Thursday, March 29, 2018

Diversity and DNA part 2

Hi guys -  Dobs4ever here back at the keyboard to talk a little more about the Doberman Diversity Project  that I spoke about last week.  While it is in its infancy and there is still a lot to learn about how this will all play out it does do some very important things.  First it can save you money from having to do individual test for the Vwd, PDK4, Degenerative Myelopathy, coat color etc.  They are the first lab I am aware of that has tried to save us money for all the numerous test that we like to do by reaching out to other labs and sharing the info they have as well as work with OFA for inclusion in their database.  They hope to add more as  more labs cooperate and share info.    

I may have mentioned that they also test for 163 other diseases that are shared among different breeds.  This may be the first giant step to unraveling the total DNA code.  I firmly believe it will help us locate areas that might have stayed hidden for a much longer period.  

So what do we know about diversity?  It means difference, unlikeness, variety  etc.  For years as  breeders, we have looked to improve on certain things mostly that we can actually see and touch.  This is called the phenotype.  We wanted to double up on the good genes that create beautiful conformation - correct tail set, head planes, proper alignment of the mouth and teeth, level top line, nice forechest, tight cat like feet, nicely arched neck - along with strong temperament, agile, fearless, alert, energetic, loyal all which are more abstract.  It is how we have judged our dogs and our breedings from the beginning because it was all we had. 

We know that too much tight inbreeding takes us down a very negative path so that tells us that diversity is important - but how much is too much or how much is not enough???

We always hope to breed a dog who only gets the best for both parents while missing the not so good.  Sadly it does not work that way.  With every good there is a little bad thrown in. With a strong crystal ball all of this can be corrected.  I just have not found the crystal ball yet but I do believe that the diversity study could lead us down that path in the future.

We know from studies in the wild that diversity is key to the survival of a species, but we are just beginning to unlock the genetic code and how to identify it.  It is so exciting and so frustrating all at the same time.  I am a layman so I will share with you my perceptions as a breeder of going on 30 years and my limited understanding of this new scientific discovery. 

I guess it starts with the discovery of DNA in the late 80's and that folks is the late 1800's.  It was 84 years later or 1950's when it was first recognized as genetic material and it was the late 80's and early 90's that it became valuable in individual identification and used by criminalist to catch criminals.  

In all that time we have actually identified very few of the strains of DNA and what they actually are related to.  It's most valuable in the Diversity project as they follow the DNA strain in search of decoding the secret to each specific disease and hopefully it's elimination at least in the animal population.  It scares me to think of how it might be used for future in human selection and that is all I will say about that.

It's an old study with new twist and turns as we advance down the genetic hole!!!  I am excited that with today's scientific advances the trip will be much faster than the past century!!

Copyright © 2010 Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever. All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever/J Bar S Dobermans and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2010

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Diversity part 1

BREEDERS MUST DO MORE - Let's take a look at MORE diversity

I hear this over and over so it has become a reoccurring theme by many who have never bred a litter.  Of course, it is usually followed by the comment that we must test although the test do not necessarily give any clear cut direction or path to follow.  WHAT??

Breeders today are doing more than ever before in testing and telling, yet the arm chair quarter backs continue to slash and dice at will.  I am for truth and honesty and I am for testing our dogs.  I am not for making any breeding decision based on any one test in and of itself.  We have no test that gives us 100% clear direction on what will happen, what is good or what is a death sentence.  That still requires a crystal ball.

Today we have one of the smallest gene pools of any purebred dog and I have to wonder if things were truly better back in the 70's when anyone and everyone was  breeding Doberman's.  We have gone from 80,000 registrations a year down to less than 10,000, last time AKC would release those numbers, which I believe was about 2009.  A lot of time has past since then so with the direction it was going makes me wonder where our registrations are today.

