We have been breeding Dobermans for over 35 years. We are members in good standing with the Doberman Pinscher Club of America and are longtime members of our local obedience club. We are not big breeders and may only have one litter a year. We have been breeding for excellent temperament, health and the correct standard size. Our dogs have been OFAed for hips, tested for vonWillebrands (vWD) and thyroid.
Over the years our children have shown our dogs in 4-H and obedience. We have done therapy visits, rally, obedience, agility, freestyle and tracking with our dogs. Our dogs have their "CGC's" from the AKC. I believe that as a breeder it is important to breed top quality dogs and to make sure that all health testing is done to help insure the health and well-being of the next generation. Our dogs are part of our family and we want our pups to be part of a loving family too!
As a breeder, one tries to combine all that they feel are the best traits of that particular breed for conformation, temperament, intelligence and health. It takes many years to do this, in my case, it took 4 generations of my line. It was a combination of champion Euro breeding and champion American lines that produced my 5th generation puppy.
I was contacted by a woman who was interested in a Doberman as a service dog, as she was legally blind. She had a different breed at the time and things were not really working out for her. After many conversations we decided to wait for the litter with my female, Chai Latte and a dog that I co-own, Luger. Luger is one of my 4th generation puppies out of my all Euro bred female, Zeta and our stud dog, Skywalker. Chai's litter was not due for another 7 months but I felt that both of these dogs had incredible temperaments and would produce some very nice puppies. The litter arrived just before Christmas and having a Christmas theme for the litter, the first female, we named First Noel. Noel was one of 11 puppies, a good sized litter for Chai's first. Noel had the pink collar, just like her mom had when she was a pup. Noel was different from the very beginning. Here she is in the picture, avoiding the crowd at the feeding stations by coming in from the top!
Selecting a dog for service is so different from the family dog. Most folks want a puppy to be friendly to all, the kind that runs up to you wagging their tails and licks your face. A service dog needs to be calm and somewhat indifferent towards people and other dogs, watchful and not rattled by noises.
I kept a close eye on the pups and looked for these qualities as they began to interact with each other and people. I had it narrowed down to two female puppies and waited for the temperament test to make my decision. The temperament test is given at 7 weeks of age, to each pup in our litters, by a person, or evaluator, who the pups have never seen and in an area where they have never been. When given this test, Noel showed confidence but not over exuberance, she observed before reacting and was not afraid of unexpected sights and sounds. When I called the woman to let her know about the temperament test and which puppy we had decided would be the best fit for her, she said she had a dream about her puppy. In her dream, the pink collared puppy was to be her puppy.
Our arrangement was that Noel would stay with me for about 8 months. I would post her ears, potty train and start her basic obedience training. These stages would be difficult for her new owner. Once Noel had all of her puppy vaccinations she went everywhere with me.
There is a group of people who have purchased puppies from us that enjoy getting together for "puppy play dates". Noel began attending our get-togethers. This gave her the opportunity to learn how to socialize with other dogs.
I took Noel to puppy obedience classes and to service dog classes. She passed her AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test when she was 7 months old. Noel was a calm, fast learner. I spoke to her new owner several times a week to keep her up to date on how her puppy was progressing and to get her invaluable input. There were many situations that this puppy had to learn to adjust to as she would be the constant companion with her new person. We went to restaurants, grocery stores with grocery carts, the airport, up and down staircases, in elevators, public bathrooms, waiting at the hairdressers and walking along busy streets. She had to get used to bikes, strollers, other dogs, kids, cars and big trucks. She could not be afraid when she became her person's eyes.
When Noel was 8 months old, her new owner came to stay with us for a couple of days to bond with Noel and start working with her new dog. It could not have gone any better. They did some training, they played together and became comfortable with each other. We all traveled by plane to Noel's new home and she traveled like she had always been a service dog. I was so very proud of her. I spent 5 days with them in their new surroundings. Noel is now a working service dog. Even though she is still a puppy, she has far exceeded even my expectations.
