Meet Dr Vidhya Ratan of Vidane’s Kennel who is scaling new heights as a professional breeder and exhibitor and shares his experience and insights about Great Danes. His knowledge, passion, hard-work and empathy portray him.
How it all started?
The name Vidane’s Kennel is derived from my name “Vid” from Vidhya and “an” from Ratan. It all began way back in 1986. I saw the breed for the first time at a Dog Show in Delhi. I was attracted by the size, substance and elegance of the breed. And as they say, there was no looking back. I got my first Great Dane female (Punjab) and my first Great Dane male from Rajputana’s Kennel who was from imported parents. I bred Ch. Danedom Felicia with Rajputana’s Fair Play and got seven puppies from this litter. We had kept one male from this litter named him Ch. Roaring Rex of Singh. He was shown for four to five years and won many Best of Breed and line ups.
My wife who’s my right hand helps to supervise the kennel under my guidance. We have 4-5 expert professionals who help us at the kennels. We have different sections in our kennel i.e. main kennel, pregnancy kennel, delivery kennel, and weaning kennel. Currently we have approximately 20 dogs.
Champions through the years
More than hundreds of Great Dane’s champions have been bred by me. Some prestigious titles are – ‘Reserve Dog of the Year’ 1999-2000 winner of Padmavati Trophy; ‘Breeder of the Year’ 2003-04 winner of Lakshmi Trophy; Dog of the Year Bred in India 2003-04 winner of Southern Pride Trophy; ‘Best Great Dane of the Year’ in 1997-98, 2002-03, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2014-15 winner of ‘Balakrishnan Bhat Trophy’, among many others.
As a breeder, one of the happiest moments was in the year 2002 when my BIS. Ch. Vidane’s Couros Kruger was placed ‘Best of Breed’ after defeating American champion and finally was placed 3rd Best in the Show and Res Bred in India at 4th FCI National Championship Dog Show under honourable judge Mr. Ramon Podesta (Chile) at Bengaluru.
Fall in love with Great Danes – the gentle giants
It is believed that the breed traces his origins to Germany. Great Dane is rapidly becoming popular in India, especially north India. People have big farm houses here and having a Great Dane seems to be a status symbol. Their size and personality make them unique and appealing. It is true that Danes are “people’s dogs”; their sensitivity, affection, companionship, playful behaviour, confidence, and temperament make them the ideal pet companions.
I am involved in grooming and preparing them for dog shows with my professional handler and helping hands. Great Danes are very faithful and trustworthy, they like cold and dry climate.
Food for the body, mind, and soul – Taking care of their nourishment and nutritional needs
They need quality food and nutritional supplement. They need constant grooming and massage to keep the dogs in show condition. Dry food of premium quantity is a complete and balanced diet for the breed. Dry food diet provides a full range of nutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins & minerals) to maintain their good health. The other advantage of dry food is that it is easy to feed. I prefer premium dog food. For adult dogs we use chicken with rice in the ratio of 10:1 with beet root, used as a source of fibre. Apart from it I have my own home made recipe formula to feed them.
Managing their health and wellness – our first priority
Great Danes can be difficult to rear as they are a fast growing breed and need large space to move. They need extra supplements along with dry food such as calcium, phosphorous, vitamin D-3, and multivitamin with micro minerals. Some of the major health issues that are commonly seen in Great Danes – hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and cardiac problems.
It can be an expensive and difficult to maintain this breed, as they need a lot of exercise, otherwise the leg will turn in or out. Also rickets, cow hocks and deformation of bone, are common health conditions that they get affected with. Danes are generally healthy and are quite resilient. Bloat and tail injuries are also common in this breed. More serious conditions of gastric torsion cause the highest number of Great Dane fatalities. Bones weakness (due to rapid growth), cardiac diseases and mast cell tumours are also common.
Breeding as a science
The normal size of Great Dane litter is of 4-9 pups. Line breeding increases uniformity and a better ability for offspring to pass on and fix desired traits and followed by outcross in second or third generation to produce better puppies free from genetic diseases. In dog shows, I show my dogs myself. I work hard on them forming a close relationship especially through frequent and constant association. Occasionally, I take a professional handler to show my dogs.
According to me, the exercise for Great Dane depends upon the age of dog. Ideally I keep 3-4 puppies of 2-4 months in an area of 40×40 feet run way and above 4-12 months of age I provide an area of 60×60 feet run way carpeted with green grass.
The key to my success is “the harder I work, the luckier I get”
If you want to be serious breeder of any breed you have to work hard and follow the mentor with respect and learn from them. The Danes which you see today are the result of so much of blood, sweat and tears put by the breeders who have done their best efforts in preserving the elegance of the breed.
(Dr Vidhya Ratan has been fond of dogs since his childhood. A keen exhibitor, he breeds and exhibits dogs all over India for years under his Vidane’s Kennel. Since 1986, he has been actively involved in breeding Great Danes, Labradors and Boxers.)