If you’re looking at a litter of puppies to find your perfect dog, you should use some method to determine which specific puppy is best for you and your family. The best way I have found to do this is by using a basic visual inspection along with “Campbell’s Test” to help determine the puppy’s temperament.
I’ve created the puppy scoring sheet below to make things easier for you. After you’ve read the article How to Choose the Best Doberman Puppy from a Litter you’ll be ready to use this as a cheat sheet. Print out multiple copies of this sheet, take them with you, and use it as a guide for testing and
Interpreting the Test Results
Health Check Results
The first section of the scoring sheet consists of
- Gait: Doberman’s are prone to a few genetic diseases that involve malformation of the bones and joints. This is especially true of the hips and rear end. Many times this type of issue will show as a rear end that doesn’t appear to be “in-line” with the front end as the puppy runs or walks. If this or any other difficulty walking or apparent lameness is seen in any of the puppies, the littler may be affected by one of these genetic issues.
- Coat: The health of the puppy’s coat is a good indicator of the overall health of the dog. Dobermans often are prone to excessive dandruff issues. This is usually a minor issue related to dry skin and is not cause for alarm. However, balding or obvious imperfections in the coat may also indicate an injury or other sources of irritation. Any such areas of the puppy’s coat warrant further inspection.
- Skin: Doberman’s are known to have sensitive skin. Some dryness is common and can lead to redness and excessive dandruff. However, any apparent
injuries,healed wounds,or raised red areas should be a cause for concern.
- Ears: The ears of a developing puppy are sensitive and can be prone to infections or infestations. This is especially true if they are living in an unsanitary environment. If there are any signs of irritation (redness, inflammation, etc) it could be a sign of an ear infection. This can be very serious if left untreated and can lead to deafness, facial paralysis, or vestibular disease.
- Eyes: The eyes of a young puppy are another great indicator or the overall health of the puppy. Any excessive seepage, cloudiness in the eye, or pupils that are not the same size should be cause for concern. These things may indicate an eye infection, vision problems, genetic diseases, or brain damage.
- Nose: Another great indicator of the overall health of a puppy is their nose. If the nose is seeping, dry, or cracked, it may be the result of sickness or disease.
- Teeth: Some Dobermans are prone to dental issues. At this age though, the teeth should be bright white with healthy pink gums. Any discoloration or missing teeth could indicate gum disease or even neglect by the breeder.
- Paws: A well cared for
puppyshould not have any cracks or roughness in their paws. The puppy’s nails should be smooth and free of flaws. Cracking or brittleness in the nails could indicate malnutrition or disease. Also, the paws should be directly in-line with the puppy’s body. Any unexpected canting in the development of the paws may indicate a bone malformation.
Temperament Test Results
The second section of the scoring sheet is the temperament tests. These are also commonly called temperament tests or Campbell’s tests. These puppy
In order to interpret the test results, add up the total number of A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s and E’s the puppy received during testing and write the totals in the spaces provided along the bottom of the Puppy Health & Temperament Scoring Sheet (download link above).
Once you do this, you’ll likely see that the puppy tends to favor one section of the scale, either closer to the A’s or the E’s.
Use the guide below to help you interpret your results.
- Mostly A’s: This dog displays very dominant and aggressive behaviors. This puppy is not a good choice for a family with children or elderly in the home. Prone to aggressive actions like biting. May have difficulty in a home with other dogs of the same sex. With intensive training and the right environment, however, this dog could be excellent as a guard or personal protection dog. Not a good choice for a first-time dog owner.
- Mostly B’s: This is a dog that may be stubborn and try to be dominant in the household but is still trainable by someone with experience. This is not a good choice for a family with children or elderly in the home due to its dominant nature. Not a good choice for a first-time dog owner.
- Mostly C’s: This dog is well tempered and an excellent first-time dog. This dog will likely work well in a family, including one with young children in the household. Loyal and predictable, a Doberman with mostly C’s will still be a valuable home protector.
- Mostly D’s:Mostly submissive, this dog can still be an acceptable family dog. However, he might react negatively to harsh correction or could bite if frightened. This dog will likely seek out lots of reassurance and attention.
- Mostly E’s:This dog is very submissive and may bite out of fear. This type of dog is not a good choice for a family with children or elderly in the home. This dog may also be prone to phobias and scare easily.
- No Obvious Pattern: If the puppy’s scores don’t show any pattern at all and the results appear to be “all over the map”, repeat the testing to check again for any noticeable pattern. If the results are the same, then you’re dealing with a very unpredictable dog. These dogs are difficult to train, may bite, and they’re certainly not recommended for any owner other than those very experienced with training. Definitely don’t get a Doberman puppy with this result if you have children in the home.
For more information on choosing the right puppy, see How to Pick a Doberman Puppy from a Litter.