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Top 10 Things Bad Dobe Breeders Say

  1. “I’M A CKC MEMBER, SO YOU CAN TRUST ME.” – False. While the CKC does have Code of Practice for breeders it is only enforced if someone files a complaint. The organization is first and foremost a dog registry. Among other things, the CKC does not limit how many litters a breeder can have per year and how many breeds a kennel sells. While there are exceptions, the Golden Standard is being a member of the National Breed Club. In the case of the Doberman, this is the Doberman Pinscher of Canada (DPCC).

  2. “I DON’T NEED A KENNEL NAME.” – Puppy mills successfully continue to operate by reducing the likelihood of being researched, found and reviewed online. The best way of doing this is not having a kennel name, or not giving your real legal name, or only giving your first name. A puppy mill providing this information would soon result in a significant number of complaints online associated with said name(s). An ethical breeder is proud of conducting a breeding program responsibly, and should be fully transparent about his/her identity. If a breeder sounds dodgy about clarifying his/her full name, walk away. And having a kennel name doesn’t mean it’s a good breeder if there are multiple bad reviews online.

  3. “HEALTH TESTING IS IRRELEVANT; I KNOW MY DOGS.” – False. Knowing your dogs doesn’t mean you are able to pick the healthiest dogs to be bred, and does not allow you to rule out breeding one that happens to have a deadly genetic condition. Continuous health testing on one’s breeding lines provides an additional line of defense against undesired possible birth defects and deadly genetic conditions, and is an indication the breeder is willing to invest in the breeding program for the benefit of potential homes.

  4. “YOU WILL GET THE EARS CROPPED AFTER YOU BUY THE PUP.” – Any responsible, reputable and ethical Doberman breeder would NEVER knowingly let a new home handle the process of getting the ears cropped. If a breeder tells you this is the way things are planned for the litter, walk away. Selling a puppy along with a veterinarian phone number for cropping is highly inappropriate. Good breeders will get all puppies cropped at the veterinarian, keep the puppies for a few days until the crop dries up, and will provide thorough support for ear posting.

  5. “CKC PAPERS ARE A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY.” – False. A pedigree and certificate of registration are the only documentation supporting that Dobermans are purebred. While providing them isn’t a guarantee of being an ethical breeder, not providing them is definitely a guarantee of not being one. If a breeder isn’t willing to show you the parents’ pedigrees, to give you their CKC/AKC registered names, or to provide a Certificate of Purebred Dog Registration for your puppy, walk away. It is highly likely that the parents are not even purebred Dobermans.

  6. “WHY DO YOU WANT TO SEE PICTURES?” – Of course, the breeder can move the pups away from the dirty litter box full of feces and place them on a white fleece blanket for a pro photo shoot. But you will see if the dewclaws were removed, how well the tails were docked, if there are obvious deformities or breed faults, and if the colour markings are breed-appropriate. Dewclaws are never in contact with the ground and are useless, but they can get stuck and torn on bushes, trunks, or rocks, and tear can cause mild to excruciating pain; there is no valid reason for a breeder not to have them removed. And you can see whether the tail dock was botched, if an elastic was used, and if the length is appropriate. If a breeder questions why you want to see close up pics of the pups, walk away.

  7. “ANYBODY CAN POST BAD ONLINE REVIEWS.” – If a breeder says this, it’s likely because you asked about it, in which case you should ask yourself why you are even still in contact with that breeder. Is it possible that random people just went out of their way to post bad reviews about that breeder, possibly exposing themselves to defamation lawsuits? Yes. Is it plausible? No. One or two bad reviews; give them the benefit of the doubt, ask pointed questions and do additional research. Multiple ones; walk away. A good place to look for reviews is at DobermanTalk.com.

  8. “THANKS FOR YOUR CALL/EMAIL. SEND ME A DEPOSIT.” – Is it normal that a breeder will sooner or later ask for a deposit? Yes. Should it happen without the applicant having been thoroughly screened, and/or meeting the breeder, and/or after only a few calls or emails? Absolutely not. If you want to know if you should send a deposit, ask yourself the following question: has the breeder performed due diligence and gotten to know me enough to know my household would be a great forever home? If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure,” walk away. This breeder clearly does not care what happens to the puppies.

  9. “CHECK OUT OUR INSTAGRAM!” – Walk away. Diverting a buyer’s attention to casual Doberman play pics is the best way to avoid having to answer any relevant questions. Instagram won’t pay the vet bills, help you care for and post the cropped ears, print your purebred CKC certificates, or give your deposit back.

  10. “I DON’T HAVE CARDIO IN MY LINES.” – Cardio is the biggest killer of Dobermans. While no breeder can claim to have cardio-free lines, dealing with an ethical one who performs cardiac monitoring on his/her breeding lines helps reduce the likelihood of such a genetic condition taking your loved Doberman too soon. Ask if the breeder performs Holter and/or ECG testing, and ask for corresponding documentation.