Frequently asked Questions

How is a specific female chosen for breeding?
What is the criterion by which a sire is chosen?

What does it take to obtain an AKC conformation championship?
What is the cost of your puppies and what is included?
What is vWD and how does it impact the Doberman?
What other health concerns are there?
What testing is done on your breeding stock?
What differentiates a show-quality pup from a "pet" pup?
What is expected from the purchaser?
At what age should we spay and neuter?
Is a Doberman good in obedience?
Do you maintain a male for breeding?
What is a Doberman like to like with?
What are some red-flag to look for when choosing a breeder?

How is a specific female chosen for breeding?
The females selected for breeding are always American Champions. The reason for this is multi-faceted. We believe that in order to become a champion, a female will possess at least of number of excellent qualities. She will also exhibit the temperament characteristics, including confidence, trainability and reliability, needed to amass at least 15 points and two majors. When shown by a competent handler, we expect our females to finish their championships in a reason amount of time despite the competitive nature of the Doberman ring. Although never faultless, they will possess strong attributes which are worthy of passing on to future generations. Our breeding females have generations of champion-producing dams behind them. A pedigree is only as good as the Doberman that represents it. Quality females are at the heart of every successful, long-term breeding program.
What is the criterion by which a sire is chosen?
Choosing a stud dog to complement a quality female is not easy, especially when he does not have a large number of offspring to evaluate. Factors to consider include (1) How he approximates the Doberman standard (2) Depth of quality in his pedigree (3) health and longevity factors (4) strengths that will compliment the female and (5) weaknesses dissimilar to those of the female (and her offspring). By line-breeding on dogs with excellent attributes and heritage, the likelihood of quality is increased. However, out-crossing in pedigrees is also important and  presents an even greater challenge because of unfamiliarity when working with divergent lines.
What does it take to obtain an AKC conformation championship?
Showing a Doberman in conformation requires a quality animal if it is to obtain an AKC Championship. Although there is no perfect dog, champions must have at least a number of recognizable, exemplary attributes. The dog will need to be well-socialized, well-trained, in good physical condition and in proper weight. A competent handler is needed because the Doberman ring is competitive in terms of the number of dogs exhibited. It is unlikely that one will be able to take a few handling classes and walk into the ring and garner championship points. Therefore, an experienced handler will be needed. Before making the decision to buy a show prospect, we strongly suggest the buyer familiarize themselves with the expectations of owning a show dog by attending local shows, talking with handlers, breeders and owners, and perhaps even joining a breed club. Dog exhibiting is not a cheap hobby and comes with its share of ups and downs.
What is the cost of your puppies and what is included?
Our puppies are raised with the utmost of care within the home environment. We have raised approximately 18 litters in 30 years. It is a rewarding yet time-consuming and sometimes stressful undertaking. We usually place our pups in their new homes between 9 and 12 weeks of age. By this time, ears are cropped and healed and they have been wormed and immunized multiple times. Puppies on limited registrations (non-breeding) are sold for $2500 US and show pups for $3500 US. Our primary concern is the placement of our pups in conscientious show and companion homes. You will also have the availability of a knowledgeable breeder for the lifetime of your dog. Occasionally, we may have an older puppy available, which can be a great alternative for someone wanting a young Doberman with many of the puppy training issues (including ear-taping) already addressed.
What is vWD and how does it impact the Doberman?
Von Willibrand Disease (vWD) is described as an inborn defect in one of the twelve clotting factors found in the canine. It is also said to occur frequently in humans. Over time, with the relatively recent advent of DNA testing, it has been identified in a large number of pure-bred dogs, many that were unaware that they even had the problem. It is described as a "mild" problem in the Doberman Pinscher. Regardless of vWD status, most Wingate Dobermans are ultimately spayed or neutered and have never required a blood transfusion. Many of the longest lived Wingate Dobermans (ranging from 12-15) would have tested as DNA vWD "affected" if such test was available during their lifetimes. We have never witnessed excessive bleeding due to invasive medical procedures including tail docking or ear cropping. By in large, vWD status has never been a major concern in our dogs, although we will not mate two "affected" animals.
It is an easy "disease" to eliminate because breeding to a "clear" assures that no pups in a litter will be "affected". However, the danger is that breeders, hoping to eradicate vWD, will breed into disturbing problems such as cardiomyopathy, CVI and liver disease.
Additionally, some veterinarians assume that Dobermans have vWD and fail to investigate other causes of bleeding including liver disease, cancer and hemophilia. We will never wittingly attempt to improve vWD status at the expense of increasing the incidence of the diseases listed below.
What other health concerns are there?
Our greatest challenge is today’s Doberman is cardiomyopathy. Although many breeders are testing their stock with Ultrasound and EKGs, there is no assurance that a healthy three-year old will be free of the disease at eight. There is virtually no pedigree that is totally without incidence, although some are more impacted than others. The good news is that early diagnosis, before symptoms occur, can add years of quality life, because of the excellent medications now available. It will likely be some time before a DNA marker is identified for Doberman Dilated Cardiomyopathy and it is suspected that even dogs with excellent longevity may well be carriers. While many Dobermans will not develop the disease, all buyers should be aware of this problem when purchasing a Doberman.
Liver Disease (Acute Chronic Hepatitis) appears to be on the rise. While it has always existed to some degree in Dobermans, the addition of specific dogs into our pedigrees seems to be increasing the incidence dramatically. This is an especially devastating condition because if its rapid progression and debilitating symptoms with poor prognosis. Early blood tests in "suspect" lineage may be of some benefit since the liver is often quite damaged before symptoms occur.
Cervical Vertebrae Instability (CVI or Wobbler’s Syndrome) has always plagued the Doberman, with some lines having a greater incidence than others. CVI can only be diagnosed by a specialist and usually requires spinal dye studies. Dobermans, as with other breeds (and humans), suffer various back injuries because of their athletic nature and their structure. Some veterinarians are quick to diagnosis CVI when a dog shows symptoms of rear instability, knuckling over, and even paralysis. However, thorough investigation is needed to rule-out other conditions that may be amendable to medication, therapy and/or surgery. Some cases of CVI that are not too advanced have excellent surgical outcomes.
