Since my early childhood I have been captivated by the Doberman's beautiful appearance and fearsome reputation. Not only by its great nobility, elegance and power, but also by its ability to function as the ultimate family protector. The combination of beauty and working aptitude left a great impression on me. I can honestly say that I've dreamt of owning a Doberman Pinscher my entire life. As a child, it was impossible to turn that dream into reality due to family circumstances. Quite simply, my father didn't think our family situation was right for a dog, little much a large, powerful breed like the Doberman. My brother and I pestered my parents pretty regularly, and our mom would often advocate for us. My father was certain that it would turn out to be him taking care of the dog, not us. After all, who else would walk and feed it?
Meanwhile, I would head over to the neighbors house practically every day in order to play ball with their dogs. There was the wild and unruly adolescent male German Shepherd on our left, and the well-mannered, perfectly trained Sheltie on our right. I loved them both. Tired of having their evenings interrupted, my neighbors began advocating for me as well. Ultimately my father acquiesced to our demands and my dream was realized. The dog of my youth was a small terrier mix. My brother named him Brew. Brew was part Yorkie, part Schnauzer. He was born in the home of a family friend. Brew had a silvery-grey salt and pepper coat and possessed an extraordinary empathy and a kind, caring nature. Sadly, I believe the unstable home life Brew was subjected to affected him most negatively. In fact, it affected us all.
The Tragedy of Brew
I saw Brew turn from a gentle, empathetic soul, into a scared, neurotic dog. Despite his small size, Brew became rather dangerous to be around. He was constantly lashing out in fear and unfortunately, my family was ill-equipped to deal with it. My father died when I was ten years old, and not long thereafter Brew bit a person. As a consequence, my family made the difficult decision to put Brew down. I learned a lot from this tragedy. About people, about animals.... about life. I still cry for Brew.
I wanted nothing more than a black dog with whom I could play fetch. I ended up with a brown bitch who had a disfigured paw and little desire to do anything but eat and be loved! Somehow she was exactly what I needed. I adopted Clara from a no-kill animal shelter in Long Island on February 23rd, 1999. Some would claim that I rescued Clara, but the truth is that she rescued me. She provided me with the unconditional love and companionship that I so desperately needed at that difficult time in my life. In return, I gave Clara a loving home, and the stability and leadership that she craved and needed. For seven years Clara was my best friend. She died of cancer in 2006.
My love for Clara helped ignite a life-long passion for dog training and for the Doberman Pinscher on deeper level. I subscribed myself to every breed magazine, purchased and read every book, visited every webpage and literally devoted all of my free time to learning about the breed. The personality that loomed largest in my world at the time was Ray Carlisle of Cara Dobermans. I read Ray's articles on the breed and on temperament and they had a profound impact. Even though I was training Clara regularly I realized that I needed a different kind of Doberman in order to achieve my goals. That's when I looked to Europe.
In 2001 I imported my first Doberman from Europe. I was young, naive and inexperienced – all of the ingredients were in place for a disaster. Fortunately, luck was on my side and the breeder I chose to deal with proved to be honest, trustworthy and overall a wonderful human being. Jelena Grigorjeva of Gem'Givveeon Dobermans sent me my Essie.
Essie-Esther Givveeon was linebred on Jivago van het Wantij 2-2 and turned out to be everything I had ever wanted and expected out of a Doberman. She had an abundance of prey drive, tremendous work ethic, and possessed a clear head in all situations. She was a goofy, playful dog with a supremely sweet nature. Physically, she turned out in the front because her chest lacked width. She was a touch slab-sided, slightly melanistic, and could have used a firmer back. Oh, and she was longer than tall too. She had a lovely head with powerful jaws, correct eye shape and set, as well as expression. Essie also had wonderful, thick, round bone as well as correct dentition. She had a good croup and tail-set and moved soundly in the rear. Sadly, Esther left this world way too soon. I was forced to put Esther to sleep in 2007 in order to end her suffering from congenital Kidney disease. She was just six years old.
