Monday, June 22, 2009

Hamilton on Facebook

Find me on Facebook under Hamilton Xavier (Harlequin Hamilton)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Legal definitions

Hamilton is a "Service Animal" with the specialization of "Hearing (Ear) Dog"

Dog: four-legged animal, canine. If you need more than this to define 'dog', please use Google.

Service Animal:
"Service animal means any dog or other common domestic animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, fetching items, assisting an individual during a seizure, retrieving medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and assisting individuals, including those with cognitive disabilities, with navigation.

The term service animal includes individually trained animals that do work or perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with disabilities, including psychiatric, cognitive, and mental disabilities.

The term service animal does not include wild animals (including nonhuman primates born in captivity), reptiles, rabbits, farm animals (including any breed of horse, miniature horse, pony, pig, or goat), ferrets, amphibians, and rodents.

Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being are not service animals."

Does he eat small children?

Only on special occasions.


Ok, Ok, I'm writing many of these blog entries at once and I am getting a little silly, here.

Really, people do ask some strange questions with a Great Dane:

"Is it a horse?"

"Where's the saddle?"

"Does that thing eat tons of food?"

"Is it a baby cow?" (harlequin-black and white spotted)

"Where's the cart for that?"

Hamilton eats the following:

Rice, chicken, veggies, beef, eggs, and kibble. He drinks water, sometimes with ice.
Children are not part of his diet, ever. Though he is known to lick them, a lot.

Will he bite me?

The general answer to this is, no.

During his socialization phase (when he's little and cute and goofy) he may try to 'mouth' you. I won't let him do this, as it's a sign of dominance and one I don't want him using when he's 150-180 pounds and can carry people off in his mouth if he wants.

The only exception to this might be the following:
  • If you bite him first
  • If you bite me
  • If you strike, swing at, or otherwise threaten him or me
  • If you come into my house, car or tent when I'm camping, unannounced or univited
  • If you are wearing a suit of head-to-toe sirloin (you're on your own)
Part of Hamilton's training is for him to behave himself, which it is my job to ensure he does.

Can I touch him?

If you ask me, probably.

Hamilton's socialization phase will primarily be from his weaning to his 6-9 month age range, depending on how fast he learns. After that, as I understand those that love dogs, and I also want to encourage people to learn about dogs, Great Danes, and service animals, I will usually allow people to pet and touch him.

Please bear in mind:
  • Please ask first
  • Please let him smell you first
  • Please speak calmly and don't wave your arms or hands, nor shout or scream.
  • Please understand he's new at this.
  • Please respect me, and respect him in your words and behavior
  • Please keep your touches to petting and a scratch behind his ears. He's not a horse, nor is he a toy.
  • Please don't offer him foods, treats or anything 'people food'. He is on a good diet, and giving him people food may push back boundaries I need him to have later. (See a 180 pound dog helping himself to the beef section in the grocery store??!)
  • If you are afraid of dogs, please don't feel that you need to test yourself, or him, by trying to force yourself to touch or approach him. My job is to control him and teach him to behave. He is like fine art; it's fine to appreciate him from a few steps away.

Please email me if you'd like to discuss my bringing Hamilton to a group to show or educate regarding service animals.

The Socialization Phase

Hamilton's first 6-9 months after he is weaned is the 'socialization phase' of his life, whether he was to be a service dog, or not.

Socialization is sometimes what determines the "good dog" from the one you can't take anywhere.

Key elements of socialization are that the dog learns how to behave properly. When Hamilton is first weaned from his mother and begins to go out in public, he will be small enough, and cute enough, to attract attention on his own. For a while, he will just look like legs and feet (BIG FEET) attached to a nose and some funny looking ears.

That cute little floppy pup is going to get BIG. Fast. It is important for us, as his owners and trainers, to recognize that and just like in a human child; we are to prepare him for the world around him- what is appropriate behavior and what is not.

I can't think of much that would be worse than a 150 pound dog with bad manners. I really don't think that is something ANYONE wants to deal with, but many people have dogs of large breeds and they skip this portion of the pup's learning process.