Cancer-Cancer is a concern in all dogs and, as in humans, need to be caught early.  Many Dobermans die of  cancer because they are a stoic breed and show only subtle symptoms.  Routine physicals and whole body examinations are needed.
What testing is done on your breeding stock?
Wingate Dobermans receive yearly cardiac evaluations by a board certified cardiologist. Blood work is done for thyroid function with all of our dogs testing normal. Hips are certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). DNA vWD is routinely completed. All breeding animals have healthy coats and are free of skin problems. We avoided breeding litters where fawns or blues could be produced because of the inevitable hair loss and skin problems that occur in the majority of these animals.
What differentiates a show-quality pup from a "pet" pup?
Given the quality of animals in the pedigree, it is often difficult to determine which pups(s) will ultimately be the most competitive. We begin evaluating our pups’ conformation and temperament at six weeks old and continue until they are placed in new homes. We do not maintain a kennel facility and believe it is the best interest of our pups to place them in homes rather than keep them for long-term evaluation. We maintain large fenced areas where we can observe them interacting, moving, and playing on agility equipment. We also start lead and crate training about 7 weeks of age.
We try to make an "educated guess" regarding pup quality, relying on years of experience in this area. We stand behind our show puppies with a guarantee, provided the owner has met all contractual expectations. If a Doberman purchased on a limited registration is later determined to be championship quality, the owner has the option of requesting Wingate make a change in its registration status.
On occasion, we will keep several pups a few additional months, prior to placing in appropriate homes show or companion home.
What is expected from the purchaser?
Our buyers are carefully screened. We have been fortunate over the years to have obtained outstanding show and companion homes. Our desire to keep our numbers down, and raise all of our Dobermans as house pets, has enabled many show-oriented folks to purchase high quality competition dogs….many that breeders with kennels would have retained. It is only with the commitment and persistence of our dedicated show homes that we have been able to produce top-winners for so many years. We could not have done it alone. We try to keep an open line of communication with owners of all Wingate Dobermans and it is disappointing when that does not occur. Our expectations are clearly elucidated in the purchase contract for both pet and show quality Dobermans. We do not usually insist on co-ownership with our dogs and, with a very few exception, have found our buyers more than willing to honor the conditions of their purchase contract.
At what age should we spay and neuter?
I have included  an article to the right regarding early spay/neuter that is certainly worth reviewing.  This is especially important information for Dobermans because they are such an athletic breed.  Many people like to jog, hike and participate in sports such as agility, flyball and obedience, even though they do not
wish to breed or show their  Doberman. 
Is a Doberman good in obedience?
My first Dobermans was purchased as a jogging partner, but after a few obedience classes I was anxious to compete in AKC obedience. Since then, I have put over 20 obedience titles on my own Dobermans including 5 CDXs and a UD. My dogs have received High in Trial awards along the way, although I have never chosen to compete after titles have been earned.
The Dobermans is a good obedience dog, although they are highly intelligent and can often out-smart a novice trainer. Dobermans catch on very quickly and are generally willing to please. They require fair, consistent training, but should not be allowed to make "inappropriate" choices, which they will do given an overly permissive, nonplussed or unskilled trainer. I have found obedience to create an excellent bond between dog and owner. Dogs on limited registration can compete in obedience, agility and the newest craze, rally. I encourage all Doberman owners to participate in such activities with their dogs.
Do you maintain a male for breeding?
Over the past 2O years, Wingate has offered two of our own males at stud who, together, have produced over 45 champions. Their impact on the breed can be seen in many of today’s top-winning Dobermans and top-producing dams and sires. Placing a male at stud represent a huge responsibility because of the number of progeny he can impact. Because the male is half of the breeding equation, it is a stud owner’s duty to be selective in the bitches that are accepted for breeding. Important consideration needs to be given to the breeding program in which the puppies will represent as well as the facilities in which they will be reared. I prefer to accept champion females to my stud given my own personal breeding philosophies. Those folks who share my affinity for quality females with strong breeding attributes are likely to finish more champions and place pups in excellent show and companion homes. The use of our males has been discouraged where they cannot complement the female’s attributes. The collection of stud fees has never been a priority here at Wingate.
What is a Doberman like to live with?
Dobermans, even within the same litter, often have different temperaments. However, a pedigree built on desirable temperaments is most likely to produce happy, confident pups. At Wingate, preference has been for Dobermans with spirited, ambitious characters rather than passive demeanors. We find that they make better performance dogs in conformation, agility and obedience. However, these dogs need frequent exercise within an ample-sized fenced yard and are exuberant while playing and training. They also enjoying running, walking, bicycling and traveling with family members. After sufficient activity, they are happy to relax for the better part of the day. Originally bred as a guard dogs, Dobermans will likely create quite a stir when strangers approach their home or fence line. However, when told to do so, they should willingly accept visitors, including children, into their domain. Dobermans will generally live comfortably with other affable animals in the same household, although we are reluctant to place males together (depending on breed-type and disposition). The best combination is generally a male and a female.
What are some re-flags to look out for when choosing a breeder?
· Over-zealous pricing
· Uncleanly environment and unthrifty pups and adults
· Overly-ambitious contracts and co-ownerships
· Lack of purchase contract and health records
· "Show Quality" pups out of non-champion parents. Grading all pups as "show quality".
· Inappropriate temperaments of adult dogs in the environment
· Lack of genetic testing of breeding stock
· Sales of white Dobermans
· Puppy mills

