Otto Turns 6

Baron Otto Von Ludwig turned 6 years old yesterday, November 15th 2022. This milestone brought about many reflections, with the very important one being how much time do we have left with him.

Otto is a purebred Doberman Pinscher. The life expectancy of members of the breed has been in steady decline due to over breeding and breeding closely related bloodlines, inbreeding. This has produced a myriad of health issues such as DCM, Wobblers, hip problems, and many other genetically deficient issues.

As a child I had a Doberman, his name was Sir Frederic Von Ludwig, notice the reuse of the last name, although no lineage exists between the two. Frederic lived to be over 14 years old. The life expectancy for the breed has been in decline since his time, with many passing in the 6 to 8 year old range and some much sooner.

Experts now claim that in the next few decades the breed may be extinct, having been decimated by nefarious breeding practices and people chasing the all mighty dollar. This is a sad state of affairs as this noble and intelligent breed does not deserve to be lost.

Is it the fault of what self-promoting high quality breeders call “backyard breeders”? Of course not, these same quality breeders share just as much blame, if not more. They have bred out much of the positive aspects of the breed to turn them into docile show dogs. They then proclaim to care so much about the breed and it’s longevity, so they must charge $3500 to $10,000 for a puppy.

The approach over the past decade has been to bring in European bloodlines due to what the “professional quality breeders” have helped to perpetrate upon the breed here in America. Will it be enough to save the breed? Only time will tell.

I have only had 2 dogs in my lifetime and they were approximately 30 years apart. It is not that I don’t like other dogs, it is that there is only one breed for me. There are many great breeds, but knowing and learning the quality of the Doberman it became the only dog breed I would ever have.

They get a bad rap as a viscous breed largely due to Hollywood and having been portrayed as the breed of villains. In reality, they are a loyal, loving, and intelligent breed.

The epitome of viciousness

One must pose the following questions, why would anyone want to breed a K9 to make them more docile? Why would anyone want to breed a K9 with a high drive for protection to be less protective? Why breed out the guarding instincts that come naturally to a K9 breed?

The answer to these questions is not for improvement or maintenance of the breed, but for money. Let’s not mention the clowns that now want to outlaw the tail docking and ear cropping. The breed had a job and a goal since inception.

The ears were cropped to prevent a foe from grabbing them to circumvent the K9 in its duty by hurting it, same with the tail. A long whip-like tail that is easily broken, many times requiring amputation, can hurt and lame up the K9 for the rest of its life. The tail is docked at such a young age, before the nerve endings grow, so that it prevents any injury or suffering in the K9’s lifetime.

Otto and “his” boy

The Doberman was specifically bred for personal protection and guard duty. Bred to be strong, agile, fast, and high energy to facilitate their duties. Their presence at one time in policing, guarding, protection, and competitions such as Schutzhund was tantamount. Not so much anymore.

One can argue that these areas have been taken over by the Shepherd breeds as they are more suited. Why are they more suited? Could it be largely due to what has been done to the Doberman breed?

Is it only a matter of time before “quality breeders” get a hold of Shepherd breeds? One can only surmise this to be true, having stopped in at a dog show out of necessity in recent years to see examples of the Shepherd breed that could hardly stand up due to the formation of its hips and hind legs. The K9 seemed to be uncomfortable no matter the position. Asking questions, apparently the hind quarters, looking deformed, have become a quality “show” marker.

Performing a little research after the fact, there are rumblings of hip problems becoming much more prevalent in the breed. This is what initially began to plague the Doberman.

Show quality…

Otto with his 6th birthday treat!

I hope we have many more Otto years left, he is a good boy and I know “his boy” will be devastated when the time comes.

They have been inseparable and Otto took over protecting his boy early. It was as though he knew that it was his job and he has taken the responsibility willingly, without hesitation.

Otto and his boy, the puppy years

Children live in a modern world filled with predators of many types and need to be protected. We live in the woods, with bears, coyotes, and mountain lions, however the world also contains 2 legged predators.

Getting some downtime

I pity anything that messes with his boy. Imagine if you will, the impact of approximately 100 pounds of determined bodyguard hitting any type of predator at 35 miles an hour in defense of his young charge.

Fur missile
Relentless frisbee aficionado

To think, people after nothing more than money and self-promotion have tried to remove the very characteristics that this breed encapsulates. They then pat themselves on the back in celebration of what they have done, while what was once a majestic, powerful, and driven K9 fades out of existence.

Show quality…

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