How to become reputable breeder
My wife and I are both in medical school and just recently purchased our 2nd doberman (3 month old female) as a companion for our 1st doberman (1 year old male). We are playing with the idea of becoming breeders and want to know some basic things to make sure it is for us.
First, is it feasible to raise two companion dogs that spend all day together as a breeding pair? I do not know if that is something common or if they are usually kept separate and only brought together to breed. If it is okay for two companion dogs to breed how does one go about controlling the behavior?
I think we have been lucky with our male dog so far. All the dogs I have owned in the past have been very "amorous" with pillows, couches, legs, etc. but our male has not displayed any of that behavior. At a year old I thought I would begin to see that type of behavior, especially with the addition of another dog, but so far nothing. I imagine once she reaches sexual maturity the switch will flip and measures will need to be taken to prevent an early and unexpected litter.
So, if the answer to my first question is "yes", I have a second question:
How does one know when to separate the dogs to prevent a breeding? How long do they need to be separate? If my male is not displaying any type of sexual behavior now could I anticipate him not showing that behavior when the female is not in heat? Basically, if I separate them when she is in heat will he still "bother" her when she is not in heat? I don't know if it makes a difference but she is the alpha dog. He has been submissive-even to our cats-ever since we got him but our girl is definitely the stereotypical alpha dog doberman. I was thinking his submissiveness and her dominance would make it easier to raise them together and still be able to safely breed them.
I have both dogs registered with AKC but what other steps can I take to increase my standing in the community? As a medical student, I want to learn everything about the topic before making a decision. First and foremost, the happiness of my two dogs is key. If breeding is something that can be done without risk of damaging their relationship then my wife and I would like to pursue it.
If breeding the two dogs together is not recommended I would consider an outside breeder supplied stud. We both really love the idea of raising puppies and spreading the joy of these dogs. We are located in Oklahoma and during my hunt for a dog I found a severe lack of reputable breeders in this state. I would love to be part of bringing these dogs to more families in this area.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. In addition to answering my questions if you could link me to any good breeder resources I would appreciate it. Like I said, I want to know it backwards and forwards and be sure to do everything right. Thanks again,
Here is a flow chart, for starters:
Where did you get your dogs from? Did you purchase them from a reputable breeder? If yes, then they could mentor you. Did the breeder actively get conformation/ working titles on their breeding stock?
Reputable breeders rarely sell puppies with full breeding rights, so I will caution you that their is a high chance that your dogs are pet quality.
Join the DPCA, they have a mentorship program for people interested in learning about breeding.
The first thing I'll point out is that the Doberman is definitely NOT a dog for everyone.
The second thing is that most "good" (as in ethical, knowledgeable, long time) breeders don't really count on is having the perfect male to breed to their own perfect bitch. They would be looking for the "best" male to breed to their high quality bitch.
Third, not all dogs (not just Dobermans) should be bred at all. Ideally each litter that a breeder produces should be an improvement on both the sire and dam.
Before you get to thinking seriously about breeding it would be a good idea to make sure that you actually have a pair of dogs who "should" be bred.
I think you need a lot more education in the nuts and bolts of breeding before you get into the reality.
Good breeders show their prospective breeding stock in conformation to see if they are actually breeding quality. Ideally they also train and show in performance events--Dobes are a "working" breed and should be able to compete successfully in various performance events. And I'd think twice about breeding a dog or bitch that couldn't pass a WAE--that's the working ability evaluation test which is sort of bottom line testing for correct temperament. They also do a lot of health testing--Dobes have a number of very unfortunate health issues which are common in the breed--most of them don't have gene tests and many don't show up until the dog is older so knowing what the health stats are behind the dogs you are breeding is very important.
As far as keeping an intact dog and bitch together--yes it can be done--but you do need to know about the breeding cycle of bitches (your vet would be a good beginning source of information, or the breeder of either of your dogs or even Wikipedia.) Dog reproduction is rather different mechanically from human reproduction so you will want to familiarize yourself with how the heat cycle in a bitch actually works.
