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Jackie van Delft | VanDelft Danes

Jackie van Delft, Breeder of VanDelft Danes Kennel


Interview with Jackie van Delft, Breeder of VanDelft Danes

Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?

Jackie van Delft: Danny and I live in North Royalton, Ohio. We started in Great Danes in 2012, though we didn’t have our first litter until 2018.


What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?

Jackie van Delft: Our Kennel name is VanDelft Danes. We currently have four Great Danes in our home.


Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?

Jackie van Delft: Our heart dog, “Enzo” (GCH Longo Miller N Lore’s Here Comes The Son), had given us some of our first bigger wins in showing and our foot in the door with showing Great Danes. But our most noteworthy winner is our current Dane, “Jynx” (MBISS GCHS Longo Lore N VanDelft’s Superstition).


Which have been my most influential sires and dams?

Jackie van Delft: Our most influential sires and dams are from our mentors, Tootie Longo and Lorraine Matherly. We are lucky to start our breeding program with our foundation bitch, “Amelia” (CH Longo Miller N Lore’s Sugar N Spice HOF), who is out of the historic, most-winning BIS Dane, “Scout,” MBIS MBISS GCHP Longo Miller N Lore’s Diamond Lil.


Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?

Jackie van Delft: We live in a 1900 square foot ranch home on an acre. Our dogs are whelped and raised inside our home. Puppies are raised by introducing them to fear and recovery, ENS, brain stimulation, and potty and crate training, to name a few. We want our puppies to thrive in their new homes when they leave the nest.


What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?

Jackie van Delft: We don’t just evaluate puppies stacked on a table. We like to watch how our puppies grow in movement, self-stacking, and attitude. How do they look each week? Does the structure of the puppy also show promising movement? They need to have the structure and soundness to perform their job and be an athlete. They should look like the Apollo of Dogs, signifying power, coordination, and suppleness. Great Danes need structure and movement to achieve the overall function of its Breed Standard.


Do I compete in Performance Events? In Parent Club Tests & Trials?

Jackie van Delft: We have dabbled in some Rally Obedience, Fast CAT, and a little Agility, but have not heavily competed in Performance Events.


Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?

Jackie van Delft: We show our Danes to their Championship or Grand Championship to show our dedication in proving our Danes for breed preservation.


How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?

Jackie van Delft: We work hard conditioning our Danes to be true athletes and in great shape. We train them to do some fun tricks, like high five, to keep the mind engaged while in the ring.


Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?

Jackie van Delft: Great Danes have their breed health issues. The biggest issue I have seen in our breed is bloat. We recommend to our puppy owners having pet insurance and look into preventative gastropexy for their Danes. Dilated cardiomyopathy is another health issue seen in our breed. We recommend doing an echocardiogram (an OFA requirement) and doing follow up echocardiograms every one or two years. I recommend making sure your growing Dane puppy is on a balanced, low protein/fat diet to prevent growth-related problems. I also feel repetitious behavior is essential, like eating at the same time. Dogs thrive on all of these things.


Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?

Jackie van Delft: There are a good number of preservation breeders that I know of. Unfortunately, there are backyard breeders who do not health test or prove their dogs. Those Danes tend to be hyper-type (the fad name, “Euro” Dane). We try our best to educate the public on doing good research for a preservation breeder.


Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?

Jackie van Delft: Great Danes can be an amazing family dog. Being a giant breed, it’s highly recommended that a family does proper obedience training with their Great Dane so that they can be the greatest they can be! What is so wonderful about our breed is that a Great Dane can fit into a wide variety of types of homes. A young Great Dane can have some high energy. A family will need to be prepared to do proper exercise and training with their dog. Great Danes are a big dog that can come with some big bills. Feeding and vet care can be quite pricey. A family needs to be prepared that an emergency visit for a Dane can be over $6,000 walking in the door of an ER.


What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?

Jackie van Delft: The biggest misconception is that a Great Dane is a lazy couch potato that makes great apartment dogs. Great Danes can have a good amount of energy. Especially for the first 2-3 years. Our Danes can go on long hikes and love to be outdoors throughout a beautiful day. When they are about four, they are more laid-back and flexible, though they’re still up for a nice hike or a cuddle in bed all morning.


If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?

Jackie van Delft: I always loved what Judge Anne Rogers Clark said. She wrote words that every judge should live by in the ring, and instructed judges to “first choose the individuals in your ring with the best breed type, and then reward the soundest of those typey individuals.” If we all strive to judge with that directive in mind, our breeds would be far better served in the long run.


Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?

Jackie van Delft: I don’t believe you should go into showing Great Danes with the intention, “I have to breed and be a breeder right away.” It should start with a passion for the breed and gaining knowledge before the next step of breeding. I recommend joining an affiliate club of the Great Dane Club of America or a kennel club. Joining a Great Dane club is a good way to start getting involved with the breed, and meeting other breeders and Great Dane lovers.

You never stop learning. Finding a mentor is a huge help. A mentor will help guide you and point you on the right path of learning and making good breeding decisions for your Great Dane. A mentor is usually who you get your Great Dane from, so they will have a good idea of what is best for the bloodline and what doesn’t complement them. I am very lucky to live close to my mentor, Tootie Longo.

Going to shows with her has been not only memorable, but also such valuable experiences for me. Developing a close relationship and friendship with your mentor is also valuable when you become a breeder. They will be there for you during the good times and bad times. If there is something you need help with, your mentor should have a network of other Great Dane breeders they too can reach out to help you. I have been extremely blessed to have Tootie Longo and Lorraine Matherly. Both of these amazing women have been a huge support for me and are so important in my life. They’re not just my mentors and partners, they are family.


For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Working Dog?

Jackie van Delft: Great Danes have huge personalities and our Danes make us laugh all the time. Our high-food-driven girl, “Amelia,” loves her carbs, and as a puppy she would snatch a loaf of bread and we would chase her around the house! Our microwave has become the “vault” ever since.