Rochester Town Clerk doubles as great Dane breeder
ROCHESTER — Naida Parker is probably best known for her work as Rochester’s Town Clerk, but she is also a dedicated owner and breeder of great Danes.
Parker said she got her first great dane from her husband Jack in 1974 before they were married. Since then she has bred over 60 of the large dogs and kept about 30 of them in her home over the years, as well as showing dogs in competitions sponsored by the American Kennel Club.
“They don’t know that they’re dogs” Parker said of a typical great Dane’s demeanor. She went on to say that they generally act as if they were just another person living in a home, and can sometimes be “couch potatoes” as well.
They also don’t seem to realize just how big they are. For dogs that are handled by humans as puppies, parker said it’s often hard for them to understand why their owners can no longer pick them up, and carry them as adults.
While some may be intimidated by the sheer size of great danes, Parker said that they are not generally aggressive, although as working dogs that were originally bred to hunt boar and guard castles, they can certainly be protective of their owners.
She recalled that her first great Dane Harley would always position himself between her and whoever else she encountered throughout her day. When Harley felt that she was in danger, he would gently grab her by the wrist and pull her to somewhere he deemed safe.
Parker has two of the large dogs living with her today, named “Witchy” and “Promise” and said that she definitely feels safer having them around on nights when she has to work late at the Town Hall office.
Witchy joined Parker to the Town Hall on Nov. 8. Standing at 32 inches tall at her shoulder, and weighing around 140 pounds, an office might not seem like an obvious place for her to be, but the gentle giant seemed happy to follow her owner around and stay by her side.
Witchy is also one of the many dogs that Parker has shown in competition. Parker said that judges at American Kennel Club judge dogs by comparing them to the ideal standard for their breed, and look at things like teeth, gait, and bone structure.
Parker said that when looking to adopt a show dog, potential owners should contact a reputable breeder and keep in mind that dogs are pets first and competitors second.
Parker will also be judging a Great Dane Specialty Show in Ocala Florida in the near future. She said that in order to become a judge for the American Kennel Club, she had to go through a process involving tests, interviews, and others observing her judge dogs to evaluate her credibility.
When it comes to the dogs she breeds herself, Parker said “most times when people buy a puppy from me, they end up with me being a part of their life,” with her commitment to the dog and adopted owners going far beyond the adoption process.
Ultimately, Parker said that training is the key to properly caring for a great Dane. “With any dog, when you buy a puppy, you’re taking on the responsibility to make it a good member of your family and community,” she said.
That includes socializing the animals with people and other dogs at an early age, as well as basic obedience training like commands of “sit” “stay” and “come” to ensure that the dog is well behaved.
To learn more about great Danes, or dog shows, go to: https://www.akc.org/.