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Great Danes go great guns for Agility

'Big Ben', an 18 week-old Great Dane puppy owned by Sharon Rose from London went through his paces to raise money for Great Dane charity. Ben is pictured here getting some help and encouragement form Sharon and organiser Jill Gibson.

OVER 20 Great Danes were put through their paces in a fun agility day last Sunday in aid of Great Dane welfare charity.

The day’s events were organised by the Harlequin Fun Agility Club, masterminded as ever by Jill Gibson and her team of stalwart volunteers. Although previous events had included dogs from all large breeds, the latest event was restricted to Great Danes as a one-off event in aid of Great Dane charities. However the club had not forsaken the large breeds, Jill told OUR DOGS, and that the rest of this year’s fun days would be all-breed events as before.

As ever, the fun day was staged at Oak Farm, Markham, near Leicester and was sponsored by dog food manufacturers Eukanuba, who have provided the club with brand new agility equipment specially designed for large breeds to use, along with tents, seating and goody bags for all competitors.

The weather alternated between cloudy and sunny on the day, but thankfully the rain held off and over twenty Danes from all over the country, including places as far afield as London, Manchester and North Wales enjoyed some light-hearted competition, with the day being split into a training session in the morning, then a one-hour lunch break followed by individual dogs running the course in the afternoon.

The youngest competitor was ‘Big Ben’, an 18 week-old puppy owned by Sharon Rose form Southgate, London. Ben was being sponsored by the other competitors to run the course to raise money for research into treating ‘Wobblers’, the dreaded spinal disease that afflicts many Great Danes. To the delight of everyone present, Ben completed the course, including all the jumps and hoops, raising plenty of money for the charity.

Sharon was also planning to conduct an Ebay Internet auction of her Great Dane acrylic paintings to raise yet more money or research into Wobblers.

Jill’s own dogs attended, including the famous ‘Blake’ who had a starring role in the film ‘East Is East’ and his younger compatriots, ‘Diesel’ and ‘Benz’. Blake doesn’t do too much agility nowadays due to his advancing years, but Benz continues to fly the flag for Large Breed Agility that was, in fact, started by Blake several years ago.

Once again, a great time was had by all and, as the photographs printed here show, the dogs certainly enjoyed themselves, showing that Great Danes, - as with all large breeds – can do agility as well as smaller dogs can!

Harlequin Dane 'Dolly' tries out the see-saw