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     Welcome to the official web site for the Great Dane Club of America Inc. Within these pages you will find information regarding the Club, its structure, philosophy, and also a comprehensive collection of material concerning the Great Dane.
 

Internet Marketing of Dogs and Puppies

Our local Humane Society "processes" some lovely purebred dogs, including Danes. The Working, Hound, Herding and Sporting Group Dogs, or combination of such, are the most frequent "Shelter" drop offs. These are breeds developed to perform specific functions. When their "instincts" are strong, but not channeled, problems arise. Many "Shelter" dogs, relinquished by owners, have been purchased over the Internet and should never have been placed with the individual/family. The Shelters and Breed Rescue Org. are being overrun with these unfortunate misfits.

Reputable breeders will interrogate prospective owners, research future homes, and request references - lay on the table - ALL the strengths and idiosyncrasies of their breed. Danes - described as an elegant, intelligent, athletic breed - a "Gentle Giant" the "Apollo of Dogdom" - to the uninitiated, sounds like the perfect family dog. Case in point - A "first time" Dane owner, contacted me for help. This gentleman said "No one told me the puppy would require 20 cans of dog food daily, and eat anything else it can reach/find, pee like an elephant on my livingroom rug, and grow like a weed". He suggested the "Apollo of Dogdom" be changed to "Cadillac of Dogdom" because of the astronomical and unexpected costs expended, not only to acquire his puppy, but to tend to it's needs for a month.

Internet and web site Puppy Sales is nothing more than an enhanced, glorified marketing source, to 'sell' living, breathing, innocence as a commodity - deposits, payments simplified through Pay Pal. A modernized format for Puppy Mills to reach the uninitiated, often impulse buyer.

The full resources of the Breed Clubs, including their web sites, should be utilized to educate the public regarding such marketing practices. For the most part, the General Public does not know the National Breed Clubs exist. The gentleman quoted above was unaware of our GDCA until after he had acquired his puppy. Our National Clubs should advertise their existence prominently in the available media sources, such as the Classified Pet sales listing in newspapers; National, and local radio; TV, specific Animal Planet programs, etc. - maybe just one line -"BEFORE you bring home that 4-pawed family companion - check out the Breed characteristics on the National Breed Club web site". Simple, friendly advice will be appreciated by most people.

The AKC could also assist. When shows like the Eukanuba and Westminister Classics are aired on TV, request that the Breed Club web site be included when describing the breed of dog that is on view - i.e. - Great Dane - "Ch. No Name". Complete information on this breed available on web site GDCA.org. The Affiliated Clubs would have to combine efforts to put this into effect. These Big Specialty Shows are viewed by millions, hence great coverage for the welfare of all breeds. Oft times this is where viewers "fall in love" with a particular breed, and a major source of information, on the spot so to speak, could be very helpful. The AKC and the TV station that air these shows should be glad to assist in such a project.

Education is the best, perhaps the only recourse we have to counteract these horrible marketing practices. Advertising our National Clubs' availability and resources, could go a long way to reducing the "Shelter Dog" population, be they from Internet sales, or simple misfits purchased on whim. To successfully promote a "product" it must be seen by the public at every turn, no limitations as to media coverage. It costs dollars, but I think a widespread promotional "campaign", to bring our National Breed Clubs to the forefront as a great source of information for the General Public, will pay big dividends to our Rescue Organizations, not to mention the Humane Societies and Animal Shelters across the country. There is no easy answer - but we must try.

Mrs. Paddy Magnuson,
POB 292 Delhi NY 13753
magnus@delhitel.net

(Reproduced with permission)