How to Choose A Doberman Breeder – Part 1
At this point, I am assuming that you have read my article titled,” Are Dobes the Right Breed for me?” or another article describing the personality of Dobermans and have decided that a Doberman will fit well into your household. If you have not, please take a moment to do so. Buying a Doberman is not a decision to make lightly.
One of the most important things you, as a potential Doberman owner, must do is select a breeder from which to purchase your new companion. This choice will influence your entire relationship with your Doberman. A puppy from a good breeder will be a joy to live with and a source of untold delight. A puppy from a backyard breeder, commercial breeder, or pet store can be a source of heartache and endless problems. To get a good start with this demanding breed, it is necessary to purchase your pet from a reliable, reputable source.
DO NOT CONSIDER LARGE NAME COMMERCIAL BREEDERS AS A SOURCE OF YOUR NEW PUPPY! IF A KENNEL IS BREEDING FOR PROFIT, THAT DO NOT HAVE THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE BREED AT HEART! THEY ARE OUT FOR THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR!!!
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When you have decided that a Doberman is the only breed that will do, the first place to go is a dog show. Whether you are buying a pet or a show prospect, it is important to buy from a breeder that is concerned with a breeding to match the Doberman Pinscher Standard. When you get to the show site, your first objective should be to buy a catalogue. A catalogue has all the dog’s names, owner’s name, and breeder’s names listed in it by breed. In the back of the catalogue is a listing of every owner’s name and address.
When you watch the Dobermans, check out the names of the dogs you like. You can try to talk to the owners but understand that they are very interested in what is happening in the ring and may not have the time to talk right then. Ask if they would mind speaking with you after Dobermans are done in the ring. Another thing to be aware of is that not everyone in the ring with the dog is the owner. Many owners prefer to pay someone to show their dog. They may be watching from ringside, or they may not even be at the show at all. The best thing to do is note which dogs you liked best and contact their owners later.
You have the names and addresses from the catalogue, so you can look up their phone numbers for information. Explain that you are calling because you liked their dog at the show and were wondering if they could give you the name and number of their breeder. Get several different breeders’ numbers.
Before you call a breeder, take a few minutes to sit down and write out some questions to ask. It is essential to ask about the health testing the breeder does on his breeding stock. You should look for a breeder that x-rays hips and possibly elbows (not a big problem in Dobermans) for OFA certification, tests for normal thyroid function, does a VetGen DNA test for Von Willebrand’s disease, and last but not least, does an EKG or Ultrasound annually to determine if the dog is DCM-free (Dilated Cardio Myopathy-a big health concern in the breed). You’ll also want to ask what health problems are common in the breeder’s lines. Be aware of the Doberman breeder that tells you he has no known health problems in his lines. This is rarely true. While many breeders are striving to eliminate genetic health problems, I have yet to meet a breeder that has never had a genetic health problem somewhere in his lines.
Do not rush off to see a litter of the first person you talk to. Once you see the puppies, it is hard to make a rational decision. Talk to several different breeders first and get answers to all your questions. The breeder you are interested may not even have puppies at the time or may have a waiting list. Do not decide to go to someone else just because they have available puppies. A good breeder does not breed until he has enough people interested in his puppies that homes are almost guaranteed. Get on the list for the breeder of your choice. If you have to wait several months or more, use that time wisely by learning all you can about the breed.
How to Choose A Doberman Breeder – Part 2
Ask the breeder how she socializes her puppies. A good breeder should expose her puppies to a variety of different experiences from the day they are born. Be sure that the breeder you are considering does this. A poor socialization period can result in a temperament problem with the pup. Ask the breeder about the parents’ temperaments. It is best to note the dam’s temperament yourself when you visit to make sure she is what you want. Inquire about how many litters are bred each year. Stay away from the breeder that produces litter after litter. Most reputable breeders produce only one or (at most) two litters a year.
Be sure you ask about contracts and agreements. Ask to have a copy of the purchase contract mailed to you before you visit. Make sure it is one you can live with. If you are interested in a companion puppy, some breeders will give you limited registration, which allows you to show in performance events such as obedience and agility but prevents registration of any offspring your dog produces.
It is best to spay or neuter a pet puppy. It is better health wise and behavior wise to do have this simple procedure performed. Reputable breeders will have a spay/neuter contract for any puppy sold to a pet home. This is to guarantee that a puppy with a disqualification or conformation fault will not be bred and further produce this fault in his/her offspring. Some breeders will sell a puppy on a co-ownership basis if they do not know you or you do not have recommendations by someone they know. This is to ensure that their puppy is getting the best possible care. If you do not like the idea of co-ownership, then investigate a different breeder. Neither AKC nor the DPCA recommends co-owning a dog.
Ask the breeder for references from people who own dogs of her breeding as well as vet references. If you are going to co-own, make sure there are several people on the list who are co-owners. Inquire as to what breed clubs she belongs to. At the minimum, she should be a member of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America. It would be ideal to find a breeder active in a local DPCA chapter club. Check in the breeder’s contract to see if he has a return policy. A good breeder will require that if, for any reason, you cannot keep your dog, you contact him and return the dog for replacement. A good breeder is concerned about the welfare of each and every dog he has produced.
When you call the breeder, be prepared to answer more questions than you ask. Any breeder worth his salt will want to know about your situation, previous experience, and reasons for getting a dog. She will want to know that her puppy is going to a good home and will be treated as a member of the family. Answer all questions honestly, as the breeder will probably arrange for a home visit to apprise the situation himself.
Research a breeder carefully. Your breeder will be the biggest source of information and help you will ever have. A good breeder won’t just be someone you buy a dog from, he will be a lifelong friend and confident. She will share your joys and triumph in your accomplishments, encourage you when thing get difficult, and she will comfort and mourn with you when your dog crosses the Rainbow Bridge. Truly, a good breeder is the perfect complement to your Doberman.