Journal of a First Time Breeder - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
Breeding and Breeders Know a good Breeder? Are you a Breeder? Please post here and let us know

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post #1 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-26-2020, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Journal of a First Time Breeder

So, you want to breed dobermans, eh?

Inspired by Gretchen_Red's thread series from her perspective as a stud owner, I'd like to present an educational thread on breeding from the perspective of a bitch owner. Much has already been said in many other threads and elsewhere on the internet about whether or not one should breed their dogs. Hopefully this thread will shed a light onto why you don't want to and why only the truly committed and passionate should even attempt it. So much more can go wrong than right! Not just in the lead up to the actual mating, or in the resulting offspring but also when it comes to the health of your bitch, and the puppies. Consider also the psychological stress of being in heat, being bred, being pregnant. Consider your bitch's temperament and how she might live with all this.

Before you even start, or venture into it, even with a mentor... be mentally prepared to fail. And in particular if you are trying to think outside of the box and take a different approach than most, understand that in the beginning you are, in effect, "experimenting". Unless your bitch has full sisters that have already bred, and will be breeding on similar nicks to you, then you don't have any idea what she is gonna produce. Be prepared for your first litter to be such a failure you may not be able to retain any of the resulting offspring for breeding. Be prepared that you may even have to start from scratch completely and start over with a new foundation bitch. Be prepared to admit these things to yourself - it is not about your ego, or your bitch - your bitch doesn't gaf that her offspring are champions or topping podiums. This about the good of the doberman breed. And keep in mind that his 'experiment' results in living, sentient beings who, if not destined for a breeding program will be someone's pet or active/sport companion, a probable member of their family, and weigh very carefully what this means.

We ask prospective puppy buyers this question all the time, especially for those wanting work/show/performance prospects (especially important in SD prospects). "What will you do if the dog doesn't work out as x?" I think it's fair to ask yourself as a breeder the same question. What will you do if this litter doesn't work out as x/to further your breeding program? What thoughtful breeding decisions are you doing to ensure these pups will have a safe, loving home their whole lives? And if it is not possible for them to have such a thing either because their temperaments were a spectacular failure or they are so poorly in health that they can't have a quality of life, will you be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say you did everything to stack the odds in their favour? (Because yes sometimes you do everything right and lady luck was moody when she rolled the dice that day, it happens. But you have to be sufficiently honest with yourself and use hindsight if necessary, and be capable of applicable of saying - well I could have done this differently, or should have. Breeding is at once a science and an art form and as with any science or any art, that means constantly questioning and re-evaluating yourself and what you're doing. Can you do that?)

If you are just starting out, the first step before anything else of course, is having your bitch proven objectively, whether that's by titling, getting judge's evaluations, or having the bitch actively working in a relevant venue (for instance if this were a border collie, she could be actively working as a herding dog/every day farm dog).
And then there's health testing. Before anything else, she should be health tested, as this will cut considerable time once you set out to search for a stud. For stud owners you will come across as more professional and serious, rather than risk coming across as a tire kicker. I know most people on this forum already are familiar but for newbies, it bears repeating

At the absolute bare bones minimum I think any stud owner would want to know:
An up to date Echo and Holter
Hips should be certified
Elbows should be certified
A full thyroid panel
vWD status

A few will also want to know the dilution status of your bitch, if their stud carries dilution or is a dilute themselves. Some people don't want to produce any dilution whatsoever.

Also consider:
Eye certfication
Patellar certification (which many vets will throw in for free if you get elbows and hips done at the same time)
DINGS (Doberman vesticular deafness) status
DCM1/PDK4 status
DCM2/TTN status
Liver + Kidney panel
Allergy status
DM Status
MDR1 status

And anything else you can think of. More information is always better, to help decision making. Also, doing your health testing prior to seeking out a prospective mate will save you a lot of heartache, time and money if something comes back too poorly or substandard for breeding. Better than getting your hopes up, getting excited, dreaming of a specific pairing only for something like this to come up and shatter your dreams. There are already many more things that can go wrong before the mating even occurs, as we will see very soon, so better stack the odds in your favour.
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post #2 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 08:27 AM
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There are so many ways to fail. So much time and countless hours of research. I see so many breeders breed to their own male but it's hard for me to believe that was the best male for their bitch, not impossible but improbable. You research pedigrees, health, looks, is that male going to improve your program? Do his looks compliment, does his temperament? What about his siblings? His aunts and uncles? What are the issues in his pedigree? Do you do a live breeding? A side by side? TCI? Frozen? Will she take? Will the puppies survive? How many homes do you have? What if they're all pets, are you strong enough to walk away from your first litter? What if you get the most BEAUTIFUL puppy and the temperament is shite? Is it nature vs nurture? Could you have done something to create that temperament or was it just always there? Could it improve? There's so much that can go into failure and very few ready to admit to it.
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post #3 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 10:20 AM
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Interesting Posts from you 2 , you bring out points to where breeding has gone to in Dobermans - or even other breeds . This is stuff - and I'm pretty sure I'm close to right on, But how much of this type of testing was done when we got our first Dober in the early 80's ?

