ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher dog breed
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Doberman Pinscher or simply the Doberman, is a dog of medium to large size that originated in Germany. The person responsible for developing this breed was a German tax collector named Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann – hence the name.

This is one of the most recognizable dog breeds in the world due to the powerful and unique physique, but also very loyal and ferocious personality. It is not surprising to learn that Doberman’s first role was to serve as a bodyguard who protected his owner during the local tax collections. Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann wanted and needed a dog breed that would be fearless, ferocious, fast, but also very loyal and intelligent. By mixing several breeds such as the German Pinscher, the Greyhound, the Great Dane and several others, he created what is today known as a very beautiful and amazing dog — the Doberman Pinscher. In this article we are going to cover this breed’s most important characteristics.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingHigh
All Around FriendlinessAbove Average
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group: Working Dogs
Height: 2 feet to 2 feet, 4 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: Generally 60 to 80 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 13 years

Having in mind that the Doberman we know today was developed at the end of the 19th century, he is considered a rather new dog breed. However, he is still one of the most popular dog breeds, especially in the USA.

The Doberman Pinscher is a dog that is not sensitive, however, he does not easily get adapted to just any conditions. Firstly, he is a big and powerful dog that needs a lot of exercise. That means that he is not really suitable for living in small and cramped apartments, unless he is taken out on long walks at least twice a day.

Secondly, the Doberman Pinscher is not suitable for novice owners because he has a large build and needs proper training from an early age. Only strong-willed or experienced owners should deal with this dog breed. A weak and easily frightened person would not be able to train this dog properly and he will grow into an ill-mannered and stubborn adult dog that would not allow you to manage or train him. Additionally, this dog has a very short coat which means that he cannot tolerate strong winters and low temperatures. You should consider this beforehand and take into account the environment in which you would raise a Doberman Pinscher puppy.

The Doberman Pinscher is a dog breed that is easily trained and that is largely due to the fact that he is extremely intelligent dog. Obedience and mental training should be started as soon as possible and as long as you teach your dog via positive reinforcement, rewards and games, you will have no problems. As with most dogs, an owner should have patience and strong will in order to grow a puppy into a well-mannered and strong adult dog that won’t pose any threat to others or be self-destructive.

Playing and training will influence you positively as well. You should know that the Doberman Pinscher does not have a prey drive or a tendency to bark and howl too much. He is also not a breed that develops a wanderlust potential or the potential for mouthiness. That can be the result of his mixed genes of various breeds.

When it comes to exercising, the Doberman Pinscher is a high-energy dog breed that needs a lot of running, walking, playing and training (both physical and mental). The intensity of his exercises should be medium and as he already has a huge potential for playfulness, it would not be difficult to engage him in most games. This dog loves to learn and please his owner, so you should give him as much your free time as you can.

Speaking of grooming and health, the Doberman Pinscher that is easy to groom because of his thin and short coat; however, he sheds a lot. He also has a drooling potential and needs to be brushed daily and cleaned after due to his large size. Speaking of general health, the Doberman Pinscher is not considered a healthy dog.

He can be affected by numerous diseases, which can be also the result of his mixed heritage. One of the most known diseases is dilated cardiomyopathy which is also the major cause of death in this breed. The average lifespan is around 10 years, which is a bit shorter than in the most dog breeds.

The Doberman Pinscher is a very friendly dog, even though he is often portrayed as an aggressive breed. He might had been bred for the purpose of protecting and being ferocious, but if trained properly, nowadays he can be a great family dog who behaves well around children. He is very affectionate towards family members and loves to be neat them and protect them. A study has shown that the Doberman Pinscher is not friendly towards strangers and he can be very aggressive towards unfamiliar people if he has not been trained to tolerate them.

He is even less friendly towards other, unfamiliar dogs, especially the ones of his kind. This kind of suspicious or even aggressive behavior should be cut in the roots by training your Doberman Pinscher puppy from an early age and socializing him.

