Saturday, June 25, 2011



While Vwd is now 100% controllable many breeders continue to pay it little mind because so few Dobermans actually die from it.  When the DNA test was first discovered, honestly there just were not enough clears to jump to only clears for breeding.  This would have most likely destroyed the gene pool completly and then we would have had serious problems for which there was no recovery.  Jumping off the deep end can ultimately destroy the breed.  JQP does not always understand this.

Since the gene pool had survived for years without the testing some decided to ingnore it and today we still have some breeders who do not even test for it.  I decided if it could be eliminated then that was the better direction to go.  I was fortunate as I was able to quickly eliminate it from my program. 

My stratagey was to start with a clear male and in testing the dogs I had at that time I found that they were carriers so I had been breeding carrier to carrier and producing at least 50% affected without any problems. 
I started testing my male puppies looking for a clear but it was not to be so I went outside my lines and bought a clear male.  Now at least regardless of what I bred none of the puppies would be Vwd affected. It was a start in the right direction.

I found from clear to carrier breeding, I got a lot more clears so it was easy in one generation to go to clear dogs.  Even though it is not considered a major problem, for me I had to take those steps.  I just could not ever imagine facing a client who lost their puppy due to Vwd and explaining to them WHY I did not take measures to avoid it.

The only thing I could think of to say was - Well it is rare for a puppy to ever have an episode of bleeding out so sorry it was yours.  I just could not honestly do that and am fortunate now as I have not produce Vwd affected puppies for the past 10 years.

Would I have a problem breeding an affected - absolutely not.  Rayna's dam was affected but she was bred to a clear dog so Rayna is carrier.  She will be bred to clear and I will have a clear out of that breeding.  So the bloodline I wanted continues and I did not have to produce any affecteds to get there.

I had an affected bitch that at 2 years got hold of a ball of some kind and we had to have major blockage surgery.  She came through with flying colors, had 2 litters of puppies and today is 8 years old and healthy as a horse.  How can this be???

Vwd is not a death sentence.  Even in affected dogs they can produce enough of the clotting factor to not have a problem unless some other problem compromises the system, but for the rare puppy that does not produce enough it can be fatal.  

It is thought that breeding affected to affected produces the most clinically affected and this breeding is certainly discouraged.  Today there should be more clears to choose from so even breeding carrier to carrier could be avoided if one wanted to.

As a client I would hesitate to purchase an affected puppy especially if you are wanting to participate in heavy activities like agility or Schutzhund where the dog is more susceptible to injury.  For a breeder that decision would probably not be a determining factor if it was an outstanding pedigree for what you are wanting to accomplish.  Just breed to a clear and you still do not produce affected.

I hope this makes it a little easier to understand from a breeders perspective and why it has not been eliminated.  We don't have to eliminate it we just have to control it and Vwd testing allows us to do that.

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


VON WILLEBRANDS DISEASE more commonly known as Vwd is a bleeding disorder that was first identified in 1926 by Dr.von Willebrand.  Vwd is an inherited deficiency in one of the clotting factors of the blood and it affects approximately 30 different breeds.  But for purposes here, our focus will be on the Doberman Pinscher. There are two types of Vwd - mild (type 1) and severe (type 2) Dobermans have the mild type.

Vwd is only one of several bleeding disorders that affects the clotting factor.  It is seldom fatal. In fact I have always understood that only about 10 % of the affected dogs ever become clinically affected and have a serious bleeding episode. During the life of an affected dog they can produce enough clotting factor to never had a problem, but if their system is compromised by any other health problem or trauma it is thought to become a contributing factor to more severe complications.. 

Dr. George J. Brewer who is a Professor at the Department of Human Genetics and Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School and his associates discoverd the mutant gene.  Dr. Brewer is a co-founder of Vet Gen working with them to develope the DNA test.   We want to thank these people as well as the following who gave donations to make the grant for the DNA test possible -DPCA, AKC, OFA health foundation, Dr. Morris Animal foundation.

The DNA test gives three designations -  Affected - meaning the dog carries 2 copies of the gene, one copy from each parent and is affected by the disease.  It is thought that 35% of the Dobermans are affected.

Carrier - meaning that the dog only carries one copy of the gene so will not suffer from this bleeding disorder but can carry or pass the mutant gene on to its offspring.Approximately 50% of the Dobermans are carriers

Clear-  The dog did not get a copy of the gene so can't pass it on.  Only 15% are thought to be clears.  I would hope that today with availablity of the test that we are closer to 25% are clear.

From the study it is recommend that breeders work towards a clear dog and this can be accomplished in 2 or 3 generations.  If you always have one clear parent then it is much easier to move to clear dogs.

There was a lot of hysteria and hype when the disease was discovered and the mutant gene identified.  I have found that much of that hysteria and misunderstanding still exist today.  It is the number one question I get asked by the novice looking for a Doberman puppy.  They know nothing about it except that they don/t want it.