Sheena Selima del Citone
In the year 2000, Pierluigi Pezzano's kennel "del Citone" and his now legendary stud-dog Ginogomez del Citone were on top of the Doberman world. Up until that moment, Dr Pezzano had produced generation upon generation of legendary Dobermans. In fact, the iconic image of Tequilamali del Citone was the logo of the Italian Doberman Club until C/D was banned in Italy. In 1994, Mali produced an incredibly important litter sired by Prinz vom Norden Stamm… this was the del Citone A-litter (it was Pezzano's second time through the alphabet. The first del Citone A-litter produced the 1984 Bundessiegerin Alfa del Citone. Alfa was linebred 2-2 on Pezzano’s stud-dog, Cito di Villa Castelli. The kennel name “Citone” is derived from Cito). The undoubted standout from the combination Prinz x Tequila was the brown male Alfaadelante, and the incestuous brother/sister pairing of Arielle d’Amour del Citone with Astor del Citone produced Ginogomez.
Today I find it nearly impossible to convey just how captivating the del Citone "brand" and bloodline was to me. Words simply do not exist to describe the impact these Dobermans had on my understanding and concept of the breed and of breed type. When Dr. Pezzano afforded me the opportunity to purchase a female puppy from his S-Litter, the opportunity seemed like a dream. The del Citone S-litter had an exceptional pedigree filled with all of the legendary dogs I had so admired, bred by the master himself. So when my little girl Sheena Selima del Citone arrived in America from Italy at eight weeks old it was literally a dream come true. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
The Dream vs. the Reality
With the importation of these two wonderful bitches, my dream was to breed and establish a bloodline of exceptional Doberman's that possessed great beauty, breed type and working aptitude. I was inspired by the so called "Total Doberman", a phrase coined by Vic Monteleone of Montwood Dobermans (Vic was the driving force behind the DPCA Working Aptitude Evaluation and an important advocate for preserving the Doberman as a working dog in America. He was also an exceptional breeder) and popularized by Ray Carlisle of Cara Dobermans after Vic's passing. The concept of the "total" Doberman can be summarized as encompassing a dog that is beautiful in form yet highly functional and capable of performing its historical role as a working dog and personal protector.
Generation after generation of Doberman breeding in America focused strictly on conformation. The large majority of exceptional North American breeders selected dogs that possessed normal, pet quality temperament and character but were structurally superior. This kind of dog is very suited for family living. It is easy to manage by most people and in most situations. These dogs are physically beautiful and have the necessary characteristics to win in the show ring, without being overly complicated mentally. This selection criteria meant that over time, the Doberman was losing its mental robustness and the temperament traits that defined the breeds function. The conformation culture in America placed zero importance on working temperament and as a consequence many of the most beautiful Dobermans were no longer capable of serving in its historical role as a personal protection dog. The "Total Doberman" is a conceptual framework. It describes a Doberman that conforms to the physical AND mental aspects of the of the breed standard. In this framework, working character and temperament are not ignored or neglected. In fact, it is prioritized.
Livonija Baron Pompey
I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.
Livonija Baronesa Costa Brava
Almost as soon as I returned home from Riga with Pompey in October 2011, I began thinking about acquiring a bitch. LB Pompey is an exceptional Doberman, and I know his pedigree very well, having the opportunity to see and evaluate many of his ancestors and relatives in person. So when his sister Pia Pandora was bred to Oscar z Padoku for the second time, I jumped at the opportunity to finally obtain a puppy who had the potential to form the foundation of my breeding program.
When the litter was nine weeks old, I flew to Riga in order to make my selection. For me, it was an easy choice. In my mind, one puppy stood out from the rest. Her boldness and mental intrepidity, alongside her superior conformation, was the epitome of the “Total Doberman”. When the puppies were ten weeks old I flew back to America with Brava, my little star. I am extremely grateful to her breeder for allowing me to bring my first choice back to America. It’s quite rare to be allowed to import a bitch puppy of this quality.
Brava is by no means perfect, but I am excited about her future and believe that she has a lot of promise and a lot of potential. One day Brava will help to establish a line of exceptional Dobermans in America that conform to my vision of what it means to be the Total Doberman: a beautiful companion who is fearless in the face of adversity.
The story continues..........