First of all, here are a few tips to help you recognize a reputable breeder when you talk to one:
1. Look for puppies who have been raised the way you intend the pup to live with you. In other words, if you are looking for a companion to live in your home with your family, that is how the puppy should have been raised at least part of the time - in a home, with a family. But you'll have to see that for yourself. Many commercial breeders claim on their websites that their pups are raised in the house, while in fact they spend all their time in a kennel building, barn or backyard.
2. Get written proof of any health testing. Being told that "my vet said she's healthy" or "My vet looked at the X-rays and said they were OK" is NOT the same thing as real Health Testing. For Great Danes, the following tests should be done:
-Hips should be checked for the absence of Hip Dysplasia, as proved by a score from either OFA or PennHip.
- In addition, screenings for normal heart, eyes and thyroid should be done. For more information on the recommended health screenings for Danes, go here.
3. Possibly the SINGLE most telling question you can ask is "Why did you breed this litter?" With a responsible breeder this question has been on his/her mind for over a year, and will start a fairly lengthy dialog covering individual weaknesses and strengths, pedigree research, hopes & dreams of what the breeder wanted to produce, etc. If a litter has been bred just to make money, or just because it was convenient (i.e. the neighbors had a dog of the same breed) you won't get much of an answer, or will get something that sounds made-up.