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 About Grafmax

About Grafmax Dobermanns

I’m Sue Thorn and I’ve owned dobermanns for almost 25 years. The first, Max, was bought as a pet and watch dog. His trainer was so impressed with his conformation and movement that she persuaded me to let her show him at a couple of local shows. He was placed every time and then started winning – and I was hooked. Max was shown mainly at open shows, where he was almost always placed and had several BOB, and at local (Companion Dog) shows, where he regularly won BIS, including at his last show at the age of 10. I moved up to open and championship shows with Nina (Cosajoro Nina Simone at Grafmax). I also attended the SW Dog Training and Behaviour Centre for obedience and agility training with Nina, who was very focused and loved being made to do difficult things accurately. She gained her KC Good Citizen Bronze, Silver and Gold and also the SWDTBC Foundation and Intermediate certificates.

In 2009 I mated Nina to Jay Kershaw’s Int, Lux Ch Aritaur Histabraq SchH3 (Bracco). I chose Bracco because I was impressed with Jay’s focus on breeding for health, temperament and longevity. I was also impressed that they work their dogs at Schutzhund (IGP) as well as showing them. Nina had her first litter, the Jazz litter, on 14 May 2009 and I kept a boy, Satchmo (Bel, Neth Ch Grafmax Louis Armstrong ShCM RL3Ex). Satchmo had a wonderful temperament and also had his KC Bronze, Silver and Gold and his SWDTBC Foundation as well as being the first UK dobermann to qualify Rally level 3, RL3Ex.


Satchmo won his first class at 6 months and 1 day. I was only able to show him quite lightly for his first two years as I was working long hours, but he did very well during that time. He obtained his Show Certificate of Merit in autumn 2012, and moved into the big time by winning Limit Dog and CC at Crufts 2013 under Stuart Mallard.

I was absolutely thrilled with my boy, and even more so when he went on to BOB and to be shortlisted in the Working Group under Ferelith Somerfield. Since then he has picked up 4 RCC, 2 BIS and his titles in Belgium and the Netherlands. 

Kiki (Grafmax Ninette de Valois) from Nina’s third litter has her stud book number and a number of notable wins, despite only being shown quite lightly. Velvet (Ch Taevas Black Velvet at Grafmax JW ShCM) has 3 CC (two with BIS/BOB) and 2 RCC, plus 1 CAC and 2 RCAC.

I bought Velvet (Taevas Black Velvet at Grafmax JW ShCM) in 2013 and love her balance of UK and Euro style. She has 3 CCs (2 with BOB/BIS) and 2 RCCs, all under breed specialists.

Ringo (Ch Grafmax Roberto Alagna JW) won his title at only 19 months of age and has 5 CC and 2 RCC.

Velvet's first litter, born September 2019, is the Fab Four litter, sired by Ringo, and I have kept Pepper (Grafmax Sergeant Pepper) and Lucy (Grafmax Lucy in the Sky). They will be shown from 2021.

All my dogs do obedience and agility and occasionally compete in obedience classes at dobe shows. Satchmo and Velvet won all four classes between them at BDDC in January 2016. Nina, Satchmo and Velvet have also done Rally Obedience and Satchmo had his RL3Ex qualification.

I have a strong focus on health and temperament in my dobes, throughout a hopefully long life. I am happy for my dogs to take some time to reach maturity and I do not want them too heavy, as these big breeds can be prone to arthritis and other mechanical damage, as well as being at risk of heart disease. My first boy, Max, lived to almost 15½ and was still walking for up to an hour a day to the day of his death, despite having had a spinal stroke when he was 14. Nina died in 2015 at the age of 11. She had been in perfect health with no arthritis and even very few grey hairs, but sadly picked up a superbug and couldn’t fight it off. Satchmo died at 11 of a leaky mitral valve and the PM showed no signs of DCM.

I aim to breed a square, compact and elegant dobermann. I believe in no exaggeration – not too big, enough bone but not too much, enough angulation but not too much. I believe that movement is the real indicator of good structure and balance and that the dog can only demonstrate this on a loose lead.

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