Polish Great Dane Club asked me to write article about the beginning of my breeding for the Bulletin, which they publish twice a year. It was pleasure to take part in it, and I hope it will be nice for you to read it to know more about us. I translated it into English:
Fulfilled dreams. With Red Ribbon.
I’ve been loving Great Danes since I was little. At first, I fell in love with Scooby Doo’s adventures – which I watched like an addict. I remember that in high school my friend had a blue great dane. Although it was very shy, I still used to spend whole days at my friend’s, trying to buy into the pet’s favor. After graduation I moved into my own flat, my dreams came true – it was the moment of getting myself the “one and only” Great Dane. I visited several blue great dane kennels, but I couldn’t find the dog of my dreams. I couldn’t fall in love, but soon I came across an ad – black and harlequin great danes from Moloseum kennel. And there she was – the “one and only” puppy, cute like Minnie Mouse. I sent an e-mail to ask if she was available for sale. I couldn’t wait for a reply. Yes, she was! So I made a phone call in order to discuss the details. I was about to see her at the weekend (but nothing more). I couldn’t hold myself back, I admit – I bought everything already: dog beds, toys, bowl holders and the feed. I was jumping up and down with excitement for the weekend. When I got there, we instantly fell in love with each other. And of course – I got back home with the Little One – the harlequin SHIRLYN Moloseum.
It was 2010. I remember the first dog show well. It took place during wintertime in Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki, with Piotr Król as the judge. I consider myself lucky to meet a judge so friendly and patient right at the first show. I caught the bug. I started to attend foreign shows and then bought another “little girl” from Dorota – the mantle URSULA Moloseum.
I finally decided to bring up my first litter, yes – my first litter in a 5th floor flat. It was a terrible idea. The puppies’ father was CAIAC de Can Duran – titled and award-winning great dane, for whom I went all the way to Spain. The offspring was fairly good looking, and even from the time perspective I perceive the litter positively. Unfortunately I didn’t know much about breeding and bringing puppies up back then. It wasn’t my only concern – there was also a ban for harlequin – harlequin breeding at the time. Exhibiting cropped dogs was forbidden as well. I felt overwhelmed by the bans – I havent’t experienced much and I had a feeling as if something was being taken from me. Back to the litter, I remember MOONSPELL with Red Ribbon dog – the first interchampion with my kennel name. I also remember MADNESS with Red Ribbon, who starred in “Bodo” TV series. He is also a good reproducer, who gives interesting litters.
I stopped breeding dogs for a few years. In the meantime I moved to Italy with the Shirlyn. We were attending dog shows and I was getting myself familiar with Italian kennels. I came back to Poland and I changed my flat in Warsaw for a house in the countryside. I decided to bring up two litters. I bred SHIRLYN with TILO del Garroferal – a black dog with Spanish pedigree, using frozen semen. It was very stressful, I won’t lie – back in those days the method wasn’t very popular, it was treated skeptically. I went to another dog with URSULA. I saw him in the Italian kennel – dell’Alto Feudo. It was HAMILTON de la Vigne du Grand Danoise – he had never taken part in any shows. At the time I realized that prize-winning parents aren’t always the guarantors for show quality puppies. I realized that not every dog is suitable for every bitch. In order to achieve success, not only you have to rely on the knowledge about the ancestors, lines and connections. It’s the intuition. I kept NUTELLA with Red Ribbon and OREO with Red Ribbon from those litters.
Right before moving to Italy I had decided to buy a fawn, cropped bitch – VALERIA del Picco Jigo from an Italian kennel. She was having European-American pedigree and she gave birth to the “P” litter. The litter had come to be my failure. American blood sure is valuable, but apparently you have to have more knowledge of the connections – the knowledge of the first generation is not enough. I decided not to breed VALERIA any more. I realized one more thing when it comes to this litter – harlequin is the only right color for me.
“O” and “P” litters weren’t born at my house. They were the “conditional litters” which means the dogs were bred under my kennel name, but both of the bitches were staying at my friends’. The puppies were given lots of love and attention there. Nevertheless I experienced, that if you want to have the next litter, you need to bring puppies up by yourself. I like to control the situation, and when it comes to conditional litter, some things you would like to do differently are out of control.
In 2016 I receive acquiescence for harlequin-harlequin breeding. SHIRLYN gave birth to the “R” litter, in which there was a “white” harlequin bitch. At first I was worried about her potential blindness or deafness, but fortunately – my worries were unfounded. I decided to keep her – that’s how RICOTTA joined our group.
A little later, the group was enlarged by FRANCISZKA del Satiro Danzante. At her first show – Polish Great Dane Club she won in class with 7 harlequin bitches and also beat a dog in comparison. Soon she finished Polish Junior Champion title. Unfortunately at the age of 11 months she broke her pelvis while jumping out of the bath at the dog SPA. Anything can happen – that’s what the accident taught me. You can’t predict everything. The accident was painful for me as a breeder – I had high hopes for her when it comes to the shows. FRANCISZKA is a tall, astonishing bitch with a beautiful great dane head and a long, curved neck. She’s of perfect anatomy and long legs. She used to move with grace of an Arabian Horse before the accident. The most important thing for me, though, is that she’s not in pain anymore. The shows and her moves has become the matter of lower importance.
There were more litters being born at my house. My dogs live all over the world and they win awards in many countries. The shows are – of course – very important, but I’m happy and proud, that my dogs live at homes full of love. There were a lot of low points as well. For example – first misunderstandings and conflicts, which are inevitable in a group of dogs. Dream matings, which finally weren’t as successful as I would like them to be. Or maybe the latest situation, which happened in 2018 – 3 „empty” matings in a row. There were two more situations that will stay in my mind forever. First one, when after two years I took back the “N” litter bitch sold to the breeder – she was in the worst condition she could possibly be. The second one, which happened lately – it was the puppy that I bought in Russia. He passed away because of heart failure at the age of 11 weeks, 3 weeks after we took him. Today I know for sure – in order to survive the most difficult moments in breeding, you’ve got to have limitless love for the breed itself. To breed with wisdom, you’ve got to listen to people who have been doing this for decades – that kind of person to me is Dorota Kukla. I’d like to thank her for patiently answering my (even the silliest) questions, answering phone calls at night and filling me with that passion. And of course, for my two bitches – there would be no “with Red Ribbon” without them.
If I were ask again about to breed dogs and if yes, what breed, I can’t imagine what would give me more happiness and satisfaction than the next generations of my harlequins. Do you know what’s the most pleasant moment when it comes to breeding great danes? It’s to live to see the veteran. We are waiting for two shows with SHIRLYN. They will take place in 2019 – 32nd Club of Great Dane in Poland and Middle-European Show of Great Danes. We are waiting for the shows to prove in how good of shape and condition can a 9 year old Great Dane be. I wish a lot of lowliness to beginner breeders, of which I lacked at the start. I wish you would find someone who will guide you and help you to understand the differences in great danes types, lines, anatomical flaws. I wish you impartial perspective on your puppies.
Soon after handing this text over to print, SHIRLYN passed away. It’s really hard to make peace with this loss, especially that we weren’t prepared for it. May you wander happily over the Rainbow Bridge (28th August 2010 – 2nd August 2019).