by Tracey Biscontini
If you’re choosing a puppy from a litter, begin by evaluating the litter as a whole. If most of the puppies run away from you, don’t buy one. Healthy puppies should be happy and playful. They might nibble at your shoes or scamper toward you. If the litter is behaving normally, look at each of the puppies individually. Cluck your tongue and jingle your car keys and watch how the puppies react. Don’t select the shyest puppy. Shy puppies almost always grow up to be shy adults. Don’t select the boldest puppy either. A middle- of-the-road puppy almost always makes the best pet. Never adopt a puppy unless you’re sure it’s healthy. Healthy puppies shouldn’t cough, sneeze, or wheeze. Inspect the puppy’s coat and its eyes, ears, dewclaws, and tail.
Coat. To examine a puppy’s coat, run your hand over its fur and make sure you don’t see any bald spots. While a puppy’s coat is certainly nothing like an adult’s–it’s thinner and fuzzier–it should be even and soft. Examine the puppy’s skin and make certain it’s free of red splotches. Make sure the puppy doesn’t have fleas.
Eyes. Examine the puppy’s eyes. Young puppies might have blue eyes that will change with age. The puppy’s eyes should be clear, however, and they shouldn’t be runny.
Ears. Make sure the pup’s ears are clean inside. If you’re buying a purebred puppy and its ears are supposed to prick up, be aware that puppies’ ears don’t stand for about 12 weeks. In addition, the ears sometimes go up and down during teething.
Dewclaws and tail. If you’re buying a purebred puppy from a breeder, make sure its dewclaws have been removed. If your breed is supposed to have its tail docked, this should already be done too.
How do you, as a prospective Doberman owner, go about finding a “perfect breeder”? The best answer is to TAKE YOUR TIME & CAREFULLY SCRUTINIZE EACH BREEDER!
A “BREEDER” is an ethical, intelligent& caring individual, whose involvement in the Doberman Breed is one of LOVE for the Breed—they want to PROTECT & ONLY DO WHAT’S RIGHT for the Breed. They have invested years of their time and dedicated large sums of money to exhibit their Dobermans to the highest levels of achievement in the various venues that allow them to select only the”BEST & SUPERIOR” Dobermans to continue the propagation of the Breed.
A “BREEDER” cares about the QUALITY of the Dobermans they breed. They research pedigrees and search for the “right” BLOODLINES to combine together. They are looking only for the very BEST that the Doberman Breed has to offer—because only in this way will the Doberman Breed continue to improve and the problems that are innately there be corrected.
A “BREEDER” should be familiar with the Dobermans in the pedigrees that they are combining and using to enhance their breeding “plan”. Because they are concerned about HEALTH PROBLEMS in the Doberman Breed, they test and screen and expect the other BREEDERS that they associate with and have business dealings with, also care and do the same.
REPUTABLE BREEDERS want what’s best for the Doberman Breed, and so they associate themselves with Organizations that seek to “promote, protect and improve” the Doberman such as the DOBERMAN PINSCHER CLUB OF AMERICA and other CHAPTER CLUBS that are associated with the DPCA. Many REPUTABLE BREEDERS are also associated with ALL BREED KENNEL CLUBS in their area. This shows that the Breeder is concerned about the over-all Dog Community, also.
TALK TO THE BREEDER at length. Ask about their AFFILIATION with the DOBERMAN PINSCHER CLUB OF AMERICA. It would be a good starting point that the Breeder you buy a puppy from belongs to the DPCA. The DPCA has a CODE OF ETHICS that it’s membership abides by concerning breeding, puppy sales and other matters related to the moral and ethical responsibility they have as BREEDERS who bring puppies into the world that they feel personally responsible for. Many DPCA members also belong to local Doberman Chapter Clubs—ASK THE BREEDER IF THEY BELONG TO THE DPCA OR A CHAPTER CLUB. If in doubt, contact the DPCA to inquire and check their MEMBERSHIP. This doesn’t GUARANTEE that every member is an exceptional BREEDER—but it does say that they care enough to pay their dues every year and take the oath to follow the CODE OF ETHICS in their dealings with their Dobermans and the PUBLIC as well as fellow members.
Ask about their LENGTH OF TIME in the Breed. Ask about their SUCCESS in the CONFORMATION, OBEDIENCE OR AGILITY VENUES. Ask how many CHAMPIONS they have bred and if the SIRE (father) and DAM (mother) of the puppies are CHAMPIONS. Ask to SEE the REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES of the DAM and the PUPPY REGISTRATION PAPERS (first step in permanent registration) for the puppies. If the REGISTRATION PAPERS are not available make sure you have the FULL name and REGISTRATION NUMBERS FOR BOTH SIRE AND DAM. WITHOUT THESE, YOU CANNOT “TRACK” THE REGISTRATION PROCESS AND CHECK ON YOUR PUPPY’S REGISTRATION. A reputable Breeder will have all these papers in order for you to see and examine. Make sure you also have a copy of the puppy’s “PEDIGREE”. The PEDIGREE is NOT the REGISTRATION of the puppy. It only tells you the lineage of the puppy—it’s parents (Sire & Dam), it’s grand parents, it’s great grand parents, and on back. Most breeders will give you a 4 or 5 generation PEDIGREE for your records.
People who are “BACKYARD BREEDERS” OR “BYBs” don’t care about all the showing and expense of truly promoting the Breed. They just basically want to make some money without have to invest their own time and “BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS” into properly breeding and raising a litter of Dobermans. Most BYBs DON’T CROP the puppies ears. They usually sell them right after they are weaned and after their first shots so they don’t have the added expense and worry and work of cropping and taping a litter of puppies. EXAMINE the PEDIGREE closely and the REGISTRATION PAPERS closely. If the Sire and Dam and the Dobermans in the PEDIGREE are “CHAMPIONS” each name will have a CH. in front of the Registered name. An example would be: Ch. Red Boy’s Pretty Girl.