So let's look at that number 10,000 - and what things have drastically impacted it -
         1.  Mandatory spay/neuter
         2.  Popular sire
         3.  Massive elimination of dogs from gene pool due to Vwd
         4.  More massive elimination when the PDK 4 mutation was found
         5.  Adopt don't shop - The AR (animal radical) agenda
         6.  Breeding is wrong
         7. HSUS draining off monies to line their personal pockets under false pretense
         8.  changing society to a more citified line of thought with no personal experience
              with animal husbandry and where food comes from.
         9..   Two World Wars that brought breeding almost to a halt

So what are we looking at - a lack of genetic diversity.  Diversity is the latest and  newest test to arrive on the scene and I hope everyone is  as excited about it as I am.  Don't get me wrong it is still not the end all answer, but I feel it puts us on a path to make the discovery of bad genes much closer and easier to find and identify.  

It has been amazing to watch this test unfold as more and more countries are joining and testing.  It is almost like with each Doberman tested we learn something and three more questions pop up that we did not even think of before.  

Please remember when I speak to this I speak as an owner/breeder NOT a geneticist.  I will give my impressions based on my knowledge as a breeder of Dobermans for over 25 years. Probably first things we learned is that Wright's formula for figuring genetic diversity was not accurate in determining true diversity.  It is been shown that puppies within the same litter can vary as far as diversity goes. So after years of breeders using Wright's as a guide we found it is not that helpful.  This is part of what makes all so very difficult.  

In the beginning of genetic testing (Vwd)  we wanted to be so right we jumped with both feet and erratically eliminated dogs from the gene pool as it was painted with a very black brush as being a horrible  gene and the public panic and feared for their dogs life.  While as breeders, we knew for many years that  probably half the dogs we had produced were Vwd affected and never had a dog with a problem.  Then they published propaganda that led the unsuspecting public to believe every Vwd affected dog was on the verge of bleeding to death.  Breeders knew better and should have used it as a tool to guide their breeder decisions so as not to produce affected puppy while not destroying the diversity within the gene pool.  I shutter to think what was lost in this senseless radical elimination of breeding dogs.  But it did sell test.

I use far more caution now when evaluating solely based on any test genetic or otherwise. We must think beyond the dog we love in front of us and start looking at the bigger picture which is the diversity of the gene pool world wide.  As I was thinking this it occurred to me that the diversity study might bring the world community of Dobermans together and make them all more supportive of not only sharing  their testing and knowledge, but also their genetic material.   If we are to resolve this issue we need to be able to search outside our own little neck of the woods and start looking at how can we reach out across our world to work together and share from our genetic pools and hope we save our breed.

There are 2 different diversity studies and both are good.  Any knowledge is better than no knowledge.  I am going to tell you why I personally chose the Doberman Diversity Project -  one uses 33 STR loci from across the genome to determine diversity and one uses 38.  I feel more is better.  I have heard from some who have used both and the diversity in some cases changes due to the increase in loci tested.

It also is approved by OFA to include the Vwd, PDK4, DM for a total of 163 that can affect another breed.  Until recently I felt that was not too valuable ,but my Helio came up hetro to MDR1-  I didn't even know what that was.  Guess what it is some gene usually found in the retriever breeds.  OMG what a revelation - our breed is the only breed created from 4 different gene pools - terriers, retrievers, herding and sight hounds which is now confirmed by finding this one little tiny gene in the DNA of the Doberman.  It is rare at this point as only 3 have been found to carry this mutation that can cause drug sensitivity. Because of the Embark testing I am happy to say that my 3 Helio daughters did not pick it up so I don't have to worry about something I was not even aware existed.

Now that I have become part of the Doberman Diversity Project I have to say I am very impressed.  The Doctors themselves participate on their FB pages and are available to answer any and all questions as well as giving us feed back on vital information.  Robin Loreth and Karen Perdue are available anytime to help us with questions.

Their breeder tool is unequaled in the industry and is FREE and I will speak more to that in later articles as we learn more about this great undertaking.  I do want to thank the Doberman Diversity staff, doctors and lab for all they are doing to help us.

To learn more about diversity below are the links to the two diversity projects: 

Dobs4ever - Dogs Under FIRE!

Copyright  ©   2010 Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever.  All rights reserved both written, pictorial material and content on this blog are the sole property of Suzan Shipp, Dobs4ever and J Bar S Dobermans and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express written permission of the author/owner Suzan Shipp.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


I just had to take a break - thinking that surely everything had been said but I guess not.  I have renewed hope now that we have American's back in charge of America.  Let's hope they protect our freedoms and our rights.

