The first consideration is where to buy your puppy.....
There are essentially three kinds of suppliers
of puppies to the general market. They are the Hobby Show Breeders,
Back Yard Breeders, and Commercial Breeders . Although all breeders
within these categories don't precisely fit the descriptions discussed
below, over 90% of them do.
Show Breeders: This
breeder is primarily interested in the betterment of the breed.
They are almost always actively involved in showing in conformation,
and often participate in obedience, and/or agility. Most of them
are actively involved in dog clubs. Most serious New Zealand breeders
are members of the either the South Island Dobermann Club, Dominion
Dobermann Club, or Central Districts Dobermann Club. They fully
understand the health issues within the breed and test (when available)
both sire and dam for the important ones. These breeders select dogs/bitches
based on correct dobermann temperaments. They spend a great deal
of effort researching pedigrees and stud dogs to select the breeding
most likely to yield the best possible puppies. The puppies are
usually whelped and raised in their homes and are socialized beginning
at a very early age to optimize their temperaments for life in
the real world. Their goal is to breed the best dobermann, because
they plan to keep one of the puppies for themselves as a show
competitor. The facts of life, however, is that not all of the
litter will be show quality. In fact, seldom is even half of a
litter show quality. Many breeders consider a litter with one
or two potential champions as a successful breeding. The remainder
of the litter are placed in pet or performance homes (obedience
and agility usually). If you are fortunate, you may get one of
Back Yard Breeders: This
breeder falls into two separate categories. One is a family that
typically has a one bitch that they would like to breed "so the
kids can learn about birth" or "because the dam is such a great
pet and they want another" or because they see an opportunity
"to make a few dollars" with little effort. These breeders know
little about the breed. They spend no time seriously searching
for the right stud dog. They usually select the sire based on
knowing someone in town who owns a male. They do not understand
the genetic health issues or the need to health test the sire
and dam before breeding. No consideration is given to the quality
of the breeding partners, because they simply don't know what
constitutes a good dobermann.
The second category of Back Yard Breeder has a male and one or two
females. They breed solely to make money, and are not motivated
by any other factor. The knowledge of these breeders is typically
as lacking as that of the first category of Back Yard Breeder.
Commercial Breeders: This breeder houses many males
and females of several breeds. The bitches
are usually bred every time they are in season, until they can
produce no more. The animals are all in kennels ... some of which
are sanitary, and many others are not. There is no attempt to
breed for anything but volume and dollars.
The puppies are usually sold to brokers at 5 to 6 weeks old. The
brokers then resell them to pet shops and other retail outlets.
Many of the Commercial Breeders do not provide registration papers.
Many of these breeders can't and/or won't meet New Zealand Kennel
In America, many of the dog-buying public are not really knowledgeable
of registrations, so commercial breeders opened up their own registries
that allow any dog to be registered. The unsuspecting public assumes
that it is a legitiment pedigree registration. Many of these registration
organisations require no proof of parentage and have no inspections
for health conditions. Some of the commercial breeders specialise
in only one or two breeds including dobermanns and Rottweilers.
Many of these breeders produce a lot of puppies and peddle a good deal
Breeders continued ... The puppies are ALWAYS
whelped and raised in a kennel with no exposure to a home environment.
They would have you believe that their dogs are better by calling
them "Super Dobes" and by grading them as "superior" or some
other classification that infer that they are of high quality.
In fact there are almost never any champions within the past
five generations of the puppy you will buy.
Some of these breeders pride themselves on "super sized" dobermanns.
Big dobermanns are not correct. The standard calls for a male
to be a maximum of 28" at the shoulders and a bitch to be a
maximum of 26". A correct male will weigh in the mid-eighty
pound range and a correct bitch will weigh in the upper fifty
to lower sixty pound range. Bigger is NOT better. Some of the
commercial breeders promise dogs that are "to your specifications"
on temperament, when in fact, you will be sold just any puppy
out of their many litters.
Importantly, some of these breeders charge outrageous prices
for the quality level they sell. They typically sell puppies
for MORE than a good show breeder asks for a really top quality
pet that was raised in the home and properly socialized.
Which Breeder Should You Use? It's
clear where you want to buy your puppy. The problem is that there
are not enough Show Breeders to supply the market with good puppies.
Most of these breeders are very concerned where their puppies
go, and how they will be taken care of. They will ask a lot of
questions before letting you have one of their puppies. However,
we believe that it is well worth your effort to search out a good
breeder. Your puppy will be with you for many years. Take your
time !! It is important to have a healthy dobermann with a good
temperament and a sound body.
Whether we like it or not, many people are afraid of dobermanns, and jump
to the incorrect conclusion that they are all aggressive. You
must be reasonably assured that your dobermann has been bred with
correct temperament in mind, and that it has been socialized early,
so that it can live well in our society.
Health Issues in Dobermanns: All
purebred dogs have known health issues. Dogs that are not purebred
have health issues too. You just don't know which ones they will
have. There are a few health issues that you should be aware of
when looking for your Dobermann puppy.
most prevalent health problems in Dobermanns are Hip Displasia,
Cardiomyopathy (Heart Diseas), hypothyroidism, CVI (wobbler's
syndrome), and von Willebrand's disease.
Hip Displasia is a genetic disease that results in a hip joint that
is too shallow for the "ball" to fit correctly. This can be a
debilitating disease, depending on the severity. It is rare in
dobermanns, from show lines, but it does occur more commonly in
the general dobermann population.
Hypothyroidism is found in dobermanns, but it is not a common problem among well-bred
CVI (wobbler's syndrome) an inherited disease of the spinal column.
It usually occurs as an adult (3 + years old). There is no test
for this disease, but knowledgeable breeders know which dogs have
been affected by this disease, and they do not use them in their
breeding program. This is another reason to know your breeder,
their knowledge of health issues, and their commitment to improving.
von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) is a blood disease that is inherited.
It is one of the least destructive diseases in dobermanns, but
it should not be ignored.
Now that you are terrified that the dobermann is a lost cause health
wise, let me assure you that there are many that live long and
full lives with no health problems.