The Association for Healthy Great Danes is a coalition of great dane breeders, owners and fanciers. It is our goal to improve the health of the great dane. Because this wonderful dog breed has an average life expectancy of only around 6,5 years and is stricken by several hereditary diseases, such as the heart disease DCM, bone cancer or stomach torsion and many others. But not only genetically the great dane is in a crisis, it also changed a lot in phenotype in the last decades. In Continental Europe there started the trend in the 1980ies to deform the “Apollo of dogs” into a heavy and clumsy hulk with huge amounts of loose skin and extra weight.

These changes don’t only have aesthatical consequences, they also cause severe health issues like eye diseases, problems with the sceletal and locomotory system and other impairments. And also the temper of the great dane suffers from high inbreeding and selection almost only for the look, so that the demanded “confident, fearless, easily tractable, docile companion and family dog with high resistance to provocation and without aggression” (FCI-standard nr. 235) is becoming an insecure, nervous and anxious dog more and more often.

So when we talk about the great dane’s health, we mean the holistic health of body and mind, from outside (phenotype) and inside (genotype.

But why do we need an association, you may ask, there are so many great dane clubs? Yes it’s true, there are plenty of breed and kennel clubs around the world. But in most of those clubs the administration of the breed and the organisation of shows are the main focus, whereas health only plays a secondary role. This is why we as fanciers of the breed feel obliged to do everything in our power to improve the situation of the great dane.

Our work starts, where the work of the breed clubs ends.

Of course we wish to cooperate with the national and international breed clubs for the great dane. Research and education would be much more effective if the clubs took part in it!

The “Association for Healthy Great Danes” is based on three columns: Information, Communication and Research:

  1. We support financially and logistically resarch projects with the goal, to improve the health and longevity of the great dane. We implement a healt fonds to collect donations for this purpose.
  2. We spread information about breed specific matters for great dane breeders, owners anf fanciers. This happens both in a digital way with a website and social media, as well as in an analogue way with a magazine, which appears twice a year (only in German) and other information material. We also organise lectures and seminars in Germany.
  3. We promote the communication between discerning puppy buyers and responsible breeders. Therefore we establish a seal of quality for breeders, who are very engaged in improving the health and longevity of the breed. For those breeders we offer a digital and analogue platform to get attention and we help puppy buyers to find them. Also the communication amongst responsible breeders around the world is supposed to be improved for a better cooperation.

The “Association for Healthy Great Danes” is represented by:

Ruth Stolzewski

“I fell in love with the great dane already as a child. In 2007 I finally could fulfill my childhood dream and got my first male great dane. In 2017 I started breeding great danes under the kennel name “vom Irschener Winkel” in the south of Germany. I started to devote myself to the theory of dog breeding already years before and my studies of environmental planning/wildlife management gave me a wide knowledge about population genetics, biology etc. I also apply my creative abilities as a “Film- and TV-designer” for many years now to spread information about breed specific issues.”

Jasmin Naber

“It has always been my big dream to own a great dane, which I could fulfill in 2015 after I hade finished my studies of business informatics. I was very well aware of the short life expectancy of the breed and the many severe diseases like DCM, cancer and stomach torsion the breed suffers from. Without knowing the great dane community it was very difficult to find a breeder with a healthy, long living breeding line. It is my goal with our website, which I helped creating with my IT expertise, to improve the health situation of the breed in the long term.”

Susanne Weber

“I got my first great dane female Farah in 2011 rather by coincidence. But the love to this breed has developed quickly. Farah had two severe disc surgeries in the age of 4 and 5 years. By now she is 8,5 years old and besides the problems with her spine she is still quite fit. In 2017 the second hand dane male Mexx has moved in. I can use the experiences of my job as an administration secretary for the ev. church to support our association with collecting donations for the health fonds and do bureaucratic work. ”

Lydia Schmidt

Embassador Austria

I was infected late, but very quickly by the great dane virus. When I was 18 years old I saw my first great dane, a black male, on a petrol station, together with his “bodyguard”, the 8 years old son of its owner. Since then I had to get a dane. 2016 I could finally fulfill my dream with my brindle male Cali, and 2018 my mantle girl Heaven moved in. I have protected the kennel name “Sic Parvis Magna” under the FCI and want to breed one day. I try to stay up to date by regularly attending courses and seminars so that I can offer the best possible life to the dane puppies I want to breed later on. It is my goal in the Association for Healthy Danes to open the breeders’ eyes and to help puppy buyers to find a good breeder.

Do you want to support our work?

If you want to contact us write an Email to: info@healthy-dane.org or use our contact form.