I am trying to find a good American show line Doberman breeder, but it has really been a task. I have not shown or personally owned Doberman’s before, so I’ve found it to be very difficult to find a breeder willing to let me purchase a puppy from them. I know that I should be looking for all the genetic testing and such. When I get on Dobequest and I look at test results, the information really confuses me. It’s a lot of numbers and symbols that I am not familiar with. Would someone mind interpreting a bitch’s results I’m looking at getting a puppy from and telling me their personal opinion on buying a puppy from her? She has the echo + holter, vWD, Thyroid, and OFA tests done. Dobequestog Profile Page https://www.ofa.org/advanced-search?f=sr&appnum=1969199
I have no idea how to interpret the testing. Per the OFA website, she is a DCM1 carrier and is hetero-positive, what does that mean? The holter results are <10.. I am also unsure what that means. She’s also a vWD carrier.. is that bad? Then she would just need to be paired with a neg male, correct? She has been tested for an Advanced Cardiac twice, and the same results are both times, “NORMAL AO/CONG, AUSC/ECHO/HOLTER”, does that just mean normal cardiac results? It also says she was tested for her WAE, but the results are unknown.
Thank you so much in advance for any response or input!!
I'm just going to try to plainly answer some of your questions. Forgive me if I assume you know less or more than you do. Echo
= ultrasound of the heart
It needs to be performed and interpreted by a veterinary cardiologist. Ideally, the dog should have heart dimensions that fall within the normal range for their breed. And "normal" can vary between breeds.
This is useful to measure the dimensions of the heart, which can indicate presence of DCM. (If you're unfamiliar with DCM - dilated cardiomyopathy, I strongly recommend you read up on it because it is a major killer in the Doberman breed). Holter
= records electrical activity of the heart. Ideally (per my cardiologist), you want <50 VPCs and no runs, pairs, or triplets.
This is useful to identify abnormalities in heartbeat, which is also very common in DCM. Although electrical problems of the heart can present without dilation of the cardiac chambers and can (and do) lead to sudden death in Dobermans via heart attack.
A person can rent or purchase a holter and submit recordings to a company like Alba Medical who will process the data and produce a report. The results are best interpreted by a veterinary cardiologist, particularly when the holter is done around the same time as an echo. These two tests fall into the "health screening" category in that they can be used as diagnostic tools that will either confirm disease presence, or the absence of the disease.
However, neither one can be used to predict whether a dog will develop DCM or have a heart attack at any future time. vWD
- This indicates whether a dog is genetically affected with von Willebrand Disease, which is a blood clotting disorder.
The ideal *IMO* is clear or carrier, but I've known people with affected dogs who have never had a problem with clotting and would have no problem owning another affected dog. I've also known people who have seen the worst of affected and wouldn't do it again. So, its a personal call. Personally, I don't judge breeders who produce affected because I'd rather not narrow the gene pool any more than we have to and if you only aim to produce clears and carriers, well, you're eliminating plenty of good dogs who might have plenty else to offer the breed.
Genetically affected is *not* the same thing as clinically affected and many genetically affected dogs never display an actual issue with clotting. However, your dog's vWD status is something to be aware of and any decent breeder should be able to provide you the status of your pup either based on the genetic status of the parents, or by testing each puppy if there is a chance the breeding produced affected pups. The test for vWD is easy enough to do via genetic marker testing through VetGen. Thyroid
- over or under active thyroid
This test should be done every year, or when suspected, in the form of a "full thyroid panel." It requires a simple blood draw and the sample is sent off to a qualified lab for analysis. IME, it can take as short as a day or as long as up to a week to get results back.
Thyroid is typically easily managed with medication. One word of caution is that I have known of some breeders to list their hypothyroid dog's results as "normal" while failing to provide the information that they test normal on medication. Not the worst thing a breeder can do, but shady IMO. If a dog is on medication in order to achieve a normal range of function, then that is not a normal thyroid. OFA tests
= this usually refers to hips & elbows but more test results can be submitted to OFA, which is stands for Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
Some people will choose to use PennHip instead of OFA. Both are valid but PennHip uses a different method for assessing joints and therefore (according to PennHip) it can provide accurate testing in puppies as young as 16 weeks of age. Dogs should be over 18-months or 2 yrs for OFA testing (I think, I don't remember the exact age requirement).
Broadly, these tests will provide some kind of quantitative assurance on the health of elbow and hip joints. In Dobermans, most dogs of breeding quality will be rated Good or better, although I do know of a few dogs who have been rated Fair. Generally, as far as I'm aware (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong) hip and elbow displaysia are not widespread or serious problems in well bred Dobermans of show or working lines. Other:
DCM1/DCM2 genetic testing
Currently, these tests are most useful to researchers. And I fully support that. But, personally, as a Dobe owner whether the breeding pair has or hasn't been genotyped for isn't make or break for me. I appreciate breeders who do it to contribute to ongoing research efforts, but it just doesn't provide clarity (YET) on the disease that is informative outside of research purposes. WAE "results unknown"
- I don't know what that means. Maybe the dog tested but paper work hasn't been submitted or processed or...? I have no idea. I can't/won't speculate about that. I'd just ask the bitch's owner. (Which, really, that goes for all of this. I'm sure the bitch's owner would be happy to answer the questions of a prospective puppy buyer.)
I don't know anything about the bitch's pedigree. Based on her Dobequest photo, she has some nice qualities. I'm not familiar with all her titles but she's earned an ARCHMX and some rally titles that I can tell, so she's got some performance sport aptitude.
Looking at the sire's pedigree, I like him. I'm pretty familiar with the dam's side of his pedigree and he was sired by Ozzy, who is a nice dog (and I like what he's produced).
I think if you're looking for a dog to dabble with, it seems like this might be a breeding that could produce just that - a dog to dabble with. You probably won't be guaranteed a podium dog or an easy to finish dog. But if you're inexperienced in sport and conformation anyway, you probably don't know if you for sure want those things. And that's okay.
My unsolicited advice would be to (1) talk to the owner of the bitch directly to ask your questions and to discuss what you're hoping for in a dog and what you're interested in trying.
Next, I would suggest you consider trying your hand in the UKC conformation ring. Its amateur only and can be a great place to learn and gain experience. Its a very friendly environment, IME. Then, if your pup turns out nice and you catch the conformation bug, maybe try your hand in the AKC breed ring.
If you're interested in trying out IPO (or whatever its called now...IGP? I don't know), I would recommend identifying clubs now and reaching out. Find out if they're friendly to people who just want to learn and dabble before committing. If not, then maybe start attending training and learning NOW before you have a dog to see if its for you or if you prefer a club environment with less formal commitment.
Whatever the case, really only you can decide what you're serious about and what you want. You might be inadvertently contradicting yourself in your opening post because you just don't know what you don't know. Try not to take offense when people here point it out. This place can be an excellent resource and tone can be difficult to control on the internet. Just assume people mean well unless they tell you otherwise. Take what you want, leave what you don't, and hopefully you'll stick around.
And good luck.