Main Highlights
  • The Doberman Pinscher is a high-energy dog that requires a lot of exercise, both mental and physical.
  • This dog breed, also affectionately called the Dobie, needs to be trained from an early age in order not to become an alpha and develops an aggressive and suspicious nature.
  • The Dobie is very sensitive to cold weather and low temperatures because his coat is very short, so if you live in such climate, you should never leave him outside during the winters.
  • The Doberman Pinscher has a bad reputation due to his history, so keep in mind that even though you know that he is your beloved family dog, your neighbors and strangers might be afraid around him.
  • Never leave your Dobie alone for a long period of time because he does not like being away from his owner. You should also keep him engaged, a bored dog easily becomes destructive.
Breed History

In the late 19th century, Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a tax collector, came up with an idea to breed and create a completely new dog that would act as a companion and bodyguard during his job rounds. He lived in Apolda, the town in the German state of Thuringia, and that is the place where the Doberman Pinscher was developed for the first time.

Having in mind that his job consisted of going around various dangerous places and collecting taxes from even more dangerous people, Karl Louis needed and wanted a dog that would be a perfect combination of fierceness, fearlessness, strength, speed, intelligence and loyalty. Later on, when he died, Otto Goeller and Philip Greunig continued his work and bred what is today known as the beautiful and elegant Dobermann.

Some of the breeds that are believed were part of the breeds included in the first selection are the Greyhound, the German Pinscher, the Thuringian Sylvan Dog, the Great Dane, the Weimaraner, the German Shorthaired Pointer, the Manchester Terrier, the Beauceron, the Rottweiler, the Old German Shepherd Dog, and the Thuringian Shepherd Dog.

The breed was showed off for the first time in 1876, and in 1900 the German Kennel Club recognized Dobie as the official breed. 8 years later, he was brought in the USA and in 1921 the first Dobermann Pinscher Club of America was formed. Ever since then, this dog breed has been primarily owned by the police, military and wealthy people who needed protection. It took years to make Dobermann’s personality more affectionate and to train him to be less aggressive. The word Pinscher was dropped out of the name at the beginning of the 20 century.

Size

The Doberman Pinscher is a breed of medium to large size. The male Dobermans can reach 26 to 28 inches tall; while the female Dobermans are a bit smaller and can reach 24 to 26 inches tall. The males also weigh more than the females, they are around 60 to 80 pounds.

Personality and Character

What can you expect from a Doberman Pinscher? The answer would probably be – an intelligent and very active dog. You can also expect a loving family dog, a guardian and protective pet who loves being near his owner. You can also expect from him to jump to your rescue if there is any need for that; however, apart from that, if they are raised and trained properly, the Dobermanns never attack without reason.

You need to expose your Dobermann puppy to a variety of people, other dogs, animals and places. If you socialize and train him properly, he won’t develop any aggressive traits. This breed loves games and mental exercises as well – they will bond you even further. Make sure to give him something to do, or a task to perform, because a bored Dobermann can easily be self-destructive. The same goes for leaving him alone for too long. Sometimes the repetitive games and exercises can make him bored too, due to the fact how smart he is. If you are not an active person as well, then you might not go so well with this dog breed.

Health and Potential Problems

The Doberman Pinscher is not considered a healthy dog in general. This can be contributed to the fact that he is the result of various breeds and genes which makes him more prone to certain health conditions. According to certain studies, more than half Dobies develop dilated cardiomyopathy which is also the major cause of death. Other major diseases that are very common in this breed are:

