I would like at this time to apologize for the fact that I am not answering the questions precisely in the format provided, but I feel that all the questions asked by the interviewer will be answered in detail. The reason for this is to facilitate the flow of ideas and concepts more to my personal expressive style. First off, I think the major handicap of the Ban dog breeders that I have had experience with is a lack of precise goal orientation for example: the pit bull breeder has a single clear criteria available to him as a prerequisite for breeding. and this is simply it's ability to be competitive in a pit fight. Although this may encompass many sub- characteristics such as endurance, strength, agility, gameness etc. it is however a clearly defined practical bar which must be reached.
In the case of the Police dog we again have a fairly clear expectation of an ability to search for, guard, and apprehend a fleeing criminal, to fearlessly defend his handler, to be agile in order to overcome obstacles, to be environmentally secure so that he can perform under various, stressful conditions, to be responsive to the handlers commands,to readily search for and retrieve objects. The majority of these traits are relatively well tested in organized working dog competition such as police K-9 examinations, KNPV, Schutzhund, Ring sport etc., tests designed to evaluate very specific elements of a working police dog. These tests, regardless of their flaws, have quite a clear outline as to the fundamental concept of the representation of a working service dog The Ban dog however, remains somewhat vague in its definition Is it a guard dog designed primarily to protect property?... Is it a fighting dog designed primarily to capture the quality of gameness so endeared by the lovers of the APBT, Or is it a multi purpose utility dog who in design is to be competitive with the likes of the German shepherd or other renowned traditional service dogs? are we looking for a smart dog who responds readily to commands with enthusiasm? who retrieves on land or in water? Or more simply, but no less impressively, a large catch dog who can catch and kill game with enthusiasm? I am not an advocate of a single type of dog. but, it occurs to me by simple logic that if we are to arrive at a certain point, we increase our chances greatly if we have a clear and well-designed destination.
It is here that I feel Donovan's Pinscher stands a distinct advantage over it's competitors. It has admittedly adopted many of the basic requirements of the European style police dog, and in that spirit has cannibalized many top Schutzhund, KNPV and Ring Sport champions into it's distant pedigree. Donovan's Pinscher can be characterized as primarily a police dog by performance qualification Yet, with a major inclusion of fighting dog and Mollosor elements. We expect Donovan's Pinscher not necessarily to be a" better" fighter, but a relatively " good" fighter in order to handle the fairly common situation in current urban life of potential confrontation with the fighting dog. This however is not the only advantage of fighting dog blood. Fighting dog blood improves the overall health and shock resistance of the dog. Physical durability, climbing, wrestling, and twisting characteristics that are so prominent in the well bred APBT are also major pluses. In addition, the obvious characteristics of the molosser (mastiff) regarding strength and power have been selectively included. Some of the so called "Modern Ban dogs" such as the Corso and Presa have been included in the development as well. I must admit it has been very difficult to locate potential breeders amongst these available "pure bred" dogs. I have had vast experience testing many Presas, Corsos, Neos, ETC. and I must say that I have found a somewhat higher percentage of general working ability in the American Bulldog... If one is to consider them in a similar category. Many years ago I had the experience of working with exceptional Neo's in my Schutzhund club in the 70's but it has become exceedingly difficult to find that quality of worker in the contemporary Molloser. I am not saying that exceptions do not exist, only that I have had great difficulty in locating such individuals for breeding.
As far as weaknesses in my dogs I can honestly say that one of the greatest struggles in breeding toward my objectives is to maintain the powerful strike and sharp bite of the Dutch herder in the hybrid. The Molosser and Pit bull influence have a tendency to throw a somewhat softer initial "strike". They have been bred for many generations for an enduring, wrestling style of biting the characteristics of "shaking out" or " working of" the "hold". These are critical traits in the catch dog and fighter. It can also be an excellent trait in a protection dog. However, not so much emphasis has been put on the initial impact that the fighter/catch dog delivers. This is paradoxically where the protection dog is judged critically, also one of the main reasons why I have emphasized the herder in order to counteract this tendency. This is also an example of why it is very important to select carefully from available stock and have very specific criteria as to what the breeding objectives might be in my breeding program For instance, a dog may have great fighting drive and endurance, yet if he comes to the bite with an initially sluggish tendency that might be totally acceptable in a champion fighting dog but not so in Donovan's Pinscher. To reiterate, this is one of the major challenges in overcoming the variables in hybridizing the herder/molosser/fighter, with the primary objective of police style training as a final goal. This is also where close line and in- breeding demonstrates its great value. I carefully select the individuals from the primary gene pool. Individuals which show the greatest desirable traits toward the outlined objective and simultaneously infuse out cross individuals which represent "extremes" in currently insufficient characteristics. I then sandwich this "extreme" between the two closely related individuals in an attempt to "fixate" or stabilize general characteristics, while simultaneously bringing strong, fresh, needed traits which propel us toward the overall improved balance in the bloodline. I have adopted many of my line and in breeding theories from contemporary APBT breeders who, I feel have done an outstanding job striving towards a clear, well defined goal. These breeders commonly have large families of closely related stock, which perform well and show none of the bad traits commonly feared by the novice as a result of line and in breeding. In our case, tight line breeding has shown outstanding results and continues to be a major tool in the development of Donovan's Pinscher.
As far as culling is concerned I have, over time, become skeptical as to its value, except in extreme cases. In dealing with a dog bred primarily for mental characteristics, I am put in the very difficult situation of trying to evaluate these critical characteristics at a very early age. Several times, I myself, have underestimated outstanding stock at an early age when the necessary maturity and development had not fully demonstrated itself. I must admit that some of these "discarded" dogs are now the genetic stronghold of Donovan's Pinscher. I believe FIRMLY in strict, selective breeding, but I seriously question after many years of experience, how we might select traits other than obvious physical characteristics at a very early age. Also, being curious by nature and scientific at heart, I like to see the worst case scenario of any given breeding if at all possible. How do we know how good or bad an individual puppy, who shows an undesirable characteristic at an early age actually matures into??? However, if, after vast experience with a particular bloodline, an individual breeder has become convinced that a certain undesirable signal at an early age leads to a calculable bad result then I would not condemn culling. I only again question the criteria.
At this time I would like to point out that Donovan's Pinscher was never really designed or intended for commercial purposes. Initially, I was developing a dog specific to my own personal requirements as well as to satisfy my own creative nature. I was at this time making a living training dogs, importing trained and potential police dogs from Holland and Germany, and selling occasional litters of pure bred dogs, primarily herders, but also bull breeds It was some of these clients, who would come to see pedigree dogs, that showed such a great initial interest in my new dog....Soon word started getting around the Tri-state area and people started requesting the dogs. We started out as just a handful of believers ...now we have many experienced dog men and woman currently raising and training these dogs toward organized working dog examinations. We have established a breed club and tattoo program. We are developing a breed survey which will evaluate and qualify dogs for breeding purposes. We believe this test to be unique in its emphasis on varied and unique working dog traits. We expect to hold a "high bar" to establish "DONOVANS PINSCHER" as the premier working American protection dog bred to face the new challenges of a changing world