by Joanna Walker
When you arrive, take a good look around. Although not everyone has a fancy kennel with chain link runs, the facilities can and should be spotlessly clean. If you find the outside runs or exercise area dirty and the inside of the kennel and home in the same shape, I would advise that you look elsewhere, no matter how cute the puppies may be.
To be healthy, puppies should be kept clean at all times, with a warm dry pen, clean papers on the floor, and a clean bedding area. These provisions also enable your puppy to be housebroken about twice as easily. Naturally, the food and water bowls should be clean. Breeders who keep all their dogs outside with dog houses, dirty runs and food left down to spoil are to be avoided at all costs. The puppies would probably be wormy or worse, and you will only be buying yourself a pack of trouble.
A good breeder will be full of questions about you and the facilities you have for a Doberman. He is not being nosy nor overly protective when he asks if you have a fenced yard. He may even refuse to sell you a puppy until you get a fence as he does not want to hear in a short time that the puppy was hit by a car .
Beware the breeder who wants to sell you a puppy at five weeks and before the ears are trimmed. Most likely, he is doing this in order to save money by passing the added expense on to you. Also, it can be very upsetting for a novice owner to go through an ear trimming experience with his puppy.
Your puppy should be at least nine (9) weeks old, free of worms, and have had at least one permanent shot. The puppy should have a clean shining coat, and his skin should be loose and too big for him. His eyes should be bright, alert and free from matter. He should also smell clean.
A healthy puppy of nine weeks should weight an average of 17 pounds for a bitch and 20 pounds for a male. At six weeks, 9-12 pounds is a good average. Generally, a puppy who weights much less than this has not had the proper care. We have seen seven week old puppies who weighed no more than five pounds.
If you are interested in a show quality puppy, it would be wise to put yourself in the hands of the breeder, and ask him to choose a suitable puppy for you. He has had a chance to study the litter since it was whelped, and can spot not only good conformation, but, also, that little extra something that spells “show dog.” Request to see the pedigree and have it explained to you, as it is important to learn as much as you can about the puppy’s background. If possible, see both the sire and dam. Inquire about their show records, and ask what they have produced in the past.
If you plan to buy your puppy by mail or long distance telephone, check with other breeders in an effort to determine if the breeder has a really good reputation, what his breeding has done in the past and if his dogs have good temperaments. Do not be taken in by fancy ads and promises that the puppy will grow up to be a Best in Show dog. A good breeder makes no such claims. He can only tell you that the puppy has no major faults at the time of sale, that the parents are champions or outstanding young dogs and that the puppy is in top condition when he leaves. He will probably request that you take the puppy to your vet to confirm the puppy’s good condition. He should also stress the importance of correct feeding habits. Of equal importance is the training necessary to develop his personality, including taking him out to as many places as possible in order for him to adjust to the stresses of everyday life. Then…you both hope and pray he will turn out to be a champion!
If the breeder of your choice does not have any puppies for sale when you inquire, he may put you in contact with someone who has a litter. While this person may not be a well known breeder, he could very likely have a good bitch. Frequently, these puppies have the best of care and were probably whelped in the owner’s kitchen or family room. They are accustomed to children and household noises and can be very well-adjusted puppies. Perhaps the breeder of the dam has helped plan the breeding of the litter , assisted with advice, and may even by able to pick out a puppy for you. It is possible to get an excellent puppy from such a home. Regardless of where your puppy is purchased, you should receive at least a four generationpedigree and an AKC blue slip for registration, unless the puppy has been registered by the breeder. In that case, you
should get the form correctly signed on the back in order for the puppy to be transferred to your name. Full instructions should be given regarding present and future care and feeding, as well as detailed information on the care of the ears if they are still in tapes.
Above all, a good breeder is there when you need him, and is always willing to help with the various little problems that develop over the years. He will share your joys, and your sorrows, too.