Please tell us how you got started in Danes? 
I purchased my first great dane from Steve and Maryann Wilson of Daneridge. She was a puppy back from Kathy Jacobs. The year was 1973.
BIS/BISS Ch. Brierdane’s Indian Amber shown in July 1984 winning Group 1 under judge Lowell Davis, with handler Sylvia Rodwell. Owners Richard Varian,Kathy Varian Toomey, and Karen M. Lindsey. Breeders:Karen M Lindsay and Beve Hauer #1 Great Dane 1984

 What colors did you have?
I have owned and finished fawn, brindle, black, blue and harlequin danes. Primarily fawn and brindle with many blacks in my home


Who were your mentors?
 Anna Mary Kauffman, Arlene and Lowell Davis, Peggy McQuillon. Many many people were very kind to me over the years and shared their experiences and information freely with me often when the information was most needed and I have found my co-breeders and the owners of stud dogs I have used to be very supportive and honest over the years. I owe everything I know to someone who came before me.
Ch Rika Brier I’ve Got The Goods going WD and Best Puppy from the 6 to 9 puppy class at the GDC of San Diego specialty under judge Dale Tarbox, with handler Dick Schafer in November 1996. Breeders/Owners: Richard Varian, Kathy Varian Toomey, and Karen M. Lindsay.

Were there any particular dogs that you admired , or thought represented what you wanted to breed or own? CH Jessica Davis was the FIRST dane I saw that knocked my socks off. I took one look at her and said "that is what I want to own and breed". She was in the puppy class at the GDC of CA Specialty at the LA Police Academy. It was the first Specialty show I attended. There are many others over the years who have been beautiful and typey and fabulous but Jessica was the FIRST and BEST for me.

BISS Ch Brier Chaney Will Work For Food being awarded a group placement after being one of the youngest danes to finish in the United States taking all points from the puppy classes. Handled by Dick Schafer for owners Karen M Lindsay, Kathy Varian Toomey, Carol Lindsay and B. Dermody in June 2000.

What was the name of your 1st Champion?
Ch. Winfall Papillion v Mako co-owned with Marsha Banks and bred by Sally Haas and Marsha Banks.

How many champions have you had?
I have owned and/or bred over 65 great dane champions. I currently own a champion Irish Wolfhound, miniature bull terrier and wire haired dachshund - all of which are multiple BOB winners. Biggest winner was, of course, BIS/BISS Ch. Brierdane's Indian Amber (#1 great dane bitch breed systems in 1984). Other memorable dogs include BISS Ch. Hauerdane's Plain James v Rika (top stud dog 1993); Ch. Rika's Plain Jane v Hauer, ROM and GDCC Producer of Merit; BISS Ch. Brier Rika Injun Spirit Chaney (#1 great dane bitch 1992); Ch. Rika Brier Indian Uprising, Honor Roll and GDCC Producer of Merit; Ch. Dustiny Good N Plenty Etal, ROM, GDCC Producer of Merit; Ch. Chaney Brier Twodaloo, ROM and GDCC Producer of Merit; BISS Ch. Rika Brier Catera Lera Etal (#5 great dane 2003) and BISS Ch. Warwick's Truley Scrumptious Truley (#4 great dane 2004, 2005 and winnder of GDCA Top 20).

Do you co-own any dogs?
I co-own every great dane I own and my minature bull terrier and my dachshund so, yes, I co-own them all.
Ch Icon-Hudson’s Move Over Rover, Wire haired dachshund, winning BOB under judge Arlene Davis, with handler Doug Toomey in October 2006. Bred by Jamie Harshfield, owned by Kathy Varian Toomey and Robert and Linda Tonnancour.

Did you handle yourself or use handlers?
I started as an owner handled but have used professional handlers since the late 70's and early 80's. Professional handlers include Doug Toomey (now my husband so he is my favorite), Treasure Hauer (when she was brand new), Sylvia Rodwell, Jane Chopson, Eric Ringle and Dick Schaefer

Kathy Shown in the early 70’s with a St Bernard she handled as a special for friends Larry and Connie Wick.


BISS Ch Hauerdnaes Plain James V Rika winning BOB in June 1989 handled by Treasure Hauer.He was owned by Beve Hauer, Treasure Hauer and Kathy Varian Toomey. James finished his championship at 10 months of age and was the youngest California dane to finish at that time. He was later passed for honor by the brindle bitch,Willie, shown elsewhere in this interview


What do you consider your greatest success to date?

