Once you’ve experienced life with a Doberman Pinscher dog, it is hard to look back. So many people have fallen in love with Dobes, as fans of the breed have nicknamed these noble, brave dogs.
At some point, you may find yourself thinking about breeding Dobermans yourself. Or you may embark on a hunt for a new Doberman puppy to add to your family. What do you need to know? What should you look for?
Read this article to answer all these questions and more.
Doberman Pinschers Breeding
As Breeding Business explains, there are three main factors to look for when breeding Dobermans or seeking a Doberman puppy. These three factors are lineage, socialization, and training.
Implied in the lineage is parent dog health. A healthy lineage is the most likely to produce a healthy Doberman puppy.
Learn About Doberman Pinscher Breeding
In this YouTube video, you can learn one method breeders use to detect when a Doberman dam (mother) is ready to whelp (give birth).
You will also learn about a common complication and see a litter of healthy Dobe puppies nursing for the first time.
Two Different Ways to Breed Doberman Pinschers
The Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA) explains that there are two ways modern Doberman dog breeders use to breed Dobermans.
Stud and dam mating
The first way is the old-fashioned way, so to speak. With this method, the owner of the dam (mother) dog must arrange a meeting with the stud (father) dog to introduce the two dogs and encourage mating.
This can be a complicated affair. Doberman dams are only in heat and receptive to mating for a short period of time. As Prima Dobermans kennel outlines, the typical adult Doberman dam will come into heat twice a year about six months apart.
This makes the window of opportunity to achieve a natural mating with a suitable stud dog very narrow.
Basically, the breeder has about one month to conduct hormone tests on the Doberman dam and determine the best dates for the mating to take place.
Then the breeder has to put the Doberman dam and stud together and hope for successful mating.
This can be harder than it sounds, especially if the dam is less receptive or the stud Doberman is young and unsure how to proceed.
Why would a Doberman dam be unreceptive when she has entered the heat cycle? The American Kennel Club (AKC) explains that there are four stages to the heat cycle.
Only during the second stage, estrus, is she going to be receptive to a male Doberman who wants to mate.
Estrus lasts from three to 11 days depending on the dog. This isn’t a long period of time to create the right circumstances for a successful mating!
Once the mating is successfully accomplished, the only way to determine if the Doberman dam is actually pregnant is to wait 30 days from the time of the mating and perform an ultrasound.
Experienced Doberman Pinscher breeders also know to look for other subtle changes that can indicate a Doberman dam is pregnant.
These changes include nausea and vomiting (canine morning sickness), weight gain, teat enlargement, increased hunger, increased urination, less energy, irritability and/or affection increases, and nesting behaviors.
So that is the first way to achieve a Doberman pregnancy. Let’s turn our attention to the second way to help a Doberman dam get pregnant.
The second method many modern Doberman breeders use to help a Doberman dam get pregnant is artificial insemination.
As Veterinary Technician relates, artificial insemination takes active viable semen from a suitable Doberman stud dog and introduces it into the Doberman dam to create a pregnancy.
Here again, there are a lot of moving parts to coordinate to make sure the Doberman dam’s eggs become fertilized.
While artificial insemination doesn’t require waiting until the Doberman dam is receptive to mating with a Doberman stud, the introduction period is even more narrow than it would be for natural mating.
There is only a two to a three-day period when the eggs are in the right position inside the female Doberman. This is the best time to introduce semen for a successful fertilization outcome.
It can take quite a bit of pre-testing for hormone levels to find this short window of opportunity and accomplish artificial insemination. And it also requires knowledge of how to first collect and store and then introduce the semen to the female.
Because of this, artificial insemination is typically only used when a Doberman dam has trouble conceiving naturally or is persistently unwilling to mate naturally.
Timeline to Whelping Doberman Pinschers Puppies
Once veterinary tests confirm that the Doberman dam is pregnant, there is a lot to do to prepare for the puppies to arrive!
The Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA) offers a generic timeline you can use for guidance and planning purposes which we will review in this section.
But what you need to know first is that it typically takes seven weeks before the Doberman dam is ready to whelp, or give birth, to her puppies!
This can explain why Doberman breeders often have a waiting list of people who want to purchase their puppies. It can also explain why Doberman puppy prices are what they are – the breeder has a lot of costs involved with the whole whelping process.
So here is a typical timeline of what is going on inside the Doberman dam once she is confirmed to be pregnant.
During this first week, you may not even notice any changes in the Doberman dam. On the other hand, she might seem a little more tired, irritable, or nauseous.