Since Ali's passing - we have had people ask - Are we going to get another pup - Are we looking - I explain yes we are , but takes time , they for the most part just don't have a clue - As In - and this just happened the other day - That they had seen Dobers listed in some paper , Now if you want to end a conversation with somebody quick , Just start telling them the things that Artie and G-Red has wrote about - lol

Now give me a few seconds here to run around the barn lot - But many moons ago we had a Registered , Purebred Angus herd ( That's cows for city slickers ) In some ways , much like breeding dogs , the testing , everything , My goal was to bred better and better stock , same as with dogs . In the summer , I would go on the show tour , showing our own cattle , to some success . Now the biggest problem I ran into , was after the tour was over , the Heifer would not breed , or it would not take , as some I had AI . The Vet had told me it was from all the shows we attended over the summer , there diet , all the walks we did to keep them ship shape , they were all a factor .

I have to wonder if it is not the same with show bitch's , reason why I ask is that I have read and read about bitch's not coming into season - little litter's - 2 or 3 pup's - one I know of had just one and lost it . We also found that if we were going to be successful at breeding a show animal - then it was best to past on it till the next year after showing .

I know , I know , your asking what does this have to do with Artie's post , it's the more things that can fail you .

Nice read you 2 !

Doc
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post #4 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECIN View Post
Interesting Posts from you 2 , you bring out points to where breeding has gone to in Dobermans - or even other breeds . This is stuff - and I'm pretty sure I'm close to right on, But how much of this type of testing was done when we got our first Dober in the early 80's ?

Since Ali's passing - we have had people ask - Are we going to get another pup - Are we looking - I explain yes we are , but takes time , they for the most part just don't have a clue - As In - and this just happened the other day - That they had seen Dobers listed in some paper , Now if you want to end a conversation with somebody quick , Just start telling them the things that Artie and G-Red has wrote about - lol

Now give me a few seconds here to run around the barn lot - But many moons ago we had a Registered , Purebred Angus herd ( That's cows for city slickers ) In some ways , much like breeding dogs , the testing , everything , My goal was to bred better and better stock , same as with dogs . In the summer , I would go on the show tour , showing our own cattle , to some success . Now the biggest problem I ran into , was after the tour was over , the Heifer would not breed , or it would not take , as some I had AI . The Vet had told me it was from all the shows we attended over the summer , there diet , all the walks we did to keep them ship shape , they were all a factor .

I have to wonder if it is not the same with show bitch's , reason why I ask is that I have read and read about bitch's not coming into season - little litter's - 2 or 3 pup's - one I know of had just one and lost it . We also found that if we were going to be successful at breeding a show animal - then it was best to past on it till the next year after showing .

I know , I know , your asking what does this have to do with Artie's post , it's the more things that can fail you .

Nice read you 2 !

Doc

I think the smaller litters are due more to breeding to frozen or TCI instead of natural and breeding older bitches as well. I'm praying Kya will have a smaller litter, you know, like a sample for me to learn from and not screw too many puppies up lol.
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post #5 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECIN View Post
Interesting Posts from you 2 , you bring out points to where breeding has gone to in Dobermans - or even other breeds . This is stuff - and I'm pretty sure I'm close to right on, But how much of this type of testing was done when we got our first Dober in the early 80's ?

Since Ali's passing - we have had people ask - Are we going to get another pup - Are we looking - I explain yes we are , but takes time , they for the most part just don't have a clue - As In - and this just happened the other day - That they had seen Dobers listed in some paper , Now if you want to end a conversation with somebody quick , Just start telling them the things that Artie and G-Red has wrote about - lol

Now give me a few seconds here to run around the barn lot - But many moons ago we had a Registered , Purebred Angus herd ( That's cows for city slickers ) In some ways , much like breeding dogs , the testing , everything , My goal was to bred better and better stock , same as with dogs . In the summer , I would go on the show tour , showing our own cattle , to some success . Now the biggest problem I ran into , was after the tour was over , the Heifer would not breed , or it would not take , as some I had AI . The Vet had told me it was from all the shows we attended over the summer , there diet , all the walks we did to keep them ship shape , they were all a factor .

I have to wonder if it is not the same with show bitch's , reason why I ask is that I have read and read about bitch's not coming into season - little litter's - 2 or 3 pup's - one I know of had just one and lost it . We also found that if we were going to be successful at breeding a show animal - then it was best to past on it till the next year after showing .

I know , I know , your asking what does this have to do with Artie's post , it's the more things that can fail you .

Nice read you 2 !

Doc
Boy, do I like this around the barn post for third considerations on the breeding issue. I've been playing the dog show game a long time--and over time I've noticed that a significant number of very famous and lovely dogs and bitches are either sterile or have problems breeding/getting pregnant/rejecting puppies (being a terrible mother) that these are just more things to consider when you think about becoming a breeder.

Thanks, Kenny--that was a good one.

