Over-population of dogs is a national problem today. Every day across the country pounds and other government agencies are destroying thousands of animals, both purebreds and mongrels.

DPCA, as guardians of the Doberman Pinscher (our Constitution says we must "preserve and protect" our breed), is very concerned about this over-breeding. In 1977 the Doberman was #2 in popularity! DPCA viewed this status with concern and as a result COPE (Committee on Population Explosion) was born. This pamphlet is intended to alert potential buyers and potential breeders of their responsibilities to the Doberman Pinscher.

In 1978, 1979 and 1980, approximately 80,000 Dobermans were registered with the American Kennel Club EACH YEAR while the total number of dogs registered in all the rest of the 31 working breeds had been less than 220,000 in these same years. Although the registration of Dobermans is down, we must work harder to insure that the number of homeless, abused and neglected Dobermans, which result from this overbreeding decreases as well.

THERE ARE NOT GOOD HOMES FOR ALL OF THESE DOGS - In the past few years many dedicated Doberman fanciers have started rescue operations, taking Dobes from pounds, shelters, other agencies and private individuals into foster homes for later adoption into good homes. There is a steady and growing number of Dobermans rescued each month by clubs with rescue committees. Most Dobes rescued are in poor condition and some have to be euthanized. Starvation, physical abuse and neglect are the major causes of death. Anyone who has seen pictures of these rescued dogs will not soon forget them. Anyone who has taken into their home a starving, lovable and grateful Dobe will never forget. Even allowing for Dobes that are bred commercially and purchased from pet stores, there are still too many Dobermans purchased from breeders that get into the wrong hands. Making the public aware of the conditions within the "puppy mills" and discouraging the purchase of dogs from pet shops is also our responsibility. It would be a salutary experience for anyone planning to breed their Doberman to visit an animal control agency in their area. A walk through the local pound or Humane Society shelter might make them think twice about the wisdom of breeding. ***Ethically, you are responsible for all of the dogs you produce for their entire lifetime.***

THINK OF THE COST - In order to raise a litter of six puppies to the age of three months, giving the dam and puppies the best of care, the minimum cost is approximately:


Examination of female before breeding,
including x-rays for hip dysplasia, worm check,
brucellosis test, booster immunizations, VWD test,
thyroid test, health certificate, etc.


Stud average fee


Shipping (average 500-mile radius)


Extra food and vitamins for female when 6 weeks in whelp


Postpartum check for female


Office visit - Examination of litter


Tail docking and removal of dewclaws at $20 per puppy


Puppy immunizations at $60 per puppy (4 series each)


Ear cropping at $150 per puppy


Food and vitamins for puppies before and after weaning


Worming at least twice at $40 per puppy




Possible Caesarian section


Grand total


The average cost would be about $750 per puppy, not including the Caesarian section, and not including many of the problems which can occur in the dam and puppies. Some cost can be deducted for puppies sold before three months of age, but some must be added for those kept longer. Additional costs are not represented here, such as long distance telephone calls and advertising.

BEFORE YOU PLAN TO BREED - Animals used for breeding should be free of hereditary defects, brucellosis, heartworms and other parasites. An x-ray should be performed to determine if there is hip dysplasia, and certification furnished by a competent veterinarian radiologist, or preferable, by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). Heartworm, brucellosis, VWD and thyroid levels are easily checked with a blood sample, and other internal parasites can be seen in a stool sample. The animal should appear to be in good health, with healthy eyes, ears, coat. In many parts of the country, dogs are kept on a daily heartworm preventative and are checked three or four times a year for internal parasites. (FOR INFORMATION ABOUT OFA OR ANY OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED PROBLEMS, CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN, LOCAL CLUB OR DPCA.)