Two types of socialization: human and canine. Let's start with human.


Hamilton has to learn how to walk with me, stay by my side, sit when I stop, and to lay down when I stand in one place or sit down. This is for my well-being as well as his. It is important for Hamilton to learn to react properly when people approach me, whether they are going to pay attention to him or not. It is HUGELY important for him to not jump on, lick, or show anything but aloof interest in the people and things around me, unless they qualify as something he is trained to react to.

That, takes practice.

As a puppy, Hamilton will need to be exposed to people. Lots of people. Children, men, women, elderly, of all races, of all ages. He will need to gauge a person by appearance and demeanor, as well as to allow people to approach us and for him to react calmly.

It is very important he learn to behave well around children, so we will be doing quite a bit of practice with children of all ages for him to learn to stand still, sit still or lie still to allow the smallest child to approach him with no fear of his reaction, and to enjoy his presence whether they want to touch him or not.

Situational, with humans:

It is also important for Hamilton to learn to see and hear things and understand what is important, and what is just part of everyday life. When you think about the numbers of sounds and sights we see...and watch a small child with wide-eyes looking around in's no question there is a great deal for someone 'new' to the situation to absorb.

A simple trip to the grocery store for milk: car noises, parking lot noises, crashing of carts as they are moved, the sounds of wheels on those carts, the whoosh of the automatic doors, the bells that sometimes chime when you enter a store, the clatter of baskets, people and things. The change in the light or the temperature from outside to inside, the noises of conversation and transactions. The noises of computers, fans, cleaning machines, compressors and other equipment that is often in operation. The smells of people, foods, products and things around us. It's a sensory onslaught. Hamilton needs to see this enough that he is calm and cool about going in and out of such places.

I once had a service dog in training that HATED escalators. It took 200 rounds of going through an airport escalator for him to work through it. As a pup, he'd never seen one, been on one, and was PETRIFIED it was going to 'eat' him, paws first. I had another service dog I trained, and as a pup, he rode on it five times, and for the rest of his life, it wasn't an issue.

"Can I touch him?"

The simple answer to this is, yes. Please do. Help me show him people are OK, and that he is OK to just trust and relax.

The more complex answer involves some requests for YOU:
  • Please ask first
  • Please let him smell you first
  • Please speak calmly and don't wave your arms or hands, nor shout or scream.
  • Please understand he's new at this.
  • Please respect me, and respect him in your words and behavior
  • Please keep your touches to petting and a scratch behind his ears. He's not a horse, nor is he a toy.
  • Please don't offer him foods, treats or anything 'people food'. He is on a good diet, and giving him people food may push back boundaries I need him to have later. (See a 180 pound dog helping himself to the beef section in the grocery store??!)
  • If you are afraid of dogs, please don't feel that you need to test yourself, or him, by trying to force yourself to touch or approach him. My job is to control him and teach him to behave. He is like fine art; it's fine to appreciate him from a few steps away.


Hamilton must learn to basically ignore other dogs. This doesn't mean he isn't allowed to have his own set of 'friends'...just that we do not want him barking, growling or 'grumping' when he sees another dog. I am SURE we will encounter other dogs (usually tiny ones) that think they can 'take him'. Yeah, right.

A dog that goes, well, berserk around other dogs hasn't been properly socialized. It's fine to have a sniff of a new 'friend' in the doggie world, but it should stop there. Aggression and posturing by a service dog is not acceptable, especially toward other dogs and their owners.

I am 100% responsible for Hamilton, and his behavior, at all times. I expect the same from others. With this in mind, if you have your dog and Hamilton is in view, please know a few things:

  • I spend my entire waking day training my dog, he does not sit in my car and wait, or get tied to a post outside where I am going. He does not sit at home waiting for me in the garage, a crate, or the yard. Hamilton goes with me everywhere. Period. My dog is better behaved than some people's children.
  • My dog may weigh as much, if not more than you do. I can promise you that when he is full grown, he will most likely outweigh you AND your dog, by quite a bit. That is not a fair fight and I appreciate owners who don't let their dogs start fights they will lose.
  • Hamilton is a pure-bred dane from championship lines. A pup of his caliber can cost $3000. A trained service dog of any breed can cost $2000-5000, and if you add Hamilton's initial cost to his training value, he is a $10,000 dog. In addition, his vet bills can be 3-5 times what a smaller dog might have.
  • I have a very good, very expensive, lawyer.

