Project BYB
Helping puppy buyers avoid Backyard Breeders.

The following views and opinions expressed are written by Great Dane Rescue & Rehoming NSW (the owner of this website), these views are not neccessarily held by other GD Rescue organisations or GD Clubs, please speak with your states rescue co-ordinator or GD Club to ask for their view on the subject.

What is a Backyard Breeder (BYB)?
Backyard breeding is a term used to describe irresponsible breeding of animals. Often this is due to ignorance or neglect where a dog accidentally becomes pregnant because the owner has failed to have them desexed. In other cases animals are deliberately bred so the animals can be sold to earn the owner money. When such breeding is carried out on a large scale, the term puppy mill or puppy farm is sometimes used.

What distinguishes backyard breeders from responsible breeders are the standards that the breeder meets.

Backyard breeding contributes to the unwanted companion animal population in the community. Uncontrolled breeding and overpopulation ultimately leads to the euthanasia of fit and healthy unwanted animals every year.

From here on in, when we state 'BYB' we are referring to unregistered Breeders. A Registered Breeder is a Breeder who is a member of their States Canine Controlling body such as Dogs NSW, and is required to comply with rules & codes.

To learn more about rules and codes Registered Breeders are required to abide by you can click here to view the Dogs NSW Code of Ethics.

There are great Registered Breeders and there are some not so educated Registered Breeders. To help you find a great Registered Breeder we have put together an info pack for you to learn how to avoid the common pit falls.


Rationale's about purchasing from a BYB

The BYB I bought my puppy from loves their dogs...
Most dog owners love their dogs, not all dogs from BYB's are neglected and uncared for.

It's been born now so it needs a home regardless of if it's from a BYB
Sadly, to purchase from a BYB only encourages them just the same as if you purchase a petshop puppy you will open a space for them to sell another one. If you don't purchase one then you make it harder for the breeder to sell their puppies making it a less desirable exercise which they hopefully won't do again.

I met the Mum & Dad, they were nice...

Meeting Mum & Dad is good. Unfortunately the dogs presented to you as the parents aren't always the parents, without DNA testing / Pedigree papers you can't know for sure who the parents of your puppy are. Meeting Mum & Dad also doesn't tell you what's in their genetic/health history or what genetic defects they could be carrying that could have been passed onto your puppy.

Do you know what the temperaments of the Grandparents or Great Grandparents are like? Genetics don't always travel in a straight line so we need to know the family history to get a more predictable outcome.

We are seeing more and more fearful and overly sensitive Great Danes bred by BYB's - these types of temperaments are more likely to fear bite and this is definitely not the temperament you would like in a family companion.

With a responsible Registered Breeder it's usually not too difficult to find out this information as you may be able to meet the Grandparents or if they have passed away or are overseas you are more likely to find people in the show world, online or other breeders that had met the dogs.

The Breeder told me Mum & Dad are healthy and there are no health problems...

Without health screening such as Hip & Elbow scoring, Thyroid Testing, Heart ECG the Breeder cannot guarantee you that Mum & Dad were not affected by these conditions at the time of breeding.

It has to be said that Health Screening is only now really starting to be seen in Australia for Great Danes. Not all Registered Breeders do it yet so you are relying on their decades of knowledge and education of the pedigrees they are using - can the same be said for BYB's?

In addition some of the ailments in our Breed cannot be tested for (such as Wobblers, DCM, Atopy etc.) and in these circumstances you need to rely on the experience and knowledge of an experienced breeder who knows the dogs pedigree inside and out.

Most BYB's would be unlikely to know who the Grandparents of their dogs were and what health conditions they had - sadly, even if they did they may be unlikely to tell you in-case they lose you as a buyer. The BYB is concerned about the money you hand over or getting rid of an unwanted litter rather than the future well being of the breed.

Some common BYB health problems you may encounter are:

Eye Problems
Some dogs having both ectropion and entropion and even more complex issues that need to be treated by Specialists which can set owners back around $1,000 - $2,000, sometimes even more.

Hip Displaysia
Has many different causes, however can be caused by the incorrect breeding and rearing of puppies whilst with the BYB and can cost around $7,000 per hip to correct.