I am going to do this article in a 3 part series -  First looking at the disease - What it involves
                                                             Second from a breeders perspective - breeding decisions
                                                             Third Vets and the misunderstandings about Vwd

I am writing this in laymens terms in hopes that everyone will have a much better understanding of Vwd.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Final article - Cropping Docking - A Little White Lie

This is the final part of a 4 part series on Cropping and Docking and this is the one that disturbs me the most - Hyprocirsy, running to ground OR maybe we just consider it a little white lie.

REASON:  "I don't want to crop because people are intimidated when they see a doberman and a floppy earred dog is not as intimidating."

I have heard people say it before, but it did not soak in.  Well it has finally gotten to the core of my brain neurons and I am now paying attention. 

So now we want to stupe to lying, hiding or disguising our dogs????  Is this how we really want to deal with it??  These dogs have served our country in war and peace.  They protect us and serve us.   I do not see how  misleading people or luring them into a false sense of security solves anything,  I do think it says a lot about us as a person and speaks to character.

Most people are afraid of a big dog, a black dog, a red dog and some folks have lived a life where they just fear all dogs big or small, so what do we really accomplish if we think by not cropping the ears they will not recognize it as a Doberman?

Any dog that is trained, socialized and under control is not a threat to anyone - a dog running loose or out of the owners control is a problem.  I just don't see letting other people's phobias, that I MIGHT meet and who MIGHT have a problem, run my life.  What if I never meet any of those people???  What if I meet them and they meet my well trained,  behaved dogs and we change their entire perspective on our wonderful breed??? 

I have actually had that happen.  It gives me a chance right up front to say - Please come meet my Doberman".   We are able to open up a dialog.   I don't want to meet you under false pretences.  I want to be honest and right up front.

Just because a dog is big, or black or a number of other physical traits does not mean it is a dangerous dog.  But trying to misrepresent the dog as something it is not, to me is dishonest.  The breed is a cropped and docked breed and I just can't let other people's possible perceptions rule my life and my support of this breed and the standard.

I want to walk proudly down the street and have people see how great this breed is up close and personal.  I want to disspell the myths and untruths, not hide from them or shy away from what they are.  They are Dobermans - clowns right down to their toes, loving, loyal, courageous, alert , energetic - WAIT - did we say COURAGEOUS  - courageous - and we as owners want to tuck our tails and hide!!!   Not me.

Of all the approved AKC breeds there is none that can take your breath away like that beautiful cropped look of Eagles, standing tall, proud and alert. 

When we cave in to some future pressure we might experience for 5 minutes by someone we don't even know and might nver see again, are we saying we just want to go underground and HIDE our dogs???   Do we see this as keeping them safe???? 

As people, can't we be at least as honest and true to ourselves as our dogs???  Or maybe we should go hide in the hills so people won't see our dogs at all, after all we would not want to scare them.  Give me a break folks.  -  Let's be REAL!

The opinions expressed are those of Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever

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

Sunday, June 12, 2011

'The Standard is the Standard - Cropped and docked con't

Continuing with the cropped and docked issue I feel we would be remiss if we did not address the standard and how it applies.

This is a quote from the DPCA web site on the Standard regarding ear cropping and tail docking

"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.."  The "carried erect" pretty much spells it out as cropped and eliminates it as uncropped.  A floppy ear will never stand.

"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.."

Everything in the standard as quoted above addressed a cropped ear and docked tail.  From the beginning picutures of Herr Dobermann and his Dobermann's they were shown cropped and docked.  Regardless of why he chose that, it is the standard that he set. 

Today when people say, but I like the floppy ear then I have to wonder why don't they choose a floppy eared breed?  There is a wide variety of floppy earred dogs to choose from.  Then we have choice to choose the dog that matches our vision.    Since the Doberman from it inception has been cropped and dock why choose a breed that does not fit your image????

I once heard Judy Donniere explain "breed type" at a DPCA seminar - First it means that when you see the dog or a  silhouette of the dog you recognize it for the breed it is.  When you see the  silhouette of the Doberman there is no mistake it is a Doberman.  That is breed type.  If you see the same  silhouette of an uncropped dog you immediately think some kind of hound and that mistaken identity is even more obscure if it has a tail.. 

Breed type is important to the standard.  The standard describes the ideal dog as per Herr
Dobermann's vision.  He is the creator and I don't think we have the right to just change it to suit our individual desires and whims. 

If everyone just does what they want then we don't need standards.  They would serve no purpose.  It is no different than the people who want to breed "giant", albiono's, etc.   We have a standard and we must honor that standare in its entirity.  Otherwise in ten years there would not be a recognizable breed. 

The standard protects the breed, keeps it true to it form, function and appearance.

To those who say it is purely cosmetic I think I have covered that read the previous article on medical - It is the standard, cosmetic or not.  Standards are written to protect a breed and maintain the breed true to its original design.