Now, having set out some of the basics for socialization, please feel free to approach us, and ask questions....just bear in mind that for his 'socialization phase'...he's going to wag his tail and lick your hands, alot.

Service Animals and the General Public

Perhaps you wonder how the ADA and Service or Assistance Animals pertain to you?

Please note that my directives and indications with regard to Hamilton, here, and in future posts on his interactions with the public, or when you meet him in public, only reflect MY requests and may not extend to other people with service animals.

A good rule: a working animal is just that, working. Feel free to ask his owner/handler of his status, and respect both the person and the animal equally.

If you are in the grocery store, bank, or other public place and a service animal such as Hamilton comes into view...perhaps you are unsure of what you should do.

In 12 years of working with, training and owning service dogs, I have seen many reactions:

-running in the opposite direction
-duck and cover
-the stink eye
-the wide-eyed gasp
and my favorite,
-big smile and a cocked-head with a "can I say 'Hi' to your dog?" expression.

As a general rule: a dog or service animal wearing a vest or collar indicating they are a service or working animal should not be approached or distracted. This is especially true of seeing-eye dogs and dogs accompanying people of mobility impairment.

Having said that; Please, if you see Hamilton in public, don't be afraid to approach us and ask questions. Be aware I, his owner, am deaf, so the conversation may take a little patience on both our parts. For the most part I am fine with people touching and petting Hamilton, but that ONLY applies to Hamilton, not any other service dog and their owner/handler.

Visit the Socialization part of his blog to learn more about what he's doing for his first year.

After socialization, Hamilton will have been exposed to most any situation I can provide for him: airports, grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, sporting events, concerts, parades, outdoor gatherings and events, as well as emergent and hazardous situations to train him to react and respond, as well as to adjust to the noises and activity of given environments.

While in public, Hamilton may not seem to be 'working'. Granted, much of his job is at home, with me. However, I can't predict when I'm going to encounter a situation where I need him, so he is with me at all times, in all situations. While shopping in the frozen food aisle, Hamilton isn't really doing much in the way of protecting me or assisting me with my choice of what's for dinner, but he is continuing his bond with me, and strengthening his trust and connection with me. I am always watching his ears, his body language, his eyes. What I can't hear, he can, and he shows me what I might need to pay attention to, or not.

What applies to you legally:
  • I cannot be asked to leave a public place simply because I have a service dog.
  • I cannot be given different treatment or segregated from other people or refused services, access or accomodation.
  • You cannot act aggressively toward me or Hamilton, as we are protected by law, and I have to wonder what Hamilton's reaction would be if he felt I was being physically threatened.

What you should know about Hamilton:
  • I have allergies. Hamilton is given a bath regularly, his teeth are cleaned, he is brushed, and his toenails are trimmed and capped. He lives indoors and is rather spoilt. He is given vet care and is up to date on all his required shots and tests. I make every effort for Hamilton's hygiene to match my own, as I know he is in a position where he can affect others in a way a 'pet' cannot.
  • I have children. Hamilton will go through 6-9 months of socialization to ensure he is ready to be in all situations I may find myself and to handle himself with obedience and gentle behavior with children, the elderly and other situations where his size is an issue. Hamilton was chosen for his temperament, and was raised with my own children, so that he understands child-like behavior and responds appropriately.
  • Hamilton is housebroken, obedience trained, and has been tested for aggression or ill-behavior when he was a puppy. He is not perfect, but he's pretty darn close.
Please email me if you have a question I have not addressed here.