ABTLH
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post #6 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 02:22 PM
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I've frequently heard that heavily campaigned specials bitches wind up not be good brood bitches. Either breedings don't take, or they have smaller than average litters.
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post #7 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 07:16 PM
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I have a few things to say, but there is way too much drama in what has been posted so far. How on earth did anyone ever breed dogs for hundreds of years?

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post #8 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kansadobe View Post
I have a few things to say, but there is way too much drama in what has been posted so far. How on earth did anyone ever breed dogs for hundreds of years?
How did you get started kansadobe?
What lessons did you learn early on...if you want to share.
This is an interesting topic to me.

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post #9 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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I have a few things to say, but there is way too much drama in what has been posted so far. How on earth did anyone ever breed dogs for hundreds of years?
I think it's worth considering that for 100s of years, and even 1000s of years longevity wasn't a consideration in the same way, the notion of quality and 'breeding to standard' is extremely recent in the history of dog and man, and also dogs were primarily seen as tools, something with a working function. Selective breeding as we know it and breed standards as we know them are extremely recent in the grand scheme of things, and the place dogs hold in our modern society also evolved rapidly. So too, the way they are viewed. Dogs went from being selected 5000 years ago for things like high fertility and every day function, to being selected for minute details or competitive excellence in the last 100 years.

It's relatively easy to breed. But from where I'm standing, I think it's a lot harder to breed well.
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post #10 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Chapter 1: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them
(in other words, finding your mates)

Alright. So. Assuming you have a bitch. Assuming she is titled or otherwise proven in an objective capacity. Assuming she is health tested (I can't stress this enough. Your bitch should be health tested before You will be taken more seriously if you show your commitment and understanding that way, and you will also spare yourself the heartache and disappointment should an important test come back poorly). Assuming you, have cumulated sufficient knowledge to be capable of recognising her faults and strengths and those in prospective mates, or are guided by someone who does. You understand the standard, the history the purpose of the breed, the current state of the breed and have a well defined vision of the breed. Assuming you, as well as other individuals find she has a contribution to make to preserving the breed or contributing to that vision, and has good qualities that should be kept in the gene pool.

Now what?

Well, ideally by the time you would have decided you'd probably like to breed your bitch you'd have been researching males. Hell maybe even before you decided to breed your bitch, you'd ideally have been looking at males and bookmarking them just in case.

Now by the time you have decided you will most definitely breed your bitch provided the health testing comes back, and you've reached any titling goals, or had the bitch evaluated by objective third parties, you also should have been able to decide what your long term breeding goals are, what kind of program do you want to create, what are your priorities and how do you fulfill them without sacrificing too much in other areas. And then, more specifically you have to decide what your goals are for your bitch's particular litter(s).

And keep in mind... If breeding were as easy and simple as "breed the best to the best and you'll get the best" then everybody could do it. Some people just throw two nice dogs together but don't actually consider why each one is nice, and if what makes them nice will blend smoothly. The resulting dogs may be "well bred" but were they thoughtfully bred? Were they carefully bred? Do they improve on their parents or at least one of their parents? Were the odds stacked in their favour to achieve whatever goal/vision was outlined for them to be brought into this world?

I've known for a little over a year that I'd like to breed Nadia, provided certain conditions were met. I have spent months digging into pedigrees, siblings, produce records. Mostly for health and longevity but also in a matter of finding out what is consistent in a given line and what is not. For about 9 months I was almost certain I knew which male I wanted to use. That's 9 months of extensive almost daily back and forth with the owner getting to know the dog's temperament through and through, seeing his evolution both physical and mental. I spent hours communicating in a foreign language I had a poor handle on, with the help of translators as I investigated the dog's maternal side and had to reach out to other breeders.
I cheered when he obtained new titles of importance. Watched many videos of him working on different days.
And then... he had his echo in September 2019 which the vet declared normal, but I was concerned by how low his ejection fraction was for such a young dog. The owner was too. I showed the echo to my cardiologist and he said he had some reservations and concerns and that in terms of breeding it would probably not be worth it flying this dog from overseas.

Sh*t. Back to the drawing board. Luckily I was not expecting her next heat before later January, there is some time, but I had to crunch in overtime for pedigree and line research. I spotted a couple of studs and after a quick initial glance at their pedigrees through a database with extensive and immediately visible health and longevity information, I narrowed my list further. Then started digging again.

