But I can't think of any reputable breeders that have actually started testing for it. I don't think they should, either, as the last thing this breed needs is yet more reasons to create a genetic bottleneck. Also, personally I think this should be struck from the standard as a fault, how do white hairs impede the original function of the doberman? I don't think it's linked to deafness or blindness in our breed, and thanks to DNA testing we now know it's not a sign of cross-breeding or 'impurity' (let's call a spade a spade), nor is it related to albinism. I suspect if we did test we'd realize it is extremely widespread and if that's the case, maybe it's just part of our breed, why penalize it? (I can understand it not being preferred, but for it to be a disqualifying fault... people already cover it up all the time anyway, this would just cut out the pretenses).
I'm intrigued by your line of thought, I can't say I really questioned the white disqualifiers or gave them any thought. Excessive white markings definitely get excessive attention (and not just in Dobermans). The AQHA gets all over that, too, complete with imaginary lines that, if a white marking crosses, the horse can't be bred or is even disqualified from being registered. I'm pretty sure that has a lot to do with keeping color breeders from getting a foothold because the AQHA wants to focus on performance rather than flash, but also because they want to maintain a strong breed brand identity which consists of specific solid colors.
I'm guessing the rationale against the white markings in Dobes is also mostly to do with breed brand integrity, same as fuels the obsession with cropped ears and docked tails. Is it really that important?
I saw a comment on facebook the other day in one of the many doberman groups, from a self-professed show breeder actually saying she didn't want, nor was interested in a proper working temperament (we are talking about temperament here, not Drive) and I just about keeled over. She basically just admitted she doesn't like Dobermans... just dogs that look like them and that made me unbelievably sad. I almost asked her if she had any idea what a proper Dobe temperament was like (I'm thinking she had to have some misconceptions about what that entails. Aloof does not mean aggressive, suspicious doesn't mean unfriendly, alert and active doesn't mean anxious, and so on...)
I suspect that a lot of show breeders don't understand and don't really care about evaluating temperament. As long as the dog doesn't piss itself from anxiety in the show ring or bite the judge, putting effort into concerning themselves about temperament does not further their goals.
Originally Posted by oberonandbella View Post
The one irritating problem I've always noted with the horse breeds as well is that, if responsible breeders breed fewer and fewer dogs, then it leaves only the irresponsible breeders to fill the gaps. This will cause issues with breeds dying out, and/or deterioration of the quality of the breed, which as we've already noted, we don't want because BSL is terrible, and dobermans with poor temperaments are poor ambassadors for the breed.
I don't know how to solve it without good breeders being able to breed more. Which tends to disqualify them as breeders (and now my head hurts).
So, is there a way to encourage good breeders to breed more, or encouraging new breeders to breed, thereby both preserving the breed *and* allowing for a better "supply" of dobermans for the buying public?
I trimmed your quote down a bit here, but it's an excellent inquiry.
So, there are a few things going on in this area that I've noticed.
First, the more effort put into developing & finishing a dog with titles takes a lot of resources, not the least of which is time, and a lot of folks don't consider breeding until they reach the goal. That loss of time can utterly ruin a bitch's chances of producing a litter, even if she is good quality.
Second, breeders who breed "too often" are usually savaged by other breeders and communities in the dog fancy, such as this forum, because scarcity seems to be viewed as some measure of quality. Artificial scarcity just means if the average person wants to get a Dobe, they'll either be ignored outright or stuck on waiting lists for years for a "quality" Dobe, or they can just go patronize the lower-end breeders.
Third, up-and-coming breeders get savaged by other breeders and communities unless they play a particular game by apprenticing for a respected show breeder. Maybe that's a good idea for some who do need the guidance, but it isn't necessary, and being nasty towards those folks means that, if they even stay with the breed, they won't make the mistake of asking for guidance again.
Fourth, popular sires are already influential enough, and most of the "good breeders" you're referring to don't stray far from the extremely popular bloodlines.
Fifth, there's a strong stigma attached to losing complete control over one's prized bloodline, such that breeders are savaged by other breeders if they allow their bloodline to travel outside of the clique.
Sixth, more breedings by fewer breeders, whether they're "BYBs" or "Reputables", aren't going to help the situation. Fewer, thoughtful breedings across a much larger population is what will ultimately improve health, temperament, and longevity. To hear your typical "Reputable" breeder talk, only one or two percent of dogs are worthy of being bred. The funny thing about eugenics is that it takes something that sounds good in theory, but whenever it's implemented strictly, it ALWAYS results in an unmitigated disaster due to the genetic bottleneck because the proponents always take it way too far. It doesn't matter if this principle is applied within the aristocracy, some concept of a "master race", or animals, sustained genetic bottlenecks invariably achieve the opposite of the intended effect.
Further food for thought: The typical "BYB" is probably actually helping aimless diversity in the breed moreso than "Reputable" breeders. I say "aimless", because genetic diversity alone isn't inherent quality, but it can be a measure of genetic resilience with a dramatically reduced chance of painting oneself into a corner of disease and misery.