Americans With Disabilities Act Info

The ADA Homepage

ADA Service Animals

Service Animals Definitions, Questions, Info from the Department of Justice

Hearing Ear Dogs: ADA Information for Businesses

Americans with Disabilities Act, Title III- Business Brief DOJ

Commonly asked questions: ADA, US Department of Justice website
If you have additional questions concerning the ADA and service animals, please call the Department's ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY) or visit the ADA Business Connection at

Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants, hotels, taxis and shuttles, grocery and department stores, hospitals and medical offices, theaters, health clubs, parks, and zoos.

1. Q: What are the laws that apply to my business?
A: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.

2. Q: What is a service animal?
A: The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.

Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. Guide dogs are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. This is the type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some examples include:

_ Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds.
_ Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments.
_ Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance.

A service animal is not a pet.

3. Q: How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?
A: Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers.

If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability.

Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal.

Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.

4. Q: What must I do when an individual with a service animal comes to my business?
A: The service animal must be permitted to accompany the individual with a disability to all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. An individual with a service animal may not be segregated from other customers.

5. Q: I have always had a clearly posted "no pets" policy at my establishment. Do I still have to allow service animals in?
A: Yes. A service animal is not a pet. The ADA requires you to modify your "no pets" policy to allow the use of a service animal by a person with a disability. This does not mean you must abandon your "no pets" policy altogether but simply that you must make an exception to your general rule for service animals.

6. Q: My county health department has told me that only a guide dog has to be admitted. If I follow those regulations, am I violating the ADA?
A: Yes, if you refuse to admit any other type of service animal on the basis of local health department regulations or other state or local laws. The ADA provides greater protection for individuals with disabilities and so it takes priority over the local or state laws or regulations.

7. Q: Can I charge a maintenance or cleaning fee for customers who bring service animals into my business?
A: No. Neither a deposit nor a surcharge may be imposed on an individual with a disability as a condition to allowing a service animal to accompany the individual with a disability, even if deposits are routinely required for pets. However, a public accommodation may charge its customers with disabilities if a service animal causes damage so long as it is the regular practice of the entity to charge non-disabled customers for the same types of damages. For example, a hotel can charge a guest with a disability for the cost of repairing or cleaning furniture damaged by a service animal if it is the hotel's policy to charge when non-disabled guests cause such damage.

8. Q: I operate a private taxicab and I don't want animals in my taxi; they smell, shed hair and sometimes have "accidents." Am I violating the ADA if I refuse to pick up someone with a service animal?
A: Yes. Taxicab companies may not refuse to provide services to individuals with disabilities. Private taxicab companies are also prohibited from charging higher fares or fees for transporting individuals with disabilities and their service animals than they charge to other persons for the same or equivalent service.

9. Q: Am I responsible for the animal while the person with a disability is in my business?
A: No. The care or supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of his or her owner. You are not required to provide care or food or a special location for the animal.

10. Q: What if a service animal barks or growls at other people, or otherwise acts out of control?
A: You may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from your facility when that animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

For example, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other guests or customers may be excluded. You may not make assumptions, however, about how a particular animal is likely to behave based on your past experience with other animals. Each situation must be considered individually.

Although a public accommodation may exclude any service animal that is out of control, it should give the individual with a disability who uses the service animal the option of continuing to enjoy its goods and services without having the service animal on the premises.

11. Q: Can I exclude an animal that doesn't really seem dangerous but is disruptive to my business?
A: There may be a few circumstances when a public accommodation is not required to accommodate a service animal--that is, when doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the business. Generally, this is not likely to occur in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities. But when it does, for example, when a dog barks during a movie, the animal can be excluded.

If you have further questions about service animals or other requirements of the ADA, you may call the U.S. Department of Justice's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

What is a Hearing Dog?
The ADA defines a service dog as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.

A Hearing Dog is a trained service animal that assists a deaf or severely hard of hearing individual by responding to a specific set of noises such as a ringing telephone, a knock on the door, a crying baby, an alarm clock, an oven timer, a car horn, or an emergency vehicle siren. Such animals may be referred as, ‘hearing dogs’, ‘hearing ear dogs’, ‘signal dogs’, or ‘hearing guide dogs’.

How can a Hearing Dog be identified?
Often, a Hearing Dog can be identified by a bright orange or yellow leash. Some dogs may wear a ‘jacket’ identifying them as a Hearing Dog. Dogs that have completed a specialized training program are often issued some type of certification, indicating that the animal has successfully completed auditory assistance training.