Keep in mind that this whole time even when I was almost 100% sure of using that particular male, I kept my eyes peeled. Any dog I liked that would get my attention I would look him up, or his sire or his siblings. Any bitch I liked I would look up her breeding as well to see if there'd be any males closely related to her. This included European dogs, American dogs, South American dogs. Why? Because I didn't want to limit myself to one type or the other. I've met, seen and witnessed enough dobermans of various lines by now to know the differences we tend to think of tend to only apply to the extremes. And because the characteristics I was seeking out, could be found in any line, just that certain characteristics might be more frequent in one line over the other, while others less frequent - or 'unproven'. (For instance working ability in US show lines. I am sure it exists at a higher frequency than what we think but few people are working their dogs to find out what is or isn't there. Or correct conformation and breed type in working european lines - because few people bother to try and stack their dogs and/or document their conformation, or dismiss the notion that a pretty dog can work, or that it matters for a working dog). But, because my primary idea was initially that I wanted to outcross on the first couple of generations before I even attempted at linebreeding, I did inherently tend to look at non-American lines more at first. Plus I believe if you're only just linebreeding on pre-existing lines then you're not really giving yourself a chance at building your line. I also believe there is some benefit to diversifying the gene pool and bringing something else to the table. I think lowering COI and increasing diversity could help improve the health and longevity of the breed. Ultimately I got discouraged looking at American and South American males, because... well... it seemed every time I found a male I really liked and that I thought might fit well with Nadia he was too closely related to her to my liking. Or he had one or more of the popular sires that I am trying to avoid. But I never dismissed/ruled them out entirely.

Unfortunately not all eligible studs are tested with the VGL or Embark, it's impossible to verify against Nadia anyway the true level of inbreeding or diversity. Two dogs on paper that can appear totally unrelated have produced offspring with higher COIs than themselves. Best I can do is breed, test the resulting puppies and thereby garner more information for the future. Two seemingly unrelated dogs have produced high COI or low diversity litters while some linebred dogs have produced lower COIs and high diversity litters. This had left me with a shortlist of around 6 studs I seriously looked at and who's owners I actually reached out to, 3 Americans, 3 europeans.

One of the European line studs I was looking at was an elderly 11 year old import who bloated suddenly in November. A Shame as he was a blend of show and working lines, all four grandparents made it beyond age 10, the dam made it to age 13 and the sire just shy of 10. He had a lot to offer in terms of longevity. From what I had seen he had a lot to offer in terms of working ability, and the temperament sounds like it would have been similar to Nadia's for the most part which is great, I think her temperament is one of the best things about her. My main issue is that with her temperament profile and working style is not one that can/should be blended or thrown together with just any other kind. Remember how I mentioned sire/dam complementing each other, knowing strengths and faults? Yeah, this is not just for conformation but for temperament as well. If you’ve got a sharp, edgier dog you want to avoid breeding to a certain kind of temperament and profile, lest you create dangerous dogs. In my estimation, nerve is king, particularly for Nadia.

My top choice amongst the Americans... well he's perfect in almost every regard, even has a daughter training in protection sports. He has the titles, the looks, the health. He was only bred once. He's 8 years old. Problem? No natural breeding, and if AI, condition is to be at minimum side by side TCI. Given Nadia's age, the fact she's a maiden, the stud owner is concerned about this being too cost prohibitive for a potentially small litter.

The other European stud I really liked... well he's never been used. My main issue here is that the owner has very different goals than me for the breed. She wants to appeal to the elite, wants her pups to go to worlds. I'm a bit more moderate, I do not think that the top sport dogs are necessarily endowed with the temperaments of what a doberman "should" be. The doberman is natural a defensive dog, it is a personal protection dog. You don't necessarily need a ton of defensiveness to excel in some of the protection sports. Ring dogs are generally prey driven for instance. They are extraordinary dogs of course but I am interested in preserving the breed as I understand and believe it to be based on the standard and historical data. Also this is my first litter, I have learned a lot, still have more to learn and I am being realistic. I am not expecting to nor am I trying to produce FCI world champions in my first litter. If I produce good dogs and someone does get them to that level I'll be ecstatic but this isn't my primary goal nor would I advertise the litter as such. Second issue is that he sports a white patch on his chest like Nadia, and I believe both are excessive. So I'd be doubling up on a serious (albeit, non-structural) fault. I had shuffled him back to the bottom of my list in the European/working column.

So, I finally settled on a different European dog, with one American dog as my primary backup. Stud A's owner was in agreement. This is an owner who does not usually approve studs to outside bitches, so it was new territory for her and we were figuring things out. All was set. I am expecting Nadia's heat cycle to start on the 27th. With this in mind I went last week to get her brucellosis test done, it came back negative. The stud was set to go this week with a teaser bitch to have a sperm analysis done, as well as his brucellosis. Friday the 24th I get an email from the owner. The stud has some sort of trauma and/or infection to his testicular region that is preventing the production of healthy sperm. Breeding is a no go. My heart sinks, as this would have been a very interesting litter with a unique blend of lines. But on the bright side the Therio said that re-evaluation could be done in a couple of months, so perhaps a future litter might be in the cards.

