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BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY

After the establishment of the Canis Bovinus Hypertypicus subfamily in the 20th century, an increasingly heavier and coarser, peculiarly French in concept and execution, novel and “mega-Boxerized” strain of Dogue Allemand became the blueprint to strive for in France, Dogue ‘Allemand’ peut-être, mais ne pas plus Grand Danois ou Deutsche Dogge. It quickly spread from there to Germany, the Latin regions of Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and elsewhere, resulting in a drift towards Achondroplastic Brachycephalism which appealed to the alternative mastiff fanciers – those in particular who were looking to combine bull & mastiff-type morphology with gigantic size, acromegaly and exotic colors not found in the Mastino and other “pure” mastiffs, plus a bit of extra frisson and monstrous appeal, missing since most freak shows and circuses were banned in Europe; the Great Dane had been losing clientele among the fanciers of big ugly brutes, as it wasn’t heavy or scary-looking enough for the fringe big on machismo, pumping iron and “mean big bad dawgs” as accessories and deterrents; those who had made puppy farming their livelihood were looking for a marketing gimmick, as height alone wasn’t a sufficient attraction since the Great Dane was placed in the Mastiff category of the FCI Group II, in direct competition with the Dogue de Bordeaux and other heavyweights that were selling like hot baguettes; the new “Euro-Dogue” trend became instantly popular among “molosser” mytho-megalomaniacs, racial supremacy knuckleheads, small penis syndrome / Napoleonic complex sufferers and exploiters of same. The greatest challenge facing the early hypertype pioneers was how to achieve maximum exaggeration (dabbed “more type”) in the absolute minimum number of generations; they were inspired and guided initially by obscure pseudo-scientific scriptures, cryptozoology folklore fantasies and surreal morphological theories of occult cynology devoid of biomechanic study and facts, regurgitating errors, wild assumptions and inaccuracies from earlier authors; according to legend, foundation greeders sought assistance from Grand Masters of Quackery who pointed out the superlative Osteitis Deformans qualities of the Neapolitan Mastiff as a quick-fix solution and source of extreme bone, mass and skin. Very soon the High Priestess and a Sacred Inner Circle of the Initiated formed an administrative Hypertype Court in the old Canton of Mirambeau on the southwestern coast of France and from there launched satellites within Germany. Later a secondary center – Temple of Greed – was erected in the Milanese region of Lombardy in Italy and many lesser colonies followed, with export-oriented self-glorified puppy-mill factory production lines churning out and proliferating the type throughout the continent and spreading it to the Spanish-speaking, American markets and beyond.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Gross, grotesque, monstrous. Ignoble, dysfunctional, sad and as clumsy-looking as possible. The head should be disproportionately large & massive; the general impression should one of disharmony; it should be impossible to discern the sex of the dog as males and females should both appear compact like draft horses, coarse, overdone, bovine & hippopotamus-like in aspect (but without the Hippo’s finesse and fitness for function) and completely devoid of elegance. The animal should appear cloddy, crude, undignified, obese, heavy, compact, compressed, depressed and misshapen. With its lumbering mass, excess skin, freakish features and physical disabilities blown up into gigantic size, the breed is the undisputed Grand Quasimodo of dog breeds.

Important proportions: none.

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HEAD

By far the most important aspect of the dog. It should be yooge; as long as it is huge, it can be totally devoid of proportion and shape; always massive, overdone, grotesque, obscene, loathsome and as brachycephalic as possible, with protruding eyebrows and a median furrow recessed very deep into the forehead, allowing the thick extra skin to form excessive folds. The supra-orbital arches should overhang the face giving a primitive look and somewhat Neanderthalian expression, but without the Neanderthal refinement and brightness. Any suggestion of refinement should be avoided at all costs. Refinement is a dirty word. There should be no refinement or finesse whatsoever, the shape should look unfinished and crude. The head should be shaped like a bucket, and not a particularly well-made one. The hammerhead shark look can also be very appealing, with the skull as wide as possible and the muzzle relatively narrow and shallow, but with long curtains of lips. The head must be extremely coarse and undignified, rough-hewn, unrefined and inelegant like the rest of the dog. It should look common, plain, oafish, rough, nondescript, undistinguished and the exact antithesis of aristocratic or beautiful. There should be no chiseling whatsoever anywhere apart from the deep grooves of the skin folds and wrinkles that should extend to the nose bridge and sides, resembling an oversized Shar Pei x Bloodhound cross. The breed should always be presented head-first for maximum effect. The head should be broader and deeper than its length and the muzzle short, with the planes definitely and sharply converging. The head should appear fleshy and ‘wet’ from every angle and never clean-cut or dry. A tragic Gargoyle look is essential, creating an intense suffering and tortured impression. Preference should be given to those specimens that successfully combine all the desirable head qualities to the highest degree, creating a shock and awe effect so that the onlooker can immediately realize and understand the true meaning of the word “abomination”.

Skull: domed, round, compressed along its longitudinal axis and permanently wrinkled.

Stop: as excavated by a digger and forming an angle as acute as possible.

Muzzle: buried under tons of wrinkled skin. The dog should be prone to panting excessively, breathing heavily and snoring loudly. Breathing difficulties and discomfort a bonus. Abrupt Roman nose and pinched nostrils highly desirable.