Winning the GDCA Top 20.

BIS Ch Warwicks Truley Scrumptious receiving an AOM at the GDCA National Specialty in 2004 under judge Eddie Lyons, handled by Doug Toomey. Truley was the winner of the GDCA Top 20 event for the year of 2005. She was #4 great dane nationally. Bred by Doug and Anne Toomey. Owned by Robert and Linda Tonnancour, Kathy Varian Toomey, Anne Toomey and Doug Toomey.

Would you like to Judge?
If Doug decides to judge I will probably judge as well.

What have you judged as a breeder?
Many Specialty Sweepstakes, the Futurity and a few matches

Ch. Chaney;s Twobasco Cat Etal shown September 1995 going BOW with handler Dick Schafer. Bred and owned by Kathy Varian Toomey, Carol Ann Chaney and Karen M Lindsay. She was one of my all tome favorite house dogs.

Do you believe in withholding ribbons? As a regular judge I would withhold for disqualifications especially in color.

As a regular judge I would withhold for disqualifications ESPECIALLY color and temperament. As a hobby judge I would withhold for temperament.


Ch Vip’s I’m Brindle and Yernot, miniature bull terrier, being awarded Best In Show Puppy in April 2006 with handler and owner Doug Toomey. Olivia is well known among dane owners as she is our constant companion. owned by Doug Toomey, Kathy Varian Toomey and Robert and Linda Tonnacour.

Are you currently showing any dogs?
We just got our new kennel up and running. We will finish showing our black bitch,Dana Tlbrk I'm Rosa Barks Yernot, who has 9 points and a major in 2008 . We might special the dachshund and mini bull a bit in 2008.

Any breeding plans for the future?

No current breeding plans but we MIGHT consider breeding the black bitch and the miniature bull terrier bitch. 

Ch Rika’s Tattletale at Kino shown going WB under judge Lynette Pizzino, with Handler Sylvia Rodwell in November 1993. Reina was an absolutely FABULOUS example of true dane breed type and temperament- she had it all-another of my personal favorites

Do you think all dogs should be health tested? Yes. I think all breeding stock should get a CHIC number. All of our dogs are health clear. If so what tests? Heart, eyes, vWD, hips and thyroid. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting in Danes?
If you want to run a breeding program buy the BEST bitch you can from an established breeder who is willing to mentor you. If you want to own a top winning dog buy the BEST fawn dog with size, bone, temperament and profile from an established breeder and hire a great handler. To every owner of a giant breed dog: Consider doing elective gastroplexy on all your giant breed dogs. We do it when they are about 2 and have finished and do the hips and gastroplexy at the same time. I would NEVER special a dog who had not had the gastroplexy done. Gastroplexy - $600; peace of mind - priceless!

BISS Ch Rika Brier Catera Lera Etal shown being awarded a group placement with handler Doug Toomey, in June 2003. Caddie Finished the year 2003 #5 great dane nationally. She still loves with us in North Carolina and will be shown as a veteran at the National in 2008. Bred by Karen M Lindsay, Carol Ann Chaney, Kathy Varian Toomey and Beve Dermody. Owned by Kathy Varian Toomey. Karen M Lindsey, Linda Tonnacour and B.Dermody

What do you think we need to improve on in our breed? Front movement, front assembly and croup. I recently judged and was shocked at front movement and croup.

What about mix color breeding?
If one understands the inheritance of coat color I see no problem with cross color breeding. I have owned and bred several cross color bred dogs.

BISS Ch Chaney Rika Never Sadaysfied shown finishing at the GDC of Arizona under Judge Betty Lewis, with handler Dick Schafer in March 1999. Owners Richard Varian, Kathy Varian Toomey and Carol Ann Chaney

What are the biggest changes you have seen in danes over the years?
Unfortunately danes do not appear to have the size, bone and profile they once had. True dane breed type is missing in many. A few breeders continue to breed to the standard and bring beautiful correct animals to the ring year after year but many current breeders continue to win with average and poor quality danes and, unfortunately, to breed those animals. 


Congrats on Married Life. (recently married Doug Toomey) What are you two up to now?
We just finished getting our boarding kennel up and running in Kings Mountain, NC. We plan to attend some shows this year as well. Doug would love to handle a Special again. We are looking at one puppy and some great friends of ours are planning a breeding we are interested in seeing on the ground. Maybe a trip to the Bahamas and British Virgin Islands.


Great Dane Review would like to thank Kathy Varian-Toomey for taking the time to answer our questions.