Bigger is not better. Today's dog problem

Today's Dobermans that are larger than the breed standard, as well as other breeds, are usually prematurely dead or debilitated by 1 or more of 4 health problems. I have received countless emails over the past dozen years from owners with flashy looking Dobermans who are dead by age 4-6 average.

The Doberman of yesteryear that were of proper size and weight usually lived to age 12-14, or longer. SO what happened?

It appears that the judges of the show rings were choosing the larger dogs and oversized puppies, creating a direction that the breeders jumped their programs into that spiralled into a vortex of health problems. A male Doberman adult calls for a maximum of about 95 lbs and maximum height of 28 inches at the shoulder in the breed standard, not males that over 100 - 120+ and looking more like a Great Dane cross, with a much heavier jowl - I remember the last show I was in with the German Pinscher ‘Luke" in 2001, while waiting for the photographer to show up for pictures, I was behind a Doberman "PUP" of about 9 months that I was sure WAS large enough to be a Dane! Unbelievable!!! and the madame owner was SO PROUD of his size ......I was in shock ! And Disbelief ! Even the Golden Retrievers, whose standard is around 60 lbs adult weight, have been reaching the 100 lb level. What is wrong with this?

Well,,,,,looking at those emails..... and ask any vet what they have been seeing plagueing these breeds.....hhhmmm ‘Cardiomyopathy', likely the No 1 killer of Dobermans. A degenerative heart disease that kills them with no warning signs. No 2 ‘ Wobblers Syndrome' - a degenerative disk disease that slowly cripples the dog, with very expensive surgery that doesn's work. One man told me he spent over 10,000 trying to save his beloved Doberman from this and it didn't' work. No 3 ‘ VWD' - Von Wildebrand's Disease - a real problem when a dog's blood doesn't want to clot. And, lastly, ‘Thyroid' problems, a dog living on drugs can control this; but what a the thyroid controls the body's metabolism.

Another problem, the North American breeder has created, is the lack of solid temperaments in today's Doberman. They were so busy trying to ‘soften' their ‘edge' , that now they can hardly cut the bread... So many Dobermans today do not pass the temperament tests required to make them into a ‘working dog' like they are supposed to be. I have talked to many guard dog trainers who tell me they haven't seen a good Doberman for more than 10 years.!!! Stamping your feet at them should not make them run away.....they should hold their ground.

I find that the ‘German Pinscher' is a much more solid tempered dog at half the size of a Doberman. Much tougher - pound for pound for sure. This breed that lives for you, WILL STILL DIE for you, if need be. Now that is the true heart of a ‘pinscher' !!!

I find all this a sad thing to report after observing this awesome creature for more than 35 years.

I actually had given up on raising Dobermans the last decade because I could not find any worth breeding.


I phoned a woman in Ontario who I had purchased some breeding stock Miniature Pinschers from previously and she told me she had a litter of Dobermans. I recall she had said before that she had planned to spay, but this litter had happened unplanned. I asked her how old the mother was and when she said 10 years, I almost dropped the phone. I told her I never heard of any large breeds fertile at that age, let alone nowadays, still alive. I asked for pictures of both parents and ended up buying 2 black and tan sisters from this line of longevity.

NOW the search is on for a quality male. I was fortunate enough to find a breeder of Dobermans at the coast, whose family had worked with the same lineage for 3 generations of her family. Her grand-father and father had carefully selected and shown these lines successfully for years and had proper size and good health in their dogs. So I purchased a gorgeous red male from her who is our stud dog, The Red ‘Baron', who has exceptional temperament and is solid and stoic.

The only downside of all this is that both of these breeders, like so many others in Canada, refused to deal anymore with C.K.C.- the Canadian Kennel Club, even though I offered to pay all costs of registering them. I would have then registered them with the U.K.C., the United Kennel Club- the International Dog Registry, who is an excellent registry to work with.

I know these lines are not inbred, like many are; and, like the GP breed, I offer a 3 year health warranty - replacement pup for hereditary/congenital defect. Also my pet prices for the Doberman pups reflect a reasonable amount compared to the last CKC Registered Doberman I bought many years ago that ended up being another dud.

To date, the female Dobermans each have had 2 litters-- that we have had nothing but compliments on, with owners coming back and even buying two, they are so pleased. I breed each female only once per year after they reach 2 years of age, as I do with the German Pinscher program.

I am extremely pleased with what these Dobermans are producing and all the owners' vets are telling them that these are the nicest looking and best tempered Dobermans that they have even met.

You can contact me if would like to reserve a great Doberman ahead with a reserve deposit.

Sincerely, Donna Smith A.H.T. (Vet Technician) Phone is 780-986-6877

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About the Breeder

Donna Smith is a professional dog breeder with over 30 years experience and specializing in the two magnificent breeds the German Pinscher & Doberman Pinscher.

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Location Info

  • 30 mins south of Edmonton
  • Leduc Country
  • Alberta, Canada
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