Tips on buying a puppy from an AKC Breeder of Merit
We offer 40 years of serious
involvement with the Doberman breed to help you in
your search for a Doberman puppy. We are
not mass producer puppy mills. We only breed a
Doberman litter every two or three years (see our
Please read the this page all
the way through. We discuss Doberman breeders,
health, temperament, and what you should look for
before you buy a Doberman puppy.
Your new puppy will hopefully be with you for many
years. The most important advise that we can
give to you in finding the right Doberman puppy
is "take your time." It's more important to
take your time in finding the right puppy, than to
live with buyer's remorse for many years.
first consideration is where to buy your Doberman
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 I discuss below, I
believe that over 90% of them do. It's rare
breeder in a category that strays far from the
description you are about to read.
consider each type of Doberman breeder.
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 breeders
are members of the
Pinscher Club of America. The
register their dogs only with
American Kennel Club, the largest registry and
the only one that does kennel inspections to inspect
breed no more than one litter a year ... two at the
most. They fully understand the health issues
within the breed and test both sire and dam for the
important ones. These breeders select based on
correct Doberman temperaments. They spend a
great deal of effort researching pedigrees and stud
dogs to select the breeding most likely to yield the
best possible Doberman 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
goal is to breed the best Doberman puppy, because
they plan to keep one for themselves as a show
competitor. A fact 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. Most 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 these puppies.
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
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. 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.
the Commercial Breeders do not provide
American Kennel Club (AKC) registration papers.
AKC requires that the breeders maintain accurate
records of their breeding to ensure the accuracy of
AKC's registration. AKC also requires that the
animals be kept in an environment acceptable to AKC
for the health and sanitation of the dogs.
Many of these breeders can't and/or won't meet AKC's
requirements. Since they know that many of the
dog-buying public are not really knowledgeable of
registrations, they have opened up their own
registries that allow any dog to be registered.
The unsuspecting public assumes that it is AKC
registration and in some cases the Commercial
Breeder will even tell the buyers that the papers
can be transferred to AKC registration later.
This is not correct. Most of these
registration organizations require no proof of
parentage and have no inspections for health
the commercial breeders specialize in only one or
two breeds .... including Dobermans and Rottweilers.
Many of these breeders produce a lot of puppies and
peddle a good deal of misinformation.
The puppies are ALWAYS whelped and raised in a
kennel with no exposure to a home environment.
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" Dobermans. Big Dobermans 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.
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. They claim that they are out there
proving the quality of their dogs in the obedience
ring. Upon inspection, you'll find that almost
all the obedience dogs are at the lowest title, and
seldom have good scores ... just enough to scrape by
for a title. Virtually none of them can even
approach the level required of an AKC Obedience
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.
recently placed a show puppy with a person who had
bought a puppy from one of the Doberman Commercial
Breeders specializing in Dobermans. The dog
was purchased for the price of a good show quality
dog from a reputable breeder. However, the
puppy from the commercial breeder has hip dysplasia
in both hips, and is severely limited on what it can
do. There was not one AKC champion in
the entire pedigree, and only one obedience titled
dog. It was titled at the lowest possible
level. The "guarantee" promises to replace the
puppy after its death .... but who wants another
dysplastic dog from this breeder?
Doberman Breeder Should You Buy From?
clear where you want to buy your puppy. The
problem is that there are not enough Hobby 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
important to have a healthy Doberman with a good
temperament and a sound body.
Whether we like it or not, many people are afraid of
Dobermans, and jump to the incorrect conclusion that
they are all aggressive. You must be
reasonably assured that your Doberman has been bred
with correct temperament in mind, and that it has
been socialized early, so that it can live well in
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. /p>
are a few health issues that you should be aware of
when looking for your Doberman puppy.
The most prevalent health problems in Dobermans are
Hip Dysplasia, Cardiomyopathy, hypothyroidism, CVI
(wobbler's syndrome), and von Willebrand's disease,
Dysplasia 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
Dobermans, from show lines, but it does occur
more commonly in the general Doberman population.
We recommend that you INSIST on BOTH parents having
certificates from the
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
Do not take the breeder's word. Ask to see the
certificate, or get the exact AKC registered names
of the dogs and go to the OFA we site. You can
search the database for the dog's name to see if OFA
has certified the hips to be free of dysplasia.