Having Dobermans for over 30 years, I know how they bond with their person. I know how much they love to work and to learn new things. Dobermans have a sense of humor, they love to entertain us. They are sensitive to our moods and can be very comforting. And for someone who lives alone, they give a sense of security. All of these traits make for great potential to be a service dog, a therapy dog, or a family dog. This has been a wonderful experience for me to work with Noel and her owner. I have learned so much and I look forward to our on-going relationship.
I bought a dog from Melissa after having two bad experiences with German Shepherd breeders, who sold me dogs that were completely unsuitable for being mobility assistance dogs. It was an expensive adventure! When I talked to Melissa, I knew she wouldn't lie to me, and after knowing her for two years, I have seen over and over again how much she cares about every pup that she produces, and about the people who take those pups. She genuinely wants everyone to be happy and she wants her pups to succeed in their new lives. I asked for a lot from her, both personally and in what I needed in a dog: a dog that would be fit for public access but that would protect me when needed, that would have a lot of drive but be ok in a condo, and that would love to work but not drive me crazy while I am working. I got everything I asked for, and I am so grateful to Melissa for working with me closely and listening to what my needs were. My pup at nine months loves to work, has excellent obedience, and is showing good protective drive. She is already a real partner to me after living with me for just two months. My trainer, who specializes in working dogs and protection, has paid me the great compliment of saying that of the small percentage of people who actually train their dogs, I am in the 1% of people who train and use their dogs to a very high degree. My pup is able to work like that and love every minute of it. I am not someone who keeps pets. I have my dog for a specific reason, to work and keep me safe and out of harm's way, to make up for my limited eyesight. I love my pup because she can do all of that for me, and because I know that she will save my life more than once. She is a super, super dog and she is invaluable to me. I can't wait to see what she's like as she grows up!
I had other breeds before I found out about the Doberman. A Saint Bernard, sweet but very big and hairy! The German Shepherd, another very nice breed, but for me, hairy with a tail that knocked things off my coffee table and chased my horses! In 1978, I was a divorced mother, living in an apartment in the city. I wanted a dog, a companion for my son and protection for me. I saw an ad in the local paper for Doberman puppies. I didn't know much about the breed. I liked the fact that they had short coats and no tail! And, everyone knows that they are "protection" dogs! My son and I went to pick out a puppy.
The "breeder" we went to turned out to be a very distressed woman, who's son left his dog in the garage and took off. She knew nothing about dogs. The poor dog had litter of puppies and the woman was just trying to get rid of them. We went into the cold garage to see the puppies and what I saw, broke my heart. A very thin, young, sad looking mother dog with three puppies about 7 weeks old. I could see just about every bone in the mother dog's body. I asked the women what she was going to do with the her. She told me I could have her along with all of the puppies for a very good deal! We took "Carla" and her 3 pups home with us.
I ended up selling all of the puppies to good homes and keeping Carla. She became my shadow. I thought she was just grateful for us rescuing her but later found out that it is a trait of the Doberman breed, they love their people. Carla would sit her back end on the couch and watch TV with my son. A real couch potato, another Doberman trait! We took her often to a local park where my son played. She would keep an eye on both of us. If anyone came near either one of us, she would stand between them and us and lift her lip. I certainly did not train her to do this, it just happened. I got an evening job and Carla would come with me and stay in my car while I worked. I would go out on my breaks and take her for a walk. When I came out at night, it was comforting to know that she was in my car, my constant protection. Carla was a wonderful dog. Unfortunately, she developed Wobbles and had to be put down a couple of years after she came to us, she was only 4 years old. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Both my son and I were devastated. Carla was so special to us. How could we ever replace her? But what I realize now is that she was sent to us so that we could see what a wonderful breed the Doberman is. To honor her, we purchased another Doberman in 1980. This time from a reputable breeder, who understood the importance of health testing his dogs. I have learned a lot since then and have had Dobermans ever since.
