Great Danes in Finland
There have been Great Danes in Finland for over a century now. The Danes at the beginning of the 20th century were mainly black and harlequin in color. Prinz von Binder – a harlequin German import, used widely at stud – was perhaps the best-known dog of the 1920s. In 1930s presumably the first Champion Dane in Finland, Tips av Tipps-Toppstam, a black male, was born and Siri Sunell’s De Morny kennel specializing in fawns and brindles began its operation. This kennel continued into the 1940s and bred several champions. Maria Åkerblom’s famous av Ros-Loge kennel also had its origins in the 40s. Initially Mrs. Åkerblom bred black and harlequin Danes and later moved to blues, fawns and brindles. Her breeding program was highly successful – a testament to which is the fact that she produced champions in all colors. Augustinus Serenius’ von Hippo kennel was another kennel of the 1940s breeding fawn and brindle Danes, including champions. The war years proved difficult for breeders and enthusiasts alike. The early 1950s were slow on the Dane front, but the subsequent decade began to show signs of improvement.
By the 1970s annual registration numbers had exceeded a hundred Danes with the exception of just a few years. Kaarina Aeschliman’s kennel Goldgirl’s and Helena Riekkinen’s kennel Great-Golden’s both started their breeding programs with fawn and brindle Danes in the 1970s and have produced several champions. Blues began to be bred by Paula Laitinen’s Poptokin kennel and the first litter of harlequins was born at Milja Ikävalko’s Mil-Dog’s kennel.
The 1980s gave a substantial rise to the number of Great Dane breeders and enthusiasts, which in turn led to registration numbers reaching and exceeding 250 dogs a year. Some of the breeders of this decade to mention include Tuula Granström kennel Finndanes, Heli Sairola kennel Helisain, Teija Salmi kennel Edendanes, Merja Wilhelmsson kennel Wilhelmiinan, Eila Sommarberg kennel Faxidan, Maaret Kivekäs kennel Jusalex, and Raili and Erkki Rantavuoti kennel Love-Dane’s. These kennels have produced numerous champions. Kennel Helisain holds the record for the most champions bred and some their dogs have also attained American Championship titles. First blue pups were born to Tuija Pauhu’s Grosso kennel and the breeding of blacks and blues was taken up by Anneli Forsell of kennel Good Works during the 1980s.
Registrations continued to reach record numbers in the 1990s. 1994 was peak year with 421 Great Danes registered that year. New breeders of this decade to mention include Kirsti and Jukka Hanhinen kennel Finn Select, Auli and Juhani Vitikainen kennel Dogiwogin, Nina Ledentsa kennel Doggi-Diggarin, Nina and Jaakko Jalonen kennel Cadokan, Maija-Riitta Vähäkylä kennel Squanto’s, and Katariina Valonen kennel C’mon. All of the above have specialized in fawn and brindle Great Danes. New breeders of blue Danes included Nina Puukka kennel Sajonne (also blacks and harlequins), Marjo Tapio kennel Genedda as well as Minna and Jouni Boman kennel Bonel. Blacks were taken up by Taina Toivonen of kennel Catapha’s.