Animals used for breeding should have a stable temperament, neither overly shy nor overly aggressive. A Doberman may be "sharp" (which means alert and protective) without being dangerous. Any Doberman used for breeding should be a good representative of the breed as well and should have the proper number of teeth. You should be aware of the genetic defects which can occur in the Doberman and ask for information about the dog you are using. Ask about cardiomyopathy, cervical vertebral instability [CVI] (wobbler's syndrome) , Von Willebrands disease [VWD], and hip dysplasia in the dog's background as well as any defects that may be present in the dog itself. Ask about the colors in the dog's background, and be sure that no white dogs are in the pedigree. White is a disqualification. A COPY OF THE DOBERMAN PINSCHER ILLUSTRATED MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DPCA. (The Doberman Pinscher Illustrated is a 40-page illustrated discussion of the Breed Standard.)

THE STUD DOG - Stud dog owners should refuse to breed to any female which is markedly inferior, physically or mentally, or one which shows evidence of the defects listed above or has evidence of any of the defects in her pedigree. She must be in very good physical condition as well.

The owner of the stud dog should determine before breeding whether the knowledge and facilities of the owner of the female are adequate to raise a litter. Will there be room to keep the litter until the puppies can be sold to good homes? What are the intentions of the breeder? Will he/she keep one or two puppies or is the breeder planning to sell to pet shops, dealers, or the first person who comes along wanting a Dobe puppy? Will the breeder be able to socialize the puppies at the crucial times in their lives? Can he/she afford to raise the litter?

THE FEMALE - As the owner of a female, analyze your reasons for wanting to breed... when there is a population explosion. If you want a puppy from your beloved pet, it would be cheaper to buy one that is like her; she will not necessarily reproduce herself. If you want a puppy that is better than the female, it is generally better to buy one so you pretty much know what you are getting. Are you objective enough to decide whether your female is of such high quality that she could contribute to the improvement of the breed if properly bred? Is she healthy and of good temperament? Consider the cost in time, money and energy you will have to expend on a litter. Will you be around to care for this litter properly or do you work full time?

If you are determined to breed your female, wait until her third or fourth season (she should be at least two years of age or older), then find a stud dog which is of high quality, with the best of physical and mental attributes. Be sure he is free of hereditary defects; check his teeth and his general health. Study his pedigree and, if possible, see the dog in person and go over him. Learn something about linebreeding, inbreeding and outcrossing. ABOVE ALL, KEEP THE BREED STANDARD FIRMLY IN MIND.

SOME ALTERNATIVES TO BREEDING - In light of the excessive population, spaying of females and neutering of males should be seriously considered. A mature female will be a better and happier pet after she is spayed. She will not come into season and chances are that she will live longer. Dogs are subject to many ěfemale troubles" and often an older female is a high risk for an operation which she may have taken in stride a few years earlier.

There are two alternatives for males. They can have a vasectomy as young puppies or at any age, which will prevent them from siring puppies but not exclude the desire to mate. Or they can be castrated as mature dogs and live a long and happy life without wanting to leave home whenever a nearby female is in season. (TALK TO YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT THESE PROCEDURES.)

IF YOU HAVE A LITTER NOW - We urge you to be careful about the buyers of all your puppies. Find out about their experience in dogs and particularly their knowledge about the Doberman Pinscher. Have they ever had a Dobe before? If so, what happened to it? Why do they want one now? Where will they keep their puppy and how will they train and feed it? Have some literature on hand about Dobermans and about dogs in general (such as the AKC pamphlet "Are You a Responsible Dog Owner?" or "The Beginner's Doberman Pinscher" available from the DPCA) which you can give to them. Encourage them to come to you for advice and help. If they buy a puppy, call them in a week or two and find out how the puppy is getting along. If they aren't satisfied with the puppy, find out why. Perhaps you will have another they will like better. Take the first one back and find another owner. Above all, don't lose concern for the puppies once they have left your home. It is far better to rescue your own puppies at an early age then to allow them to go through the difficult and bewildering experience of one home after another or possible neglect and abandonment.

A prospective first-time Dobe owner should read and talk with many owners, handlers, and breeders in order to gain a clear understanding of the breed. The Doberman's beauty and intelligence may appeal to many people, but its size and temperament may deter some. Reputable breeders and owners must fully discuss all aspects of the breed with any prospective purchaser.


Editor: Mrs. Judith Fellton, COPE/Rescue Committee Chairman
Updated 1989, 1993