We welcome questions about Wingate Dobermans or the breed in general. Please feel free to e-mail us using the button on our 

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Early Spay-Neuter Considerations 
for the Canine Athlete
One Veterinarian' s Opinion
© 2005 Chris Zink DVM, PhD, DACVP

Those of us with responsibility for the health of canine athletes need to continually read and evaluate new scientific studies to ensure that we are taking the most appropriate care of our performance dogs. This article provides evidence through a number of recent studies to suggest that veterinarians and owners working with canine athletes should revisit the standard protocol in which all dogs that are not intended for breeding are spayed and neutered at or before 6 months of age. 

Orthopedic ConsiderationsA study by Salmeri et al in 1991 found that bitches spayed at 7 weeks grew significantly taller than those spayed at 7 months, who were taller than those not spayed (or presumably spayed after the growth plates had closed).(1) A study of 1444 Golden Retrievers performed in 1998 and 1999 also found bitches and dogs spayed and neutered at less than a year of age were significantly taller than those spayed or neutered at more than a year of age.(2) The sex hormones, by communicating with a number of other growth-related hormones, promote the closure of the growth plates at puberty (3), so the bones of dogs or bitches neutered or spayed before puberty continue to grow. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered well before puberty can frequently be identified by their longer limbs, lighter bone structure, narrow chests and narrow skulls. This abnormal growth frequently results in significant alterations in body proportions and particularly the lengths (and therefore weights) of certain bones relative to others. For example, if the femur has achieved its genetically determined normal length at 8 months when a dog gets spayed or neutered, but the tibia, which normally stops growing at 12 to 14 months of age continues to grow, then an abnormal angle may develop at the stifle. In addition, with the extra growth, the lower leg below the stifle likely becomes heavier (because it is longer), and may cause increased stresses on the cranial cruciate ligament. In addition, sex hormones are critical for achieving peak bone density.(4) These structural and physiological alterations may be the reason why at least one recent study showed that spayed and neutered dogs had a higher incidence of CCL rupture.(5) Another recent study showed that dogs spayed or neutered before 5 1/2 months had a significantly higher incidence of hip dysplasia than those spayed or neutered after 5 1/2 months of age, although it should be noted that in this study there were no standard criteria for the diagnosis of hip dysplasia.(6) Nonetheless, breeders of purebred dogs should be cognizant of these studies and should consider whether or not pups they bred were spayed or neutered when considering breeding decisions. 