Long and dry, resembling a blunt wedge in both frontal and profile views. When seen from the front, the head widens gradually toward the base of the ears in a practically unbroken line. Eyes almond shaped, moderately deep set, with vigorous, energetic expression. Iris, of uniform color, ranging from medium to darkest brown in black dogs; in reds, blues, and fawns the color of the iris blends with that of the markings, the darkest shade being preferable in every case. Ears normally cropped and carried erect. The upper attachment of the ear, when held erect, is on a level with the top of the skull.
Top of skull flat, turning with slight stop to bridge of muzzle, with muzzle line extending parallel to top line of skull. Cheeks flat and muscular. Nose solid black on black dogs, dark brown on red ones, dark gray on blue ones, dark tan on fawns. Lips lying close to jaws. Jaws full and powerful, well filled under the eyes.
Teeth strongly developed and white. Lower incisors upright and touching inside of upper incisors true scissors bite. 42 correctly placed teeth, 22 in the lower, 20 in the upper jaw. Distemper teeth shall not be penalized. Disqualifying Faults: Overshot more than 3/16 of an inch. Undershot more than 1/8 of an inch. Four or more missing teeth.
Neck proudly carried, well muscled and dry. Well arched, with nape of neck widening gradually toward body. Length of neck proportioned to body and head. Withers pronounced and forming the highest point of the body. Back short, firm, of sufficient width, and muscular at the loins, extending in a straight line from withers to the slightly rounded croup.
Chest broad with forechest well defined. Ribs well sprung from the spine, but flattened in lower end to permit elbow clearance. Brisket reaching deep to the elbow. Belly well tucked up, extending in a curved line from the brisket. Loins wide and muscled. Hips broad and in proportion to body, breadth of hips being approximately equal to breadth of body at rib cage and shoulders. Tail docked at approximately second joint, appears to be a continuation of the spine, and is carried only slightly above the horizontal when the dog is alert.
This past winter, I had the pleasure of visiting a small exclusive kennel which has developed an excellent reputation for selectively breeding the type of Dobermans that we were familiar with approximately 10-15 years ago. When I say that, I mean, Melissa Rosa of Dagobah Dobermans in Freehold, NY, has specialized with keeping her stock of healthy Dobermans, calm, confident and fun. The purpose of my visit was to evaluate Zeta, a European bred Doberman with Schutzhund lines as long as my arm. Melissa had found this dog to be a little more aloof and a little harder to train then the ones she had previously raised. She had asked for my opinion after researching my background with European Rottweillers. I proceeded to evaluate her existing pack of Dobermans, prior to spending time with Zeta. My finding was that all of her Dobermans were well trained, well mannered and all had a difference in personality which reflected Melissa's cool, calm approach developing her stock.
With Zeta's strong working background, Melissa found that she had to be more serious in giving out direction and commands to this dog. Zeta is a natural born Alpha leader, who enjoyed toying with Melissa's extreme patience. Melissa and I decided to do some long lead work wiwth the dog in a corral to stop her from always going into "prey drive" when she saw something that she felt should be chased away or guarded, etc. Working on the long line assisted Zeta's focus on the job at hand and on the person giving her the instructions. I would not hesitate to purchase any exsisting dog or puppy from this establishment. I found the facility to be immaculate, and to a fanatic dog lover like me, that's really important. All of her dogs sleep inside her home at night, even though Melissa's kennels are heated. Her kennels remind me of many other small, but excellent breeders I have met throughout the United States - the kind who are more interested in keeping the standard of the breed to what it should be rather than just building a cash flow machine! There are fewer and fewer of us around these days that care more for the canine than our bottom lines.
I would encourage the serious working dog lover to make an appointment and take a drive to Dagobah Kennels and see for themselves how balanced, good working Dobermans do behave. Your experience will be worthwhile and will assist you in making a decision if you have what it takes to raise a working dog! Dagobah Kennels is located a little south of New York's capital region at 9525 Rt. 32, Freehold, New York. If you call there at (518) 634-7384, be sure to tell Mellissa that you heard about her fine kennel from Dan at Ausdaüer Dog Training.