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                                                           Vonriesenhof Great Danes

Born on Friday the 13th of March, 1925! What a way to enter this world. Luckily Hazel Gregory is not a superstitious soul. Born in Aurora, Illinois during the depression, she has certainly seen many, many changes during her lifetime. Hazel grew up in Illinois in the areas of Park Ridge and Des Plaines, the home of the first McDonalds Restaurant. During high school she worked at an ice cream parlor named McVay’s Dairy. In 1941 she met Robert Gregory while working at the ice cream parlor. They had a date on the Sunday that Pearl Harbor was attacked. Soon after, “Greg”, as Hazel calls him, joined the Army Signal Corps and they were married in 1943. Something cute she mentioned to me is that when they are in public, she routinely calls Greg, Mr. Gregory. Both Hazel and Greg were born and grew up in Illinois, but due to a change in Greg’s business, they moved to Texas in 1960 and currently make their home in Lewisville. They were one of the founding members of the Chicago area Lake Shore Great Dane Club and have been very active members of the Great Dane Club of America for many years.

In 1944, Hazel and Greg celebrated the birth of their first daughter, Andrea. Additionally they had two more daughters, one in 1947 and one in 1954. Sadly their second daughter, Alexandra, born in 1947 died from a cerebral aneurysm, but is survived by her daughter, Raegan, who is now 21. Their 3rd daughter, Avis, lives with her husband in Alaska.

Asking Hazel how they came to have Great Danes, she stated, “It was Greg’s idea”. He made it real clear that “he had always wanted a Great Dane”. They purchased their first Dane in 1947, after the war. It was a male that they got from neighbors who had a bitch that was from Fred Evanger’s kennels. This male named Tong, was purchased at the age of 9 months old. They paid $350.00 for him, which as we know, was a considerable amount of money in 1947. Hazel described Tong as “their lesson dog”. They learned at his first show, which was the 1949 Milwaukee All Breed Show, that he was undershot and that “little things mean a lot”. At the time, they figured this couldn’t matter all that much . . . “dogs don’t smile, who would know?” They learned … judges would know! After 3 years of reserve wins, Hazel confesses they learned how important recessive traits like a bite can be. They acquired their second Dane, a brindle bitch they leased to breed to Tong. They leased this bitch from George Kallish, a Dane Breeder and Judge who was also one of their most important mentors. The litter produced 12 brindles and no fawns. This was the start of many lessons learned about genetics such as what is dominant or recessive as well as how much work, expense and responsibility comes with being a breeder. With the arrival of this litter, Hazel and Greg decided they needed a kennel name. Not wanting to use their own name, they took the advice of a friend to use something in German. And so the Von Riesenhof name was born … translation, “From The House of Giants”.

After this first litter, Hazel and Greg decided it was time to go back to the drawing board. They contacted George Kallish once again and he told them of a nice bitch that was about 1-1/2 years old that lived with Mr. & Mrs. Matts, a preacher and his wife on the south side of Chicago. He told Hazel that he thought they would sell her the bitch if she would go to see them. So, Hazel made arrangements to meet with the preacher and his wife. When Hazel arrived only the Preacher was home. After talking awhile, he agreed to sell her the bitch and Hazel left after making arrangements to come back another day with the money. He wanted $300.00 for her. When Hazel returned with the money, she found that the Preacher was the only one home again. He told her that his wife had changed her mind and did not want to sell the bitch. Shocked and disappointed, Hazel decided to stay and visit for a while hoping he would change his mind again. They sat around the dining room table for some time, talking, praying and singing hymns. Suddenly, the Preacher spoke up and said, “the Lord had spoken to him and she could buy the bitch.” Hazel was thrilled. She paid her money and after another prayer, left with her foundation bitch, Doris Of Kallish, “Janie”. Bob and Hazel showed Janie to her championship and then set about making their plans for a litter. Greg and Hazel knew the breeder, Creighton Hayne, and they selected one of his lovely stud dogs by the name of Ch. Lillard’s Deacon Of Vizier as the appropriate stud dog for Janie. This was a large, elegant dog with a beautiful long tapered neck. They felt that Janie needed more length of neck and leg and knew this was the dog to bring into their line.

