Where Have All the Doberman Breeders Gone?

When I was looking for my first Doberman, I went to the local dog shows and saw which dogs appealed to me. At that time there were over 80 Dobermans entered at all the big shows in the Pacific Northwest. I talked to the people there and got the names of breeders. The people were friendly and the dog show was exciting, so we thought we might enjoy showing.

Now when I bring my dogs to events such as the state fair, people remark that they never see our breed anymore. They can’t find breeders, and they would like to purchase a Doberman.

This brings up the question: Where have all the Doberman breeders gone? It seems like they are an aging population. Today my champion owners don’t want to breed their dogs—the only way they will be bred is at my house.

Having a litter is a huge commitment. It starts with the health of the mom and moves to the health and mental welfare of the babies. Having a cropped breed is another challenge; it is very hard finding a vet who will do the ears. Then you have to evaluate the litter and choose the right home for each pup. And of course there’s the follow-up to make sure each pup is thriving in its new home.

We should covet our breeders. They are the front line of our breed. Sometimes I think we lose sight of our goal, which should be to further the breed. We think everything else is so important that we forget the most basic aspect. Breeders make our breed. Just as a society can’t exist without children, our breed will perish without its breeders.

Michael Canalizo, the AKC’s Director of Event Management said, “The American Kennel Club knows that the breeders of purebred dogs are the backbone of our sport, so we’re proud to honor them each year at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Being recognized as Breeder of the Year is one of the highest honors achievable.”

You can’t have a breed if no one will breed. We need to encourage our new owners to breed their good dogs. We need to help each other to ensure that each litter is a success and share our knowledge. We can’t quit breeding because there are rescue dogs or dogs dying of health problems; with that reasoning, we will lose this wonderful breed. Maybe we need to consider the glass as half full and embrace the opportunities for improvement, instead of eliminating with the glass-half-empty approach.

Let’s support our breeders. —Faye Strauss, Doberman Pinscher Club of America, April 2013 AKC Gazette