As far as having males that humped pillows etc goes--basically some of that behavior is training related. I've never had a male Doberman (or actually any breed of dog) who did this and males usually can be trained to be polite. It's also worth a note that male Dobes are generally well over a year before they are adults--at a year your dog is basically still a puppy.
If you went looking for puppies and found a lot of less that wonderful breeders in Oklahoma you've only seen the beginning. Far too many people decide to breed their dog(s) for all the wrong reasons--there are infinitely more bad to mediocre breeders who really should not be breeding their beloved pets simply because they haven't got the basic information (and usually not the appropriate breeding stock) to even consider breeding.
Trust me when I tell you that there are Doberman rescues all over the US and Canada (just to keep it local) who are full to the brim of unwanted Dobes of all ages. There is no shortage of back yard breeders who don't health test, don't have a clue about what makes a good breeding pair or how to raise puppies--breeding to supply more Dobermans for a non-existent market is just not a good idea.
Where are you located? Perhaps there is a great breeder near you to become your mentor. There does need to be more reputable breeders out there, but be VERY careful to not become a BYB.
Here is what I would look for in a reputable breeder.
So, first off you will need to title your dogs. And health test them. And then take a REAL critical look at their pedigrees. Do they come from good backgounds themselves? Then look at them as a potential breeding pair. I will tell you it is uncommon for you to own the best match for your female. Most of the times, the best match will be somewhere else.
Good luck to you.
They are from Oklahoma. I can count on one finger, the reputable breeders in Oklahoma. And they have only co-bred one litter.
No reputable breeder would sell you a female on full registration so you can become a breeder.
Reputable breeders don't jump into breeding. First they find a great breeder. They do something (show, trial, work) with their dog. They spend years learning about the breed. Health testing, temperament testing, learning pedigrees. A lot of times the first doberman they buy ends up not being breeding quality. So they try again.
Just buying a couple of akc registered dogs and putting them together will make you a back yard breeder.
Spay and neuter your pets. Love them cause they are so special. Leave the breeding to professionals.
If determined to become a breeder in the future, find a great mentor. Start titling your dogs, learn all you can. Then in a few years, you might be ready.
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Before you decide to breed them you need take a good long look at the pedigrees of both dogs (you mentioned they are AKC registered) and consult with the breeders from which you got them. Inform yourself about the health and longevity, not to mention the temperament and accomplishments (showing, activities, etc) of the dogs behind yours- it's a tricky business trying to improve what's there and moving away from the bad (health, temperament, conformation), and if you plan to get into breeding, your foundation needs to be as strong as possible. The Doberman is not a breed to be bred just for breeding's sake. Are you able or willing to show your dogs or compete in any activities? That would give you a great deal more legitimacy among the Doberman community.
Did the possibility of breeding come up between you and the breeders when you purchased the dogs? Did you buy show/breeding quality, were any sort of breeding agreements discussed or signed? Most reputable breeders only choose to breed a select few dogs to continue and improve their lines, and all others are sold with non-breeding contracts to avoid contributing to Back Yard Breeding and overpopulation.
If they are breeding quality and you have the all-clear from the breeders, health testing is absolutely mandatory, especially in this breed. Cardio, hips, eyes, vWD, thyroid are some I can think of off the top of my head, and will set you back, but it's an investment in the breed that must be made.
Sounds daunting? It is :P Breeding is not to be taken lightly. There are unfortunately many small-scale BYBs and even some larger-scale, more well-known breeders putting out dogs of questionable quality, in this and all other breeds. It's noble of you for wanting to bring quality dogs to your area, and again, before you start a breeding program it's important to start with the strongest foundation possible.
AKC registration is no indicator of quality. Even the pathetic dogs that come out of puppy mills and bybs are AKC registered.
If your female has not proven to be worthy of breeding by competing and winning then no reputable breeder will touch her. You will easily find a stud for her on craigslist or the pet section of your local paper but he will be poor quality. One thing to remember......you can't get quality from poor quality dogs.