However, not having any of these identifiers does not preclude a dog from being a legitimate service animal.

Several pieces of Federal legislation also protect and expand rights of owners of Hearing Ear Dogs. These include...

a. The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), Title III.
b. Air Carrier Access Act (1986)
c. Fair Housing Amendments Act (1988)
d. The Rehabilitation Act (1973)

However, it is clearly the responsibility of the owner to insure that their animal is well behaved. Dogs that are disruptive can, under current law, be excluded from places of public accommodation.

Must a dog be formally certified?
No. Since there is no nationally accepted standard with which to evaluate training and performance of a Hearing Dog, certification is not a requirement under the law. Furthermore, no one can require an individual to show proof that their animal is a Hearing Dog. However, it is recommended that a dog receive formal training to insure that the use of such an animal provides maximum benefit to the owner.

What breeds make the best Hearing Dogs?
Hearing Dogs come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. It is the individual attributes of the dog that are important. Examples of desirable traits would include a mild temperment, good attention span, and above average intelligence.

How much will a Hearing Dog cost?
Formal training of a service dog is a process that involves time and active participation on the part of the owner. The cost of such training is generally between $2,000 and $5,000. Civic and community service organizations are often happy to assist needy candidates with the cost of this training.

Where can I get more information?
For general information, contact:
Delta Society National Service Dog Center
P.O. Box 1080Renton, WA
(425) 226-7357 Voice
(425) 235-1076 Fax

Definitions to understanding the legal terms:

hearing dog n. A dog trained to assist a deaf or hearing-impaired person by signaling the occurrence of certain sounds, such as a ringing telephone. -The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

assistance dog n. those trained to be of assistance to handicapped or disabled people. The most familiar ones are guide dogs and hearing dogs, but others may be trained to assist people confined to wheelchairs or with other types of limited mobility.

Great Dane FAQ

Please remember that the information contained herin is general and based upon personal experiences. There are always exceptions.

General Description

The Great Dane is one of the giant breed of dogs. They are tall and well muscled without being heavy. Their appearance is often described as aristocratic or majestic. Part of the AKC standard reads as follows: "The Great Dane combines in its distinguished appearance dignity, strength and elegance with great size and a powerful, well-formed, smoothly muscled body. He ... must be well balanced ... and is always a unit - the Apollo of dogs. He must be spirited and courageous - never timid. He is friendly and dependable."

How big is a Great Dane really?

When is a Dane full grown?According to the AKC standard the male Great Dane should not be less than 30 inches at the shoulder and is preferable that he be 32 inches or more. The female should not be less than 28 inches and is preferable to be 30 inches or more. From what I have seen in the show ring a very correct male of 34 inches can win but most people like larger dogs (a height of 36 inches is an advertising point in the breed magazines). How long it takes a Great Dane to become full grown depends on the breeding with some pedigree lines maturing at about 1 year of age for females and some (many) not maturing until 3 years for males. Full height is often achieved by 18-24 months and weight/musculature by 3 years. The "puppyhood" of a Great Dane usually lasts at least 18 months. They usually settle down from frantic puppy activity levels about 9 months to 1 year and are mentally mature (out of adolescense) between 18 - 28 months.
The size of a Great Dane is a two edged sword. Being so big certainly allows you to romp with them to your hearts content and people think twice (or more) before entering the house uninvited. However it does take more effort to travel with a Great Dane and to feed and care for them. Great Danes are easily trainable so obedience and control should never be an issue as long as you are willing to do your part (a personal observation: obedience classes are to train the *people* and to socialize the dog not vice versa). It is up to each person to assess the benefit vs. work equation for this breed (as for any breed.) Except for the travelling point Danes are wonderfully easy to care for in my opinion. (Some males which have very full flews (lips) may be prone to slobber. This is individual dependent and not necessarily characteristic of the breed.)

How much does a Dane eat? What kind of diet is required?

