You have to know what you like in order to get what you want. We're surprised when we hear talk in just about all breed circles about expecting to have a great litter if two great parents are combined, or worse yet, one mediocre parent with one great parent. History and experience tell us this couldn't be further from the truth. Actually, if it were that easy, there would be far more stellar working dogs than there are.
What we like is important to define for our breeding success. Earlier, we explained that our typical breeding strategy involves linebreeding; that means we are trying to “cement” certain desirable traits so we will have greater likelihood of the traits being passed to the offspring. But what exactly are those desirable traits? We have discussed this question at length and have actually come up with a list of specific traits we strive for in every breeding combination we attempt. We want our dogs to have the highest potential talent for manwork so have agreed that the following traits are necessary to realize that success:
- Obsessive prey behavior manifested in a manner where the dog looks at prey through aggression NOT through play
- "Over-the-top" useable prey that the dog can use as a compensating drive when stressed
- A "repertoire" of balanced useable drives with the ability to transfer between them when needed
- Work ethic, which we define as being able to stick with things and not give up, especially under adversity
- The ability to actually IMPROVE after recovery from an environmental or adversarial issue the dog is not initially able to master
- Being able to work in ANY drive at any given time.
- Having "HEART"; the ability to keep looking for the fight week after week and never getting bored or overcome by doubt
- Hardness -- the ability to get over difficulties and not let them affect future work
- Consistency within a litter to promote prepotency, which we believe can only be realized through linebreeding
- A pedigree where the sire and dams' predecessors come from an uninterrupted line of dogs with these traits.
- The ability to hold up health-wise and conformationally for a long working career, ideally being able to work/trial to 8 years of age or better
We realize others will disagree with our take on what makes up a great working dobermann. We have no problem with that and enjoy studying other opinions. Our aim is to stack the deck as much as we can in our favor. We encourage breeders to define the things they like and want in a working dog and for handlers to work with their trainers to identify the type of working dog best suited for their needs and abilities. Show and pet quality dobermanns have plenty of stewards to ensure their survival but true working dobermanns will not unless more individuals take up the challenge to obtain a working dobermann and actually put it to “work” in activities that involve manwork.