Please tell us when and how you got started in Danes?
In 1974 I went to a dog show with a young lady in college and thought I should have a Great Dane to impress. Later bought a pet puppy that was supposed to be a show/breeding prospect. Around 1980 I finally got to know Gina Jaeblon who got me started in showing my first Great Dane.
What is your kennel name?
When we got married I told Kathy that we could now drop one of our Kennel names, her's being Avant and mine was Weaver's, she said sure let's drop Weaver's. It is now officially Avant-Weaver…it has been R-Danes & NCR and then Weaver’s
What colors Have you owned or bred?
I Started in harls, and now have only fawn and brindles.
What other breeds have you had?
I had PBGV’s before they were recognized by AKC and now am owned by 2 Clumber Spaniels, and one PBGV.
Who were your mentors?
Gina Jaeblon, Pat Zator, Donna Crane, Mike and Trudy Mueller, and that old handler Mike Chiles.
CH Honey Lane's Highlight (Marker)
Were there any particular dogs or breeders that you admired, or thought represented what you wanted to breed or own?
A number of the Honey Lane dogs, and one of my favorites was CH Laurenwood’s Top of the Morning a beautiful Harl dog from years ago. The success that the Mueller's had as breeders/exhibitors/handlers was always a goal of mine, and still is.
What was the name of your 1st Champion?
Ch R-Danes Piccolina, Harl Bitch..1982..One of only 5 harl bitches that finished that year.
Did you handle yourself or use handlers? Didn’t you actually become a professional handler?
I started hiring handlers and put most of the points on my first champion and then handled Ch Honey Lanes Cheers to her Championship and then on to Top 20, suddenly I was a good handler…nothing succeeds like success.
BISS CH Honey Lane's Cheers
Have you handled any dogs that you were particularly fond of over others? Why?
Ch Honeylanes Cheers my first TOP 20 participant and BISS and Group winner in 1989 & Ch Honeylanes Allure and Ch Chanoz the Chosen One. They were both good dogs that I really liked and think that I got the most out of them the short time I had them to handle. CH Avant Bon Chance v. Weaver, “rufus” was probably my favorite, We were a team and he loved being out there, Kathy always said he made me look like I knew what I was doing.
What do you consider your greatest success to date? Your greatest challenge?
I think we starting looking at the big picture very early in our show career. Doing health testing and not breeding dogs or to dogs just because they were winners or produced champions. CHALLENGE…breeding to get a dog that has the breed type that I so much admire, while at the same time taking all other factors into consideration like temperament and health.
Would you like to Judge?
Absolutely, we both love being in the center of the ring and hopefully we can help the new breeder out with some logical direction to a successful program
Are you currently showing any dogs? Breeding any?
Yes, Hope springs eternal, maybe the next dog or litter will be the best one ever. We have a litter due soon thanks to frozen semen out of one of our old stud dogs.
Do you think all dogs should be health tested? If so what tests?
Absolutely.. I think the tests required for CHIC certification should be standard for our dogs and others. We used to only health check our own dogs but our philosophy has evolved. We started doing hips in the 80’s and now do all CHIC testing on our dogs and now not even breeding to any bitch, that does not pass OFA and CERF.
What advice would you give to someone just starting in Danes?
Have a plan, even if you have to change it as you learn, but decide what you want and what you are prepared to do to achieve those goals, and be prepared to work hard.
What do you think we need to improve on in our breed? What about mix color breeding?
Temperaments, there are too many of our “show dogs” that end up first as pets and can not fit into a normal life. I have never mixed color bred myself but have mix bred my fawn and brindle dogs to black bitches but I am seriously considering breeding a fawn bitch to a black dog out of one of my old stud dogs. I am not sure black to fawn is considered mixed any more.
What are the biggest changes you have seen in Danes over the years?
Thanks to and because of the internet the sudden number of experts in the dog world. So little experience and so much so called knowledge. It used to be that you worshipped at the feet of the “OLD TIMERS” . Now an old timer is anyone that has had 2 or 3 champions and bred 2 or 3 litters.
BISS CH Avant Bon Chance
If you could change something in the dog show community what would it be?
I would make judges more responsible for their actions, a system that would help stop them from using their authority to pass judgment unfairly. Expand the gray areas that the AKC talks about but does nothing to enforce.
I know you had some health problems in the past. Are you doing OK now?
I am a new man, after a major heart attack in 1992 and gastric By-pass surgery in 2006 and a knee replacement in 2007 I AM BACK! I had to stop showing dogs for almost 2 years because I was too fat and in pain to even do a decent job. But, thanks to my doctors and my family I have come out of it with no major pains and am ready to climb back up the ladder of success.
Tell us a little about the rest of your family. Any other hobbies besides dogs?
My wife Kathy is my biggest competition and biggest supporter in and out of the ring. My daughter has been at my bedside and even took over the dogs in 1992 and has helped get me up and moving again. She says her bossiness, comes from good breeding. I have promised myself to get my golf game into the respectable range, something it has never been before.
Great Dane Review would like to thank Mr. Weaver for taking the time to answer our questions.