Meistersinger Great Danes
Pictured: Antonia Pratt (Toni) and Citta Von Munchausen in 1953
|Most of the History I can
find was accumulated from interviews from the Great Dane Quarterly, The
Great Dane Reporter and on line search's for information on Mrs. Pratt
Mrs. Pratt once stated "she was born with a Dane in her bed" and that the first thing she ever saw " other then her parents was a dane".
Antonia Pratt was born in Bonn, Germany.
Her father was a meat processor and her mother the great lover of Danes.
She was introduced to the dog show world at the young age of 6. She handled the families black bitch Anita. She received a blue ribbon for her efforts. They had several danes through out her childhood, always blacks and harlequins. Tragically her mother died when she was quit young, leaving a father with 6 children to raise on his own. Anita was just another mouth to feed.
While Toni was sent away to catholic school , Anita was sold. While visiting home she diligently searched for Anita. One day she spotted her, she was now a draft dog. She could not afford to buy her back, but soon saved up enough money to do so. Toni was sure she had been mistreated because she acted like she had been beaten. By the time they were reunited Anita was 10 years old.
*(TTS can not help but note here the parallel to the great novel "Dirks Bello" )
She got her true start in danes from Joseph Stehberger of St. Maign Obertraubling after the war. Obertraubling ws "the" name in great danes in the world. Many of his danes fetched outrageous prices, $10,000! She had a small kennel in Germany, 12-15 danes. The Meistersinger name was derived from the street she lived on while in Germany. While in Germany Toni produced 10-12 litters a year. She sold most prior to moving to the states, though did try to ship one bitch Luna Von St. Magn-Obertraubling. She did not survive the voyage.
Toni Pratt arrived in the US in 1952.
Citta was the first Dane that Mrs. Pratt imported to the United states from the prestigious Munchausen Kennel in Germany. She was brought here in 1953. Cita Von Munchausen was the beginning of the US Meistersinger line.
In her 1979 interview with The Great Dane Quarterly Toni claims Cita was first bred to a german import she "ran in to" at a local show. This was the first American dog show she had been to. While watching the danes she realized that one of the dogs was of her own breeding, one of the males she had left in germany! Amor von Meistersinger. Along with being able to see her old friend she started a friendship with Charlie Steiger. He was Sunnydane Kennels. Amor finished his American title in in three 5 point shows. Citta's first breeding resulted in 3 champions. Sunnydane Toni, Ajax of Braetarn are the two I could find. *Looking through pedigree's I found that amor was actually the son of CH. IW HARPER VON DER STADT HAMBURG CITTA VON MUNCHAUSEN. X
In 1957 Citta was joined by I.W. Harper Von Der Stadt Hamburg, he was the son of the Champion best in show winner Rux-conny V St. Mang-Obertraubling. Also imported was Attilla Von Der Grossen Geist. Both dogs finished at 3 five point shows. Atilla was later sold to Mrs. Mason who got a champion out of him. *Atilla appears in Domino's Apollo of Hildydane pedigree as the PROGENY of Cita and I.W. He was then bred producing "Nowak's Pandora"(Am Ch Atilla v.d. Grossen Geist X On Garr's Sebbra) who was bred to Am Ch Ulf v. Schloss Delwig and produced Am Ch Hans E Ponce v. Hildydane. Am Ch Hans E Ponce v. Hildydane is sire of Domino and one of the foundation sire for Riverwood's outstanding line.
From the 50's to 1979 it is reported that Meistersinger kennels produced 12-15 litters a year. At one time she had 120 adults and about 75 puppies. It is also estimated that she produced about 500 litters in this time.
Meistersinger culled at 8 puppies but would allow merles to live. White's were always destroyed.
Prices of puppies in the 1979 were around $850 with show prospects going for $2000. Stud fee's were $350.
By 1979 she had produced 50 champions of record.
in 1975 Mrs. Pratt sold her kennel and thought about retiring, it did not work out that way. She rebuilt her kennel and boarding facility on 22 acres. *Guy Storrow & Marybeth Storrow. Kennel name used kennel name Meistersinger. They were suspended by the AKC January of 2001 for failure to keep accurate records and proper identification. 10 years, $500 fine.
Not a Happy ending for Mrs. Pratt. . .
January 1999 AKC Board minutes: the AKC management Disciplinary committee Suspended all AKC privileges for 10 years and imposed fines of $500 each for failure to comply with the record keeping and identification requirements regarding the Rules Applying to Registration and Discipline. Further, reinstatement will be contingent upon their beginning with a new colony: Antonia Pratt (Louisville, KY) - Multiple Breeds.
2007 update. . . Friend and fellow breeder Melanie McAdams visited Mrs. Pratt and wrote the following article:
Below are PDF representations of 1978 interview with Antonia Pratt taken from the Great Dane Quarterly interview performed in Mrs. Pratt's home in Jefferstown Kentucky
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15