The journey to find a dog, more specifically a Doberman Pinscher, to add to our family began in February 2019. The backstory on the other hand, traces back to my childhood. I became fascinated with German Shepherd Dogs and Doberman Pinschers when I was a child growing up.
I got to occasionally interact with a GSD that belonged to an elementary school friend. But ultimately, the Doberman won me over. I credit this partly to the “The Doberman Gang,” a 1972 movie starring Dobermans. Something about the sleek regal look of the Doberman stuck with me. And in my child head of yore, the Doberman Pinscher was the Knight Rider and Airwolf in the canine world. It was simply a badass breed.
The Journey Begins
Fast forward to the present. We live in a house with a decent sized backyard and my wife and I have mutually agreed not to have anymore kids. As a result, the idea of adding a dog to the family manifested itself as an initial thought experiment. At one point we’ve considered pugs, French bulldogs and beagles. Then a strange thing happened and the fond memories of the Doberman resurfaced out of the blues. I looked into the Doberman breed and started dabbling with the idea of the possibility of owning one.
That innocent dabbling evolved into a full on research and then ultimately settling for a Doberman as our family dog; my childhood dream dog.
A Small Obstacle to Overcome
I had to convince my my wife to be on board with me and be on the same boat. She was open to the idea of adding a dog to the family, but not so a Doberman. My wife feared Dobermans at a very young age. That fear lingers on to this very day. And that was the start of the journey to find a Doberman for our family.
The Research, Oh the Research!
I made exhaustive research on the Doberman breed, spending nearly three months, everyday, learning all I could about Dobermans. I learned about their demeanor, health requirements, exercise, pet health insurance, liability insurance, diet and obedience training. Then I scoured through online forums devoted to Dobermans. I watched countless YouTube videos about the breed, bought several books about Dobermans and read them cover to cover. Then I began following and networked with several famous Dobermans on Instagram and learned from them. You name it, I did it.
Along the journey, I learned a few traits of the Doberman that help solidified our choice. The Doberman is a family oriented, highly intelligent, highly trainable, highly loyal and a very protective dog breed. This drove the point home to Abby and reinforced my decision to pursue one for our family.
And Then the Phone Calls
Our journey to find a Doberman Pinscher for our family continued with phone calls. We made phone calls after phone calls to breeders listed on the Doberman Pinscher Club of America’s (DPCA) approved breeders directory located on their web site. We’ even reached out to two rescue shelters in Southern California that emphasized on Dobermans. However, rescuing a Doberman that is over 16 weeks old was out of the question. Our son was 2 years old at-the-time and adopting an adult Doberman with an unknown past, shady history or unknown genetic history is completely unacceptable.
It was simply a requirement that was absolutely non-negotiable for us.
We caught a lot of flack from our (know-it-all) friends for buying instead of rescuing, and that is fine. It is our hard earned money at the end of the day. We are investing our personal time and valuable resource to raise and socialize our Doberman puppy, not anyone else’s. A male purebred European Doberman puppy is not cheap, and we will be fully vested in him.
DPCA Approved Breeders
Unable to locate adoptable Doberman puppies up to 16 weeks old, we looked into the DPCA’s list of approved breeders. We found seven of them that is within drivable distance from Southern California. And by drivable, I mean within a 450 mile radius from us; up and down the state of California. As far south as San Diego and as far north as Sacramento. All seven of the listed breeders proved to be major duds and huge disappointments. The DPCA approved breeders located across California we’ve contacted were:
- no longer breeding
- not answering phone calls or e-mails
- has a 2+ year waiting list
- ridiculous, borderline elitist list of requirements
One breeder’s phone disconnected and was no longer in service. Another breeder referred us to a breeder in Arizona. The aforementioned breeders’ web sites appeared to be designed with Microsoft FrontPage 2000 and the information within are just as old.
Lengthy Application Process, Questionnaire, Check Lists and Contract
All of the DPCA approved breeders we’ve contacted that answered had a set of unenforceable contract (mainly as a show of formality), a copy-and-pasted questionnaire and an application for buyers to fill out and sign. If you’ve been searching for a reputable Doberman breeder long enough, you’ll come to understand that this is standard practice. The practice aim to differentiate the “responsible breeder” from the rest of the undesirable pack. But when you browse the AKC Marketplace for reputable breeders, some are clearly backyard breeders who also have forms and questionnaires to fill out.