Unfortunately these puppies were not meant to be. Janie was killed while in whelp. Hazel remembers sadly that she had gone out one day to hang clothes on the line and, as always, Janie was by her side. Hazel didn’t realize that someone had left the fence gate open and a stray dog had wondered into the yard. As soon as they got outside, Janie saw the stray dog and took off to chase him out of the yard. Once through the fence, she ran into the street and was struck by a car. Hazel said it was the most horrible experience she has ever witnessed. Janie flew through the air and landed right in front of her. When she hit the ground, she rolled up and looked Hazel in the eye then laid back and died. Hazel was devastated as she was so close to this dog, indicating she was more like her child. She had loved and learned so much from this dog. Hazel gave long consideration to getting out of dogs after this happened. She said it was just too easy to get attached and too hard to bear the pain of the loss. This was her first experience in understanding how emotional involvement can effect ones judgment regarding what dogs to keep or let go.

It certainly must have been Hazel’s destiny to “stay in Danes”, because soon after they lost Janie, she leased a Janie daughter from a previous breeding to Ch. Major Of Lee Dane done by the Matts. This daughter was Ch. Raulta Von Riesenhof. Raulta was bred to another one of Creighton Hayne’s stud dogs, Ch. Beau’s Vandal. This breeding produced Ch. Golden Girl Von Riesenhof, which is the bitch that Hazel feels had a strong influence in her bloodline. Golden Girl produced littermates, Ch. Geordon Von Riesenhof and Ch. Hansel Von Riesenhof and these two dogs represent another turning point in the Von Riesenhof bloodline. After 3 generations of half brother to half sister breedings, Hazel felt in order to stamp in type, they needed to do a full sister/brother breeding and selected Ch. Geordon and Ch. Hansel as the breeding of choice. This breeding produced Ch. Geordon’s Golden Girl, “Suzie”. Hazel was pleased overall with the quality of the get from the sister/brother breeding, but still wanted to see more length of neck and leg. Hazel and Greg decided they needed to breed Ch. Suzie to a dog that was hopefully dominant for producing length of neck and leg and selected Ch. Dinro Taboo. Hazel first saw Taboo when she judged the GDCA Futurity and selected him for her Best In Futurity. Even though Rose Robert was reluctant that this breeding would produce what Hazel was seeking, she did agree to the match. And Hazel indeed got exactly what she was looking for. This breeding produced her very lovely Ch. Taboo Von Riesenhof. An additional breeding of another “Janie” daughter produced a very successful litter for Hazel and Greg. Ch. Long’s Gretchen Von Riesenhof was sold as a puppy and leased back by Hazel. Gretchen was bred to Ch. Dinro Aslan and this litter produced 3 champions, including the top winning Ch. Miss Erikke Von Riesenhof.

These are the early dogs that are the building stones of Von Riesenhof. Many of them are pictured in the Photo Gallery that follows. Hazel’s motto is “inch by inch”. She feels the road to your ideal dog is a slow process. She likes to breed tight to narrow her odds and strengthen her percentages. She feels when you do a breeding, the pedigree is as important as the dog. It’s very important that you know when to inbreed, line breed and outcross. She explains that you first look at the pedigree and then build your percentages on the “good traits” of both sire and dam and avoid using dogs with numerous faults. One particular fault that really gets Hazel “crazy” is a ring tail. She feels it is a recessive trait that is very hard to get rid of and its presence completely ruins the outline of the dog. Once you have a bad recessive trait, like undershot bites or bad tails, it will come back to haunt you for many generations. If one doubts this Hazel says to just ask a terrier breeder about the importance of tails or teeth in a breeding program.



Our puppies come occasionally. They are bred with love and care for a loving family. We care for our puppies and their future. We provide long term support for them and their well - being. They will grow up to be outstanding specimens of their breed, if only you take the time and efforts to follow the simple guidelines that we provide.

You may get puppies for a lesser cost but you ultimately get only what you pay for. Hence, kindly do not bargain with us.