The standard is not an option.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

To Crop or Not - Any Medical Reasons or cosmetic only

In our fight to crop the AR folks like to use the "cosmetic only" proceedure as the only reason to crop.  They say this because they don't own dogs and don't want you to either.

So what  about medical reasons for cropping ???  To that I will say this - Yes there are valid medical reasons - Most people lump cropping, docking and dew claw removal as all one basic proceedure. But I want to address it individually.

1 dews claws are ugly - they grow and can cause serious problems if not trimmed and cared for. Most people are not even diligent in clipping the regular nails so it eliminates one that will continue to grow and can grow right into the leg if not clipped.   The second is any dog running loose in a field can snag that dew claw and rip it off. That is very painful to the dog who then has to undergo  surgery to have it reparied and removed. I feel it is just better to remove the ugly appendage when the tails are done. Since it is a problem that can be avoided and can save the dog pain in the future I choose to removed all dew claws when the puppy has its tail docked. at 3 days of age.

2. Tails - First I don't like tails so for me it is also a personal preference. They bang around and get in the way. They knock things over and sometimes they get shut in a door and broken. That is very painful to the dog as now it is an injury and must endure an amputation. Docking at three days saves having to spend much more later for surgery should an accident occur.

3. Ears - All dogs in nature are pricked - because unless cleaned and maintained most floppy earred dogs have a much higher incidence of ear infections. Fortunatley ours is a cropped and docked breed so we can eliminate this problem also. Add to thast  the fact Doberman ear leather is much thinner than those of a hound dog for example. This does make the ear more susceptible to hematomas from too much flapping the ears around. Hematomas are painful and on going. Once it starts they become chronic and can need on going surgery to repair. . All this can be avoided by cropping.

Since I work my dogs in tracking and other venues I have had many opportunities to observe their behavior and they use those ears like radar - they turn them every which way as they pick up sounds in different directions so they can hear better.  And yes they do hear better.  Put your hands over your ears and tell me if you hear as well????  I think not.

Talk to you vet.  Ask them if they see more ear infections in floppy earred breeds than pricked or cropped.  If a problem can be avoided in the future why would we choose not to do so and make it much easier on everyone concerned???

Why take the chance of invitng a problem that can be avoided and supports the breed standard. In todays economy where medical attention might become overwhelming and unbearable for a family???  It could become a of matter of keeping the dog or not. . 
Next we will talk about the breed standard from the begining..... Stay tuned
The opinions expressed are those of Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of or its members.

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cropping and Docking - Dobermans are a Cropped and docked breed

Occassionally I get asked about leaving a puppy uncropped.  In the past I have allowed a few puppies to remain uncropped.  Never undocked.  I believed people had a right to choose, but since our dogs are under fire on every front I took a stand several years ago to just crop all puppies and for a couple reasons.

One is from a breeders perspective and one is from the Breed Standard perspective.

I will cover the first reason today from the breeders side :   Show puppies -  Ears are usually cropped at 7 weeks as this give the breeder time to let the ears heal before going to their families and since you don't grade a litter til 8 weeks it would be hard to say which might be companion puppies and which ones show puppies. They are changing so rapidly as they grow. 

So at 8 weeks you pick the puppies you really like want to watch and see how they grow for the next couple weeks.  This healing time gives you a couple more weeks to watch and observe further to see what puppies hold together til 10 to 12 weeks and which ones do not.

By the time they go to their families you have a nuch better idea on who the best picks are. For myself all puppies get the same crop.  This makes it easier for the vet and it makes it easier since I don't know which for sure will end up the show picks. 

A responsible breeder will handle the cropping and docking of all puppies.  New people who are not experienced at aftercare should not have to struggle with this part of the development process.  Breeders should not be in a rush as this is an important step.

The follow up and after care determine the outcome.  I like to get my puppies off to a good start on the aftercare before turning it over to their new families.

Many things can go wrong if a new family is trying to get their puppies ears cropped.  First the challenge of just finding a good vet who can crop and still approves of it is very difficult. Just because a vet says he can crop does not mean you will get a beautiful crop.  Ear croppoing is an art form.  Precious time is lost in the window to have a beautiful outcome.  It is recommended that puppies be cropped at 7 to 12 weeks.  After that time frame the optimum time for ears to stand has mostly passed.

The puppy has already had one major change in its life as it goes to it new family.  I strongly feel that a second major adjustment at this young stage is too mcuh to put a puppy thorugh and family through.  The puppy should be having fun bonding with their new family not stressing over too many changes at once. 

 When they are cropped with their littermates and come home with their siblings to the home they know and are familiar with they sail right through with little problems.  The new family can just focus on bonding, playing and training their new puppy.  Everyone is off to a great start.

Tomorrow -  Is there a valid medical reason to crop and dock

Dobs4ever  Where Doberman's RULE!!