National Health Survey

In 2001, the Great Dane Club of America (GDCA) commissioned a national survey in order to accurately determine the prevalence of specific health problems and identify health and welfare issues of greatest concern to our breed. Survey results will be used to guide the activities of the GDCA Health and Welfare Committee and to target research funds toward programs which have the best chance for improving the health and quality of life of Great Danes. In order to assure anonymity and confidentiality, surveys were distributed, collected and analyzed by Dr. Margaret Slater and research associates at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The survey consisted of two parts. Part 1 was intended to obtain information on how owners feed, care for and enjoy activities with the Great Danes living in their household. Also included were detailed questions on veterinary and husbandry practices such as vaccination and other preventive care, health screening, breeding outcomes and perceptions regarding the overall health of Great Danes vs. Great Danes in the respondents' household. Part 2 consisted of a very detailed health history which was to be completed for individual Great Danes who lived in the owner's household within the past five years. Respondents could include as many dogs as they wished in Part 2.

The survey included three targeted groups. Surveys were mailed individually to all GDCA member households along with anonymous pre-paid envelopes for returning the survey. Members of affiliate Great Dane clubs received surveys through their club secretaries who were sent packets of surveys and instructions so that affiliate clubs could hold programs to present the survey and encourage participation. In addition, surveys and prepaid return envelopes were mailed to a random sample of all owners of registered Great Danes, based on AKC registrations issued from 1992-97.

Preliminary survey results were reported at the GDCA National Specialty Show in 2002. At that time it was decided to continue to encourage participation and extend the period for data collection through June, 2003. A total of 519 households and 1565 individual Great Danes are included in the final tabulations. Complete results were reported at the 2003 GDCA National Specialty and the GDCA website (see below). In addition, selected topics from the survey will be published in Dane

Download the GDCA Health Survey