I used to get that from my children, and my response was always the same - "well if I was their mother they would not be doing it - we have standards".  I believe strongly in having concrete guidelines to follow and raised my children that way.  Today it appears we have raised a bunch of panty waste who want  to stick their nose in everyone else's business and they are guided by the AR PETA/HSUS radicals who are out to destroy our love and enjoyment of our animals. 

They are easily believable as they preach don't harm and animal while they take high 6 figure salaries and show pictures of poor sad looking dogs who are dying without your help.  How many dogs or kittens could be saved if they took a salary reduction???  Who need $600,000 a year to run a non-profit rescue???  Only those who are not into rescuing..... just getting paid, it is all about the money with them -  Can you believe that many people send in just $19.00 a month and yet they can draw that much income.  What a rip off. 

So no Virginia Wolf not everyone is doing it.  Not everyone is caving to the PETA/HSUS AR radicals.  Just because much of Europe has lost the right to preserve their breed standards does not mean we need to follow them down the yellow brick road. 

How long will we have purebred if we have not guidelines???  I am all for mutts - have had several during my lifetime, but if you want to know exactly what you are going to get you study the description of a breed and find the one that fits you and your lifestyle.  You don't then decide to change it to suit your own idea.  If you want that then get a mutt or start a new breed.  Without standards to guide breeders you will soon have no purebreds. 

AKC needs to wake up and take a look at their registration numbers which are dropping -  No purebred no need for a registry.  While AKC does not guarantee quality it does at least promote breeding like to like to produce like. 

Copyright © 2010 Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever. All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Suzan Shipp/J Bar S Dobermans and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2010

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Sometimes in life you just have to laugh or you would honestly go crazy and let it get you down.  Recently I was quoted as being wrong for a stand I take on the crop/dock issue.  I read my quote and I said darn I did good!!!  I was clear about what I believe - my message has always been the same.  I am not ashamed of this quote - I love it!!!

I promise open and honest communication and support of clubs and members alike.. I am known for it!!! I only own, show and promote DOBERMANS and am a member in good standing with both DPCA and UDC.
When speaking of the coon hound look I see that as far different than
calling them coon hounds which they are not but they have lost breed
type which allows even the novice to recognize them as dobermans and
not confuse them with weims or coon hoiunds.

Was I mistaken in thinking that UDC tried to do what no club has ever
done before - The Total dog - meaning a conformationally sound dog that
could still work whether the ears are 3 inches, 4 inches or 6 inches
but for sure cropped.
As I read the quote I said hey wait a minute.......I am being quoted as being WRONG because I support our standard???  What is wrong with this picture???
I will gladly take that charge and wear that badge gladly.  I support our rights - I support our breed - I support our standard and I support AMERICA.  Now I am wrong and unfit to serve for that???  
Someone somewhere better wake up and realize what is being shoved down our throats which is the self destruction of this breed of all breeds.  If standards go then anyone can breed anything to anything they want on a whim, change whatever they choose and we will have no more purebreds dogs with a purpose.
From the DPCA/AKC approved standard for the Doberman:
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. 
From the FCI standard:  Ears:  The ears, which is set high, is carried erect and cropped to a length in proportion to the head.  In a country where cropping is not permitted the uncropped ear is equally recognized.  (Medium size preferred and with the front edge lying close to the cheeks.)
In countries where CROPPING is NOT permitted the uncropped is recognized.  GUESS what in those countries THEY DO NOT ACCEPT CROPPED DOGS.  Our dogs are BANNED from the show ring or the performance ring.NOTE:  both standards call for a cropped ear.  An uncropped and undocked dog is a deviation from the ideal. In what world do we want to embrace a deviation from ideal?  I am all for improving our breed.  It is the mission of every quality breeder out there.  Improving the breed does not mean approving or intentionally presenting a deviation as ideal.  It means WE LOST OUR RIGHTS.  Read above:
Does that bother you???  It sure as the devil bothers me.
In the days ahead we will be pressed to abandon time honored traditions and a rich heritage and encouraged by the AR whackos to embrace a deviation that can be avoided.  We will be encourage to forfeit our rights and destroy our breed.  It is in your hands.  I hope you will fight for our purebred dogs and their traditions and heritage.
Do not buy into the silly notion that they care more about health or temperament as they pocket an extra $4,000 to $5,000 dollars per litter at your expense by selling you a deviation.  It's about the money.
Copyright © 2010 Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever/J Bar S Dobermans and may not be used,  copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2010

Monday, January 20, 2014



Anyone ever hear that from your kids???  It used to be my daughter's favorite excuse to throw at me.  If I listened to her that meant that some 600 kids in her high school were totally out of control - playing at being adults with immature minds that were not ready to function in a mature world.