Roached Spines
Roached spines and associated poor conformation can cause dogs pain and discomfort. They may need medication in their later years as well as ongoing muscle manipulation; acupuncture, bowen, chiro etc. to manage discomfort on a monthly basis and in some cases even weekly which may cost anywhere from $30-$80 per session.

Skin issues
Skin issues originate from the immune system. It is an issue you will deal with for the life of the dog and it usually gets worse as the years go by. Atopica which is the most safe form of treatment will costs between $150-$200 per week for a Great Dane sized dog. Apart from that, some owners try to get by an lower doses of the more affordable drug 'Cortisone' which has to be managed more carefully due to side effects.

Anxiety issues
Anxiety, fearfulness, weak nerves can be a common problem in BYB Danes. Anxiety can compound existing health challenges such as digestion issues. Stress as we know interfers with many aspects of the body and immune sytstem. Behaviourist and eventual medication may be sough by the owner.

Structual problems
The dogs phsyical structure can be an issue because BYB's generally do not understand the physical structure or genetics of dogs and therefore will breed poor speciems together. The average joe citizen doesn't have an eye for physical structure so usually will not notice it either.

Straight in front, straight in rear are some of the most common problems seen in BYB dogs and can cause a whole host of joint and muscular conditions that can be short term and life long.

The Mum & Dad come from Champion lines...

A champion is a show dog that has acquired 100 points in the show ring. Some dogs can go to dog shows and be the only Great Dane there and acquire points so they may acquire 100 points in 18 shows without ever beating another Great Dane.

In saying this, there is a huge amount of very well deserved Champions who have beaten other good quality dogs to obtain their points.

A champion status does not confirm the 'quality' of the dog. The conformation (bone structure), temperament & other breed traits of the dog does, and this is something
that most BYB's know little about.

All I care about is a healthy dog with a good temperament, I don't need its parents to be fancy show dogs and look a certain way...
If that were the case then any dog breed/cross breed that was healthy and well temperamented would be suitable.

Responsible Registered Breeders breed with the Breed Standard in mind so they can breed dogs that look and act like Great Danes - that's important to anyone who wants a Great needs to look like and act like a Great Dane.

What are dog shows all about?
Dog shows (conformation events) are intended to evaluate breeding stock. The size of these events ranges from large all-breed shows, with thousands of dogs entered, to state specialty club shows, featuring a specific breed. The dog's conformation i.e. overall appearance and structure is an indication of the dog's ability to produce quality offspring, is judged.

Judges examine the dogs, then give awards according to how closely each dog compares to the judge's interpretation of the breed's official standard.

The standard describes the characteristics that allow the breed to perform the function for which it was bred. These standards include specifications for structure, temperament and movement.

Some people believe Dog Shows are simply beauty competitions, however as you can see from the above there is more to it than simple beauty - a dogs physical soundness contributes to it being a healthy pet you can enjoy for many years to come.

What is the Breed Standard for the Great Dane?
Click here to read the Breed Standard.

I didn't want a show dog, so an affordable dog was more appealing...

A good show dog has good conformation (bone structure) - this makes the dog physically sound, good movement, a good temperament and having physical and mental characteristics representing what a Great Dane should be.

A show dog is simply a dog a person has decided to take into the show ring to compete with. Many puppies within litters may be show dog quality but go to pet homes. Quality is what counts. If you go for the cheap dog now you may end up paying more than a 'show dog' later on in Vet bills when you realise you have purchased a poorly bred dog to line the pockets of a BYB.

Do you buy the $500 car and spend a whole bunch of money on it later, or research brands and features and spend a bit more to get what you really want?

I wanted a puppy now not later on...

Sometimes you have to wait for a quality breeder to have a litter. This can be a great thing because you have more time to research and get to know the breed and the breeder plus get everything you need for your puppy and of course time to save up. Rushed/impulse decisions are never good ones. Think with your head rather than your heart :)


Why you need to avoid BYB's

A BYB cannot supply you with Pedigree papers and therefore they cannot prove that their dogs are purebred Great Danes.
There is little point in purchasing a Great Dane if the Breeder cannot prove it is in fact a Great Dane. A pedigree dog bred by a responsible and registered breeder is bred against a Breed Standard that states what a Great Dane should look like and how it should behave - this makes the breed more predictable in what it will be when it matures and what you can expect from the dog.