If the Dobermans in the Pedigree and on the Registration Papers have other working degrees, they will come after the name of the Doberman, such as: Ch. Red Boy’s Pretty Girl, CD, NA, TT
If the Pedigree and the Registration Papers don’t have the “CH.” or working titles such as “CD, CDX, NA” the Doberman is NOT a Champion and does NOT have working titles. LACK OF these titles is a “RED FLAG” and it may mean that the Breeder is simply not concerned with improving the Doberman Breed and is mainly concerned with making a “QUICK BUCK”. Not all Quality Dobermans necessarily have a title either in Conformation or in the Working venues. Some have the CH. and no working titles. Some have a working title but no CH. title. But when you see the pedigree FULL of dogs that have obviously been taken out and campaigned for their titles it says the breeder cares about these venues that enhance the testing of the dog’s abilities.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that some of the “Registry” letters in front of a Dobermans REGISTERED NAME is a “TITLE” of some kind. Unscrupulous breeders often put these in FRONT of the name of the Doberman because they are trying to fool the buyer into thinking it is the same as a CHAMPION bestowed by the AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB or the CANADIAN KENNEL CLUB!!”BEWARE”!! It will look like this: CKC, FCI Mr. I’m Lookin Good. The letters SEEM like they mean something impressive and good, but the breeder is just trying to make it appear that the dog is more than it is—which is probably just a pet from another “BYB”!!! SO, BE CAREFUL!! ASK QUESTIONS!! A successful Breeder should have MANY PHOTO’S of their Dobermans from the SHOW OR WORKING VENUES. If there are just a bunch of cute photos of “Susie” laying in the grass, or sleeping on the sofa—-”RED FLAG”. Breeding GOOD DOBERMANS is difficult, at best.
Contracts are encouraged by the DPCA CODE of ETHICS, because they spell out the terms of the sale of the puppy. It is clearly stated what each party is expected to abide by and there are no assumptions by either the buyer or seller. When you talk to a Breeder and they say they have a contract for the sale of their puppies, this is a good thing, as it is protection for both parties. Many “BYB” don’t worry or care what happens after the puppy is sold. They’ve got their “money” and “BUYER BEWARE” !
DPCA Public Education Committee
The point of this piece is that there are two issues here to be explained. The first topic of “REPRODUCTION” involves the mating or coming together of a male and a female to create new life—in the context of our article—puppies. There is no qualifications or standards imposed on this “act”, as ANY male and female Doberman CAN be mated/bred to have a litter of puppies. The “bigger” question is *WHY*??
PRODUCING MORE PUPPIES in this critical time, the 21st CENTURY, where there are thousands of Dobermans in Shelters, Humane Societies and Rescues all over the Country seems a most inhumane and cruel thing to do. Having a litter of puppies should NEVER be to—-MAKE SOME SPENDING MONEY—LET THE “KIDS SEE HOW THE “BIRDS & BEES” OPERATE—-BECAUSE PUPPIES ARE SO CUTE—-BECAUSE ALL MY FRIENDS WANT ONE—because the result is that there are tiny, cute, innocent Doberman puppies being put to sleep EVERY DAY in this Country. This is not to mention the young adults, adults and seniors that are DUMPED. Some end up in POUNDS and on the STREETS to suffer, get maimed or abused.
**EVERY DOBERMAN PET PUPPY** SHOULD BE **SPAYED OR NEUTERED**—-WITHOUT EXCEPTION!
BREEDING BETTER DOBERMANS is the “goal” of *reputable, conscientious and careful* breeders that seek to breed for the “IDEAL” Doberman as described in the DOBERMAN STANDARD as approved by the DPCA and the American Kennel Club. Below is the site to access the “THE DOBERMAN STANDARD”.
The “Standard” describes HOW the Doberman should look physically, and it describes HOW the Doberman should act, temperament wise. Reputable breeders pay attention to HEALTH PROBLEMS and TEST for them. Hip Dysplasia, vWD, Thyroid, Cardiac Abnormalities and other concerns are *tested for* and screened for their appearance.
ONLY THE **VERY SUPERIOR SPECIMENS** of the Breed should be allowed to reproduce. We have many venues to *test* for PHYSICAL AND MENTAL QUALITIES. The prospective breeding stock can compete in the CONFORMATION venue for adherence to the “STANDARD” and be awarded CHAMPIONSHIP points, leading to an eventual CHAMPION title if good enough.
In the OBEDIENCE venue, the Doberman will be exhibited to show its ability to work closely with the owner/trainer to follow commands they have been trained to recognize, and be awarded titles that reward the various levels of achievement in the Dobermans trainability and mental intellect, such as COMPANION DOG, COMPANION DOG EXCELLENT AND HIGHER.
In the AGILITY venue, where Dobermans are taught to use their inborn talents of quickness, working ability and trainability to maneuver a designed course of obstacles to test their prowess, the Doberman is awarded titles that show the various levels of achievement such as NOVICE AGILITY AND MASTER AGILITY and higher. And many others that showcase the Dobermans skills, appearance and working abilities.
ONLY THE VERY SUPERIOR SPECIMENS OF DOBERMANS SHOULD BE BRED! ALL **PETS** SHOULD BE SPAYED OR NEUTERED FOR THEIR HEALTH AND THE BREEDS.
For more information on breeding and reproduction, visit the DPCA Breeders Education Committee
DPCA Public Education Committee