Please do not be fooled by this breeder. I bought a doberman from him over 3 years ago. My dog (Bruno) is now 3 1/2 years old. When I was looking for a doberman, I did a lot of research and tried looking for available dobermans in California, but all breeders were booked for 2+ years. I found this breeder (Britton Farms Dobermans) online. I looked at the website, and they seemed to be legit. Well, even though my doberman looks like a champion (he is 90 lbs with a beautiful black coat), he was a health mess from day 1.
At 6 months old, he could not eat kibble. I tried all the best brands (Orijen, Before Grain, Evo, etc). Eventually I had to give up on kibble and feed him boiled chicken breast, rice, and fish oil. Do you know how difficult/expensive it is to buy/clean/cook chicken breast everyday, twice a day, 7 days a week? But I figured, oh well, a lot of dog owners do that and dobermans are known to have weak stomachs...
At 2 years old he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy (failing heart). This is usually a disease that attacks older dogs, it is very unusual onset would occur in dogs before the age of 5. He is on enalapril and vetmedin for his heart condition. He now can't go out to the park and play frisbee (one of our favorite activities together) because he literally collapses after 10 minutes of play. It's really heart breaking.
Fast forward to this past week. My dog started having urinary problems (incontinence, blood in pee, etc). After looking it up, I figured he had a urinary tract infection. After administering antibiotics for about a week, he did not get better and I took him back to the vet. The vet thought it was a bladder stone, so he had an x ray done. It turns out he does not ave stones, but he has an enlarged prostate. However, in the process of the xray, he should me my dog has really bad arthritis in his hips and back. I asked him how can that be, he is so young, and I have given him fish oil since day 1, and I exercise him almost daily so he is very lean and in shape. My vet said in his case it is just bad genetics....
Ok, so that still leaves the problem of his prostate being too large. My vet said neutering him would fix the problem since his prostate got bigger due to hormonal issues. Well, I can't get him neutered because his heart condition is so bad he cannot go under anesthetics for surgery. Un-f**king-believable.
The reason I am writing this report is because his breeder is a con man of a high caliber. Even an idiot could identify a back yard breeder- usually puppy mills are dirty, with dogs in cages and in poor condition, and they usually sell for very cheap. However, this breeder is smart. He has a clean home (or at least shows in the pictures). He doesn't own the dogs, he merely pays known champion dogs from all over the world to come and breeder at his facility. This does 2 things: it makes him seem legitimate since he is using world class famous champion bloodlines, and it also allows him to charge a lot more (I paid $2700 for my puppy). These two things make it seem like he is a real breeder. He does no testing (even though he says he does, my dog has bad hips/joints, ears, and a bad heart). He probably doesn't even check to see if the dogs are related.
However, there are a few signs he is a backyard breeder. First off, of all the breeders I talked to (I contacted no less than 8), he is the only one without any screening whatsoever- as long as you pay him, the dog is yours. No application, no picture requests of your house/yard, in fact, he doesn't email/call you at all. Also, he is the only breeder I know that has so many litters going on at once. He literally pays like 10 dog owners of champion dogs to ship their dogs from Europe so he can pop out litters at certain intervals to ensure a constant cash flow (especially since he charges up to $5000 for some puppies). No breeder does that. They usually only have 1-3 sires/females, and have 1 litter per year and stop after the third litter for that couple. This guy just keeps having dogs he doesn't own shipped to his ranch to breed, then he ships them back.
Also, he shipped my dog from Texas to California. Doesn't sound bad, right? Considering they are close. WRONG. My dog was on "acer" to "calm him down" and was in a cargo crate for 10 hours. Imagine a puppy being taken away from its parents, drugged, stuffed in a crate, and loaded onto a plane for 10 hours. Yep, that's good breeding right there.
The best part about this is after I called the breeder about my dogs heart condition to let him to know to stop breeding with his parents, he said "If he dies before 5 years old due to his heart condition, I will replace him." Replace him? How about you go f**k yourself instead, my dog is not an appliance, but an animal with a nervous system that can feel pain.
I am writing this as a warning to other people. I consider myself a smart and thorough person, and I did my research before buying my dog. However, I was still fooled. A quick search on online doberman forums (such as DobermanTalk.com, I've linked a few threads below) show other people like myself who bought a beautiful large doberman, only to be slammed with health problems.
Breeders are supposed to make the breed better and healthier. This a*****e just wants money. My only hope is that one day, just like the puppies he sells, the breeder himself gets a fatal heart condition and bad hips/back, so he at least knows what he puts the dogs through. Thank you for reading this, and email me if you have any questions or want help finding a good breeder in your area. I also suggest you join dog forums to get a host of good information. I wish I did before I made my purchase....
Here are the links about Britton Farms Dobermans: