So You Want A German Pinscher?

 


 Click HERE for a presentation regarding the German Pinscher Standard of Perfection, developed during my time as President of the German Pinscher Club Of Canada

 

View HERE for a visual standard based on the Australian Breed Standard

 

The FCI breed standard can be found HERE This was the original breed standard for the breed and has been altered in some areas by some national breed registries.

 

The AKC breed standard for German Pinscher being shown in the USA can be found HERE. It is one of the newest alterations to the breed standard and is in my opinion not an accurate standard for the breed.

 

If you are searching for a German Pinscher, do you know what to ask a breeder to determine if they are ethical and reputable? 

 Here are a few questions to ask when you are looking for a breeder.  This is only a guideline to help in your search for that perfect companion for you and your family.

 Ø  Are the dogs registered with the ANKC?    If they are not, why?

It is common for some breeders to promote their dogs as purebred “without papers”  A purebred dog or any dog that is presented as purebred must come with registration papers. All puppies in Australia advertised as purebred from registered breeders,  must be registered with the appropriate state registration council and come with papers at the time of sale.  Puppies can be listed on the main registry or on the limited registry. A computer print out of a pedigree or sales reciept is not considered registered.

Ø  Can I enquire on the breeders status with the above clubs as a form of reference?

Almost every country that offers dog shows and promotes purebred dogs, has a club specifically for each breed. The clubs offer support and education as well as set guidelines for breeders.  Most clubs keep records of breeders that, member or not, have not adhered to the most basic of ethical rules regarding breeding, showing and sportsmanship behaviour for their breed.  Although breed clubs should NOT favour one breeder over another, they can inform someone about breeders that have not met the criteria for membership or have been subject to disciplinary matters either within the club or from the appropriate national registry.

              Ø  How long will it take to get registration papers on my puppy?

 Puppies born in Australia must have their papers available at the time of sale unless these papers are in the process of being transferred by the State Registry to the new owners. If this is the case, the papers should be in the new owners hands in less than a month. 

Ø  Do you do health testing on your breeding stock? (for example-hips/eyes/vWD/thyroid/heart)

Eye testing must be done annually on any German Pinschers being used for breeding to ensure that they do not have a hereditary eye condition that could be passed along to their offspring.  Only testing done by a certified veterinarian ophthalmologist is an accepted test, and breeders are encouraged to submit their tests to the eye database (CERF) for certification, however it is not a requirement.  If this is not done, the breeder should be able to offer a copy of the eye exam and explain the notifications on that exam. 

Hip exrays can be done as early as 12 months to be certified for hip/elbow scoring.  General practitioner vets are not qualified to assess hip condition.  Breeders should be able to show a certified report on the hip health of any breeding dogs they have.  PennHip is also an acceptable means of certifying hip health and can be done as early as 4 months of age.  Documentation of this test should be offered to the buyer should this be the breeders method of choice.

vWD (Von Willebrands Disease) is a blood clotting issue common in many breeds and screened by a DNA cheek swab.  The German Pinscher strain of vWD is not considered fatal if affected.  Carriers of vWD should not be bred together as this could result in 25% chance of producing an affected dog. (currently there are no affected animals in this breed as per testing statistics) Clear dogs will never produce an affected, and if both parents are DNA clear, their offspring are always ‘clear by parentage’.  The breeder should be able to produce documents ensuring the vWD status of the parents should there be claims of ‘clear by parentage’ puppies. Carriers are not compromised in regards to health, they merely ‘carry’ one of the two genes that creates the disease. They themselves will never ‘turn into’ an affected.

Heart issues are apparent in this breed with valve issues being the prime concern.  Only a certified cardiologist is qualified to clear a dog for any heart problems.   

Thyroid testing is often done as a random test to ensure that the breeding dogs are healthy overall.  Thyroid problems can often show up as dull and thin coats, patchy coats, lethargy or lack of condition.  Good breeders will spot any changes in their dogs and a thyroid test, which is a simple blood test, is easily done.

Colour DNA is also now being done on a regular basis to ensure only accepted colours are produced. Many breeders are also DNA fingerprinting their breeding dogs to ensure proof of parentage or heritage.

 

Ø  Can I see documentation of the results of these health tests?

All breeders selling puppies or dogs, should gladly produce any health documentation for you to see, or include as part of your records for you new puppy if the tests are on the parents of your puppy. 

             Ø  How young do you breed your dogs and how often?

Because hips can not be certified until the dog reaches 12 months, most breeders will not breed a female before that time.  Regardless, all testing must be done before breeding whether it is a male or female.  Any dog bred before the age of one, is considered too young and in violation of ANKC regulations for breeding and breeders should be questioned as to why this animal was used for breeding at that age.  Although many theories abound about how often females can be bred, most breeders will have only two or three litters out of one female over her breeding life.  This may be spread out over a number of years, or done relatively quickly while she is still young. 

 

Ø  How many litters do you generally have in one year? In two years?

Everyone has a different situation in their home to handle litters.  Some breeders are more than capable of having four litters in a calendar year if they are spaced apart to allow for the work that happens when a litter arrives.  Other breeders would never consider more than one litter per year and many more have even less.   It is quite common to find a breeder that has not had a litter in two or three years and then suddenly has three litters in one year.  Most breeders are happy to explain their breeding schedule and their choices for or against having a litter.  Be wary of the breeders however, that always have puppies available, or coming up shortly.  Often this can mean high volume breeders, and in those cases, it is uncertain if the pups and mothers get the care and attention they require during the early development stages.  The majority of breeders also allocate a bedroom or dining room for a litter.  Question breeders that use a ‘barn’ or ‘outbuilding’ for newborns.

 

Ø  Will I have to wait on a list for a puppy?

There are not many breeders of German Pinschers and because the majority of breeders have either jobs or other commitments, they often do not always have a litter.  Getting on a waiting list is common and often the list is long if you want a specific colour or gender.  Be wary of the breeder that always has a litter handy and ready to go to new homes. This could indicate high volume breeders (as mentioned above) Remember that most breeders know each other, and while it is good to contact many breeders and even get on a few lists, it is courtesy to firstly let the breeders know that you are on multiple waiting lists (after all, sometimes a litter just doesn’t happen!) and if you are told that there is a puppy for you, contact the other breeders and inform them so that they can remove your name from their waiting list and allow another person to take your place.

 

Ø  Do you keep from each litter?

Most breeders are doing this to produce their next show dog. This means that in many cases with small litters, there will not be a puppy available for you, or there may only be a male when you wanted a female. You should be willing to consider taking a different gender or colour.

Sometimes however a breeder has a litter and there simply isn’t the improvement that they had hoped for, and as a result they opt to not keep from that litter.  Be wary of the breeders that never keep and always have all the pups in every litter available. 

  

Ø  Why are you breeding?

High volume breeders won’t tell you that they are breeding to make money, but it’s not hard to figure something like that out.  (see above) If you talk to a breeder that shows their dogs or trials them in performance events, they usually have a set of goals lined out for their breeding future. 

 

Ø  How early do you let your puppies go to their new homes?

Responsible  registered breeders can not let their pups go to new homes before 8 weeks of age.  This allows the pups to be properly weaned from their mother and mature enough to be able to handle a new family.  Usually at this point, the pups have been given at least one if not two inoculations and have been wormed every fortnight.

  

Ø  Do I need to provide references for you?

Ethical breeders want to get to know you. They want to know that you are making the right decision bringing this breed into your home. Are you prepared for the activity level of this breed? Are you ready to commit to a pet for perhaps 15 years? Do you have a home that would allow for a pet at all, never mind a GP? What is your family status and work status? Good breeders want to ensure that their pups have the best possible future and are not simply interested if your check will clear.  A good breeder also won’t make you feel like you have to sell your first born for the ‘right’ to own one of their pups.  As a buyer, you must build a relationship with a breeder that you feel will listen to your situation and treat you with respect. Of course that respect is a two way street.