Cancer ConsiderationsA retrospective study of cardiac tumors in dogs showed that there was a 5 times greater risk of hemangiosarcoma, one of the three most common cancers in dogs, in spayed bitches than intact bitches and a 2.4 times greater risk of hemangiosarcoma in neutered dogs as compared to intact males.(7) A study of 3218 dogs demonstrated that dogs that were neutered before a year of age had a significantly increased chance of developing bone cancer.(8) A separate study showed that neutered dogs had a two-fold higher risk of developing bone cancer.(9) Despite the common belief that neutering dogs helps prevent prostate cancer, at least one study suggests that neutering provides no benefit.(10) There certainly is evidence of a slightly increased risk of mammary cancer in female dogs after one heat cycle, and for increased risk with each subsequent heat. While about 30 % of mammary cancers are malignant, as in humans, when caught and surgically removed early the prognosis is very good.(12) Luckily, canine athletes are handled frequently and generally receive prompt veterinary care. 

Behavioral ConsiderationsThe study that identified a higher incidence of cranial cruciate ligament rupture in spayed or neutered dogs also identified an increased incidence of sexual behaviors in males and females that were neutered early.(5) Further, the study that identified a higher incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs neutered or spayed before 5 1/2 months also showed that early age gonadectomy was associated with an increased incidence of noise phobias and undesirable sexual behaviors.(6) A recent report of the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation reported significantly more behavioral problems in spayed and neutered bitches and dogs. The most commonly observed behavioral problem in spayed females was fearful behavior and the most common problem in males was aggression .(12) 

Other Health ConsiderationsA number of studies have shown that there is an increase in the incidence of female urinary incontinence in dogs spayed early (13), although this finding has not been universal. Certainly there is evidence that ovarian hormones are critical for maintenance of genital tissue structure and contractility. (14, 15) Neutering also has been associated with an increased likelihood of urethral sphincter incontinence in males.(16) This problem is an inconvenience, and not usually life-threatening, but nonetheless one that requires the dog to be medicated for life. A health survey of several thousand Golden Retrievers showed that spayed or neutered dogs were more likely to develop hypothyroidism. (2) This study is consistent with the results of another study in which neutering and spaying was determined to be the most significant gender-associated risk factor for development of hypothyroidism. (17) Infectious diseases were more common in dogs that were spayed or neutered at 24 weeks or less as opposed to those undergoing gonadectomy at more than 24 weeks.(18) Finally, the AKC-CHF report demonstrated a higher incidence of adverse reactions to vaccines in neutered dogs as compared to intact.(12) 

I have gathered these studies to show that our practice of routinely spaying or neutering every dog at or before the age of 6 months is not a black-and-white issue. Clearly more studies need to be done to evaluate the effects of prepubertal spaying and neutering, particularly in canine athletes.

Currently, I have significant concerns with spaying or neutering canine athletes before puberty. But of course, there is the pet overpopulation problem. How can we prevent the production of unwanted dogs while still leaving the gonads to produce the hormones that are so important to canine growth and development? One answer would be to perform vasectomies in males and tubal ligation in females, to be followed after maturity by ovariohysterectomy in females to prevent mammary cancer and pyometra. One possible disadvantage is that vasectomy does not prevent some unwanted behaviors associated with males such as marking and humping. On the other hand, females and neutered males frequently participate in these behaviors too. Really, training is the best solution for these issues. Another possible disadvantage is finding a veterinarian who is experienced in performing these procedures. Nonetheless, some do, and if the procedures were in greater demand, more veterinarians would learn them.

I believe it is important that we assess each situation individually. For canine athletes, I currently recommend that dogs and bitches be spayed or neutered after 14 months of age. 
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