Then it struck me..........that is the same thing those who have chosen to leave a cropped and docked breed UNCROPPED and/or UNDOCKED.  So if we are to
buy into this then just because a part of the world has lost their right to crop and dock we should follow suit because everyone else is doing it.

Personally I find all their arguments very unstable.  Everything - from it is not necessary and only a cosmetic procedure to it messes up their anal glands and  pooping.    Guess they never heard of "happy tail" which is a very painful experience that in the end results IN DOCKING the tail on an older dog to stop the continued injury and pain ...... by their own admission this is an AMPUTATION which they are against.  Prevention seems prudent in this case.

If you think it is OK to loose personal freedoms then honestly I can't help you.  If you think the government knows best then I sure can't help you.  Their track record speaks very poorly of their ability to even maintain their own personal integrity let alone yours or mine.

I am well versed in this everyone is doing it excuse as it was my daughters most used  excuses......EVERYONE was doing it.  I patiently told her I was not everyone's mother but I was hers.  Were I everyone else's mother she could rest assured that they would not be doing it either as it was dangerous, harmful or self destructive.  We each have one time to do things right and that is the first time.

I personally don't know what everyone else has to do with my decisions but for some it must make sense.  Perhaps it is that they are not capable of thinking for themselves or that they prefer to let others do all the work.

Not to mention I do not believe for one minute all those who say they support my right to crop and dock when they don't and THEN  spout all the reasons why I should not either and the most often heard is:  EVERYONE ELSE HAS STOPPED ......therefore I should stop.  I am not everyone else and I don't want to be follow something just because everyone else does.   That is exactly how sheep get led to the slaughter!!!

If the only reason to support cropping and docking was the long standing traditions and heritage of  so many of the working breeds as cropped and docked.  I believe in upholding many long standing traditions which sadly too many of today's world have no concept of why or how they came about and many are founded in very sound solid reasons.

Dobs4ever - Dogs Under Fire!

Copyright © 2010 Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever/J Bar S Dobermans and may not be used,  copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2010

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How "CHOICE" lost the CROP/DOCK issue for England, Scotland and Wales in 2007

After a long hard battle by breeders and the breed clubs England, Scotland and Wales failed to protect our  rights and our dogs as they lost the battle for "CHOICE" in docking their dogs April 2007.

Rest assured this fight has NOTHING to do with choice or with cruelty - it has to do with AR groups who could not get purebred dogs banned outright so they started by chipping away at the standard.  IF they can get one part of the standard to fall everywhere then it sends a loud clear message that breed standards, specific breeds, and adherence to long standing breed types are not important and therefore, purebred dogs should be banned. 

That is where it is headed -  As Americans we must stand tall for our rights.  The government does not care  about or understand the purebred dog world, shows, training, breeding etc so they need to stay the heck OUT but above all they should not support any AR groups agenda.

Just look what happened to the Rotties when their president sold them out and now their standard allows an undocked dog to show and win.  You say not important..... You say what is the big deal......

Here is the link to the latest Dog News magazine: Go to page 121.

I wanted  to post this info on “The Case for Docking” published by the Council of Docked Breeds in the UK.   so I will publish the link to their website for further information and to read the article..  It appears as though the website has not been updated in a couple years, but there are excellent examples ................

*  Registrations drop drastically  Doberman registration has gone from 80,000 in the late 70's down to less than 10,000 in 2009.............How much further down can we go before we become
an endangered species FIGHTING for survival????