Anyone who thinks they want to have a litter of puppies from their pet quality dogs should take a day and volunteer at your local shelter. Take the job of going down the kennel runs and selecting which dogs are to be euthanized that day. You be the one who opens the kennel gate and when the happy, healthy trusting dog jumps in your arms you leash it up and walk it into the room where you will help kill it. You be the one who lifts it onto the table and holds this happy, waggy tailed dog in your arms and as it's licking your hand or face watch the life leave its eyes as it slumps against your chest. Then you be the one to bag the lifeless body and toss it into a freezer until the truck arrives to dispose of it. You be the one......
This happens all day every day across the country because someone thought it would be a good idea to breed their two wonderful pets.
Top Five Reasons Not to Breed Your Dog | Ruffly Speaking
#1 is I would not do it if you are planning to have kids or the dogs will be around kids or inexperienced dog handlers a lot in the near future. Hormone flooded dogs + super busy owners who don't have the experience and likely don't have the time to devote to them is a recipe for disaster.
if the breeders you purchased from were responsible or quality, they would have shown you all the written documentation on sire and dam's health testing and had you sign spay/neuter contracts on the dogs as only one or two at most from any of their litters would have been deemed good for breeding. You don't start a reputable or quality healthy breeding line from BYB or puppymill stock. Adding a quality stud to BYB/puppymill untested/unproven health is still BYB and puppymilling. Unlikely a quality stud owner would allow breeding with unknown lines either because it would bring down their line instead of improving it.
Are you ready to put in a few thousand dollars on each dog to do all the recommended health testing to have the written proof of health for prospective buyers? Ready to take back pups that don't work out with their owners or get sick? Are you willing to spend the money and then not breed if you find any health issues? Hoping you don't just want to make a few quick $$$ as a BYB without regard to health or long term care of the pups.
Reputable breeders have all the recommended health exams on sire and dam. Others use sales pitch to make quick and often under the table cash. Not something I think you want to rely upon even if the cash is tempting.
Keeping even one intact Doberman really requires extreme dedication and experience in training if your plan is to keep them as pets and not turn your home into a kennel and keep the dogs caged daily.
For spayed/neutered dogs you're looking at an honest 1hr+ a day in exercise and training just to keep minimum proper health and provide the basic mental and physical exercise they need daily. Plan on spending MUCH more time if you want to keep intact dogs together and if you need to learn about training Dobermans, which it sounds like you do.
In addition to giving the dogs at least 1hrs+ daily regardless of your schedule, you really need to both be very strong leaders and really experienced confident trainers to keep 2 intact dogs together as happy family pets. As the intact dogs approach 2yrs or so and really mature; you will see a much stronger and very different side of them.
In my experience, males tend to be much quicker to react and spar for mating with any male around if they scent a female in heat...much like a testosterone loaded man will be aggressive. Anything that gets in the way might get inadvertently hurt. Females tend to be a bit slower to snap/react but when they do, they mean business and will take the aggressive act much further than a male will. Dog parks and dog runs are out of the question for intact dogs because of aggression and quickness to fight.
Spay/neuter at that point may help some with behaviors but you and they would also need advanced training and behavior work to recondition the aggressive responses they will have learned.
I hope you take everyone's advice seriously and spay/neuter instead of creating a BYB/puppymill operation.
And FYI, if you're considering spaying her at any point be advised that spaying can sometimes lead to an incontinence problem which you will likely want to mitigate, and the only way to mitigate that is to put the bitch on a medication for the rest of her life.
Wow, I did not expect to see so many answers so quickly.
I do not ever intend on showing the dogs or competing in any type of events with them. The fact that some people make the statement "only pet quality" or "not good breeding stock" simply because a person chooses not to show or compete with them sounds rather snobby. Are the offspring of dogs that are show winners more desirable? Yes. However, that often makes the puppy a $3000 investment for any potential buyer and following that logic makes a Doberman out of reach for many families that would love having one of these dogs. Very few people want or need a "show quality" dog. What is wrong with producing pet quality dogs? I am not trying to come off as disrespectful or carrying an attitude, I really want to know. I mean, the point of 99.9% of dog purchases are because someone wants to have a nice pet. I have 2 beautiful healthy dogs. The male has an amazing temperament and the girl is starting to blossom as well. I am not wanting to produce show dogs that no one can afford. I just think more people would benefit from having a pet quality dog at a pet quality price. Someone mentioned there is 'no market' for dobermans. Well, what if they weren't the price of a used car? Of course people would want one.