During week one it is really important to keep the Doberman dam away from any possible inhibitors, including insecticides (fleas, ticks).
Week two is when morning sickness is more likely to show up. Otherwise, it will be a continuation of week one for the Doberman dam and you.
Week three is still pretty uneventful for the breeder and the Doberman dam. She will likely continue with a bit of morning sickness and irritability if these have been affecting her. Otherwise, all will seem pretty much normal.
Week four is when things start to ramp up a little bit with the Doberman dam. During week four, it becomes possible to test her for the first time to determine if she is in fact pregnant.
As the American Kennel Club explains, the most common methods of testing at this stage are hormone tests or ultrasound along with palpation.
Hormone tests and ultrasound can be done starting around day 25. Palpation tests can be done starting around day 28.
Week four is also when the breeder may start adding extra calories to the dam’s food as the puppies get larger. And often this is when the teats, or mammary glands where the puppies will nurse, start to grow visibly larger.
During week five, the time for pregnancy testing has passed. The Doberman dam is eating more and more enriched food and she is starting to look visibly pregnant. Weight gain and swelling of the teats become prominent.
Week six is often when the Doberman dam begins to act “nesty.” This means she will seek out a place to whelp, even though delivery isn’t for another few weeks yet. This is always the right time to provide her with a clean, quiet, comfortable whelping box.
For expectant puppy parents-to-be, this is also the time the Doberman breeder will typically reach out to their waiting list to alert everyone that there are puppies on the way and begin receiving requests.
Week seven is when even people who know nothing about canine pregnancy will be able to just look at the Doberman dam and know she is pregnant. She is visibly bigger, heavier, and rounder. The hair on her abdomen has fallen off. Her teats are swollen.
The dam needs to be protected at this point. No play or rough handling should be permitted.
Week eight is the most exciting week (except for week nine) for the breeder. Often, it is possible to actually see the little puppies moving around in the dam’s abdomen. The Doberman dam will be at her largest and maybe leaking milk from her teats.
Starting in week eight, the Doberman dam may also be induced (artificial labor) if that is safest for her health.
Week nine might as well be called “puppy week.” It is also “temperature week” for the Doberman breeder, who will be monitoring the dam’s temperature for a sudden spike and drop that indicates whelping is imminent.
The Doberman dam often stops eating right before whelping and may start acting strangely – panting, squatting and other signs of discomfort are also cues whelping is about to begin.
This is when the breeder will need to monitor the dam continually and have a veterinarian on call for any whelping emergencies.
Timeline to Doberman Puppy Rehoming
Even if you don’t have any plans to breed Doberman Pinschers, it is still very helpful to understand what happens from mating to whelping.
But if you are reading this article primarily because you are trying to figure out when you will get the call that your Doberman puppy is ready to come home with you, this is the section you want to pay special attention to!
When will you be able to take your Doberman puppy home?
So let’s take a look at the timeline from whelping to rehoming a Doberman puppy.
The first thing to know is that different Doberman breeders have different answers to when their puppies can go home with the new owners. As Doberman Talk highlights, this can range anywhere from seven weeks to 11 weeks of age.
Why is there such a wide range from one breeder to the next? There are several factors involved here.
The first thing to know is that it is no longer recommended that puppies be released at seven weeks old. So you will want to ask more questions before working with any Doberman breeder who allows a puppy to go home this early.
Eight weeks old is the minimum age a Doberman puppy should be allowed to leave mom and littermates. But nine weeks can be even better because this often makes house training and basic socialization training easier on you.
Doberman puppies get a lot of early training and socialization from staying with their mother and littermates a little longer.
As the Cavalier Doberman Pinscher Club outlines, weeks seven to 12 represent the first significant socialization period for puppies. So if you can wait a little longer to collect your new Dobe puppy, this may benefit you both.
Tail docking and dewclaw removal in dogs is a very controversial topic, as Scientific American highlights.
However, most Doberman Pinschers breeders in the United States still do both. If the breeder you choose docks tails and crops ears, you may need to wait a little longer to get your puppy while they heal from these procedures.
If you do not want your Doberman puppy’s tail docked and ears cropped, be sure to tell your Doberman breeder before the puppies are born!
Otherwise, it will be too late to do anything about preventing your puppy’s appearance from being altered in these ways.
Is Doberman Pinscher Breeding in Your Future
Now you have the information you need to decide if breeding Dobermans is something you might want to get involved in.
And you also understand what has to take place before your little Doberman puppy will be ready to leave the breeder and join you in its new forever home.