Puppy Buying Advice

A wise buyer will beware when dealing with all dog breeders. Remember to be skeptical and verify claims. Here are some considerations:

  • Verify the AKC registration information of the dam (mother) and sire (father) through the American Kennel Club, at www.akc.org. Linked to each animal's individual AKC registration number, AKC maintains records including show records, titles and other information about the dog and its ancestry. If you wish, you can perform similar searches for each ancestor of interest.
  • Littermates (brothers and sisters born from the same mother on the same occasion) have identical registration numbers except for the number at the end.
  • If the breeder claims to have awards, certificates, titles or other honors, go to the website of the organization that gave the award, certificate, title or honor and verify the claim. The same website is the best place to look up what the award means.
  • The four health tests that are most recommended for Great Danes by the Great Dane Club of America are:
  • - Eyes
    - Cardio/Heart (may be auscultation or echocardiogram)
    - Hips
    - Thyroid
    Be more cautious about accepting a puppy if these four test results are not available for both of the puppy's parents.
  • A fifth health test often recommended for Great Danes is:
  • - Elbows
    You have the right to limit your search and consider only puppies whose parents have verifiable results for all five of the recommended health tests.
  • It is normal that the different test results are given using different scales. But all the scales have a result that is considered normal or good, all have results that are considered worse than normal or less than good, and some have results that are considered better than good. Educate yourself about this for each test. Do not just accept what the breeder tells you.
  • Verify the health claims made by the breeder and the health testing that the breeder says they have had done. Most reputable breeders allow their health testing results to be published on the website of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, at www.ofa.org. Be skeptical of breeders who give a reason for not publishing this critically important information, and remember that hard copies of results can be forged.
  • Examine dam (mother) and sire (father) in person, if at all possible. Ask yourself if the dam and sire have a temperament with which you would want to live.
  • Familiarize yourself with the guidelines AKC publishes for breeders, then find out how closely a breeder you are considering adheres to the AKC guidelines. Some of the guidelines have to do with how old the dam (mother) is. Some have to do with how often she is bred. Through AKC, you can verify her breeding history.

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