Dobermans have a tendency to have Cardiomyopathy, a
heart disease. At present there is no
conclusive test, but both parents should be screened
(EKG/24 hour holter) to determine if they had an
indication of Cardio at the time the test was done.
Most top breeders use cardio tests and pedigree
information to minimize the probability of Cardio..
Hypothyroidism is found in Dobermans, but it is not
a common problem among well-bred dogs.
Both parents can and should be tested for
hypothyroidism and both should have normal results.
Do not purchase a puppy produced by parents
that have not been tested.
(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.
Willebrand's Disease (vWD) is a blood disease that
is inherited. It is one of the least
destructive diseases in Dobermans, but it should not
be ignored. There are very good DNA tests
available. Both parents should be tested.
The genetic tendency of the puppies to have vWD can
be predicted reliably based on the tests of the
Now that you are terrified that the Doberman is a
lost cause health wise, let me assure you that there
are many that live long and full lives with no
health problems. Just be careful where you get
Questions Should You Ask?
best way to tell if you have contacted a good
breeder is to ask the right questions, and to know
in advance what the response should be. You
don't necessarily need to ask these questions, but
you should have the information they generate from
your conversation with the breeder.
What dog clubs do you belong to, and what is
The response you should expect: The breeder
should belong to the Doberman Pinscher Club of
America (DPCA) and preferably a local all-breed
kennel club. They should be able to tell
you their activities so that you know that they
are seriously involved in dogs and breeding for
the betterment of the breed.
Have the parents
been tested for the diseases listed above (those
that have tests)?
The response you should expect: Yes and they
should supply you with copies of the
Is one or more
parent an AKC champions?
The response you should expect: Yes
What was the basis
for selecting the sire and dam for this litter?
The response you should expect: The dam is of
exceptional quality (preferably and AKC
Champion) with correct temperament and health.
The sire is a dog of similar type (also
preferably an AKC Champion) with a correct
temperament and health. The sire and dam
should not have the same faults in their body
procedure during whelping.
The response you should expect: This question
could be answered in detail, but the information
we are looking for is "We are with the bitch 24
hours a day the day before the litter is due and
for the first few days after birth.
How are the puppies
The response you should expect: Raised in the
home with lots of interaction with people.
How are puppies
The response you should expect: We have visitors
frequently who come to play with the puppies.
We also have taken them away from home
individually (after about 7 weeks) to give them
exposure to the outside world.
At what age do you
crop the ears?
The response you should expect: This varies from
breeder to breeder but is usually from 7 to 9
weeks. The veterinarian should be one that
they have used before whose cropping produced
very good ear shape at adulthood.
Do you sell your
puppies on contract? What are the terms?
The response you should expect: Most breeders
sell their puppies on contract. Members of
the Doberman Pinscher Club of America are bound
by a code of ethics that requires a contract or
letter of understanding for puppy sales.
They normally do not let pet quality puppies go
to homes without a contractual obligation to
spay or neuter the puppy. Some breeders
allow the owner to keep the puppy in tact, but
offer a limited registration. This allows
the dog to compete in any AKC performance
event except conformation. Any
puppies produced by the dog or bitch are not
registerable by AKC. This protects the
breeders from unscrupulous people who buy a pet
quality, then breed it with the intent of
capitalizing on the hard work of the reputable
breeder. The breeders will also have other
requirements in their contract regarding the
care of the puppy and the return of the puppy
under certain circumstances.
How do you select
your puppy buyers?
The response you should expect: The buyer should
have a screening process that they can describe.
You may have already been exposed to the
screening process before you had the opportunity
to ask these questions.
are some of the things you need to know about your
breeder before you buy. You owe it to yourself
to learn as much as possible about the breed before
you buy. You don't need to be an expert on the
breed, but you should have learned enough to know if
the breeder is "feeding you a line".
the Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA) web site at
http://www.dpca.org/ to learn more.
A good area on this site is the Public Educational
You must perform your own due diligence to assure
that you are working with a qualified breeder.
t's not easy finding a good
puppy from a good breeder, but you will find that
the struggle was well worth the effort.
Remember that you will live with your new puppy for
years. Make sure that it is a well bred,
healthy puppy with a correct temperament.
Check other pages on our
web site for the possibility of
puppies for sale
Good luck on your Doberman Pinscher puppy search.