 

Ø  Can you provide references of your breeding program and buyers?

Breeders want to and insist on getting references from buyers, but buyers have the same rights to know about the breeder they are going to buy a dog from.  Ask your future breeder if they can give you names of anyone that has purchased a dog from them and allow you to contact these people and find out their experiences with the breeder.  Many breeders are members of a national parent club (if one exists) and are in good standing with their national registry.  Be sure to contact both these sources for information on a potential breeder.

 

Ø  Do you show your dogs in Conformation shows?    If not….why?

Not all breeders like to show their dogs. Some prefer agility or obedience or have other people show their dogs at dog shows.  Showing dogs and attaining championships often shows the commitment to the breed to continue to breed the dogs to the written standard laid out by the kennel clubs.  It shows the involvement in aspects of dog sports.  Often when a breeder does not show their dogs, it can mean that they are not interested in continuing to preserve the breed as outlined in a breed standard, do not want to spend the money needed to obtain a championship title, or unable to participate in shows or trials due to disciplinary actions enforced by the registry where the shows and trials are held. This isn't always the case as there are breeders producing correct dogs but are physically unable to show or their location is not in close proximity to shows.  As well, for those breeders that do not show, be wary of the statement “from champion lines”.  One champion parent in a pedigree that covers four generations is nothing to brag about, but often it can sell a puppy to an unsuspecting buyer who can proudly state his new dog has a champion great great grandfather!  Most good breeders have entire pedigrees full of champions and performance titled dogs.  They take pride in the titles that they have attained showing their commitment to the breed overall.

 

Ø  Do you have a written guarantee and if so, may I read it before I must purchase or put a deposit on the puppy?

All dogs sold should have some sort of guarantee issued with them. These vary depending on the breeder and in fact, are only as good as the breeder is honest.  In most cases contracts are not legally binding and are hard to challenge should something go wrong.  Building a good relationship with your future breeder will let you know if the paper that they send for your signature will actually be upheld and support given should something happen to the puppy.  Good breeders will provide a fair contract outlining what is expected of the new owners, and what the owners should expect from their breeder.  Many contracts are written up to suite the individual needs of the buyer, but most breeders can and should offer a contract outlining the basics if asked prior to the final sale of the puppy. 

Most breeders do require a holding deposit on a puppy and some will take deposits prior to litters being born. Others will not accept deposits at any time.  Be sure that if you put any money down as a deposit, you are given a clear written document stating what is expected to come along with that deposit and any stipulations that could happen with it.

 

Ø  Do you refund if for some reason placement does not work out?

All refund or replacement options should be completely laid out in your written contract. Be sure to read your contract carefully and ask questions if you are not sure about a portion of the contract.

 

Ø  May I visit your home to see your facilities and visit the puppies and parents?

Many breeders have full time jobs, busy lives or families and although they welcome visitors, it’s always best to call and book an appointment to visit as they may want to be sure that the vacuum got warmed up, and the dishes are out of the sink!  Remember you are a guest in their home and should behave as such.  Don’t be terribly concerned if the breeder has a litter and the house smells like a puppy, unless it is overpowering and clearly not being taken care of. Puppies are messy and hard to keep clean!  Sometimes a breeder may have a male dog that marks (lifts his leg) so the odd spot here and there isn’t unheard of either, and again, only when you are overwhelmed with urine smell or stains should you give a bit of concern to the environment that the dogs are living in.  As well, if the breeders home shows photos of their dogs, breed items specific to the breed or a basket of dog toys, you can be more assured that the dogs are a welcome part of the home.  Be wary of the breeder that has dogs that only live in a barn or shed. This is not a breed that does well isolated from humans.