Teeming with Pretense and Elitism
Some breeders go further and will only place their puppies with homes that will enter the puppy into a battery of IPO/ Schutzhund style training or have intention of showing the adult dog! In addition to a pretentious application process, there is a questionnaire and a rigmarole list of requirements checklist. Some even include a breeding rights and co-ownership clause in their contract. All borderline elitist and brimming with pretense. I don’t want a puppy from such breeders and they certainly do not want to home their puppies to potential applicants like myself.
The journey to find our doberman pinscher continues. Frustrated, I started looking at other leads for reputable Doberman breeders. I know many people have had great success with the DPCA’s approved breeder list. You, the reader, may even be one of them. Unfortunately for us, it did not work out.
West Coast Doberman Ranch
Around this time, I started following Dobermans of Instagram (Duke K9, the Real King Francis, Race the Red Dobie, etc.). Through social media, I came across West Coast Doberman Ranch in San Jose, California. Intrigued, I looked into this breeder, read reviews, dived into their web site before exchanging emails with the owner, Tony. I asked him a few questions then gave him a call with more questions. While he responds to emails, his preferred method of communication is a direct call to his cellphone. The short conversation convinced me that we found our Doberman puppy source. Although his web site and social media contents could use more frequency with updates, I knew we would be acquiring a Doberman puppy from his ranch.
While selecting a breeder is a personal and sensitive choice and most people prefer not to broadcast their breeder choice, I am not shy about giving public shout outs. Tony has been an invaluable resource, addressing our concerns and giving us updates throughout our journey. While I recommend West Coast Doberman, I also highly recommend that you do your own personal research and visit various breeders like we did before choosing a breeder. What we like about our breeder may not necessarily coincide with your own personal needs and/or values in a breeder.
A Break in the Journey and an Excursion to Big Bear Lake
We had original plans to visit and tour West Coast Doberman Ranch in May 2019. The trip fell through due to other circumstances that made it impossible. We ended up using the time off from work to hang out and relax with friends at Big Bear Lake.
Finally, A Trip to San Jose
After a 3 month hiatus, we called Tony and scheduled an appointment to tour his ranch. We looked forward to meeting his dogs and hopefully to drop off our deposit check. This was August 6, 2019. It was also a prime opportunity to take our newly acquired 2019 Hyundai Tucson Limited on a road trip. We made plans and booked hotels. We made one stop before ultimately visiting the ranch.
Overnight in the Central Coast of California
Our first overnight stop was in the central coast Californian town of San Simeon. After checking out of our hotel in San Simeon, we headed north to visit West Coast Doberman. The drive was about 3 hours from San Simeon, pretty easy and straight forward. To our disappointment, Tony was not available to personally show us around the ranch. However he arranged to have his partner Rick to do so in lieu of himself. Rick gave us a call to confirm our visit and gave us the tour. We got to meet some week-old and 4-week old puppies along with many of the magnificent Dobermans on the ranch.
Rick answered our questions and we dropped off a deposit check for a male black and rust puppy. Rick informed us that our puppy will be part of Clarence x Nala’s litter expected in November 2019.
Before we left, Rick released Sammy, a retired female senior black and rust Doberman, from her crate. She immediately charged towards Abby at first sight. Abby was tending to our son when this happened as Sammy made a beeline for her. When she realized what was going on, she froze with sheer terror, allowing our son run off in his merry way. Sammy leaned her body against Abby’s leg. All she wanted was a petting.
Abby’s innate fear of Dobermans disappeared at that moment. She was 100% on board with adding a Doberman to the family. The rest of the journey, involves waiting an additional 5 months.
Concluding Our Journey
On November 8th, 2019, we received words that our puppy was born. He was born to Clarence x Nala’s litter with twelve litter mates.
The count down officially started and we are just patiently playing the waiting game. We expect to pick up our European Doberman Pinscher puppy between early to mid-January 2020. During the 8-9 week waiting period, we ordered puppy supplies on a weekly basis in anticipation. We want to hit the floor running the day we bring him home our puppy.
The journey to find our Doberman Pinscher is concluding and a new chapter in our family awaits us.
The next update most likely will not happen until we pick up Atlas from West Coast Doberman Ranch in January. Stay tuned!