How did you get started in Great Danes? Were they your original breed?
Growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana with different animals as pets through the years (Jack Russell, Cocker Spaniel, Spitz, Siamese Cats, English Pointer, and Horses along with an Easter duck and chick) coupled with a love and gift toward art, has led me toward a natural love for Great Danes. I have owned Great Danes since 1975. My very first Great Dane was a lost Merle, and she instilled my love for the Breed. I purchased my first show quality Dane (a fawn male) and joined the Hoosier Great Dane Club in 1981 with my husband, Mike. My kennel name “Kativa” comes from slang that my Italian Grandpa teasingly called me meaning naughty, mischievous, rascal – bad girl.
How many dogs do you have?
I have “Gordon” Kativa’s Brickyard and his littermate “Lanie” Kativa’s Victory Lane that I’m currently showing; my 12 yr. old Katie; and three that just turned 7 yrs old. I also co-own “Kodak” Kativa’s Photo Finish, with Lee & Shirley Spall. He competes in both agility and conformation. I also co-own Skiff, Ch Barronage Why Knot with Mark Capes, and Frankee, Kativa's Chairman of the Board with Rose & Denise Madej. We have been blessed with good health and longevity and although most of my Danes are seniors, they are all still very active and an important part of my family.
What was the name of your first champion?
BISS Ch Quaker Hill Chantel V Sorita, GDCA Honor Roll, CGC.
Chantel was also my foundation bitch. She finished quickly with 4 majors in 3 months, before she was 2 years old. Later I bred Chantel to Ch Maitau’s Top Billing, ROM, CGC and that produced 4 AKC champions from a litter of 7. One of the puppies from that first litter is my beloved “Katie” Ch Kativa’s Top Kat, CGC who is now 12 years old. The others were “Alex” Ch Kativa’s Top Expectations, “Sadie” Ch Kativa’s Sadie Hawkwinds, and “Indy” Ch Kativa’s Infrared of Maitau, CGC.
Chantel, BISS Ch Quaker Hill Chantel V Sorita, GDCA Honor Roll, CGC
What color and type of dogs do you breed?
Fawn & brindle Great Danes. My Danes are extremely smart and very stable with a great sense of humor. When we got a new refrigerator with ice dispenser in the door they quickly learned to help themselves, much to my dismay! LOL
Do you health test all of your dogs?
The ones I plan to breed. I prelim x-ray the hips when I start showing them even though they are not 2 yrs old yet. I also like to take advantage of the cardiac ultrasound and other health screenings given at the GDCA National. In the past I didn’t send the results in to a registry because I only bred for myself and gave the puppy buyers a copy of everything. Realizing that someday I’ll be gone, and what will happen to my paper work and records, I now think it is important to send the results in for future generations to be able to see and use
Who were your mentors?
Evelyn Niedenthal, Four Leaf Danes and member of the Hoosier Great Dane Club, was an instructor at conformation training classes and mentored me with my first show Dane. Evelyn is now in her 80’s and still a great source of encouragement. And there are other numerous people who have been helpful and influential as I continue to learn in this breed.
Alex, Ch Kativa's Top Expectations, CGC (Finished quickly with two 5 point majors in one weekend, one 4 point major, and a single)
At what age do you evaluate a litter?
8 weeks. I’ve attended Pat Hastings Puppy Puzzle Seminars and have found it very helpful. An eye for art and horses has also helped.
Are you still exhibiting?
I have trained and shown Black, Blue and Harlequin Danes for friends and clients, but I am now showing only my own dogs, and most of the time show in the Bred By Exhibitor Class.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started?
Buy the best bitch possible to start your foundation; have a mentor; strive for temperament, health, and longevity as well as conformation. Learn to listen: You can learn something from everyone you talk to.
Have fun at dog shows. And don’t neglect your family life… it is important, also.
Cher, Kativa's Life After Love (2006 GDCA National, 4th place Vet.Bitch 6-8 yrs)