First, there was Hardt's......
Tonie Gerhardt's life with Danes began in 1974 in Bossier City, Louisiana. What was a nice New Jersey-born girl doing in Louisiana? Ask the US Air Force!!! At the time, Tonie & her husband, Ron, an officer in the Air Force, had 3 daughters (Lisa and twins, Kim & Jackie), a female Siamese cat and decided it was time for a large dog. With all of the "ladies" in the house, they decided that dog should be a boy. How about a male Great Dane? The Gerhardts got their Dane and immediately loved the breed. Tonie joined the Great Dane Club of Greater Shreveport, won a ribbon at her first match and was hooked on shows for life.
Military life brought the Gerhardt family to Northern Virginia in 1976. Tonie was anxious to start a breeding program and as soon as they settled into their new home she bought a bitch out of Ch. Von Reisenhof's The Boss. She did two breedings hoping for another male to show but it didn't happen---just a lot of nice girls. A few years went by and Tonie still wanted a nice male to show. This was time for action so she bought a cute male puppy out of Ch. Honey Lane's Casablanca & Maher's Dream Girl. After Tonie had placed her first advertisement in a Dane magazine, a friend of hers told her that she must have a kennel name---hence, HARDT'S DANES. Tonie named her cute male puppy Maher's Top Gun v Hardt's and called him "Chance." There were a lot of "friendly jokes" ringside like fat chance, slim chance, no chance. But, in fact he became a beautiful champion and a great stud dog---Ch. Maher's Top Gun v Hardt's.
Now that she had Chance, Tonie needed a nice bitch to breed. She bought "Holly" (Cullinane's Holly v Hardt's) out of Ch. Von Shrado's I'm A Macho Man & Ch. Cullinane's Estasis--- Tonie's breeding program was finally to begin! Chance & Holly produced the first true Hardt's Danes litter whelped in 1992 and they produced well. Tonie kept a beautiful boy for herself and sold a beautiful girl to Stephanie Gallups. Tonie's boy, "Zack" was Reserve Junior Dog at the 1993 GDCA Futurity and went on to finish his championship easily breeder/owner-handled.
Next there was Harley......
Harley was Zack's lovely sister who was sold to Stephanie. She was Stephanie's first Great Dane and her story can be found on her personal page (click here for more about Harley). Harley was Stephanie's faithful companion who grew up to be a beautiful champion, a successful "special" and a wonderful producer.
And then there was Harley D Hardt's......