India, a Breed Overview...
by Minaz Cassum ©

“Let’s start at the very beginning” sang Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. We shall do just that.
Before we get to breed specifics, it is important to understand the judging system followed here in India as well as the evolution of the sport of pure bred dogs which, in a country that was considered third world till not so long ago, does not take precedence over other issues considered more relevant. That the situation is changing, albeit slowly, is visible in the quality and  in the number of dogs that one sees at dog shows, a large majority of which are judged by internationally renowned judges from all parts of the globe, namely Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

Much of the credit for this progression is undoubtedly due to the Kennel Club of India, the sole recognised canine body, which was founded in the year 1896, affiliated to the K C London and associated with the Federation Cynologique Internationale (F C I). India naturally adopted the British system of three CCs (Challenge Certificates) under three different judges to qualify a dog for title of Champion.

A majority of our shows are all breed shows, where the BOB & Reserve BOB from each breed go into group judging and winner and runner up (in some breeds second runner-up too) vie for Best in Show. For a dog to make it to this coveted line-up is considered quite an achievement and the final results include BIS right down to number eight. There is a separate BIS Bred-in-India and BPIS.
Interest in breed specific clubs, a rarity at a given point in time, has suddenly proliferated with most breeds having their own speciality clubs. The Dobermann, once an immensely sought after breed for his all round qualities, was sadly dethroned by the GSD in the mid 90’s and though there has been renewed interest in the breed, he no longer holds pride of place. With the resurrection of the  DPCI, the Dobermann will once again, hopefully, regain lost ground.

The seventies, eighties and even nineties saw a spurt in imports and leading the way were stalwarts and doyens of the dog world – Mr S Pathy who associated with Susan Berst of the Pyrmont Kennels of Canada, breeding some fabulous dogs under his kennel prefix ‘Sans Craintes’. Ultimate Dream, an in whelp progeny bred by the former has the distinction of being the first Indian bred to finish her Canadian title, a feat unparalleled in that era.  Several top class dogs came from the Pyrmont Kennels in Canada, notable amongst them Jaguar von Cyrus and his sister Jewel, Marnix Amber, a daughter of Canadian Ch Graf Marnix von Neerlands Stamm, Marnix Aquila and Kirsten v Judicator and all owned by Mr Pathy. These dogs obviously did extremely well in the show ring going on to prove their worth in breeding as well and setting the foundation for the meteoric success of the Sans Craintes prefix.
                                                              
Some of the prominent owners and imports that left their markin the 70’s & 80’s were H R H Jaideep Singh Maharaja of Baria with Shinya’s Akimbo von Fresco, Tavey Stormy Javelin and Victor of Dewas, marking him as one of the earliest breeders of the Dobermann. Dr E J Sequeira with Ch Artus von Raabenstein, a magnificent German import, was easily Dog of the Year winning numerous all breed Best in Shows and was undeniably one of the best representatives of this breed that this writer has had the good fortune to see. Ms Sheila Naharwar, Secretary of the Bombay Presidency Kennel Club made her mark in Dobermanns with Ch Sri Benharap Royal Heritage bred by Mr Benny Yeoh of Malaysia an international judge of repute and she is now the proud owner of a Von Klebong bitch bred by the redoubtable international all breed judge Jackie Perry, of Thailand.
Prominent breeders of yesteryear include Mr Pathy’s Sans Craintes Kennels whose progeny did much for the breed both in the show ring and in the whelping box. Considering the superior stock, both in terms of structure and lineage, his success came as no surprise. It was a sad day when Mr Pathy, now the Chairman of the KCI, quit the breed and though recently his passion has rekindled, the high level of success that he enjoyed in the past has eluded him.
Mr J B Mukherjee of Calcutta breeding under the Jaybeam prefix was another pioneer of the breed with his magnificent American imports Ch Dowbush Dan the Challenger and Ch Linhank’s Knox de Scudamore. The mating of these two prolific winners produced many worthy champions with the Jaybeam prefix, with Dan winning BIS under the renowned canine encyclopedia Stanley Dangerfield.
Mrs Y Hemchandra (prefix Yashbans) was another major contributor to the development of the Dobermann and this writer had the privilege of owning one of her best produce Ch Yashban’s Orna, a spectacular uncropped black bitch and a prolific winner in her time, who was the grand-daughter of Int Ch Quorry di Campovalano, through his German import son Alban von Nassau Oranien.
Mr Abdul Hai, of Haimark Kennels in Hyderabad, was synonymous with Dobermanns as was Mr Michael & Mrs Barbara Tham (Fairbans), whose dogs dominated the show rings and can still be found on many a pedigree. In partnership with Mr Raghava Reddy, the Thams brought in Ch Dobe Ace Repossess Marienburg, a direct son of Am Ch Marienburg’s Repo Man. Though Storm performed creditably at shows, the legacy he left behind did not do justice to his pedigree or propensity as a show dog or a sire from whom much was expected. One of the main reasons could be attributed to the fact that he (reportedly) left the country prematurely for reasons which are not clearly documented. Mr Michael Liu (Questland), Partha Shekhar Chatterjee (Patricia) and C V Sudarsan (Magic Million), who inherited most of Mr Pathy’s breeding stock brought in stock from  from Harase Garten Kennels of Japan and then a few years later looked westward. The result was that Can Ch Karlee’s Man O War, a son of Can Ch Royolyn Ice Sculpture arrived in the country but for some reason was never shown here, followed by Harmonic Glory Joice and most recently in 2004 Debut’s Summer Weather Bruda.