In the mean time clock is ticking. Luckily, I wrote Saturday morning to the owner of my primary backup stud. She is still on board for breeding him to Nadia. Phew, that's one less thing to worry about. It does take this litter in a slightly different direction, but I had already considered this/factored it in when making my shortlist. It is a little bit more 'traditional' in a type of breeding, but on the other hand I believe will have a bigger chance of improving Nadia's physical type where needed, while preserving her good qualities, in the conformation department. Temperament wise I also think Nadia's strengths could be preserved. No idea if it will improve bitework but this would not be a litter that would be marketable to the usual suspects of IGP doberman handlers anyway. That being said it’s interesting to note that there will be some light line breeding, on one of the only two dogs in Nadia’s pedigree (besides her sire now) to have sired dogs with bite work titles. But even if this doesn’t improve grips, they will probably not be couch potatoes, and based on the pups I've seen by this stud could very well be good dogs for people interested in bite sports but who aren't yet ready to commit to a dog from full fledged, multi-generational working lines. I am thinking these should be fun, versatile puppies for people want to do things and have fun with their dogs, or a fairly active pet.

This is more or less the 4th male I had to fall back on/seriously look at.

Moral of Lesson number 1? Always have a backup stud. Have multiple backup studs. Plan A, B, C... and well you know how the alphabet works. With the amount of thought and research you should be putting into your pairing, it would be wise to create a shortlist with several backups ahead of time, so you aren’t left stranded on the first day of your bitch’s cycle.
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post #11 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 10:52 AM
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I probably went through 20 males before finding one that Sharon approved of and that we both liked for Kya. So I had backups to my backups backups lol. Did I HAVE to have Sharon's approval? No. But as the co-breeder to my foundation bitch (knock on wood) and one of my mentors, I want to continue that relationship and I do rely on her knowledge of the breed and it's ancestry.
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post #12 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 11:23 AM
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i don't breed (by choice) I bred one litter many years ago and that convinced me that I was not of the correct temperament for breeding. So basically I've kept only males for most of my life in dogs. But I have friends who are breeders, I've whelped litters for people and lord knows I've spend hours with a variety of people investigating possible sires (and occasionally possible dams) so I want to thank you Artemis for starting this thread and can't wait to see the on going chapters.

Thanks so much for investing your time and energy in this...

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post #13 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-30-2020, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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I probably went through 20 males before finding one that Sharon approved of and that we both liked for Kya. So I had backups to my backups backups lol. Did I HAVE to have Sharon's approval? No. But as the co-breeder to my foundation bitch (knock on wood) and one of my mentors, I want to continue that relationship and I do rely on her knowledge of the breed and it's ancestry.
For sure, I didn't even include the first stud I originally wanted - who was humanely PTS after a tragic accident in Dec 2018. It was his son I was looking at for 9 months, not to mention the countless others suggested to me but that I discarded for xyz reasons early on in the running. Probably the worst being someone suggested I should tightly linebreed Nadia on her paternal side, and preferably on her paternal grandsire. (Her grandsire is Blue. Hell to the NO. I understand this was a suggestion based on physical attributes but there is nothing in this world that would make it worth it for me to double up so closely on a known DCM dog, because it goes directly against my personal goals of seeking out longevity and health.)

I should add one of the additional challenges I'm facing is Nadia's age and her being a maiden means I don't feel too confident about trying to use frozen or chilled. I'm fine with side by side. I don't have much of a window to experiment if she doesn't take in the same way as if she were only 3, or even just had just freshly turned 4.

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i don't breed (by choice) I bred one litter many years ago and that convinced me that I was not of the correct temperament for breeding. So basically I've kept only males for most of my life in dogs. But I have friends who are breeders, I've whelped litters for people and lord knows I've spend hours with a variety of people investigating possible sires (and occasionally possible dams) so I want to thank you Artemis for starting this thread and can't wait to see the on going chapters.

Thanks so much for investing your time and energy in this...

dobebug
That means a lot, dobebug. Hopefully it can also give pet owners a deeper appreciation and understanding of everything that goes into it.


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post #14 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-30-2020, 08:40 PM
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I've had just 3 litters so far, and my last litter will turn 8 the end of February. What I've discovered is that no matter what health testing you do and how much research you do, there is still a big element of "it's a crap shoot" to breeding. DCM will crop up no matter how healthy the pedigree looks, and health tests only go so far. That said, I do a lot of health testing on my personal dogs no matter if I breed them or not. I don't do all of the new DNA tests.... and will have to consider whether to do some of them with Mabel. She will turn 2 the end of February - at which point I will do a full blood workup with thyroid panel, hips and elbows..... and then a cardiac ultrasound later in the year ( I like to do it closer to 3 than 2 based on what my cardiologist has said) Her VWD was already done (clear).
Truly, one of the hardest things about breeding is deciding on a stud dog. If all goes well, Mabel will be bred in about a year. Her breeder and I have to agree on the stud dog for her first breeding. Her second breeding will be to my Harvard's frozen - I specifically got her to breed to my Harvard if all things came together.
I can honestly say that I don't look forward to having puppies again - it is soooo much work and worry, and picking families is hard too. I also feel that physically it will be a lot harder on me as I will be pushing 60 by the time her first litter is born. It was a lot easier when I was in my mid 40's with my first litter - haha. I hope to keep a boy from her litter with Harvard.... and that might be my last Doberman.... for sure, it will be my last litter.
It is also really expensive to produce a good litter with no guarantee that you will make the money back in puppy sales. Even 12 years ago, I put aside $5000 before even considering breeding a litter. I don't take deposits, ever. I don't ever want someone to feel that they are obligated to buy a puppy just because they put down a deposit.... that to me is how bad homes can happen. I also want the ability to say no after meeting the people when they come for their first visit - and I have done so. I've had people back out for all kinds of stupid reasons, and in every case, a better home came along.
Being a good breeder is hard work and ultimately heartbreaking when each dog eventually dies.... because good breeders care about each dog they produce ..... it is also super rewarding to see puppies grow up to become great dogs in wonderful homes. Some of those homes have become really good friends.
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post #15 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-31-2020, 10:00 AM
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For sure, I didn't even include the first stud I originally wanted - who was humanely PTS after a tragic accident in Dec 2018. It was his son I was looking at for 9 months, not to mention the countless others suggested to me but that I discarded for xyz reasons early on in the running. Probably the worst being someone suggested I should tightly linebreed Nadia on her paternal side, and preferably on her paternal grandsire. (Her grandsire is Blue. Hell to the NO. I understand this was a suggestion based on physical attributes but there is nothing in this world that would make it worth it for me to double up so closely on a known DCM dog, because it goes directly against my personal goals of seeking out longevity and health.)

