Raindance Dobermans

Raindance is dedicated to preserving the correct temperament, health, and conformation in the Doberman. We are not a kennel; our dogs live with us as members of our family. We are active in showing in Conformation with our Dobermans (and Italian Greyhounds) and are members of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America.

The People Behind Raindance: A Mother/Daughter Team

Raindance Dobermans is a mother/daughter team: me (Susan James) and my daughter, Chelsea. My love for Dobermans started in 1971 and Chelsea was born into a Doberman-loving household. Although we may not always share the same opinions, our passion and love for the Doberman breed has brought so much joy into our lives through showing, breeding, and their companionship. For the past 15 years, we have also been involved in the Italian Greyhound breed and have maintained a successful breeding program there as well. We are truly what you’d call a “show family.”

The Name Raindance

The name Raindance is a tribute to my first show dog, Damasyn the Raindancer. “Pharaoh” was a son of Eva and sired by CH Damasyn The Russian, and from my first litter in the mid 70s.

Our Mentors

We have many mentors, with my first mentor being Peggy Adamson of Damasyn Dobermans. Peggy was always there to answer any question, from breeding to raising puppies to showing. We feel very fortunate that we are surrounded with so many knowledgeable breeders, throughout the years they have always given sound advice and guidance. We would like to thank Linda and Kelly Marquis and Colleen Nicholson, for being there for us.

Our introduction into the Italian Greyhound world has offered the opportunity to exchange knowledge with people from other breeds, especially our good friends Pat & Ric Klinger of Retaggio Italian Greyhounds, whose friendship and knowledge has meant a lot to us.

Our Foundation, Layla

Soon after our first Champion Doberman, Roxie, was retired and spayed, we approached Kelly Marquis about the repeat breeding of CH Marquis Yes I Am to CH Eastwick’s Meadow Monster, which produced their Best in Show winning CH Marquis Yes I Am Charmed (Marley) in their first litter.

From the repeat litter came our Layla, CH Marquis I Am Arya. Layla has become our foundation bitch and with the guidance of Linda and Kelly Marquis, our long-awaited breeding program finally became a reality.

We are pleased to say that our Princess Layla is now 10 years old and has her Longevity Certificate. Her last heart holter monitor report in Dec 2016 was perfect, with no abnormal heartbeats. Layla is still very active and absolutely loves to play and cuddle with her daughters, Neytiri, Genesis, Delicious and India.

Layla’s Offspring

In addition to being an absolute joy to live with, Layla has proven to be a phenomenal producer for us, already with many Champion get including two group winners, a Best in Specialty winner, Top 20 Contender, a Best Puppy in Show winner, several others who are well on their way to their championships, a service dog, and a cancer-detecting dog. We are pleased that Layla has given her beautiful front assembly and great temperament to her children.

Layla’s first litter was sired by the incomparable Hunter, BIS BISS CH Cha-Rish Star Quest Blu-J’s. Although all three puppies in the litter were shown, only our keeper from that litter, CH Marquis I Am Neytiri of Raindance, was seriously shown and she finished easily with three majors. Although Neytiri is a big bitch, she has great substance, a fantastic topline, is very square, and is a great dog to live with.

Combining BISS GCh Rauschund’s Aquila V Marquis and Layla produced four exceptional champions for Raindance. “Niko,” a Hunter son, is a dog that we had always admired from a puppy. At the time, Niko was unproven, so we took a chance. That combination produced BISS GCH Raindance Led Zeppelin of Marquis, GCH Raindance Black Sabbath of Marquis, CH Raindance Genesis of Marquis, and CH Marquis My Heart Will Go On.

Layla’s litter to John Dolan’s phenomenal Gunner, BIS BISS GCH Tiburon Arsenal, gave us our little red girl Delicious (Am/Can CH Raindance Armed and Extremely Delicious), who finished her American Championship exclusively from the Bred-By-Exhibitor class, handled by Chelsea. Her Canadian Championship was finished in style: in only five shows including a Group 1. Brother Stryker (CH Raindance Right To Bear Arms) finished easily in a handful of shows with Kelly. Their red brother Sunny (Raindance Son of a Gun) is currently working as a Service Dog for his owner Angela.

