“They are really cool dogs Rick”, that summer of 1975 Linda began looking in the Houston newspaper classified ads under Dobermans for what would be my first dog EVER! I grew up in a family of eight kids and had siblings with allergies, so I had horses but nothing that could ever come into the house. Linda on the other hand was from a family of six kids and had dogs, cats, gerbils, turtles, fish, birds and anything she could talk her mom into bringing home.
I had just graduated from college and we were engaged, so it would be OUR dog. “I don’t know for sure if I want a Doberman”, I replied when Linda first mentioned the possibility. I had heard those stories of devil dogs that had viciously turned on their master after having their brains swell in their skull and the ensuing pressure driving the dog insane. A guy I worked with at the time told me “because they are so smart is the reason the brain keeps swelling”, another co-worker told of a toddler being mauled. Linda assured me all those stories were unfounded as she had encountered a Doberman in the Vet Clinic where she worked that was a total sweetheart. ”Holy smokes there are three columns of Dobermans “, Linda exclaimed. “Seems like Warlock Dobermans must be THE THING to have”, Linda muttered after looking through the countless ads, “hmm, here it says Kay Hill Tannenwald & Vom Artahl Bloodlines…I think I’ll call this one”, she called and spoke with Sally McShain and we went and looked at her litter.
I fell in love with the biggest male in the litter. After much discussion (later to find out an interview) we gave a deposit and returned a week later to pick up our boy. Danny McShain presents Jet was eight weeks old and his ears were to be cropped a week later. I named him Dillinger which became “Dillon” and he was with me every minute of every day for the first six months of his life. Linda and Sally became fast friends and Sally was very generous with her time and knowledge. Sally had a red bitch which she bred and since Linda and I were to be wed soon and I spoke to Sally and put my name in for a red bitch “Danny Mcshain Presents Melon” and gave it to Linda as a wedding gift. She named her Kasey and was six months younger than Dillon…LESSON LEARNED!!! To this day we will not place a puppy with a home that has another puppy less than a year old. Kasey enticed my perfect dog into more mischief than you can believe. He had never thought of chewing furniture until she showed him the way, Adam met Eve and the sinning was more than we could handle for the first couple of months.
In the next few months Sally invited us to go to our first dog show which was the Astroworld Series of Dog Shows. We went to a meeting of the Doberman Pinscher club of Houston (DPCH) which was held at the Houston SPCA and I still remember after the first meeting Norton Moore said “why don’t you guys come with all of us to have a hamburger and a beer?” and all the members went, it was great fun and we met the first folks that would end up being great friends, competitors in the ring and mentors in the breed we had become so involved.
Our Son was born in 1977 and while he was four months old, Linda decided she wanted to breed our Dobes. We didn’t even have a clue what we were doing and Linda and I have laughed many times at how that first attempt went. Linda has even sworn me to secrecy as to how we accomplished that first breeding, but if my dog would have been like that dog on the Bush Bean commercial it would have been the only secret he would have told before we buried him. After that first breeding however those two were at it like a couple of minks. Sixty one days later we had fourteen puppies.
Linda began spending afternoons looking at houses with acreage and found a great place in the farmland of Richmond, Texas. It was a great place to raise kids and dogs. We moved in May with a six month old toddler and fourteen puppies. We worked hard to make an old “out building” a puppy house which was great for puppies but proved to be too far from the house. We ended up making the garage a kennel and over the years have made improvements that have now made the whelping and raising of puppies a much easier and sanitary task. Linda spends hours before and during whelping with the bitches and we love playing with puppies, so comfort and ease of cleaning have become priority. Over the years our daughters Emily and Leanne and son Ben spent many hours in the box with puppies and Linda and I always believed their interactions helped make our puppies socialized and stable at early ages. We now have our two grandson’s Aden and Joey to carry on the duties of temperament building in the whelping box.
Breeding has proven to be “the best of times and the worst of times”, as heart break and joy play tug-of-war with your emotions. Each time we have a litter I find a bitch which I call “mine” and it seems most often we send her to another home with the knowledge she will be “queen of the couch”.
I have always felt that our bitches were our breeding claim to fame. My Uncle who is 87 and a Texas cattle rancher for 52 years helped start the “Beef Master” breed of cattle said COWS are the backbone of the breeding program. I have had the same discussion with horse breeders that agree great Mares are necessary to further any bloodline. We have been blessed to have bitches that made a great “cliché” with a stud dog. Our bitch Dessa CH. Cameron’s Odessa v Horizon was an outcross with Kaffka Ch. Brunswigs Kryptonite and with three breedings producing 13 champions.
Health, Type and temperament continue to be the goal of excellence that pushes our passion to breed. We know that the “perfect” Doberman, while never to be agreed on, just might be only a breeding away. And this commitment to reach the unobtainable drives us to go beyond heartbreak and reason to see if just possibly this could be the match, the pair of Dobermans that will produce the perfect one.
As you look at the pictures and pedigrees of the past thirty years I hope you can find some pleasure of you or your mentor’s contributions to our program. At least know hundreds of friends, associates, co-breeders and mentors helped us along the way. We want to acknowledge all those who have gone before us and made it possible for us to continue to build on the commitment and dedication they brought to our breed.
This great breed has brought us more than we could ever give back. The relationships and community we find ourselves is remarkable. The success of our breeding belongs to God, the accolades to the co-breeders, owners and friends who have believed in us and done the best by our dogs, and the pleasure has been all ours. Linda and I have a hope, a prayer if you will, that in Heaven there is a door marked Doberman Pinscher and within it are all those people and the spirit of their dogs that we have been in communion with in this journey we feel compelled to participate. We look forward to that reunion and hope our contribution will be noted as worthwhile