My first canine companion as an adult was a Doberman that I rescued while working at a Veterinary clinic. Later that same summer, I adopted a second Doberman from the pound. They both excelled at obedience, and one of my instructors recommended that I compete with them at an AKC trial. The rest is history! I was bitten (by the competition bug, not the dogs!) . . . I loved competing with my dogs.
Through obedience competition, I was eventually introduced to the world of "doggy beauty pageants": AKC Conformation. My world has not been the same since. Eventually, I branched out into several venues of competition in the AKC, and I now have or have had dogs that have titles in Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Agility, Tracking, Fast CAT and Earthdog competitions.
After dealing with illness and early loss from my pound rescued Doberman (I later tracked her origin to a puppy mill in the mid-west), I researched long and hard to find a Doberman with excellent health characteristics, and in 1991, purchased my first "show dog" from the Auchs at Irongate Dobermans. Afina, a beautiful blue Doberman bitch I got from the Auchs lived to be three months shy of fifteen years, and she was still jogging three miles every other day with me at the age of thirteen!
In 2001, I got my first Manchester Terrier. I had been looking for a breed for eight years that could do everything the Dobermans could do, but was smaller. Enter Cricket. I now have several Standards and Toy Manchester Terriers. I'm just smitten with this breed: they are such characters, very discerning, and loyal to an extreme.
All of my dogs are temperament tested in some fashion, whether it's through the AKC (Canine Good Citizen Certificate), The American Temperament Test Society, or the Working Aptitude Evaluation (which is a temperament test specifically for Dobermans).
We test all breeding dogs for CERF (eyes), OFA (hips), cardio (hearts), vWd (a bleeding disorder), unless their parentage makes it impossible for them to carry the gene for the condition, and thyroid hormone levels.