Lips: excessive jowls and bloodhound-like “flews” reaching down to the forechest and forming several dewlaps with the loose skin on the throat. The lips should be flabby and fluttering, affectionately called “babines”. The lip corners should be open revealing as much inner surface as possible, facilitating a maximum amount of heavy drool. The depth of the lips should be at least twice the length of the muzzle, preferably more.

Teeth: jaws underdeveloped, with tiny crowded misaligned teeth, preferably undershot and wry, with rolled in bottom lip.

Cheeks: should be invisible under the wrinkles and with several vertical folds descending from the cranium, Mastino-like.

Eyes: optional or buried deep under layers of flesh and skin. What’s important is the presence of abundant thick excessive folds in the area when the eyes would normally be located. Eye expression is replaced by the amount and depth of wrinkles. The more skin and pleats, the more expressive and impressive the head. When the eyes are visible (something not desirable but tolerated), they are of diamond shape and small size, sunken into the orbits; it is imperative that the eyelids are loose, characterized by breed-defining entropion, ectropion and megaloblepharia. Red haw and third eyelid distortion most desirable. Vision impairment a must. Eye disorders should not be corrected with surgery as this would result in loss of essential breed type. Morbid, horrible, ghoulish, pitiful should be the appearance breeders strive for. Dogs with visible eyes should not receive the grade “excellent”, which should be reserved for specimens as close to the standard as possible, in other words, eyeless and blind. The slits marking the spots where the eyes would have been are slanted downwards, as vertical as possible as the loose extra heavy skin descends from great height from the top skull and hangs low, therefore (and together with the low ear set and heavy ears) dragging the eyelids below the bridge of the muzzle.

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Ears: very low set, extremely long, heavy, with thick leathers, lacking any ability to lift whatsoever at the base, enhancing the roundness of the skull;  folded like a bloodhound’s and flapping like wet pancakes, with the ideal conformation for cankerous ear infections.

NECK

short, very thick, and as ankylotic (overflexed) as possible.

BODY

massive and betraying total lack of agility, balance and speed.

Topline: either sagging or cyphotic (roached) and over-built (hips higher than the withers)

Croup: as sort, steep and narrow as possible

Chest: MASSIVE, excessively broad, barrel shaped, hanging very low between the elbows, with folds of skin forming laterally, straight shoulders and protruding forebreast forming a low keel.

Underline: irrelevant, preferably flabby

Tail: extremely low set

Forequarters: massive bone, out at elbows, forming a French-front, with wrinkled pasterns like pigs trotters, splayed flat feet turning east-west, and very long nails. The impression should be that of elephantiasis.

Hindquarters: preferably cow-hocked. Either over-angulated, with puny second thighs and sickle hocks, or straight and steep, without any galloping power whatsoever. Otherwise irrelevant. The frontal aspect of the dog is all that matters.

Gait / movement: laborious, slow, uncoordinated, visibly painful and totally ineffective. Legs should pound the ground in jarring motion effecting as much damage to the joints as possible, especially the straight, inflexible pasterns. The dog should appear dragging itself forward from the massive front without any reach or drive from the weak hindquarters. The impression should be rather like crawling instead of trotting. There should be visible rolling of the back and collapse of the topline, with head hanging low and the tongue flapping out of the mouth, while all the extra flabby skin is wobbling all over like jelly. The dog, both standing and moving, should look as lifeless as possible and ready to collapse under its own weight and expire at any second.

SKIN:

immensely important for type. Should be at least twenty sizes too large for the dog, thick, wrinkly, loose, prone to allergies and preferably infected. When the dog lowers its head a large flap of skin should descend over its skull and cover the area where the eyes would normally be. (For illustration purposes, see example here. Viewer discretion recommended. Don’t look if you suffer from a heart condition).

Coat: thick.

Colour: blue fawns, piebalds, whites, white and black in any combination predominately; exotic colors preferred, but there should be a persistent prejudice against grautigers.

Size: no more than 90 cm to the withers but extremely heavy and overweight, with flabby flesh and no muscle tone. The heavier and grosser the better. Tall gracious specimens with even hint of elegance and harmony should be disqualified and excluded from breeding.

Faults: anything resembling a Great Dane

Severe faults: elegance, grace, refinement, harmony, beauty and good proportions.

Disqualifying faults: missing P-1s.  Anything approaching normal dog morphology and functionality, character, fitness and real strength. Tight skin and close-fitting eyelids, visible eyes and expression, smallish high set ears, athleticism, ground-covering action, dash and daring, elegance of outline and grace of form, nobility, power, dignity, temperament and working ability.

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If you want to help end the suffering caused by extreme conformation, join the Great Dane preservation movement: write to your breed club and ask them to take a stance, issue a public statement and contact the FCI to lend their support to the cause. 

Our petition with 3247 signatures from Great Dane breeders, exhibitors, judges, enthusiasts and supporters from around the world has been received by the President of the FCI, Rafael de Santiago and the Presidents of the Federation’s Scientific & Standards Commissions. Discussions are taking place at the highest level.

Come together and make sure that measures are urgently taken against breeding for extreme features that cause suffering to dogs. 

Every individual, every club and canine society needs to send a strong message to their canine organisations: the Great Dane is in grave danger; this situation is unacceptable and action must be taken to protect dogs from torture breeding. 

Be their voice. 

Thank you. 

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