I'm not trying to step on anyones toes with this post but it sounds ridiculous to say that the only dogs that should breed are show dogs and the only people that should breed dogs are dog breeders that have done it for 30 years. Every breeder started somewhere.
Ok enough of the rant. Again, I am NOT trying to offend anyone, it just boggles my mind that there is such a bias against breeding from the very people that breed. I want to do it the way you do it. I want to do it right-so tell me what I need to do so that I can do it correctly. Don't say "you are the reason dogs get put to sleep" because that takes so much away from the good your knowledge can give to the community.
Here is what I would like to know:
If the dogs are healthy, pass genetic tests, have a healthy pedigree, and pass a thorough vet check-what is wrong with producing "pet quality" dogs? I am not trying to be the next big thing in the doberman world, I would just like to make healthy puppies that could be within reach financially speaking for a family that would never be able to afford or be interested in a show dog. Let's try to keep this thread civil. I am at the very least 2 years from ever being in a situation where I would breed, I am just trying to learn. Thanks
Reputable breeders who show or work and title their dogs DO produce pet quality dogs. Most of them are pet quality actually. The whole point of supporting these breeders is to better the breed for future generations in hopes that it will become more healthy and more physically correct over time
If someone can't afford a doberman from a reputable breeder there are other options like adopting from a rescue group or getting an adult in a rehoming situation. This is an expensive breed to own too, so the initial cost should be considered pocket change to what you may encounter over the life of your dog. I spent over $10,000 in the first two months after I got my female and she was free (emergency surgery)!
Was this immediate need for emergency surgery the result of an accident, torsion, blockage, or due to something else?
argh, stupid touchpad making me thank posts i want to quote.
anyway. agreed, lots of folks can't afford that kind of money...because they don't consider pets worth saving if they're in need. i'm unsure if it's because animals are still considered disposable, or what.
we spent over $5k in a week on a terminal puppy. he had a birth defect that was not survivable. we would have put him on dialysis if that could have saved his life...we would have done a kidney transplant (and a friend of mine owns his littermate who offered a kidney if we needed it) had it helped. still, we spent what we did to keep him healthy and with us as long as we could...and i would have done it all over again.
we were prepared for the expense, however, as we had a savings account with a significant sum in it specifically for possible emergencies. this is what i would consider responsible animal husbandry. it's just a shame most people don't agree with that view.
Every reputable and ethical breeder DO title their dogs. Its to show that their dog has great conformation and is excellent breeding stock. If you do NOT title your dog, how will you know or prove to people that your dog is good stock? Looking back on bloodlines and having champions in them does not really count, we are looking at YOUR dog as he/she stands. I know this sounds bad, but think of it as an MOT for your vehicle, it must pass inspection and get the stamp of approval before being road worthy.
You do not have to venture into sports if you do not want to, but to get a CH is the minimum for any breeding stock.
Health testing is a big important part of breeding. You must do all necessary tests (hips, elbows, Vwd, holters, ect) before breeding. Some tests cannot be done until the dog is 2-3 years of age, so the earliest a breeding will take place after those tests, and at that point your dog will have finished in the ring.
Breeding ethically should be viewed as a passion. It takes time, effort, and a lot of love for the breed. I think finding a reputable breeder and learning from them is the best way IMO.
Dont fall into BYB territory, you will end up with heartache (too many dogs with congenital diseases) and a lot of sad/angry pet owners.
Will you research the pedigree's to find out what the first few generations died of and at what age? Will you sell on limited registration so just anyone can't breed your puppies when they grow up? Will you keep track of your puppies for their entire life and take back any who are ever given up by their owners? How will you know that the people who get your puppies don't breed them and those puppies or those grand puppies won't end up in rescue or shelters? Any puppies you produce, you are respsonsible for the rest of their lives.
Will you test for all known health issues? How do you know your dogs are healthy? They are very young, too young for testing at this time.
