Great Dane to seek the advice and guidance of established, reputable breeders and/or experienced owners.
A conscientious breeder will:
- Show their pride of ownership and love of their Great Dane by always presenting a clean and healthy companion, who is well-socialized and trained, thereby making him an ambassador of the breed wherever he goes.
- Provide and maintain proper housing and bedding suitable to the needs of this giant breed.
- Keep their Great Dane in a safe and sanitary environment at all times.
- Socialize their Great Dane by exposing them to a variety of situations and stimuli appropriate to their age and past experience.
- Through humane training methods, insure that their Great Dane behaves in a controlled, but happy and outgoing manner, at all times.
- Never allow their Great Dane to roam loose. A secured, fenced yard is a must!
- Will keep their Great Dane on proper restraint when venturing off their property.
- Never allow their Great Dane to become a nuisance to others in any way, shape or form.
- Learn and maintain correct grooming practices.
- Provide fresh water indoors and out in adequate amounts.
- Provide fresh food according to predetermined schedules.
- Provide proper preventative veterinary care at all times and act promptly in times of emergency. As a giant breed, the Great Dane can, and will, present certain health problems and special needs not often seen by most small animal veterinarians. Make sure that the veterinarian you select is familiar and experienced in dealing with these problems. Do not wait until an emergency arises, to talk to your veterinarian.
- Provide correct and humane ear care whether cropped or natural-eared. Correct ear cropping and after care is an art that not all veterinarians can provide. Always seek experienced advice and help before, and after, you crop your dog. Not all natural ears lie correctly without some help; therefore, also seek advice from someone experienced with natural ears.
- Keep abreast of new advances in the health, training and care of the Great Dane.
As a member of the Great Dane Club of Northern California, Inc., you have already shown an interest in the Great Dane and have taken the necessary steps toward increasing your awareness. Many people prefer simply to maintain companions only and many decide to try their hand at exhibiting their Great Dane. There is always a viable place for both type of members in the club, with each person contributing equally to the betterment and well-being of the breed they love. Please keep in mind the following suggestions of appropriate behavior when in engaged in dog related and/or club related activities.
A GDCNC member should:
- Conduct themselves at all times in a manner which will reflect credit upon themselves, their club and their breed regardless of location or circumstances.
- When confronted with a difficult situation, conduct themselves as they would like to be treated under similar circumstances.
- Attempt to show good sportsmanship, whether winning or losing, in or out of the show ring.
- Will refrain from conduct considered prejudicial to the best interests of the Great Dane, dog shows and pure breed dogs in general.
- Not engage in, and will discourage others from, maligning and making libelous, slanderous or malicious criticism regarding another person and/or animal.
- Try to present a positive image by outward conduct and a willingness to answer questions by spectators, other exhibitors and the general public.
- Regardless of location or circumstances, keep their facilities clean and not let their dogs become a nuisance to others.
- Be concerned with the well-being of the dogs and the people around them.
- Make themselves available to offer advice to others less experienced and, if so needed, seek the advice of others more experienced than themselves.
- Familiarize themselves with the American Kennel Club (AKC) rules, regulations and correct procedures involved in exhibiting purebred dogs.
The advancement, or decline, of a breed lies exclusively in the hands of those who choose to breed their animals. AKC registration is not an indication of quality nor does a certificate of championship always indicate a superb breeding animal. At all times, a breeder/stud dog owner must ask themselves three questions:
- Why am I choosing to breed this animal?
- Of what possible benefit, or detriment, to the Breed will this breeding be?
- Am I fully prepared to deal with all the responsibilities and ramifications resulting from this breeding?
An ethical breeder/stud dog owner should:
- Always strive to produce dogs of sound mind and body.
- Never breed a dog known to have a hereditary defect NOR continue to breed a dog who produces a hereditary defect.
- Prescreen all breeding dogs for hereditary defects by use of the latest medical techniques available and refrain from breeding to dogs who have not obtained the required prescreening tests.
- Not use a dog too young or too old for breeding. Suggested ages are two to five years for a bitch—up to six years if she has previously whelped a litter successfully; and two to eight years for a male.
- Not breed a bitch on consecutive heats unless the first litter consisted of a trouble free, naturally whelped litter of three or fewer puppies; or if it is a part of the veterinarian's recommendation for the treatment of pyometra.
- Make a concerted effort to limit the number of litters whelped by a breeder (including co-owned bitches) to a suggested limit of three in a calendar year.
- Realize that the indiscriminate use of a stud dog can result in a decline of the Breed and, therefore, plan and limit use to a suggested limit of ten times in a calendar year.
- Grade their litters and sell (place) pets on a spay/neuter contract and make full use of the AKC Limited Registration form option.
- Carefully screen all potential homes as to their suitability to own and care for their Great Dane. Will never sell to pet shops, puppy mills or wholesale brokers.
- Provide new owners with no less than: correctly filled out and signed registration papers, 4 generation color pedigree, health record, feeding schedule, important dates, written guarantees/contractual agreements, club information, magazine, book references.
- Not release a puppy prior to six weeks of age. Suggested age is 7-8 weeks or after ear cropping and suture removal.
- Maintain contact with buyers over the life of the dog to ensure its well-being. Stud dog owners have an equal responsibility in tracking their dog's get.
- It is the responsibility of both the novice and the experienced breeder to always avail themselves of a wide range of educational material. A mentor is suggested for novice breeders, but do not expect the mentor, or any other breeder, to take care of your litter and/or buyers. If you, as the breeder (or stud dog owner), cannot provide your buyers with the necessary information or skills needed to ensure the health and welfare of your puppies, then do not breed until you have the education and experience to do so. Strive to be an ethical and reputable breeder, not just a producer of puppies.
While it is hoped that no Great Dane ever should need to be rescued from a less than desirable situation, nor that any should ever be surrendered to a humane society or shelter, we do realize that this is not a very realistic hope in today's "throw away" society. As purebred dog owners, it is our duty to educate the public at every opportunity regarding animal health care and responsibilities. As breeders and stud dog owners, we must assume full responsibility for those puppies we choose to produce.
In this era of anti-dog prejudice, animal right extremists and strict breeder-ban legislation, it is becoming increasingly evident that, unless we take responsibility for our actions as GDCNC members and as individuals, our rights to self-governing might well be taken from us.
An ethical breeder/stud dog owner should:
- Realize that they have a moral obligation to any animal of their breeding (sire or dam) that requires a new home.
- Immediately assess the situation: Can the animal safely remain where it is until a new home is found? Can it be brought to their home or a foster home? Is there some health or temperament problem? What are the appropriate measures to rectify the situation?
- Not knowingly place an animal with a health, temperament, training or socialization problem without correcting the situation or making the new owners fully aware of the existing conditions.
- Work closely with Great Dane Rescue to provide support, foster care (if feasible), provide transportation (if feasible), and volunteer time in any area where it is appropriate.
- Contact the rescue organization if they have a dog in need, or are aware of a Great Dane that may need evaluation and a possible rescue.
- Refer potential owners to the Great Dane Rescue organization.
Although most of the dogs which are surrendered to shelters and/or find their way to the rescue come from unknown ancestry, uneducated owners and unenlightened breeders, there may well come a time when a dog from your sire or dam will become a "rescue dog."