Etiquette when contacting breeders?
I hope I'm not all over the place with this post...I have a tendency to over think things but hey. So, I've been doing some research for the past month on the GSD breed and breeders in my area (I happen to be located in Metro Detroit). I've reached out to a few individuals, but in reading more, I have started leaning more towards a "quality" choice then someone who breeding just to turn a dollar. I really haven't decided what the best choice for me is yet, but starting to form an idea. What I want to know is if there is a generalized way that breeders prefer to be contacted? Are there certain things that turn you off to a prospective owner? The reason I am asking is since I am newer to this avenue (the dogs I've owned in the past were either dogs that just happened on our door step or my mother brought them home), and have never done this personally. Also, is it unheard of to sort of make payments towards a future puppy? I figure that once I find the breeder that fits me best, I don't mind waiting. I know that sounds odd, but that way I can take my leisure on payment, and I get the exact companion that fits me.
Hi! Welcome to the site. :)
I'm sure some of our breeders will be along with suggestions, but I can share from a buyer's perspective that e.mail or phone calls work for initial contact.
When you're dealing with a serious breeder having nailed down what you A) want to do with the dog (competition such as bite sports or agility or obedience or protection or jogging companion) helps the breeder decide if their program fits your desires in a dog
B) go check out the different lines and dogs (got to Schutzhund trials, shows, competitions that have German Shepherds participating). Often you can speak with the breeders and handlers in person to learn what to look for and what to ask for.
Most successful, serious breeders ask for a deposit on a litter. Then upon picking the pup up you pay the balance.
My suggestion would be to start saving up now rather then trying to negotiate payments later, set aside a 'puppy fund' so that you have all the money needed before you go pick up your pup. That will make the transaction cleaner and show you to be a serious and committed owner and will be a plus in your favor when dealing with good breeders.
OK thank you, that clarified some questions I had. Deposits are not an issue to me, as long as I know the breeder is reputable. So paying for a puppy in advance before a litter is born is not a preferred method then?
Oh I'm sorry, I misunderstood, you wanted to make payments before picking the puppy up!
I would still suggest making the payments to yourself/puppy fund and then paying in full at the time you pick the puppy up.
Like LaRen notes, things can happen with the litter, the mom, the pups and it's just a cleaner, safer transaction to pay when you pick the pup up.
eta, and given the good breeders often have waiting lists and require deposits it *tends* to go hand in hand that a reputable breeder will request a deposit.
OK makes perfect sense...Thank you for the insight. Just want to make sure I don't sound too incompetent or give anyone the wrong vibe. Now back to researching breeders. Seems to be quite a few in the Michigan region...
It would help for you to narrow down which line you are interested in, then contact the breeders involved in those lines, else you'll be inundated with many, many different breeders with very different types of dogs.
Have you delved into the differences between; West German Showline, American Showline and Working lines yet?
Once you've decided that then you can come here and look up or ask about specific breeders who are producing the type of dog you want.
once you have narrowed down what you are interested in (activity/sport, Czech/American SL/DDR/etc, and some breeders whose dogs you like), I like to do an introduction letter to the breeder.
I tell about myself and family, other pets that I own. Activity level. Previous training experience and what experience I have with the breed. What sports or activities I am interested in doing with the dog. I tell why I am interested in a dog of their breeding.
Here is an example that I sent with a buyer questionnaire.
3. Why do you want a doberman?
I have long been a fan of the working dog/protection breeds. I currently own GSDs but have always been intrigued by the doberman. The velcro personality, protective instinct, and intelligence are things that I look for in a dog. I prefer dogs that are intelligent problem solvers vs an "obedient" dog. I am involved in many dog activities as well as hiking and want an active breed that can keep up with myself and my GSD.
4. How many people in your household? Please include sex and ages.
Husband age 41
daughter age 17
daughter age 12
6. Are you looking for a family pet, show dog or working dog?
all of the above. My dogs are first and foremost family pets. I dabble in conformation. AKC conformation is not something that I am actively doing with my GSD simply because he is a working line dog. I do rally and obedience. I am starting agility training also. I recently received UKC dual registration for my GSD and plan to pursue a conformation title in that venue as well as rally and obedience. I will do the same with my future dogs.
5. Do you presently own any other dogs or cats? What kind and sex?
I own a male GSD. He is intact and I currently have no plans to neuter him re the contract with his breeder.
7. Have you had any experience training or showing a dog?
I have done some conformation showing. As well as obedience and rally. My current dog (2 years old) has his RN and RA titles as well as his CGC. We are currently preparing for RE and Novice Obedience.
8. Are you a member of any dog club or organization? If yes, please list.
North Arkansas Kennel Club
9. What would your training/showing goals be with your doberman, if any
I would like to become more involved in conformation. I will trial in Rally, Obedience and agility. I wish that Schutzhund was an option for me but time and distance are an obstacle at this point.
10. Have you had any experience taping cropped ears?
no. However I do have several local kennel club members who are experienced with taping ears in Great Danes and Bouviers.
11. Do you want a male or female? Why?
Female. I believe that it will be easier to integrate a bitch puppy into our home since I own a dominant male already. However, I am not set on a particular sex as much as finding a dog that is a good match for my family.
12. Describe the ideal dog for your needs
I am looking for a confident, driven dog. Toy motivated vs treat motivated is a plus. I want a dog that is a problem solver and independent thinker. Health and temperament are first and foremost importance vs looks. I am not afraid of the training challenge of a working line dog. I enjoy the work of helping the dog figure out things on his own vs rote obedience drills.
I do not want a blue or fawn dog but that is my only cosmetic concern. I am not looking to breed and no desire to raise a litter. I would consider allowing a male to stud if he is titled and has passed all health clearances but only with the mentor-ship of someone more knowledgeable in the breed (the same situation/contract I currently have with my GSD's breeder).
13. Do you have a fence? How high is it?
There is a small fenced yard (4foot fence). It is used mainly for supervised playtime/potty breaks. We do have a doggie door but it is blocked off if necessary. We also have a larger unfenced portion of the yard that we use for exercise/play time. Play time is on a long line unless/until the dog is reliable off-leash with supervision. Dogs are not outside the fenced yard unsupervised at any time.
I am not looking to add a dog in the immediate future. I have more training to put into my GSD before I am ready to take on a new puppy. I am looking at approximately a 2 year time frame, at which point my GSD will be 4 years old and finished with his foundation training. This will allow me to focus on starting off a young dog and the extra work/socialization that requires more one-on-one attention.
At this point, I am looking at breeders to find someone most likely to have a dog to suit my needs. I immediately added your kennel to my list. Besides the absolutely gorgeous dogs, I prefer to support a breeder who works their dogs in their original purpose. Though I can't currently pursue Schutzhund/IPO/RingSport type training, I feel that it is the best way to preserve the working drive and abilities of this type of breed. I am hoping that you would consider my family a good match for your vision of the doberman pinscher.
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