*  AVMA and CVMA both have followed the AR agenda and worked to ban tail docking 

           ***16,000 reported tail injures that could have been prevented
                  5,000 amputations due to tail injuries on older dogs again prevented by docking

          *** No one has proved on any level that tail docking is harmful .....but there is proof it is beneficial especially to docked breeds, otherwise why the exemption for working dogs???

Since the initial writings above several providences in Canada have BANNED cropping and docking.  CHOICE has proven over and over to lead to NO CHOICE.  We must pull our heads out of the sand and understand that the fight is far deeper than the crop / dock issue.  It goes to the very heart of the purebred dog world and/or its elimination.  The choice is choose a side...One maintains our breed standards and the other leads to the destruction of dogs - animals period ............................Wake up before it is too late and stop the insanity.

Dobs4ever - Dogs Under Fire!

Copyright © 2010 Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever/J Bar S Dobermans and may not be used,  copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2010

Saturday, November 2, 2013


 I can't tell you how often I hear this statement "It's just a beauty contest" as folks try to dismiss the value of the conformation ring.   It is almost always said by folks who have never competed at anything with their dog and who certainly do not fully understand the purpose of the "beauty pageant".

While beauty and grace is certainly a big part of it there is really so much more as far as evaluating the underlying structure and muscle tone of the dog.  Without strong conformation the dog is subject to or more
prone to injury when working.  This is certainly far more important for the larger working breeds than any other as the larger breeds have a lot more pressure and stress put on their bones and joints.

For me to poo poo something just because you do not fully understands its underlying importance is a big part of what has hurt the dog fancy and in the end our dogs.  If breeding is about bettering the breed then we must consider the conformation of the dog which speaks directly to the correct underlying structure for optimum performance.

Nothing is more heartbreaking than to get a dog, spend two years just to put the foundation training on it and then have it break down somewhere along the line before you finish the program you had for that dog.  It is a very costly mistake also.  Conformation helps us and guides us in breeding so we have the best chance at long term success for the working dogs.

Standards are very specific on each and every part of the dog - head structure, dentention, ear set, stop, eye shape and size, topline, shoulder angulation, rear angulations, feet shape and size, neck tie in all of which affects the overall movement of the dog ..........all of it is a part of the dog that was developed for a specific purpose based on what that particular breed was developed for.  To say it is just a beauty pageant shows a complete lack of understanding of what the breed was originally designed for and the purpose each part of the dog fulfills.

It is far far more than just a beauty pageant although we are obsessed with the beauty and the thrill of a show like Westminister it goes far beyond that goes to the very heart and purpose of each breed.

That is the reason breeders are so passionate about their breed and its standard.  We must never stray far from the original purpose of the creation of the dog.  REGARDLESS of if today's society still uses the dog for that purpose or not the dog still must be structurally sound of mind, body and temperament.

Perhaps part of the reason we have misunderstood this important aspect of any breed is because the conformation ring is just that ............conformation (underlying structure and soundness) of any breed.
We all certainly love and are thrilled as we watch each breed - groomed to perfection move around the ring and show off the best of its breed.

If we did not have a written standard to follow then what would happen to breeds???  Correct size for optimum purpose -  everyone certainly agrees that to breed oversized dogs is detrimental to over all sound structure - the standard guide us and helps us stay within that standard size.

To say it is just a beauty pageant and then complain about some other aspect that you feel is not right does not make sense.  All is important ...All is vital to breeding dogs that are true and correct.  The next time you
hear it is just a "beauty pageant" ask them how many dogs they have bred that meet any standard????  Ask them how many dogs they have bred that have succeed in any venue??? Shocking you will usually hear NONE.  Don't fall into the trap of moaning, griping and complaining by those who are arm chair quarter backs and lack real drive and passion.  They are a part of the destruction of any breed not a part of the solution.  Let's get involved, Lets' breed better dogs,  Let's get a solid understanding of each and every part of the structure of the dog and its purpose.  It is a beauty pageant to end all beauty pageants and it is a vital part of what takes us soundly to the next generation.

Dobs4ever  - Dogs Under Fire!

Copyright © 2010 Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever/J Bar S Dobermans.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever/J Bar S Dobermans and may not be used or copied without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2010Bar S Dobermans and may not be used or copied without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2010