Other Names: Dobermann, Doberman Pinscher, Dobie
Dog Group Kennel Club: Working (AKC, KC)
The doberman is a large powerful dog with incredible endurance and stamina. The traditional Doberman has always been the one that has had both tail and ears cropped. In some countries, docking and cropping are now illegal
Their coats are short sleek and smooth. Colours usually include black and tan, or brown and tan.
Weight: 66 – 88 lbs
Average Life Span: 12 – 14 yrs
Dobermans have striking characters. They are bold, fearless, energetic, alert, and extremely loyal. Socialised early with other dogs, pets and children, the Doberman can make a lovely family pet. They would be best suited with older children as they would not tolerate teasing from younger children. They make excellent watch and guard dogs. There still exists some public misconception that the Doberman is a vicious dog. This simply is not true. As with any dog, if they are mistreated and neglected they may develop bad behaviours such as aggressiveness. As a dog owner you should be responsible and ensure your dog is happy and healthy at all times, and in return your will have a loyal and affectionate family pet.
Dobermans are extremely intelligent, with active minds and bodies. They must be properly trained as a bored dog will develop behaviour problems and a big, strong dog, of any breed, must know where it belongs in the pack hierarchy. The Doberman should not be chosen as a companion if you have never owned this type of dog before. It is loyal and affectionate and will certainly protect the home. It is up to the owner to be responsible for the dog’s behaviour. If you cannot put in the time, this is not the breed for you.
Training should begin from early puppy hood and be firm but positive and consistent. Early socialisation is also needed in this breed.
Grooming requirements are minimal. Weekly brushing will be enough to keep the coat healthy and free from dead hairs. Nails should be clipped regularly.
Dobermans require alot of exercise to meet their energy needs. Long daily walks are essential. They also enjoy swimming, accompanying a cyclist and running off the lead. They are prone to bad behaviour if not given enough exercise, both mentally and physically.
Doberman Health Issues
Bloat (gastric torsion), though not a hereditary condition, frequently affects many dogs including this breed.. This is a very serious condition. When a dog bloats, the stomach can turn and block, causing a build up of gas. Unless treated quickly, bloat can be fatal. Signs of bloat include futile attempts to vomit and to salivate. Bloat, which may lead to cardiovascular collapse, usually occurs when exercise too closely follows eating. The incidence of bloat may be lessened by feeding adult dogs twice a day and, of course, by allowing a dog time to digest before taking him for a run in the park. Click Here for more information
Hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joint resulting in a poor fit between the head of the femur bone and the hip socket. This condition can be alleviated by surgery, at some cost to dog and owner. Because dysplastic dogs often produce dysplastic puppies, buyers should ask if both the sire and the dam of the puppy in which they are interested have been rated clear of hip dysplasia. Do not take yes for an answer without seeing a certificate, and ask for a copy to take to your veterinarian.
Hypothyroidism, an endocrine disease that results in the abnormally low production of thyroid hormones. The symptoms of hypothyroidism include lethargy, mental depression, weight gain and a tendency to seek out warm places. Hypothyroidism can also affect the coat and skin, causing hair loss and excessive dandruff.
Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) – is an autosomally (not sex-linked) inherited bleeding disorder with a prolonged bleeding time (somewhat similar to hemophilia in humans) and a mild to severe factor IX deficiency. A DNA test for vWD is now available. Carrier-to-carrier breedings, in theory, will produce puppies that are 25% clear, 50% carriers, and 25% affected. Ideally, only clear-to-clear or clear-to-carrier should occur, so that no puppies will be affected. Not all dogs that are vWD affected will have severe bleeding problems, but they ARE at risk whenever they need to have surgery or have an accident. Some unlucky affected dogs will actually bleed out from a needle stick or minor wound.
Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI or Wobbler’s Syndrome) – Dogs (usually in mid-life) suffer from spinal cord compression caused by cervical vertebral instability or from a malformed spinal canal. Extreme symptoms are paralysis of the limbs (front, hind, or all four). Neck pain with extension and flexion may or may not be present. Surgical therapy is hotly debated and extremely expensive with questionable success. In some surgically treated cases, clinical recurrence has been identified.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a hereditary disease of the eye that has been identified in dobermans.. PRA is a blanket term for many types of retinal diseases, all of which result in blindness. All dobermans, regardless of age or breeding status, should be examined yearly by a member of the Veterinary Opthalmologists.
The Doberman had its beginnings in the city of Apolda, located in the state of Thuringia, Germany. Louis Doberman was reputed to be a tax collector in this area, and was also responsible for keeping the strays in the local dog pound. Herr Doberman carried money on his person, and wanted a dog for self protection. His ultimate aim was to possess a dog that was of average build, so that it could be intimidating to intruders or robbers. A dog with a short, smooth coat would be easy to care for, with a minimum of grooming. The dog would also have to have great stamina, be intelligent, and display alertness, and even aggression. So when he decided to use different breeds to develop this special guard dog, Herr Doberman had a very specific end in mind. His choices were not slap hazard, he picked and chose the dogs very carefully. This is one of the reasons why the Doberman Pinscher is referred to as “a man-made dog”. Unfortunately, he did not keep any written records.
The German Pinscher was probably the foundation breed that Herr Doberman used to build his new strain of dog. This type of dog was described as being rather non-descript in looks, but the reputation of temperament that this dog had was one of alertness and aggressiveness.
The Rottweiler was used in the development of the breed due to its massiveness and intelligence. This very solid dog also possessed great stamina, and had excellent tracking ability. Sometimes the Rottweiler strain can be seen in a Doberman with a “wavy” coat.
The Manchester Terrier contributed the black-and-tan coloration, and the short, shiny coat. The Doberman inherited some of the elegant looks, the refinement and line of this breed of dog. The Beauceron contributed size and color to the Doberman bloodline. The Beauceron was a solidly built dog, very alert, and was known to be intelligent as well.
Louis Doberman passed away in the late 1800’s. He left his bloodline in the keeping, and care, of Otto Goeller. It is speculated that it was Otto Goeller that added the Greyhound, possibly black in color, to the bloodline. This would account for the additional height, stamina, and the speed of the Doberman.