You need to know the pedigree inside out, know that the parents or grandparents didn't drop dead at a young age.
There is so much that goes into breeding ethically.
How do you know that your male is the right dog for your female?
You don't want to put dogs with families who are going to drop dead. You have to at least try to breed healthy dogs. Its only fair....
I give you props for asking for advice and help, but I think the two you have now are not breeding quality. Reputable breeders do so for betterment of the breed, not just as a fun hobby because they like Dobermans. What would your breeding do to better the breed, esp. since you have no interest in titling the dogs in anything for that matter?
Whether for pet quality, show quality, working line, etc., there are basic requirements that every reputable breeder adheres to. These include not breeding Z factored Dobermans, doing all necessary health testing, in the states cropping and docking before being placed, place their pups on contracts, take the pups back if it does not work out for any reason (which is also in the contract), the parents come from champion lines, the parents are titled, etc. Anything below these standards, regardless of intent, are not reputable.
In my opinion, it would take years before a new comer was truly ready to begin breeding. They would first need to start attending shows, meet some contacts in show or sport world, mentor, get advice, and the list goes on. You can't teach experience, therefore; experience with those who have it and know what it takes is a great way to gain knowledge, info, and contacts in the reputable breeding world.
As for puppy buyers, everyone wants a healthy dog with a great temperament. For this breed, that means extensive health testing. From the DPCA here is a calculator that helps estimate the cost of breeding a litter. Cost Of Breeding A Doberman Litter - DPCA Breeder/Exhibitor Education. It may help you understand the pricing of puppies from reputable breeders. Note that the calculator does not include costs of obtaining titles on the breeding stock, be it conformation or working.
And just to let you know, some of the people that responded to your post (including myself), are NOT breeders. Some of us are long time owners of this breed and have seen first hand the consequences of bad breeding practices.
I was going to take time to answer each of your comments but of late I have little patience with people coming in and NOT doing the necessary reading before dropping a post. Do yourself and the Doberman breed a favor and read the info at this site. We here believe that if you can't make a good contribution to the breed then don't breed.
First do no harm......
Just curious....what are the lines behind your dogs?
I have a GSD that is obviously from parents that should NEVER have been bred. She doesn't have the correct temperament (she is stupid friendly, for starters) and horrible conformation. Do I love her? Of course I do. Does that make her breeding quality (even if she passes her OFA and tests negative for DM?)? Not on your life.
Well, you asked how to become a reputable breeder. Reputable breeders breed for the betterment of the breed. Period.
To advance the betterment of the breed the breeding dogs should conform to the standard set forth by the parent club. They should be able to pass temperament or working tests. They should pass health tests.
If they don't and you still breed them, you are breeding for yourself and not for the betterment of the breed. Thus... you cannot be a reputable breeder.
There are lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of pets at pure breed rescues. People who cannot afford (or just don't want to spend the money) can get a wonderful pet from rescue.
There is really no excuse to breed "just pets" even though you love your pets and they are nice dogs. If you want to become a reputable breeder, you must be above breeding "just pets".
I had a long rant typed on this issue and I timed out. If you cannot better the breed, please don't breed. Reputable breeders have pet quality dogs and they are usually sold without breeding rights. Lord, this breed doesn't need anyone else contributing to vwd, bad hips, eyes, thyroid, DCM or CAH. If you do not know of these problems, you shouldn't be breeding dogs. If you don't know what correct structure is, how can you breed two dogs together? Please go to a shelter and volunteer (for a long time). Reputable breeders don't have dogs in shelters because they take their dogs back. Stay on this site and learn about the disposition problems because two people had a male and a female and wanted puppies. It takes a SOUND dog to live a long time in this particular breed. And then, they don't live long enough.
Everyone here is answering the questions you asked in your first post. Everyone is being very honest with you. I always feel if you don't want the truth, don't ask the question. If you do ask the question, listen. People here are very knowledgeable and are very willing to help those who will listen.
There are enough pets out there already, please don't make more. We all love the breed and want what is best. The Doberman rescues are over flowing right now. Please don't make more.
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