A Fairy Tale
Once upon a time…
A Mathematician and a Human Capital Consultant (yeah, I have no idea either) met and bonded over their love of Schutzhund, Dobermans and spreadsheet nerdery. That friendship resulted in a project that took thousands of hours and spanned more than 4 years (and counting). A true labor of love, we gave up our free time to painstakingly obsess over this passion.
A Tale of Two Projects
There are 23,467* organizations where you can get a dogsport title on the North American and European continents. Each of these organizations employed some sort of record keeping, beginning with stone tablets and eventually winding their way into the modern computer era.
We set out gathering each organization’s records, whatever their form. Through a complex process of begging and bribery, we got our hands on pretty much everything. We collected pamphlets, newsletters and magazines. We dug through boxes, filing cabinets and carbon paper originals. We pulled from current websites and scoured others that had not been online in many years. The proverbial haystack > needle.
We may be missing two issues here or one issue there, but at this point we have 98.7821% of the official publications from the very beginning of Schutzhund in North America. Europe… not so much. But we’ve already whined about that situation elsewhere, so we won’t do it again here.
So, what did we do with all those trial records? We compiled the working history of the Doberman breed — a database going back to the beginning of dogsport in North America. That project by itself took years and it was our first baby. And then that baby gave birth to its own baby (does that make us Grandparents??).
The Working Doberman Breeders Project
Born of more humble origins, this project began with two kennels and one Excel document. The intention was to help a friend choose between two breeders using our hey-let’s-stick-it-in-a-spreadsheet answer for everything. We were having so much fun that we added another kennel, and then some design work, and then three more kennels, and then formulae, and then five more kennels, and then comparative statistics… and on and on and on it went.
As our modest little spreadsheet grew into a full-fledged research project, we were frankly astonished by what we learned. Assumptions about this dog, that handler — very little was as expected. We realized that conventional wisdom wasn’t necessarily correct and we thought others might enjoy going down that same road of discovery.
So, we gave our project a new home in the form of a website and decided to make it public. We felt that we could offer an objective, data-driven approach rather than solely relying on breeder websites, blogs and forums for research. While often useful, the information from those sources can be arbitrary, capricious and flat out untruthful. We were interested in measurable accomplishments, not hyperbole.
In the end, our goal is to enlighten and entertain, to contribute a little to the sport we love and the breed we love doing it with. We hope you get as much out of exploring this project as we have in creating it.
A rant will go here.
A project of this magnitude could not have been done without the participation of many. We’d like to wholeheartedly thank those who were kind enough to share their magazines with a couple of crazy people. The words “thank you” are simply not enough to express our immeasurable gratitude.
* Not the actual number