June 22, 2016
Dog Tails Dog of the Month: Sapphire Blue and Onyx Moon the Great Danes
We have not one but TWO Dog Tails Dogs of the Month for June! Sapphire Blue and Onyx Moon are a pair of 10 month old Great Dane sisters from Pittsburgh, PA. We found them on Instagram, where the pair have attracted over 800 followers with their adorable photos and videos. We reached out to their proud dog dad Jason, and asked him all about his two puppies, their (much smaller) dog sibling, their new DogWatch Hidden Fence, raising Great Danes and making friends on social media.
DogWatch: How old are Sapphire and Onyx? Are they littermates?
Jason: Sapphire Blue and Onyx Moon are in fact littermate sisters. They were born August 20, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their father is 100% Blue European Great Dane and their mother is a Black 50% Euro Great Dane. There were 7 pups all together. Sapphire was the only blue female. We got her at eight weeks old. We only intended on having one Great Dane but…our Yorkie, Chewbacca, did not take well to Sapphire. We were quite surprised, as he loves to play with other dogs. I suppose he was jealous and territorial towards her. We joked that we should have gotten one of Sapphire’s littermates. Well, I happened to look at the website and we found the breeder advertising [three female puppies from Sapphire’s] litter. I sent them an email and we drove to their house with Sapphire to get one of her sisters. She took well to Onyx right from the start when we got there so she came home with us.
DW: Do they have similar personalities, or is one sister more shy/friendly/energetic/bossy than the other?
J: It’s funny how different they are. Sapphire is a happy-go-lucky girl. She’s super friendly and very curious. She gives kisses to everyone. When she gets very excited she actually starts to howl like she’s trying to talk to you. So much personality in that one.
Onyx is very unsure of everything. She warms up after Sapphire shows her it’s OK. Once Onyx warms up to you, she is the most loving dog I have ever come across. She is very protective of her family also. We have 3 children, a 13 year-old son and 2 daughters, 10 and 9 years old.
The Danes are like our daughters. Our 10 year old is loud and bossy and our 9 year old is shy and mellow. We buy two of everything for them. But no matter what it is, Sapphire always tries to take Onyx’s. Sapphire will bury her bone then go and take Onyx’s. We had to put in a lot of work with her on sharing. She would go after Onyx over food and toys early on. We have a trainer, Vinnie Somma, from Say It Once Dog Training, that has helped us a ton with the girls. He’s like a young hip “Dog Whisperer.” He just spent a week with them while we were on vacation. He was amazed how different they are and how much energy they have. But he said they are two of the best dogs he has ever trained.
DW: Why did you choose Great Danes? What is your favorite thing about the breed?
J: I grew up watching Scooby Doo. I had Scooby Doo everything. From toys, bedding, pajamas, kitchen accessories…you name it…I always wanted a Great Dane. As a child, my parents would never go for it. As I got older, I always felt unsure if we could have the time and ability to handle a giant breed dog. A friend of ours got a Great Dane last year and we really fell in love with him. We were on a weekend getaway at Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia and I joked with my wife that I decided I’m getting a Great Dane. She didn’t object, she rarely objects to anything. I started looking online for breeders close to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that had a Blue Great Dane. I think the Blues are so pretty. I found a couple that had pups available within a month and contacted them. They gave us the go home date and we counted down the days until we could get Sapphire.
I love the size of the breed. They are truly gentle giants. They are very obedient when you take the time to train them. They want to please you. They are so loving. They get so much attention when we go for walks or take them out. It was a bit of a struggle getting the sisters to be obedient at first and we still have some moments that can try our patience. They tend to feed off of one another, just like two little kids. Two large little kids.
DW: How much exercise do Great Danes need each day?
J: People often think that they would need a lot of exercise but they truly do not. The one thing that is important with them is to keep them active mentally. Taking them for daily walks stimulates them mentally as well as exercises them. If they are not stimulated mentally, they get bored and tend to get into mischief. It is important to develop their muscles and keep them in a healthy physical state due to their large size. They have so much energy being 10 months old. They would run and run for hours if we let them.
DW: How long have they been using the DogWatch Hidden Fence?
J: We called for the fence in the fall but decided it would be best to wait until the girls were a little older for the install. It’s been about 6 months that the girls have been using the DogWatch Hidden Fence [installed by DogWatch of Greater Pittsburgh]. They did outstanding from the first day. They each got [corrected] once or twice and that was it. Now they know exactly where the boundaries are and stay back. If they ever get out without their collars on, they will not try to leave the yard. Chewbacca [the Yorkshire Terrier] took a couple weeks to understand. He’s such a difficult little guy.
DW: How big will Sapphire and Onyx get when they’re full grown?
J: It’s tough to say how big they will be when fully grown. Their dad was 185 lbs and mom was 150 lbs. Our vet seems to think they will be around 135-150 lbs.
DW: What is one thing that we don’t know about life with Great Danes?
J: My wife and I joke that it’s like having twins. Twin babies that quickly grow to over 100 lb toddlers. They’ve made us feel like new parents all over again.
Sapphire went through a phase as a young pup where all she did was bite at pant legs on clothes. So as you walk, she’s latched on to your jeans… Onyx didn’t do that at all. Sapphire also was big on the puppy biting. But even at 10 weeks old, those puppy bites aren’t so little and really hurt.
It was funny potty training them. We did the bell technique which worked out great but at first, what a battle. They grow so quickly. It’s not like you can just grab one and run outside to finish if they start to have an accident. They’re really not small puppies for long at all.
DW: You’ve got a growing following on Instagram? What’s your favorite thing about Instagram?
J: I love that you meet so many great people that love their pets as much as you do. The girls are like 2 more kids to us. There are so many people that feel the same way. It’s fun seeing all of the photos. You get to watch the daily adventures of the dogs.
Would you like your dogs (or other pets) to be featured on our blog? Tell us about them in the comments, or reach out to us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email. We can’t wait to hear to your stories. And a big thanks to Jason for sharing your story and for choosing DogWatch!