ABOUT THE BREED
IS A DOBERMAN RIGHT FOR YOU?
Dobermans are loving, loyal, sharp, intelligent, and are extremely people-oriented dogs. A Doberman is happiest when she/he can be a close part of your family – part of the ‘pack’, even if that pack consists of just you and the dog. They are great companions for those living alone and make a wonderful family dog. Their devotion and loyalty lend the breed to be an excellent addition to any size family. Due to their enjoyment in being part of the family or pack, a Doberman is not the type of dog to add to a household where the dog will often be alone or will not receive daily exercise. Left alone too much of the time and without enough physical activity tends to allow the dog to find something to do for self-stimulation. They will let you know they are unhappy and alone too often by barking, digging, chewing on items that are not toys or finding other ways and behaviors to express their dissatisfaction.
Please do NOT consider a Doberman if you want an outside-only dog. Dobermans have short coats and do not tolerate weather extremes very well. We want to stress again that this breed needs quality human contact in order to be well-socialized and happy. A poorly socialized Doberman can be a danger to both humans and other animals, and a legal liability to his owner.
DOBERMAN PINSCHER DESCRIPTION
The Doberman Pinscher is a medium sized, squarely built dog with a compact, muscular body. The head is long and when viewed from the side, looks like a blunt wedge. The top of the skull is flat, and turns into the muzzle with a slight stop. The color of the nose depends on the color of the dog’s coat; black on black dogs, dark brown on red dogs, dark gray on blue dogs, dark tan on fawn dogs and pink on white dogs. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The color of the almond-shaped eyes is various shades of brown, depending on the coat color of the dog. The ears can be cropped or natural. Cropped ears stand erect and are cut at the age of about 12 weeks. The pup’s ears have to be taped for a couple of months to a year to make them stand up. A lot of breeders are starting to leave the pup’s ears natural. If left natural they develop ears somewhat like a hound. The tail is usually docked at the age of 3 days to one week. If the tail is not docked it grows a tail somewhat like a hound. Note: cropping ears and docking tails is illegal in Europe. The chest is broad and the legs are perfectly straight. Dewclaws are sometimes removed. The short, stiff, thick coat lies flat. Sometimes there is an invisible gray undercoat on the neck. The coat comes in black, black with tan markings, blue-gray, red, fawn, and white (albino). When markings appear they are above each eye, on the muzzle, throat, fore-chest, legs, and on the tail. While white markings are considered a fault in some clubs, in others they are accepted.
HEIGHT: Males 26 – 28 inches (66 – 71cm)
Females 24 – 26 inches (61- 66 cm)
WEIGHT: 66 – 100 pounds (30 – 45 kg)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: Varies; 12+ years
GROOMING: Needs little grooming, average shedders, brush teeth and keep nails trimmed
Dobermans will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised, but will do best with at least an average-sized yard. Dobes are very cold sensitive and are not outside dogs. That is why police in areas where it gets cold are not able to use them.
Dobermans tend to be very energetic and have great stamina. Many remain this way throughout their life. They need daily exercise in the form of walks, time in dog parks, or play time in a yard
Doberman Pinschers are very keen, super energetic with tremendous strength and stamina. Dobes like to be with their people and are not suited to kennel or backyard life; they need human interaction and leadership. They are loyal, tolerant, dedicated and affectionate with the family. Determined, bold and assertive while working, Dobermans are very adaptable, highly skilled and versatile. They are intelligent and very easy to train. Dobermans are an outstanding watch and guard dog and do not need additional protection training. This breed is not for everyone. The Doberman needs an owner who is willing and able to display a natural authority over the dog. All family members must be firm, confident and consistent, setting rules and sticking to them. The whole family must learn to handle the dog properly, as Dobermans can become stubborn and willful if allowed to have their own way. Everything must be on the human’s terms. The dog is the follower, and the humans are the leaders. The dog will appreciate knowing their place in the pack and feel secure about it. Dobes should be thoroughly socialized when young to prevent skittishness. Mental stimulation and a lot of daily exercise are important in order to produce a happy, stable-minded Dobe. The Doberman needs to be consistently and thoroughly trained. Dobes can be good family dogs if the alpha role belongs to the human and if they receive enough exercise, are well trained and are socialized with children. Although the Doberman has the reputation of being a very aggressive dog, this is just not the case. For example, Dobes make great therapy dogs. Issues arise when they reside with owners who do not display the proper leadership and/or do not provide enough exercise. They are sweet and gentle with nursing-home patients—tippy-toeing over IV tubing and walking at the resident’s speed (which can be very slow), while at the same time will fiercely defend their masters if it becomes necessary. Dominancy levels vary, even within the same litter and the breed’s temperament will vary greatly depending on how well the owners understand canine behavior and how willing they are to take the time to provide what the dog instinctually needs. Dobermans should be made to heel beside or behind the human holding the lead, as in a dog’s mind the leader leads the way and that leader needs to be the humans.
As with any breed of dog, Dobermans are susceptible to health problems. The breed is prone to possible cervical spondylitis (wobbler syndrome) due to the fusion of neck vertebrae and compression of the spinal cord, or they can have an inherited blood disorder (Von Willebrands disease) or become obese in middle age. Dobermans are also prone to skin issues, bloat, hip dysplasia and congenital heart defects. The gene which produces the albino (white) Doberman is said to be the same gene which produced the famous white tigers and lions owned by Siegfried & Roy in Las Vegas. Some also believe the gene is a masking gene, meaning it “takes over” and masks the color that the dog would be otherwise. White Dobe fanciers say there is no evidence that this gene carries with it any deleterious or adverse health concerns that are sometimes associated with other white animals such as deafness, blindness or unstable minds. Some breeders beg to differ, claiming the gene does cause health issues.
This is a breed of relatively recent origin. It was developed in Germany in the 1860s, presumably by crossing among the old shorthaired shepherds, German Pinschers, Rottweilers, Beaucerons, Manchester Terriers and Greyhounds. The creator of this mixture was a German tax collector named Louis Dobermann. Dobermann had to travel frequently through bandit-infested areas and decided to develop a watchdog and bodyguard capable of handling any situation that might arise. The breed is named after its originator (shortened by one n). The Doberman was first presented at a dog show in 1876. It was immediately a big success. The Doberman was first recognized by the AKC in 1908. Doberman Pinschers have many talents including tracking, watchdog, guarding, police work, military work, search and rescue, therapy work, competitive obedience, and Schutzhund.
We adhere to the Doberman Pinscher Club of America’s Code of Ethics. For more information visit the DPCA.