A $650 puppy is a tempting prospect, I know. Dobermans are expensive. You can buy a computer for what you'd pay for a Doberman, cropped and docked and hopefully with health testing done. And sometimes you luck out with that $650 dog. And other times, you get what you pay for.
Example: Do you want your Doberman's ears to look like this? Though a painting, this was included in a puppy advertisement, and not representative of a "correct" crop.
You may have noticed my newest page, Picking a Breeder. In it, I include a list of the health tests that, ideally, an ethical Doberman breeder will have done. As you might imagine, this level of health testing costs quite a lot. That's in addition to the cost of training and titling the dog, because there should be some outside measure of the quality of a sire and dam. We dog owners all think our dogs are amazing. That's what dogs are for. Does it mean that every pet dog should be bred? No.
Example: what is wrong with those puppies necks? They should, say, have fur.
For a dog to get a championship, in addition to being conformationally correct, an owner must pay handlers, and entry fees, and travel costs to attend the shows at which the dog will be judged. The standard for each breed exists for a reason; for a working dog like the Doberman, the squareness of measurements and the degrees of angulation represent a dog's physical ability to perform the work for which she was bred.
For a dog to be titled in Shutzhund, there's even more involved. There is intensive work in obedience, tracking, and protection, and a requirement for the dog and handler to have a wonderful working partnership. The dog must be of correct temperament, for an unbalanced dog will not be a sound working dog, but rather will be too skittish, fearful, or reactive. Obviously, I'm summarizing here, but I'm also aware that Elka doesn't have a working temperament. She doesn't have the drive, and can sometimes be skittery.
Example: These puppies are rather young, and my conformation knowledge is growing, but these fawn Doberman puppies don't. Seem. Quite. Correct.
It's strange to highlight your own dog's faults, and it doesn't mean I love her any less. At current, and certainly not two years ago when we got her, I couldn't have really handled an actual working dog's drive. Now? Maybe. But I'm not sure how happy Elka would be with a super drivey and hyperactive little brother or sister. And that's another thing when you're looking at "discount Dobermans": if a breeder offers you two puppies at once, say no. For a lot of detail, here's the article Raising 2 Puppies at Once: Why It's a Bad Idea. But, additionally, some breeds (like Dobermans) may have problems with same sex aggression as they get older. So, those brothers (or sisters) that you raised together and loved and treated right from the day they came home? Once they get closer to sexual maturity might actually just want to tear into each other.
So what's the problem? A lot of people ask. Titles don't make a good dog. I'm not going to show my dog. You don't need all that for a pet! Well.
You don't want your pet to develop hip dysplasia at the age of 2 or so because the sire and dam had poor hips and passed them along. You don't want your dog to have a heart murmur and die of congestive heart failure because the sire or dam wasn't Holtered (though even there, there's no guarantee). You don't want your dog's vision to fail because the sire and dam weren't CERF'ed. You don't want your dog to have behavioral problems because the dam had a problem with her thyroid.
What's the problem? A lot of heartache. A lot of expense. Loss of companionship. Shop responsibly. Pick a breeder you can trust and who will talk to you and answer your questions. Pick a breeder who stands by his or her produced dogs for life.
Example: Those ears? Also, blue and fawn Dobermans may develop Color Dilution Alopecia, which involves a loss of hair that may also be accompanied by skin problems.