Animals, Breeding, Dog Shows, Dogs, Great Dane, History, Natural History, Nature
“The “Color Code of Ethics” became a “political football” and snowballed into a veritable glacier when a wonderful Great Dane became a top winner: “CH Honey Hollow Stormi Rudio”.
Stormi was shown at not more than 40 shows, winning his championship quickly, by going Best of Breed from the classes, on to group firsts (then the full working group) and BIS’s. Hardly traveling more than a hundred miles or two to shows, he won EIGHT BIS. Compared to the border-to-border, coast-to-coast campaigns in the breed, this was incredible. In 1959 he won the prestigious group at Westminster – a huge breed win under James Case and the group under John Cross who was an “emergency” replacement to the published judge. The crowd went wild over this fairly “unknown” dog – and there were many famous big winners of the day in that group and some of the top big-name handlers in that ring. And it had been years since a Great Dane not only won the group or even placed at Westminster.
Not only was Stormi Rudio a fantastic showman, but he moved magnificently and probably was as near-perfect as any Great Dane that ever lived (up to that time.)
Instead of the Great Dane people of that time rallying to this superb dog – what he could contribute to the breed – and the tremendous respect that those in other breeds felt toward him in his short but dazzling career, many of the Daneites unsheathed their hatchets and hacked him and his Breeder/Handler to pieces.
CH Honey Hollow Stormi Rudio had a fawn father, CH Shalott’s Sir Allistair, and his mother was black, Honey Hollow Ruda Kazoota. This was the start of the ridiculous controversy over “mixed color breeding” that suddenly blazed into “open warfare” and to this day is still a “bone of contention” amongst self-nominated purists.
note on the photo above – Ch. Shalott Sir Alistair’s dam, Ch. Honey Hollow Ebony Maid was brindle and not black
Before the advent of Stormi Rudio, there had not been a “peep” about this unorthodox mix of black and fawn. This had not been a planned breeding, but occurred through the carelessness of the kennel man – the mating had been a “love match” between Allistair and Ruda Kazoota, and Stormi was the only fawn male in a huge litter of predominantly blacks – and mighty good ones. Stormi had been sold as a pet, and the breeder did not see him for another 2 years. When she did, she realized immediately that he was about the best Great Dane she’d ever seen and persuaded his owner to allow her to handle him.
Thus, the “code of ethics” became a “political football”; it would never have snowballed into a veritable glacier had Stormi not been such an enormous winning showdog. After continual harassment, the breeder resigned from the GDCA and from then on, bred the best blacks possible and continued to breed also reputable fawns.
Ruda Kazoota’s brother became the famous CH Honey Hollow Rameses, owned by J. Council Parker, who continued to breed many outstanding blacks – also fawns and brindles despite criticism from the good ole GDCA. Brave man! And the former generation of Great Dane fanciers know that “Counce” Parker was one of the finest judges.
Most of the better blacks of that day sprung from the original Honey Hollow and Jocopa bloodlines. (Jocopa is the kennel prefix of J. Council Parker). Carolyn Mobley of California did a commendable job with blacks from fawn breeding. And despite the GDCA color-code of “honor”, the mixed-color matings go on, sometimes surreptitiously and other times, right out in the open before all the horror-stricken diehards.
Dr. & Mrs. James Childress who owned and adored CH Honey Hollow Great Donner, also owned a charmer, CH Honey Hollow Tall Timber. Too bad that they gave up eventually on breeding or showing Great Danes – like with Stormi’s owner, Cathryn Clarke – they decided that the downright viciousness of some people in the breed were not worth the heartache. It was a great loss to the breed, as Jim was one of the finest veterinarians in the country.
In the words of Stormi’s breeder: “These are rank generalizations, a veritable ‘vice’ that afflicts the human psyche these days. We put people, nationalities, religions, ideologies, races, oldsters and youngsters in a collective narrow box, instead of treating them as individuals which I was taught to believe was the cornerstone of our civilized birthright. There is too much group thinking. Too many organizations taking over our thinking and actions. Perhaps it is colossal conceit, but I always want to be ‘one of a kind’ and not blindly follow the herd.”