I should add one of the additional challenges I'm facing is Nadia's age and her being a maiden means I don't feel too confident about trying to use frozen or chilled. I'm fine with side by side. I don't have much of a window to experiment if she doesn't take in the same way as if she were only 3, or even just had just freshly turned 4.



That means a lot, dobebug. Hopefully it can also give pet owners a deeper appreciation and understanding of everything that goes into it.
I hear you on the line breeding. Someone was trying to get me to QUADRUPLE up on a dog, Yeah, no.

The age issue is why I'm breeding Kya at 2. She's not quite ready to compete for her IGP I or agility so right now is the perfect time. Then she won't be bred again until she's retired. If she only has one litter, so be it. But her aunt was bred until she was 7, the stud dog ended up have 3 different types of bacteria, she didn't take and had to be spayed after.
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post #16 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-31-2020, 10:17 AM
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But her aunt was bred until she was 7, the stud dog ended up have 3 different types of bacteria, she didn't take and had to be spayed after.
Do you mean "wasn't bred"?
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post #17 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-31-2020, 10:35 AM
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Do you mean "wasn't bred"?
Yes, she wasn't bred until 7. My bad, can't you all read my mind by now? Geesh!
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post #18 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-31-2020, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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I've had just 3 litters so far, and my last litter will turn 8 the end of February. What I've discovered is that no matter what health testing you do and how much research you do, there is still a big element of "it's a crap shoot" to breeding. DCM will crop up no matter how healthy the pedigree looks, and health tests only go so far. That said, I do a lot of health testing on my personal dogs no matter if I breed them or not. I don't do all of the new DNA tests.... and will have to consider whether to do some of them with Mabel. She will turn 2 the end of February - at which point I will do a full blood workup with thyroid panel, hips and elbows..... and then a cardiac ultrasound later in the year ( I like to do it closer to 3 than 2 based on what my cardiologist has said) Her VWD was already done (clear).
Truly, one of the hardest things about breeding is deciding on a stud dog. If all goes well, Mabel will be bred in about a year. Her breeder and I have to agree on the stud dog for her first breeding. Her second breeding will be to my Harvard's frozen - I specifically got her to breed to my Harvard if all things came together.
I can honestly say that I don't look forward to having puppies again - it is soooo much work and worry, and picking families is hard too. I also feel that physically it will be a lot harder on me as I will be pushing 60 by the time her first litter is born. It was a lot easier when I was in my mid 40's with my first litter - haha. I hope to keep a boy from her litter with Harvard.... and that might be my last Doberman.... for sure, it will be my last litter.
It is also really expensive to produce a good litter with no guarantee that you will make the money back in puppy sales. Even 12 years ago, I put aside $5000 before even considering breeding a litter. I don't take deposits, ever. I don't ever want someone to feel that they are obligated to buy a puppy just because they put down a deposit.... that to me is how bad homes can happen. I also want the ability to say no after meeting the people when they come for their first visit - and I have done so. I've had people back out for all kinds of stupid reasons, and in every case, a better home came along.
Being a good breeder is hard work and ultimately heartbreaking when each dog eventually dies.... because good breeders care about each dog they produce ..... it is also super rewarding to see puppies grow up to become great dogs in wonderful homes. Some of those homes have become really good friends.
Hard agree on health testing regardless of breeding. I've been "picking up the pieces" with clients of my former breeder who on his last few litters actually falsified health tests. So I've been guiding the owners towards health testing. I've tried to encourage - to little avail - the owner of one of Nadia's littermates in health testing him. She says there is no point since he is neutered and won't be bred, I can't seem to quite get her to understand 'big picture' - even if he isn't bred, some of these tests could be for his own personal good (heart and thyroid) and others could provide valuable information to anyone researching these lines for breeding and purchasing decisions.

