The Doberman Breeder: An Endangered Species?

Anti-breeding ways of thinking distract people from remembering that it's through the breeding of good dogs that the breed exists and continues.

In the 1970s the Doberman Pinscher was among the top five breeds in popularity. At that time, most specialty shows had well over 100 Doberman entries, with some shows having so many that two judges were needed. The entry at the nationals was between 700 and 1,000 dogs. There were movies featuring Dobermans, and the breed was used by law enforcement. They were the dog of the day.

Serious breeders became alarmed to see our breed becoming the dog for everyone; we knew they aren’t that. Therefore, we started to discourage breeding. "Only breed to champions" was the catchphrase.

Fast-forward 40 years, and today’s Doberman Pinscher specialties are lucky to have a major, let alone an entry reaching 40 dogs. Shockingly, our nationals have entries of only about 300. Unfortunately, however, we still have an anti-breeding way of thinking. We are all about rescue and spay and neuter -- and not breeding. You could say we subconsciously bought into the animal-rights agenda.

Today, most of our breeders are over 50, and there aren’t many young breeders in the wings. People tend to feel rescue is more important: “Save a life, don’t bring one into this world” is a common position. However, if we don’t have breeders — knowledgeable, responsible breeders — we won't have Dobermans. Then we won’t need Doberman rescue or the DPCA.

This situation could become a tornado destroying our breed. What can we do?

We need to reevaluate our positions. We can be for rescue and not hate Doberman breeders. We can be for agility, obedience, and Schutzhund and not deprecate the conformation people. Conformation competition is the venue we use to judge breeding stock — it is where breeders show the fruits of their breeding program, and these breeders are producing the dogs shown in the other venues. Therefore, when you criticize conformation people, you are putting a negative light on the people who are actually preserving the breed.

Just ask yourself: Where would our breed be if all we have are rescue homes and participants in non-conformation activities, and no people to breed our dogs? If you love this breed, you need to be an advocate.

Be a mentor. Encourage new people to breed their good dogs. Help them find the best stud dog for their bitch. Share your knowledge.

When I started, I couldn’t wait to start a line of Dobermans. I studied every pedigree and the standard, and I went to the shows eager to learn about this fascinating breed. I met many people who felt the same way. We talked and studied together. We bred good dogs, the competition was intense, and we all had winners.

I was so proud to be the owner of the top brood bitch for the DPCA. Today, no one even applies for the award — what happened?

Please show respect and appreciation for Doberman breeders. They are the foundation of our breed, and its future. —Faye Strauss, Doberman Pinscher Club of America, AKC Gazette