For Michele Moore of Wauseon, it was love at first sight. In 1993 in her twenties, Michele received her first Great Dane. At the time, she was only interested in a pet and chose the second pick of the litter. JD ended up being a beautiful male fawn colored Great Dane, and the breeders encouraged Michele to show him. In only seven weekends, JD was a champion, and Michele was hooked.
Since then, Michele has raised five generations of Great Danes and specializes in Black. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes six colors of Great Danes: fawn, blue, black, brindle, harlequin, and mantle. Michele and her husband David currently have three Great Danes who reside in their home, Pearl, the mother, and siblings Ebony and Ozzy.
Michele begins training her Great Danes from an early age. At the age of four weeks, she works on stacking, the positioning of their feet. Between the ages of four to six months, she works on obedience, standing, stacking, and baiting. Michele does her own training and often will compete in puppy shows herself to develop ring experience for her dogs. When she feels they are ready, she passes them onto the expertise of a professional handler for future shows.
Ozzy, whose AKC registered name is GCH MK Danes All Aboard The Crazy Train, AOM, began showing at six months of age. At just fourteen months, Ozzy was already a champion. Last year, he began competing in the specials and spent most of the year with his professional handler, Rick Zahorchak. Ozzy presented in 15-20 shows a month last year and finished in the top twenty and an overall rank of number four for Great Danes. This high ranking placing resulted in a personal invitation to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
“I’ve never had a top 20 dog. Ozzy is my first, and my first dog to go to the Westminster,” Michele proudly proclaimed with Ozzy at her side.
At first glance, Ozzy’s size makes him appear a bit intimidating. At only three years of age, Ozzy stands a little over three feet tall and weighs around 180 pounds. Yet, Ozzy is a gentle giant. “He’s a magnet at all the shows. Kids and adults love him,” David shared.
Currently, Ozzy has received both bronze and silver level honors. As points are earned at shows, the champion dogs advance through the honor levels. Ozzy is only about fifteen points from receiving his gold status.
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was held February 17th in New York at the Piers. The show consisted of judge confirmation. Judges examine the build of each dog against the breed standard. A portion of the judging includes a hands-on portion where the judge feels for bone structure and coat. The dog’s movement, running, and gait are also factored into the scoring. Dogs are shown by breeds. In the Great Dane division of the Working Dog group this year, seventeen males and five females competed. The judge first divided the dogs by gender and chose a few to keep before bringing the chosen dogs together for her final selections. The top dog is named Best Breed with the Best Opposite chosen for the opposite gender of the finalist.
Although Ozzy did not receive top honors and thus move onto the final competition at Madison Square Garden, he did receive Select Dog, the equivalent of second place. “He was so close,” Michele said.
Michele plans to allow Ozzy time this year to simply enjoy being, well, a dog and plans to show him sparingly. Ozzy did do the show in Indianapolis the weekend before the Westminster as a preliminary practice. “He’s all business at the shows.” Since Ozzy is so close to gold level, Michele plans to show him in a few shows for him to earn that next year.
For more information about Ozzy, visit MKDanes.com. Breeding and puppy information can also be found on her website.
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