As well as the rest- choosing homes is what stresses me out the most. Especially because you can match the perfect home to the perfect pup, and two years later the perfect home is no longer perfect. Someone can have been doing things right for 15 years and suddenly have a midlife crisis, divorce their partner and move cross country leaving the dog behind. Someone can be great at communicating for 5 years then suddenly vanish. Luckily I'm not really planning on breeding often. I may exceptionally breed Nadia twice, but I think it's more likely I will end up breeding no more often than once every 3-5 years if I keep a female... could be longer if I keep a male. At this point in my life at any rate I have no desire to breed beyond whenever I need my next prospect... who knows, it may differ when I hit my 40s!

I hear you on the stud search. So many of my friends are like "It's so fun looking for stud!" and I'm like... are you kidding me? It's a freaking nightmare! Only fun part is looking at all the gorgeous dogs lol! Then got me wondering if I'm being too picky, or doing it wrong. But I am realistic about the bitch I have vs the goals I want to set so I have to be very particular. Even if I don't necessarily succeed in producing what I was hoping I want to at least be able to say that I did everything in my power to stack the odds in my favour in attempting to do so.

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I hear you on the line breeding. Someone was trying to get me to QUADRUPLE up on a dog, Yeah, no.

The age issue is why I'm breeding Kya at 2. She's not quite ready to compete for her IGP I or agility so right now is the perfect time. Then she won't be bred again until she's retired. If she only has one litter, so be it. But her aunt was bred until she was 7, the stud dog ended up have 3 different types of bacteria, she didn't take and had to be spayed after.
Quadruple!? How tightly!?

Yeah depending on where you are that's not even an option. The DPCC has it in their code of ethics not to breed a bitch over the age of 7 under any circumstances.
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post #19 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-31-2020, 06:32 PM
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All this is very fresh on my mind. Oh the trials, oh the money, oh the second guessing. My daughter and I felt our bitch is most definitely worth breeding from a pedigree with proven lines.
So after finishing several titles on her and doing all testing, learning all we could about her pedigree and siblings etc, we started the search for suitable stud dog.
We wanted to do a natural breeding, but when you find the dog, either the travel time doesn't coincide with work plans or the stud dog is not available just when she comes in. We tried
breeding her by having the stud dog come here, and I kept him one month, but the breeding didn't take after all. So you have paid your stud fee. But, it is not returnable. Six months later,
this month, we felt we had to try again because of her age. But now we are in winter and snow is hindering road travel.
Frozen is not desirable with a maiden bitch. It can be done, but not with the same success rate. We opted for a TCI and fresh chilled.
Then you add all the progesterone testing with an ICG vet, testing on dog, shipping fresh chilled semen and hoping she isn't ready on a weekend because it has to be over nighted.
And really the journey is just beginning. It would be more fun to take all that money and go to Vegas and gamble with it.

Ecin said:
"My goal was to bred better and better stock , same as with dogs . In the summer , I would go on the show tour , showing our own cattle , to some success . Now the biggest problem I ran into , was
after the tour was over , the Heifer would not breed , or it would not take , as some I had AI . The Vet had told me it was from all the shows we attended over the summer , there diet , all the walks we
did to keep them ship shape , they were all a factor."

Yes, all this plays a huge part. I am hearing of difficulties with breeders in the world of show cats, and dogs, other breeds included.
Prior to breeding, my vet mentioned the show circuit/ conformation/agility/obedience can take a toll. Diet most certainly. I was ask if i used any proestrogenic foods, such as soy.
In reading I find the the pea protein used in most kibble has more estrogen ( the right word here escapes me ) than soy. Flax seed also. It is everywhere, in the kibble and dog treats.

We find out with an ultrasound next week if the breeding took. So anxious. If she is pregnant, I hope for a small litter. It will be our first Doberman litter.
I have bred Staffordshire Bull Terriers for 40 yrs, but I know it won't be the same at all.
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post #20 of 107 (permalink) Old 01-31-2020, 07:22 PM
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As well as the rest- choosing homes is what stresses me out the most. Especially because you can match the perfect home to the perfect pup, and two years later the perfect home is no longer perfect. Someone can have been doing things right for 15 years and suddenly have a midlife crisis, divorce their partner and move cross country leaving the dog behind. Someone can be great at communicating for 5 years then suddenly vanish. Luckily I'm not really planning on breeding often. I may exceptionally breed Nadia twice, but I think it's more likely I will end up breeding no more often than once every 3-5 years if I keep a female... could be longer if I keep a male. At this point in my life at any rate I have no desire to breed beyond whenever I need my next prospect... who knows, it may differ when I hit my 40s!
Artemis--I said earlier I opted to not become a breeder because I felt I was temperamentally unsuited for it. And that was specifically related to my experience with one small litter.

I bred a bitch to a young male who had qualities that either matched her or improved on her not so good qualities and whose pedigrees made it a loose and fairly distant line breeding on Delegate. I was hoping for a nice bitch--the litter was three puppies, two male and a bitch who was stillborn.