This really depends on the type of food you choose to feed (how concentrated it is). Follow the directions on the bag for the weight and condition of the dog. However it is generally recommended that puppy food NOT be fed to this breed.
Danes are susecptible to bloat and torsion so the less stress on the gastrointenstinal tract the better. Puppies are usually fed 4 times a day gradually decreasing to twice a day between 4 to 6 months.

How much excercise does a Dane need?

A Great Dane needs only a moderate amount of exercise. This amount is less than breeds such as German Sheperd Dogs, Dobermans, Dalmations, and the other active sporting and herding breeds. Usually a walk on a long lead (then they get more exercise than you do by running from here to there smelling everything) or 10 - 15 minutes of chasing a ball, frisbee, or stick per day are sufficient. Of course the more the better. However, it is recommended that you do NOT jog with a Great Dane until they are at least 18 months old (they grow so much so fast that continued strain of this kind could lead to development problems).

What are the grooming requirements?

Very minimal grooming is needed. Danes are short haired dogs so there is no required daily brushing, trimming, stripping etc. A bath, nail trim, and teeth cleaning when necessary are all that are needed although a brush will be appreciated especially when doing what little shedding they do.

How much room does a Dane need? Where should I keep a Dane?

It is recommended that Great Danes be kept indoors. This is both because of their short hair coat and their disposition. Danes can handle a kennel situation if it is run right and they receive enough attention but really thrive indoors with the family. A Dane should never be left continually outside in the yard (you will have a sick, neurotic dog). Danes are definately part of the family. This does not mean that Danes need constant attention. They can be left in a fenced yard for a sunny afternoon, will curl up at your feet at night, or can be crated at night just as long as they are with you. Many Danes will sleep in another room, especially if there are more than one of them, but of course prefer to be with a member of the family.

Are Danes good with children? Are Danes good watchdogs?

Danes are very good with children. I would caution that you watch Danes and children when they are together just because a Dane is so big that even just licking a child may knock them over (of course some kids think this is great). Danes are also good watchdogs (even if they can't tell the difference between a doorbell on TV and a real one).
Of course people think twice before entering a house where the dog is looking back through the peephole at them . The Danes I have known also seem to be able to easily distinguish between those you readily accept into the house and those you don't. And if you have done your job and trained them to leave people alone they are more than happy to lay down somewhere in the room and leave your guests alone AFTER they have said hello! (and provided the person is not a previous wrestling buddy!).

What is the average lifespan of a Dane?

The average lifespan of most giant breeds is about 8 years. I know of Danes living to 10-12 years but 8 is average.

What are the common health problems with Danes?

There are two main health problems which afflict the Great Dane breed: hip dysplasia and bloat/torsion. Wobblers, thyroid problems, and eyes (CERF approval) also appear in the breed in some bloodlines.

General Health Maintenance

Great Danes will cost more for maintanance than smaller dogs. Their shots will cost more, their heartworm medicine will definately cost more, and you need to find a vet with a FLOOR SCALE THAT IS BIG ENOUGH :-) !

History of the Great Dane

The Great Dane was developed to hunt the wild boar of Europe (and hence the cropped ears typically seen on Danes in the US). The Germans are generally credited with developing the Dane as it exists today. It is generally accepted that the Great Dane is descended from some type of mastiff and wolfhound.
The Great Dane breed is at least 400 years old but there are drawings of a dog which resemble the Great Dane on Egyption monuments of 3000 B.C. and the earliest written description of a dog resembling a Great Dane is found in Chinese Literature of 1121 B.C. There is no reason anyone has been able to determine for connecting Denmark (Dane) with this dog. It was "made in Germany" and the breed standard of all countries is based on the german Deutsche Doggen Club standard.

What colors do Danes come in?

The AKC recognized Fawn, Brindle, Black, Blue, and Harlequin.

Merle (gray) is also a color that is not AKC recognized (there has been discussion/flames about this and merle has been correlated to genetic defects).

Disclaimer: (info taken from this site

The above information is intended to provide answers to some of the common questions typically asked about the Great Dane.
It is based largely on an author's personal experience of owning a Great Dane as well as comments from others who have been involved in the breed for far longer. I have also referred to the following books:
The Complete Dog Book Publication of the American Kennel Club

The Great Dane by Anna Katharine Nichols.