“In California when the great black, Othello, came along, I think I gave him his first points. Carolyn Mobley had him. He was one of the best blacks I had seen in my whole life and when I came out of the ring, someone said, ‘How could you put that dog up? He’s out of a brindle.’ I said, ‘Oh.’ I didn’t know that, I’m not supposed to know and it wouldn’t have made any difference. He was the best black I’ve seen in the ring in recent years. He went on to become the top dog in the country for a year and a half or more. He was used extensively. People from all over the country were shipping bitches in. I think he did a lot for the blacks.” “They came out with this breeder’s code of ethics. That’s how it [abhorrence of cross-color breeding] got so strong in this country. There was a group of people that had very strong feelings about this, and they were powerful enough to enforce it.”
– Hildy Compton, Hildydane Great Danes”
(the above was copied verbatim from the waggingtailsdachshunds website which sadly is no longer available. I think it’s a tremendous bit of breed history that needs to be preserved, no less for the valuable lessons it contains).
Lina Basquette, remembered
Final acting role
An amazing life
Gone to the Dogs
Ruben Alfonso Bernal said:
Wonderful, I just whote this morning a little essay about this in the Foro del Dogo Aleman, (Great Dane Forum, in “Spain” ), just reminding them on Lina Basquette, as simple as that, breeding the best possible great dane from the best danes she could use (without stopping on colors), she put the Great Danes on the spotlight, nobody ever won as much as she did, nobody created as much thrill as she did, actually, except from Harold Lloyd, no other star made highly fashionable to have great danes, as some of us, great danes saved her life, no one ever dream on having so many BIS as those she and her breeding did. I actually wrote on the spanish forum, that, maybe, as science has advanced, the way we bred today about colors, will be just anecdotic and some will feel horrified in some decades, as it will be certainly, if not animal abuse, an extremely uneficcient way of breeding, If everybody started to bred great danes like Lina Basquette, we can just wonder, how advanced and rich breeding on great danes would be today, a great ammount of the genetic variability has been lost because of this… instead of that the “segregationist theory sounded just perfect for the time”. I just read a LOT on Lina Basquette in many books for so many years, but the methods, I just found them recently… Thanks Maria, this is another wonderful and very delicate but profound essay on our breed.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Lina rubbed some people the wrong way – she still does years after her departure – and as a result she wasn’t and she hadn’t been appreciated as much as she deserved. She was an independent, opinionated woman who came in the breed and took it by storm and that annoyed the high and mighty who disliked her personal style and never saw her as anything more than a ‘flapper’. In the color issue she was proven right although I tend to believe it wasn’t intentional, but that accident came to her as a revelation and she did the right thing afterwards – she stood by it and didn’t hesitate to combine fawn and black in fear that she might annoy the establishment. She had a tough life which made her stronger – so she was not going to cower to something as silly as that. I dislike using the term ‘crossing’ for such matings because it somehow implies that different colors are almost different species, which of course is ridiculous, just as the notion that different breeds are different species when in fact they are all just dogs.
The sad thing is that people in hindsight and retrospect come to admire those who stood up to be counted in the past but they still are afraid to emulate the paradigm in their own era; instead when they see individuals or movements that have the integrity and the common sense to criticize the status quo and call for correcting past errors and for progress, the very same people who admire past ‘heroes’ gang up against the heroes and the pioneers in their own time and rather live in denial.
Judi Moore said:
Fantastic. Thank you for sharing this.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Pingback: The Great Dane & the pseudo-danes (Part II) | Great Dane Gnosis
A treasure this article.very nice learning.
LikeLiked by 1 person
thank you ! 🙂
Lindsay Halbach said:
Thank you for this post! The color code is ridiculous, it promotes a breeding KNOWN to cause handicapped puppies, as breeders we can and should do better. Science has proven that the colors are there, even is the big name show dogs. Time to catch up color purists.
Pingback: a conservation movement for the Great Dane | Great Dane Gnosis
Pingback: Connecting the dots | Great Dane Gnosis
Mindy Pierce said:
Thank you for posting the background on the color code…always felt politics had a paw in there somewhere!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Louise Reynolds said:
Looking for someone who owns a decendent of Honey Hollow Stormi Rudio. I used to dogsit him as a teenager.