So both males were up for sale--and I was so incredibly picky that no one was good enough for these puppies. After meeting and interview lots of people I sold one of the puppies to a nice couple with two kids (9 and 11). Set them up with a payment plan so they didn't have to pay the whole price in a lump sum. Puppy was cropped (and dew claw removed and docked)--friendly, well socialized and his ears were even standing at just under 4 months. And everything was fine for several weeks. Then they didn't make a payment. And a neighbor called me asked if I knew what was happening with my puppy (no, so the neighbor told me--the puppy was now living outdoors with a dog house, no blankets in a 10 x 10 chicken wire pen.)

I called and called and called--left messages but got no return call. Finally I went over--horrible day, pouring rain and found my puppy who was a gawky 11 months old in this stupid pen. Knocked on the door--knew someone was in there but they weren't coming to the door. I climbed over an 8 foot wood fence and hoisted 70 pounds of squirmey puppy over it and took him home.

Later the breeders of his sire found a Canadian couple who wanted an older puppy--they put a CD on him and bred him once and the litter did well in the show ring--it included a really nice Am/Can Ch bitch who was everything I had hoped to get out that breeding.

And the other puppy--I reluctantly arrange to sell him to an Alaskan bush pilot who had lost his old Doberman and wanted another--he'd be going with the pilot where ever the pilot went. I wasn't real sure about this deal but he sent me the money and arrange for a friend to fly into SeaTac and pick the puppy up and bring him to Alaska. So I delivered the puppy to the friend who had a strong resemblance to Popeye but the puppy liked him so they went back to Alaska. My dubious placement sent me a post card on the puppies birthday every year and always said he was the best dog ever--he sent me a last postcard on what would have been his dogs 10th Birthday and said his dog was gone--and thanks for letting him have such a great dog.

So much for my ability to pick owners. It was then I figured that I could meet owners whose dogs I liked and buy dogs and not have to deal with selling puppies who were like my own flesh and blood by the time they were whelped and raised and ready to go.

dobebug
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post #21 of 107 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Chapter 2: The 37 year wait is over! (actually it was more like a few weeks)

Normally, for those of us who own intact bitches we might often hope their heat was pushed back for xyz reason. I certainly hoped Nadia would wait a bit when we left for Hungary, so that she wouldn't have to deal with it while being on the plane. I hoped last winter she would delay it because I was doing her OFA hip x-rays, which people were telling me can get messed up by being in heat. (A quick search online told me the sole study on this found differences so negligible they wouldn't be visible to most evaluators... and even if it did, her hips still came back Excellent, in spite of starting her heat a few days before our appointment).

Well this time, I knew the approximate date should be January 27th, and knowing her like I do, I could possibly except them as early as a mid January. So I was expecting her to come in sometime between January 15th and and 31st, give or take an extra week. When I told you I felt a little psycho since the 27th lately, checking her vulva every morning before I left for work and every evening before I came back, trying to determine if I was imagining some swelling because I wanted there to be. I also for whatever reason a few days before a bitch comes in I pick up her scent, just that one day a few days before it actually starts. I don't know why. Maybe I was a dog in a past life

Well, finally on Friday the 7th I noticed she seemed to definitely be a little more swollen and I knew she had to be coming in sometime this weekend.

It so happens February 8th is my birthday - and the morning of I let her out, she was extremely swollen, I noticed. Right after she peed I took a tissue and gently wiped, and I about leaped for joy yelling "WE'VE GOT BLOOD! ATTA GIRL, WE'VE GOT BLOOD" which, Nadia probably had no idea why I was so excited but she definitely bounced and danced along with me. I told her this was the best birthday present she could give me.

Now the countdown begins... Thursday or Friday I will take her in for Progesterone testing. Aside from the fact that it is outlined in my stud contract that I shall not bring or send the bitch before her levels reach 5.0, it's just common sense not to do it too early. A bitch can interrupt her heat, and levels can drop back down easily. As I do not have the luxury to be using stored semen or a stud that's within a 2-3 hour radius, I cannot simply go for multiple visits over the course of her cycle. I have to drive through the Vermont mountains in the middle of winter, in the dead of February to get to Western MA so I ought to time it right! I will likely not be driving down until she is ovulating.

The stud owner was the first to know, and a couple of other friends were also notified, but I am holding out on an official announcement until the mating actually occurs. Guess I better wrap up the final details of my sales agreement, huh?
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post #22 of 107 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 05:47 PM
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post #23 of 107 (permalink) Old 02-10-2020, 09:47 AM
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Good luck ! AND Happy Birthday !
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post #24 of 107 (permalink) Old 02-10-2020, 11:58 AM
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Good luck! We are going to be having puppies around the same time! Hopefully. I'm also waiting for Kya's heat.
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post #25 of 107 (permalink) Old 02-10-2020, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all!

G_R ah how exciting! crossing my fingers she doesn't make you wait too much! Feel free to add to this thread with your own experiences as well. Gonna message you on FB too!


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