Please tell us how you got started in Danes?
We got started in 1975 when we made a trip from Missoula to Lewiston, Idaho on opening day of hunting season. A male Great Dane stopped us on the road. He looked very hungry and . I started to go around him, and, fearing he would be shot for a deer, stopped and let him in the motor home. He went back and sat on the seat with the kids. We tried to find where he belonged but were unable to. All we ever knew was that his name was Caesar. Of course, we could not show him; however, we became so fond of Great Danes, we purchased our foundation bitch out of a breeding of Champion Von Raseac's Tybo OLorcain and Kolyer's Grand Lady Johna. We bred her to Champion Hauerdane's War Bonnet and that is how this all began.
Am Ca Ch Burke's Skip Away of Ruby Moon.
What colors do you breed or own? Your kennel name?
Until a few years ago, we had never had any color but fawn; however, we bred to Champion Lera Rika Brier No Non Cents Etal A O M and got our first brindle. There was no particular reason for not breeding to brindle before. I like all the colors. Our kennel name is Daneomania; however, that being so long a name we use "Burke's" on most of our dogs.
Were there any dogs, Past or present that you admired or thought represented what you wanted to breed or own?
We have had many favorites over the years. It is difficult to answer this question because we have known so many. Three mentioned above, Tybo, War Bonnet and Link of course are among the many. We admired Ch Indian Amber, Ch Bull Lee, Champion Meadowwood Ultimate Oliver, BISS Am/Can Ch Classical's Nadia of Burke, Ch Von Raseac's French Dandy as well as many others of all colors
BISS Am/Can Ch Classical's Nadia of Burke
What was the name of your 1st Champion? Did you owner handle or use professionals?
Our first Champion was BISS Am/Can Ch Poppy's Arapaho Scout of Brier, and our second was BISS Am/Can Ch Burke's Machine Gun Kelly SDS. We have bred and owned approximately 15 champions. We have loved every dog that ever lived in our house. At first we used a handler on occasion; however, we enjoyed showing so much, we showed our own dogs. I feel both owner handlers and professionals are important to the breed. In judging it should be about the dog being presented.
What made you decide to apply for your judges license?
I wrestled with becoming a Judge for many years. I really enjoy exhibiting. That is one of the biggest reasons that I never applied before. I doubt that I'll be doing much exhibiting , if any once I begin the Judging aspect.
Do you currently exhibit or breed?
At the present time we exhibit and breed. My wife will, of course, continue to exhibit.
What advise would you give owner handlers just getting started in the ring?
I would encourage someone just getting started to become a student of the breed. One should, of course know the standard, and work toward producing it. Get to know other exhibitors and breeders. There are many reputable breeders with whom one can become acquainted. Most old-timers, so to speak, are more than happy to work with the newcomer. exhibiting, if any, once I begin the Judging aspect.
What do you think needs the most improvement in our breed?
If I were to say one thing that needs improvement would be fronts. I feel we are losing breed type with narrower and weaker fronts than we have seen for some time.
BISS Am Ca CH Lincoln's Just Dandy of Burke
What are the biggest changes you have seen in Danes over the years? What about mix color breeding? Do you think the blues and blacks are better now since a lot more mix color breeding has occurred?
I feel type has changed over the years. I feel, we are seeing, more refined dogs for the most part. This, of course, is certainly not true in all cases.
Since we do not mix-color breed it is difficult to express an opinion. I do feel that those who do chose to mix-color should have a knowledge in genetics. The ultimate goal for the judge is to judge that particular dog on that day as to how it meets the standard. I do think the mix-color has brought a lot of improvement to the blue and black colors. The gene pool is now so much larger for blue and black.
Do you co own dogs? What do you think about co-owning?
We have co-owned a number of dogs, sometimes with pet homes, so that we can continue to show the dogs that we have no room for in our home, and sometimes so that we can breed the best available. I think co-owning should be done very carefully, with a very specific written contract so that both parties have a clear understanding of what will take place with expenses, exhibiting, and breeding.
Can Ch Burke’s Spectacular Bid Of Ruby Moon
Do you think things will be different with your friends now that you will be a judge? Do you think things may be awkward or difficult?
I don't feel things will be different with my friends. Some have encouraged me for a long time to judge. We all know the rules as to who should enter your ring. I don't feel judging will create an awkward situation.
Do you think you will ever want to Judge additional breeds? Juniors?
I do want to judge Juniors. Our daughter was a Junior for some time and qualified for Westminster. I feel the experiences Juniors encounter aid them in many aspects in life. As for judging other breeds, if I do decide to apply for other breeds, I would probably like to judge Boxers, Rottweilers and Dobermans.
BISS Am Ca Ch Poppy's Arapaho Scout of Brier
What are your thoughts on “Showing” a dog while you are judging? Do you think there are conflicts of interest?
I do feel that exhibiting while Judging creates a very fine line. Some handle the situation better than others. I doubt I will exhibit much, if at all. At present I have a young special that I would like to exhibit on a limited basis; however, I may find that it is better not to exhibit at all.
What about advertising? Is it hard not to be influenced by it?
We all know that there are those who are heavy advertisers and this is fine as it does show, at least, pictures of dogs you have not seen in person and might want to explore for various reasons. I do not feel advertising will influence my judging. I have applied to judge because of my love of the breed and the joy of watching and evaluating each dog as it meets, in my opinion, the standard.
The question always comes up in breeder circles. Do You want to see the photos of the dogs you put up? OK to send Thank you cards or gifts?
It would be nice to see photos of dogs I put up as an educational experience only. I do not believe in thank-you cards or gifts. I feel the dog was entered under me to receive my opinion and that's the way it should be.
Great Dane Review would like to thank Mr. Burke for taking the time to answer our questions.