If you can't guarantee the dog is 'pure' then you cannot predict what it will look like and how it will behave.
Even if the BYB has 'Papers' for the parents you sadly cannot guarantee the papers belong to those dogs or that they were the dogs bred without DNA testing. It is not unusual for BYB's to 'borrow' papers from other dogs to try and trick purchasers or even dodgy up some papers themselves.

Buying a Great Dane Puppy is fraught with pit falls because many Dane x puppies can look like Purebred Great Dane puppies when young - you could be being taken for a ride.

Which of the below puppies are NOT purebred Great Danes?



The Answers...



Why you need to avoid BYB'S continued...

You most likely agree that selling dogs in Pet Shops and from Puppy Farms is unethical, and not in the best interest of the dog...
We ask you to please consider that subsidising a BYB who does nothing to support breeding healthy and emotionally balanced dogs is also unethical, and only damages the future of the breed.

Your puppy's vaccinations and worming routine may not have been completed...
We so often see BYB breed puppies that haven't had correct worming routines arriving in their new homes riddled with worms - sometimes this can kill the puppy as well if the burden is too great.

Not all BYB's comply with vaccination protocols meaning your puppy is at higher risk at catching deadly diseases such as Parvo which kills puppies.

They are unlikely to provide you with ongoing support...

If your dog suddenly sick at 10pm at night and you need to ask someone about it? A responsible Registered Breeder will take your call at any time of the day or night to help you and your dog.

The common outcome we hear from people who purchase from BYB's is that no support was given - not even necessarily because they didn't want to give support but because they weren't knowledgeable enough to help.

A BYB is unlikely to give you a diet & care info pack that outlines what is best for raising a Dane puppy.

The diet your puppy is reared on is very important for a giant breed. A BYB who skimps here could be ruining the future health and growth of your puppy.

How your puppy is raised is important...

Puppies that are raised inside with the family and are socialised with people whilst they're growing can make better pets. In addition a Breeder that keeps the whelping box clean i.e. cleans up wee and poo quickly makes for a puppy that is more easily toilet trained in its new home. Puppies raised in dirty whelping areas tend to have no issues about walking through their own poo and are difficult to toilet train.

Buying a Great Dane from a BYB is not an Investment...

The cheaper cost of a BYB Great Dane can be looked upon as a down payment on all the other costs you may end up with in the future.

We understand that not everyone can see the value in saving their money to purchase a quality bred Great Dane however hindsight is always a wonderful thing and in the future you maybe looking back at all the money you spent because you didn't want to outlay the money in the beginning.

Avoid spending $1,000's in Vet Fees and avoid the heart ache of living with a dog in poor health...

A BYB generally doesn't understand good conformation (bone structure) and will breed poor quality dogs which can create puppies who may suffer due to this.

They may be more prone to joint discomfort, spinal issues, general pain and discomfort from having to hold their body a certain way because their bone structure isn't sound and balanced.

A BYB doesn't care about breeding a dog with eye issues that are genetically passed on because most of the time they are unlikely to know their dog has the problem because they aren't knowledgeable enough or they don't care or understand genetics (or pretend not to so therefore don't acknowledge it as being an issue that can be passed on). Your puppy could end up with a condition in which the eyelashes rub in the eye causing ulcers and blindness - an operation may need to be repeated later on in life.

We have heard of many cases of owners of BYB Danes spending in excess of $10,000 to treat their dogs that have issue after issue that will never will get better...please don't be one of those people.


There are a number of Backyard Breeders labeling a Dane x Mastiff as a DANIFF as though they are a breed, they are not, they are a cross breed. Dane x Mastiffs can be found in most pounds throughout Australia. Please do not fall for their sales tatics or photos of cute puppies. By buying from a Backyard Breeder you give them a reason to keep breeding.

Please download our

Puppy Buyers Guide

so you can learn more about what can

go wrong in our breed and how to avoid

it to save you heart ache.