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 hunt for a new Doberman puppy to add to your family. What should you look for? What do you need to know?
Read this article to answer all these questions and more.
Doberman Pinschers Breeding
As Breeding Business explains, there are three main factors to consider 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 two ways modern Doberman dog breeders use to breed Dobermans.
Stud and dam mating
The first way is the old-fashioned way. 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. As Prima Doberman’s kennel outlines, the typical adult Doberman dam will come into heat twice a year, about six months apart.
This narrows the window of opportunity to achieve a natural mating with a suitable stud dog.
The breeder has about one month to conduct hormone tests on the Doberman dam and determine the best dates for mating.
Then the breeder has to put the Doberman dam and stud together and hopes 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 four heat cycle stages.
Only during the second stage, estrus, will she 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 time to create the right circumstances for a successful mating!
Once the mating is accomplished, the only way to determine if the Doberman dam is pregnant is to wait 30 days from the mating and perform an ultrasound.
Experienced Doberman Pinscher breeders also know to look for other subtle changes that 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 affection increases, and nesting behaviors.
So that is the first way to achieve a Doberman pregnancy. Let’s focus on the second way to help a Doberman dam get pregnant.
Artificial insemination is the second method many modern Doberman breeders use to help a Doberman dam get pregnant.
As Veterinary Technician relates, artificial insemination takes an active, viable sample from a suitable Doberman stud dog and introduces it into the Doberman dam to create a pregnancy.
Again, there are many moving parts to coordinate to ensure the Doberman dam’s eggs are 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 narrower than it would be for natural mating.
Only two to three days are when the eggs are in the correct position inside the female Doberman. This is the best time to introduce a sample for a successful fertilization outcome.
It can take a lot 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 collect, store, and then introduce the sample 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 much 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 you must know first 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 happening inside the Doberman dam once she is confirmed to be pregnant.
During this first week, you may not notice any changes in the Doberman dam. On the other hand, she might seem a little more tired, irritable, or nauseous.
During week one, keeping the Doberman dam away from any possible inhibitors, including insecticides (fleas, ticks), is essential.
Week two is when morning sickness is more likely to show up. Otherwise, it will continue 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 some morning sickness and irritability if these affect her. Otherwise, all will seem pretty much standard.
Week four is when things start to ramp up slightly with the Doberman dam. During week four, it becomes possible to test her for the first time to determine if she is pregnant.
As the American Kennel Club explains, the most common testing methods at this stage are hormone tests, ultrasound, and palpation.
Hormone tests and ultrasounds can be done starting around day 25. Palpation tests can be done starting around day 28.
Week four is also when the breeder may add 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, grow visibly larger.
During week five, the time for pregnancy testing has passed. The Doberman dam is eating 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 a place to whelp, even though delivery isn’t for another few weeks. 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 when the Doberman breeder will typically reach out to their waiting list to alert everyone that puppies are on the way and begin receiving requests.
In week seven, even people who know nothing about canine pregnancy can look at the Doberman dam and realize 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 breeder’s most exciting week (except for week nine). The Doberman dam will be at her most significant and may leak milk from her teats. Seeing the little puppies moving around in the dam’s abdomen is often possible.
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 monitor the dam’s temperature for a sudden spike and drop that indicates imminent whelping.
The Doberman dam often stops eating right before whelping and may start acting strangely – panting, squatting, and other signs of discomfort are also cues that 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 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 look at the timeline from whelping to rehoming a Doberman puppy.
The first thing to know is that Doberman breeders have different answers to when their puppies can go home with their new owners. As Doberman Talk highlights, this can range from seven weeks to 11 weeks.
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 its 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 puppies’ first significant socialization period. 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, 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 happen before your little Doberman puppy is ready to leave the breeder and join you in its new forever home.