Layla’s last litter was to Colleen Nicholson’s CH Mueller’s Jewel of Kei V Kelview. “Kaden” is littermate to Top 20 Contender BISS GCH Kelview’s Crown Jewel V Mueller. We were always big fans of their dam, Colleen’s beautiful black bitch Gemmi (BISS GCH Kelview’s Gemini V Nova) and became intrigued when her first get started making their debuts in the show ring. Their pedigree also contained three dogs we’d admired, their sire Zeus (CH Kettle Cove N Rebayla Zeus), his sire Ossa (CH Shatera’s Brass Star), and his sire Hunter (CH Cha-Rish Star Quest Blu-J’s). This was our first line breeding in Dobermans, as Kaden’s maternal grandsire is Layla’s littermate, Marquis I Am Brom.

This breeding gave us our superstar, GCH Raindance Star Of India. “India” as a puppy won Best Puppy in Show at the Connecticut River Working Dog Specialty. We wanted to finish our girl in style so we waited for the Nationals. What a team Colleen and India were, India went WB and BOW from the 12-18 class at the 2014 DPCA Regional the day before the National and was awarded a 5 Pt Major to finish her. We had an incredible write-up by Judge Harry H. Schulman in the Pipe Line about my super star:


Judging the DPCA Regional puts the real meaning of that line from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet to the WB/BOW (Raindance Star of India) from the 12-18 class was a real stand out. No matter where or when I turned; she captured my attention from every angle. Her elegant, well-arched nape of neck widening gradually toward her body was one of the most exquisite neck sets I have ever seen. She was square, compactly built, gracefully powerful without any lack of femininity, well-angulated and correctly balanced from both rear and frontal views. Her back was short and firm while the Queen could have served tea on her topline. Her legs were straight and parallel to each other, her hocks were perpendicular to the ground, and she single-tracked well at a fast trot She was a nonstop showboat in Winners, and competed against adorable and sound Dobermans. She may be ready for prime time in another year or two, but without a doubt, on this day she was the best bitch in my ring

Raindance’s First Top 20 Contender, Troy

BISS GCH Raindance Led Zeppelin of Marquis, who ranked #6 in DPCA Conformation Statistics for the 2013-2014 year, is a multiple group winner and a specialty show winner. But he is a real hero for detecting breast cancer in his owner and most likely saving her life. Troy has taken us on the most magical carpet ride ever. Thank you, Harry and Diane Papazian, for believing in Troy and taking him to a top ranking.

The Thought Process Behind Each Breeding

Each breeding decision is taken very seriously and is discussed at length. We take everything into consideration, health being first and foremost. Temperament is our second priority, and conformation comes in third. Once we have narrowed down suitable candidates, we then study conformation within pedigrees – not only of the potential stud dog, but also of parents, grandparents and beyond. We want to make sure we are not doubling on weak points and are realistic about knowing what can be fixed in one generation and what would take generations to fix. Having a good grasp on pedigrees is invaluable; we constantly browse through DobeQuest, which we’ve found has been a really great tool for us. We are very fortunate to have another test available for our Dobermans, UC Davis’ Canine Diversity Panel (click here for more info). I have already tested several of our Dobermans and now can use this tool help make more informed breeding choices.

The Importance of Health Testing

Without health testing, the Doberman would be doomed as a breed. It is really important to take advantage of all the health testing options currently available; it’s our only chance to make sure we’re really breeding healthy dogs. All our dobes have health testing done regularly, regardless if we are breeding them or not, we just want to make sure everyone is healthy. We even own our own holter.

The Italian Greyhounds of Raindance

Though she loves Dobes, Chelsea decided she wanted her “own” breed to show, and in 2000, we added our first Italian Greyhound to the household, Am/Can CH Retaggio’s Starry Night. Since then, under Chelsea’s lead, we have bred over 20 Italian Greyhound Champions. They include the 2012 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Best of Breed/Best Bred-By & BBE Group 2 winner, GCH Raindance Mercier and her daughter GCH Raindance Commanding Curve, who was Best of Winners at the 2015 IGCA National Specialty.


Helpful Resources

American Kennel Club

Doberman Pinscher Club of America