My human was very busy this week and away from home for lots of time, because she was doing some modelling work to put her in the TV box - and it went on all afternoon and night time, for many days. My other human, Paul, also couldn’t come home until late at night because of something called ‘work’ and so nobody could take me for my usual afternoon walk or be at home with me in the evenings.
Hsin-Yi was worried about me being bored – so she took me to spend time with my trainer, Flip, a couple of mornings this week so I could play with other doggies there and get tired – and then she thought I would sleep better when I am alone at home (she doesn’t seem to understand that I sleep very well anyway! Oh well, humans do lots of things because they get this condition called “guilt”, so you just have to humour them…;) )
Anyway, I got a real surprise when I walked into Flip’s training centre: there was a Mini-Me!
Her name was Raffy and she was a 4 month old Dane puppy who was enrolled on Flip’s ‘Maximum Impact Programme’ (for more information about the MIP, you can read my post here) – not because she had any special problems but just because her humans decided they wanted Flip to train her first, before giving them lessons.
Boy, that Raffy sure was bouncy! Boing! Boing! Boing! I think she must have been born with springs in her paw pads!
She kept jumping up and climbing over me and wriggling under me and bashing me with her not-so-little-paws…!
Here is a movie to show you what I had to put up with:
What do you think? Wasn’t I a good, patient doggie? Flip said I was being very ‘tolerant’ and told me I was a good girl lots, so I was very proud of myself!
Hsin-Yi said Raffy was JUST like me when I was a puppy and this was me getting my come-uppance for harrassing other doggies like this when I was little. What does she mean? I’m sure I was never like this as a puppy!
But Hsin-Yi says there’s a reason I was called “Monster Puppy from Hell“ - that I was the most bombastic, boisterous, exuberant, ‘life-&-soul-of-the-party’ kinda puppy you ever met, never afraid of anything, always body-slamming other dogs and trying to sit on their heads and bash them with my (already) gigantic paws… Huh! I am sure she is lying. I am sure I was a calm, angelic puppy – nothing like the little pest, Raffy!
Actually, Raffy is my niece – she’s from my breeders, Kim & John Wylie of Yacanto Great Danes and she is from the latest litter of my big brother, Jake. So I guess we do share some family traits! Anyway, Hsin-Yi says she’d rather have a confident, exuberant puppy – even if you need to work a bit harder to teach self-control – than a timid, scaredy puppy…which Great Danes sometimes can be, if we don’t come from mummies & daddies with stable temperaments.
Look, Hsin-Yi got a picture of Raffy in exactly the same pose as one she got of me when I was also 4 months old – isn’t that funny?
Raffy @ 4 months…
…and ME @ 4 months!
We look very similar, don’t we? Except that I have more of a mask and dark ears.
Raffy even has a ridge & swirl of fur on the back of her neck, like me!
She also has huge knuckles and gigantic paws, just like I did as a pup. Look, Raffy’s paws are already almost as big as mine and she is still only 4 months old!
And you can tell that she is going to be a HUGE girl too. But that’s not really surprising ‘coz all my family are big – everyone says that I am really big and tall for a Dane girl (70kg /150lbs , 35″) – in fact, I’m the size of an average Dane boy! But my brothers are even bigger – they make me look really dainty! A couple of years ago, I met my nephew, Oscar, who also lives in Auckland - he was only 11 months old then and he was already 90kg (200lbs) with a head like a bull!
See, there are 2 types of Danes: the chunky type, which looks more ‘Mastiff-y’ and the dainty type, which looks more ‘Greyhound-y’. I’m the chunky type. Hsin-Yi likes this type of Dane better – we have chunkier heads with more wrinkles, bigger jowls (& lots more drool!) and a more “pronounced head” which means we have a more cartoon profile when you look at us sideways! And we have bigger bones and look heavier, with more “substance”. The other type of Dane is much daintier and lighter, with less exaggerated heads and less jowl (so they don’t drool as much!) and they have more slender legs and bodies.
And here is a picture of me when I was just over 18 months old, with my friend, Delta, who is actually older than me by 4 months but I was already a lot bigger than her!
Of course, there is no one type better than the other – it is just a personal preference! Some people like the lighter, daintier type of Dane and some people like the heavier, bigger-boned Dane with more wrinkles and jowls (and drool…hee! hee! ) Anyway, even the smallest, daintiest Dane is still bigger than most other dogs!
Different breeders favour different types – and it also depends on which country you live in. For example, we have been told that many Danes in UK & Europe are much more solid, bigger-boned and more Mastiff-like, whereas many Danes in the US & Australia can be taller but ”finer” and lighter in bone. My Daddy came to NZ from the UK when he was just a puppy, so maybe that explains my looks! But anyway, looks are less important than temperament!!
* Edited: Oops! Our friends, Bess & Heffner in the US have disagreed with this – please read their comment # 26 & #28 for more information. They would probably know better since they live in the US and their human is very experienced in dog showing – we are just repeating what many breeders & Dane people have told us!
As we said, we are not implying that the US or European type is ‘superior’ – just that there is definitely a difference! Also, we are not suggesting that the US show standard favours a lighter type or Danes are smaller in the US – as some people seem to find this offensive - just that this lighter type seems more prevalent across the whole country, whether due to BYB or the gene pool or whatever.
I think the observation was just a statement covering Danes across the whole country, not just those seen at shows, which are, of course, the ideal but probably the minority. I am sure that while many “proper” Danes at shows are as big and solid as European ones, this doesn’t change the fact that there are also a lot of non-show Danes out there which are not of this so-called ’ideal’ standard. And interestingly, there are probably also a lot of BYB and non-show Danes in Europe – and yet there isn’t a prevalence of this lighter type, which suggests a difference in the gene pool between the 2 continents…which was our original point!
In any case, we don’t think there is anything really wrong with being a ’lighter, daintier, more Greyhound-like’ Dane - I mean, yes, they don’t conform to an arbitrary standard but there are a lot of such Danes out there whose owners think they are lovely and don’t care what the show world thinks. I also don’t think it is such an awful thing to be compared to a Greyhound – they are beautiful dogs and I think a lot of Greyhound owners would be very insulted to hear of ‘Greyhound-likeness’ being considered a flaw! But anyway, I have removed the word “Greyhound-y” from my original text as that seemed to be causing the most offence!
I have to say, it was really nice to have a robust, boisterous puppy to play with – someone who likes to play as rough as me!
I did, of course, try to teach Raffy the finer points of the only games for civilised canines: Tennis ball and Tug but the little squirt didn’t really catch on…
Hsin-Yi also started teaching Raffy how to pose for the camera…I have to say, she did pretty well in that!
There was one thing she didn’t need any teaching for, though…like all Dane puppies, she came out of the womb knowing how to shake paws!
Of course, Raffy also learnt some of the proper training stuff with Flip and I helped too by showing her how to ‘Heel’ and go to her ‘Bed’ and Come when called and do ‘Down Stays’…
…and some cafe practice too!
Here is a little movie of all the things Raffy learnt at MIP :
I had a great time with Raffy but I have to say, I’m really glad that I’m an only dog!
Puppies are cute and fun but it’s good to go home to some peace & quiet!