Towards the turn of the century, the accent suddenly veered toward South America and more specifically to Nello’s Lex Luthor, a dog who caught the fancy in such a big way that 70-80% of all Dobermanns coming into India were direct descendants, once or twice removed, of this multi champion.
One of the two most influential sons of Lex has been Br. Pan-Am, Latin-Am & Ind Ch Charleston Kalahari, who is out of Multi BIS/BISS. Br. Gr. Ch. Ch. Pan-am. Gr. Venc. Nac. Ch Charleston Gilda, a daughter of Yankee x Amy v Jagermeinster, owned by Mr Javinder Singh Pawar of Bangalore. Kalahari is the sire of some lovely specimens of the breed, including BIS/BPIS/BIS-BI/Ch Jaspar’s Cast A Spell (out of BIS/BISS Ch Shado Lans Gem of Jaspar, a daughter of Am Ch Cambria’s Cactus Cash and owned by this writer).
The sudden rise of the Jaspar prefix has been nothing short of meteoric with the first home bred Champion Jaspar’s Bacchus, who set the show ring alight with 7 BIS and 12 BIS-BI. Bacchus was easily Dog of the Year – BI in 1998-99, thereby dispelling the myth that natural eared dogs were at a disadvantage when competing against their more illustrious cropped contemporaries at the highest level. Bacchus passed on his qualities through his outstanding daughter Ch Jaspar’s Daiquire who won 3 Best in Shows and was joint Dog of the Year – BI for the year 2000-01. Both these dogs were instrumental in Mr Javinder Singh winning the Breeder of the Year title for two years running.
Can Ch Camee’s Thunderdome, a son of Yankee bred by Mrs Cathy Kendrick came and stamped his class, siring many a champions and proving his worth as a maternal sire of merit, thereby providing other breeders a tremendous opportunity of upgrading their stock. Presently Mr Javinder Singh is, arguably, the only truly international breeder with his home bred dogs gaining their Canadian titles. Can Ch Sharinway’s Copacabana came in whelp to Trotyl and from that litter, Ch Jaspar’s Limited Edition has already made his mark in the show ring with multiple BIS line ups and being declared the # 1 Dobermann in his year. Can Ch Jaspar’s Take The Lead was recently brought back in whelp to Yankee. Can Ch Make It Happen and Can Ch Sahrinway’s Jaspar’s Once More have adopted Canada as their permanent residence. It is pertinent to note that all of the above are Kalahari progeny and there can be no doubt about his propensity as a sire of merit.
                                                                       
It would be remiss of me not to mention the crucial role of Ms Katherine Kew of Sharinway Kennels, Alberta, as without her professional association  it might have been just that much more difficult for the Jaspar prefix to have achieved what it did in such a short span of time.
The run of success for the Jaspar prefix continues with their latest home bred red dog Ch Jaspar’s Destiny’s Child (Am Ch Dabney’s Phenomenon x Can Ch Hip N Happening) who has taken not only the Dobermann fanciers, but the entire dog game in India by storm. Making his debut at the end of November last year at the 5th National Dobermann Speciality while still a puppy, “Donnie” took BIS & BPIS under Mr Hal T Biermann (USA) and the next day won two BPIS at the All Breed Shows under Mr D Krsihnamurthy (India) and Mr Horst Kliebenstein (Germany).
Since then, Ind Ch Jaspar’s Destiny’s Child has notched up an impressive array with 4 All Breed BIS, 1 RBIS and last weekend in Ooty replicated his debut performance with BIS at the 6th National Speciality under Judge Mrs Jackie Perry. It has been reported that “Donnie” will now head across the Atlantic to the USA, a trip he should make in the next few months with an eye on an American title.
The other son of Lex, De Lex Luthor Dupont out of Charleston Flash Dance owned by Mr Michael Liu has done his fair share of show winning and has produced some lovely dogs. Ch Baden Baden Sarah, a beautiful statuesque Lex daughter out of Brisa Black of the Golden Eye and Ch A’Monde’s Yves Saint Laurent are others from the Lex Luthor line.
Even as I write this, news trickles in of more dogs being imported from the Black Shadow Kennels. Inaqui Black Shadow’s popularity, knows no boundaries and neither distance nor time can prove a deterrent to his wide spread global popularity. Why, then, should India be different?
We have briefly looked at the past, delved on the present and must now focus our attention to the times ahead. What does the future bode for the Dobermann in India?
As mentioned above, there is a surfeit of the South American influence coming through and while this must be good for the breed, there is also a fear that such a heavy complement of representatives from that region may just compress the gene pool in the country where, even now we see Lex and Inaqui repeated far too often in a single pedigree. There is a fine line between line-breeding and in-breeding and this distinction has to be recognised and addressed by breeders in India before it is too late. The addition of new lines would always be a welcome step and one will necessarily have to look Northwards and perhaps Europe for that infusion.
                                                                       
There are scores of knowledgeable Dobermann experts out there who would be better equipped to expound on this theory and their inputs would be widely welcomed by this writer. 
Many countries firmly believe that the future of the Dobermann, as we know it, belongs in India. This thought process has been prompted by the fact that a large number of countries throughout the universe have already or are heading towards banning docking of tails and cropping of ears, resulting in a new-look Dobermann, a visual effect that has not been readily accepted by a large number of aficionados, at least not yet.
In any case, the Indian breeder has a major responsible role to play in the future of the Dobermann. Can they fulfil the expectations of the vast multitude of lovers of the breed? Time, understanding and the desire to carry on the legacy of Herr Louis Dobermann will tell.
This has been a compendious exercise and is by no means meant in any way to advocate certain dogs, kennels or individuals. It is, in fact, a personal recollection of the people and canines that have left their indelible impression on this writer. Obviously, it would not be feasible to include the vast multitude of human and canine personalities within the limited scope of this article.

The Author has owned, handled and bred Dobermanns since 1974 under the kennel prefix of ‘Firecrest’ and has also served on canine and equine committees in various capacities. Email address is firecrestk9s@yahoo.com

























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