Don’t be upset if you can’t see the father of your new puppy.  Often the males are not around, or a breeding was done artificially as the male may live across the country, or in the case of frozen semen, be long deceased.  As well, the breeder will often not want to upset the mother if the litter is very young and as such, not allow visitors.  Other breeders won’t permit anyone from outside to visit a litter until the litter has their first shots, due to possible risk of disease being brought into the home.   There are many reasons why a breeder could turn down a request for a visit, only some of them would be unrealistic, as many breeder simply want to ensure that their pups stay healthy and limiting possible outside problems is one way of doing that.

 

 

It is up to you as the buyer to determine which answers make you feel most comfortable.


 

Is the German Pinscher right for you and your lifestyle and family?

 

  This is an active breed with a strong will.  It needs a firm but guiding hand and obedience training is a must. First time dog owners should be discouraged from purchasing a German Pinscher as in many cases, it would not be advisable to start out as a dog owner with this breed. 

 

  Do you have small infants or toddlers?  Although this is not a large breed, it is strong and sometimes does not mix well with small children for first time dog owners. 

   Do you have the ability to exercise this breed properly?  A fenced yard is     ideal, but if not available, you must be willing to walk this dog frequently.  This is not a breed meant to sit on the couch and watch the world go by!

 

  Do you have other animals in your home?  Often as in many breeds,  it's recommended that if there are other dogs, that an opposite sex GP be brought into the home as that tends to be the most compliant.  Although this breed can be trained to live with smaller dogs, they do have a high prey drive and so caution must be maintained to ensure safety of all pets in the home.


 

THERE ARE BREEDERS THAT CAN NOT OR WILL NOT ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS!  DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND RESEARCH BEFORE BUYING!  DON’T TAKE THE BREEDERS WORD FOR IT.  THERE ARE MANY SIMPLY OUT TO MAKE A PROFIT. 

 

MANY BREEDERS ARE WILLING TO SHIP ACROSS AUSTRALIA AND IT IS NOT HARD ON THE PUPPIES. DO NOT BUY FROM YOUR BACKYARD BECAUSE IT’S CONVENIENT!  OFTEN THAT CHEAPER PUPPY COSTS MORE IN THE LONG RUN IN BOTH VET BILLS AND HEARTACHE. 

 

IF A BREEDER DOES NOT ASK YOU ANY QUESTIONS AS TO YOUR LIFESTYLE OR FAMILY SITUATION, BE AWARE THEY MAY BE ONLY INTERESTED IN THE SALE OF A PUPPY AND NOT THE BEST INTERESTS OF THAT PUPPY.

 

REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE BREEDING GERMAN PINSCHERS PROCLAIMING THEM TO BE RARE AND CLOSE TO EXTINCTION. THIS BREED IS NOT ENDANGERED NOR IS IT CONSIDERED TO BE RARE. 

 

THERE ARE PEOPLE BREEDING DILUTE COLOURS AND BREEDING FOR PROFIT ONLY.  DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE PERSON THAT WANTS A HIGHER PRICE FOR A DILUTE PUPPY SIMPLY BASED ON A COLOUR THAT IS NOT DESIRED.

 

THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT WILL NOT DO EVEN THE MOST BASIC OF HEALTH TESTING TO ENSURE THE LONGEVITY OF YOUR FAMILY COMPANION.  ASK TO SEE THE HIP CERTIFICATE FROM EITHER OFA OR OVC AS WELL AS CERF(EYE) AND VWD STATUS OF BOTH PARENTS.  ETHICAL BREEDERS WILL GLADLY PRODUCE ALL THESE AND MANY MORE, SHOWING THEIR DEDICATION TO THE BREED.

DON'T BE FOOLED BY SHOW WINS AND BRAGS. WINNING IN THE DOG SHOW RING ISN'T ALWAYS ABOUT HAVING THE BEST DOG OUT THERE AND CERTAINLY IS NO INDICATION AS TO THE HEALTH AND TEMPERAMENT OF THE DOG.

 

  


 


Contact Details

Heather Harrell
Bluewater, QLD, Australia
Phone : (07)4788 6689
Email : [email protected]