His name is what?

Hamilton is his "kennel" or "home" name. It is how we introduce him to our friends and the public when we are out and about.

However, Hamilton is only part of his name. He is a full-blooded, pure-bred Great Dane. As such, he has a registered name with the American Kennel Club:


Yes, it's a mouth-ful.
But, he's a BIIIIIG dog!

A Hearing Ear Dog?


"What, is a hearing ear dog?"

I have heard this question many times. It often comes with:

  • "I have heard of a seeing-eye dog."
  • "I have heard of a rescue dog."
  • "I know about specialized dogs for the police or military."
  • "I know dogs that help in therapy."

All of these things are "jobs" held by dogs.

A job? Yes.

Dogs, by nature, want to please. At least most of them do.
A healthy, happy, well-adjusted dog- wants to please it's master, or whomever it has the most contact with.

A dog without a not usually a happy dog.

Think about the many things that 'every day joe' dogs do:

Fetch the paper, play with children, fetch a ball, fetch a stick, chase
rabbits/squirrels, find things that smell (bad), wake you up every morning,
sleep near your bed, bark when someone drives up to your house, bark when
someone rings the doorbell or knocks at your door, threatens the meter
reader or postal carrier, doesn't like the weird teenager next door and is

These, in some small sense, are what that dog views as his or her 'job'. Some things are trained and some are just 'there'.

A dog with no 'job' of any kind is usually this dog:

a digger who destroys carpets, furniture or yards.
a barker who drives everyone in hearing distance (and beyond) insane.
a hyper, crazy, and irritating dog who won't obey or mind.
a dog who jumps on people, bites, claws or otherwise has no manners.

Sounds like most dogs at the pound, yes?

What, then, is a "Hearing Ear Dog", you ask?

It's a dog with a very big, very important, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week, job.
A Hearing Ear someone's ears.
Hamilton, is mine.

His job:

Listen for the doorbell, phone, smoke detector, oven timer, and any other
small or high-pitched noise that is outside the range of my hearing.

Listen for someone approaching my house, from any direction.

Listen for someone knocking on my door, or working on the outside of my
house, or tapping on my windows....any sound I should know about...but don't,
because I'm deaf.

Watch over me. Let me sleep without worry. Bark if I need to pay attention.
Touch me if I am unaware. Help my children and my husband know I am looked
after. Be my best friend and my protector.

Fill the void in my life that I have from not having hearing.

More Hearing Ear Dog Information:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Photos... Baby Pictures1 (two weeks old)


Hamilton's pedigree....

Hamilton is a pure-bred Great Dane. I can trace his bloodline back several generations and see what dogs he is bred from....and how they did in the show or breeding forums.

His bloodline is filled with big, long, impressive names, and many of them with titles.

(Dog ->Sire x Dam)


I will be posting links so you can trace Hamilton's pedigree back quite a ways, and you will see "CH" and "BISS" and things like "Am CH= American Champion" and "FRA CH= French Champion" which means his line has gone international and won championships against dogs from around the world.

Why is this important?

1. Ethical breeding. Breeders that are careful about their lines result in healthier and stronger genetics for the pups. In-breeding, or breeding generations too close together (son to grandmother) result in many of the problems that plague purebreds and give them a bad name.

2. Quality of the line. Hamilton's great-grandmother lived to 12. The average life span of a Great Dane, and most giant breeds, is 7-8 years. Some, due to poor breeding practices, even less. The better the line, the better the dog.

3. Knowing your dog, from the DNA out. Personality and temperament are passed down. Knowing your line helps you decide what your dog may have for a temperament in the future.

Woofs. Ham's rating system.

  • Five Woofs = I REALLY LIKE IT
  • Four Woofs = I like it
  • Three Woofs = It was OK
  • Two Woofs = Meh.
  • One Woof = No, thanks.

Hamilton's family



Hamilton. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved: Tatanjia McNamara :|: Email Taj