2. The first consideration is where to buy your puppy. There are essentially three kinds of puppy suppliers to the general market. They are: Hobby/Show Breeders, Backyard Breeders and Commercial Breeders.

Although all breeders within these categories don't precisely fit the descriptions below, it is my belief that the majority do. It is rare that a breeder in a category strays far from the descriptions you are about to read.

Let's consider each type...

Hobby/Show Breeders:
This breeder is interested in the betterment of the breed. They are almost always actively involved in showing in conformation, sport arenas or working venues, and often participate in obedience and/or agility. Most are actively involved in dog clubs. Most serious breeders are members of breed clubs. The breed clubs for the Doberman Pinscher breed are: The Doberman Pinscher Club of America and The United Doberman Club.

Good, reputable Hobby/Show Breeders will breed no more than one litter a year...two at most. They fully understand the health issues within the breed and test both sire and dam extensively. These breeders select breeding stock based on correct Doberman temperaments, conformation, health and drive. They spend a great deal of effort researching pedigrees and stud dogs to select the breeding most likely to yield the best possible puppies; thus improving the breed with each generation. The puppies are usually whelped and raised in their homes and have begun the socialization process at a very early age to optimize their temperaments for life in the real world with their new families.

Their goal is to breed the best Doberman, because normally they plan to keep one of the puppies for themselves as a show/conformation or working competitor. The fact of life, however, is that not all of the litter will be show or working quality. The "pet-quality" puppies make excellent companions and are NOT of lesser quality than their "show-quality" littermates. If you are fortunate, you may get one of these puppies.

Backyard Breeders:
This "breeder" falls into two sub-categories. One is the family that typically has a one bitch that they want to breed "so the kids can see the miracle of birth" or because the dam "is such a great pet" and "we want another" or because they see an opportunity "to make a few dollars" with little effort. These individuals typically know very little about the breed or the common health concerns. They spend no time seriously searching for the right stud dog and usually select the sire based on knowing someone in town who owns a male. They do not understand the genetic health issues or the need to health test the breeding pair before the mating. Little to no consideration is given to the quality of the breeding partners, because they simply don't know what constitutes a good Doberman - And, often, may not care.

The second category of Backyard Breeder has a male and one or two females. They breed solely to make money and are not motivated by any other factor. The knowledge of these breeders is typically as lacking as that of the first sub-category of Backyard Breeder.

I feel very strongly that neither of these types of Backyard Breeders should even be allowed to use the word "breeder" to describe themselves. A "breeder" is someone who loves, cares for and is intent on the betterment of their chosen breed with only the highest moral and ethical commitment to the puppies they help bring into this world - for their lifetime.

Commercial Breeders:
This "breeder" houses many males and females of several different breeds. The bitches are usually bred every time they are in season, until they can produce no more. The animals are all in kennels... Some of which are sanitary, and many of which are not. There is no attempt to breed for anything but volume and dollars. The puppies are usually sold to brokers at 5 to 6 weeks old. The brokers can then resell them to pet shops and other retail outlets with no concern for the welfare of the puppies - or their parents - let alone to finding suitable forever homes.

Many of the Commercial Breeders do not provide American Kennel Club (AKC) registration papers. The AKC Code of Ethics requires that the breeders maintain accurate records of their breeding to ensure the accuracy of AKC's registration. AKC also requires that the animals be kept in an environment acceptable for the health and sanitation of the dogs. Many of these breeders can't and/or won't meet AKC's requirements. Since they know that many of the dog-buying public are not knowledgeable with regards to registrations, they have opened "new" registries that allow any dog to be registered. The unsuspecting public assume it is AKC registration and in some cases the Commercial Breeder or Retailer will even tell the buyers that the papers can be transferred to AKC registration later. This is not always correct. Many of these registration "organizations" require no proof of parentage and have no inspections for health conditions. Remember: Registration papers (AKC or not) does not automatically mean "quality;" be sure and do you own due diligence. Again, in my opinion, these individuals or organizations are not "breeders;" they either are or can be liked to puppy mills.

Which Breeder Should You Use ?

It's should be clear where you want to buy your puppy. The problem is that there are not enough Hobby/Show Breeders to supply the market with good, high-quality puppies and you may be placed on a waiting list once you've found a breeder you feel is a good fit. Don't be discouraged! Be patient! Remember, Most of these breeders are very concerned where their puppies go and how they will be taken care of. They will ask a lot of questions before letting you have one of their puppies. However, it is well worth your effort to search out a good breeder as your puppy will be with you for many years.

It is important to have a healthy Doberman with a good temperament and sound body. Whether we like it or not, many people are afraid of Dobermans and jump to the incorrect conclusion that they are all aggressive. You must be reasonably assured that your Doberman has been bred with the correct temperament in mind and that it has begun its socialization early, so that it can live well in our society.