  • Von Willebrand’s Disease is an inherited blood disorder prevents blood from clotting. Some of the most recognizable symptoms include the excessive bleeding from gums, nose, injuries and especially wounds after surgeries. There is no cure for this disease but there is treatment that includes transfusions and medications. Dogs with this condition should not be bred and they can lead normal lives.
  • Hip Dysplasia: is also an inherited condition which is when the thighbone does not fit properly into the hip joint. It can be diagnosed with X-ray screening. Some signs include lameness and pain. These dogs should not be bred as well.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): is a disease that affects the eyes and lead to the gradual deterioration of the retina. These dogs usually become night blind and later on even become completely blind; but they can lead normal lives as long as their surroundings remain the same as before.
  • Hypothyroidism: is the disorder of the thyroid gland that can cause obesity.
  • Wobbler’s Syndrome: is an inherited disorder that affects the spinal cord and can cause paralyses of the legs and neck pain.
  • Cardiomyopathy: is the major cause of death in Dobies and it is the disease of the heart muscle which results in the widening of the heart chambers.
  • Albinism: is the genetic condition that makes a dog recognizable by white or pink skin.
  • Color Mutant Alopecia: is a condition that results in blue or fawn colors on the skin. It is incurable.
  • Narcolepsy: is a neurological disease that makes a dog fall in sleep suddenly.
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus: or a bloat that affects deep-chested dogs and it can result to death. It is usually a result of feeding your dog large meals and letting them drink huge amounts of water after eating.
Care Features

As we already noted, Dobie is best suited for large houses with big yards instead of small, cramped apartments. They need a lot of space because they are big dogs. That also means that they require regular, daily walks and exercises, both physical and mental. They should never be left alone for long periods of time or neglected. As with every dog, being bored and lonely can result in depression and self-destruction.

This dog also needs proper training and socialization. That means that you need to start teaching him obedience from an early age and let him meet and spend time around other dogs, people and perhaps even other animals. If they grow surrounded with normal and happy people, they will turn into well-mannered dogs who won’t become snappy or angry.

Feeding Schedule

As with other big dogs, it is recommended to give around 2.5 to 3.5 cups of high-quality dry food per one day and divide them into two meals – usually breakfast and lunch. However, according to your dog’s energy level and the intensity of exercises, you should give them more if he spends more energy or even less, if he is a coach potato. Any extremity should be avoided because each can lead to health problems.

Make sure to always buy food of high quality and include vitamins, vegetables and proteins.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The Dobermans are known for their sleek, smooth and short coat. They have a think undercoat, but only around the neck. Since it is short it does not require much grooming; however it sheds a lot so you will need to brush it from time to time, at least to keep it clean.

Some of the accepted colors are: black, fawn, blue, and red. There are rust markings above the eyes, then on the muzzle, chest, throat, legs and feet. Other necessary parts of care include regular teeth brushing, nail clipping and check-ups to make sure there are no injuries or infections on the body. Dobermans most famous physical traits are docked ears and tail which give them a more powerful and ferocious look. However, this practice has been banned in some countries.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility
        

The Dobermans are known for being wonderful and protective family dogs. They can be great around children, as long as they are socialized and trained properly, which applies to every dog breed.

Children should be taught to be careful and respectful of dogs as well; they should never try to snatch a dog’s food away or to try to harm him in any way because every dog will try to protect himself.  If a Doberman is raised with other animals and children from an early age, there will be no problems.

To sum up, we have covered the most important characterizes of a dog breed called the Doberman Pinscher or Dobie. You are now familiar with their physical traits, personality quirks and most importantly – their basic needs.

If you are an active person who has time for spending time outdoors and lives in a cozy and spacious house or an apartment – then this dog breed might be for you. The Doberman also need an owner who is strong-willed and patient because he can easily turn into an alpha dog and start controlling you instead of being controlled. Giving him proper love and meeting his needs will make not only him happy, but you as well.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Emily B.

    These dogs require a strong and strict master. Without training, they may stop respecting you and will start to show character.
    And better don’t get it if you have a small child.

    • Marco Medina

      Emily, about the children you are wrong. Their character is well balanced, strong. They can equally cope with both security operations and safe every day (home) role. For example, after a minor training, you can safely leave young children, who in turn consciously or unconsciously can apply different kinds of provocations to which the dog responds appropriately.

  • Having a Doberman Pinscher that was not trained at all is perhaps one of the most challenging chapters of being a pet parent. It will be hazardous to families with children as well. Aspiring pet parents should indeed understand that this dog breed can be great, but a lot of work needs to be done when it comes to obedience training and socialization.

  • However, Marco, before we come to the point of safely leaving children with a Doberman, considerable obedience training and socialization must be done.

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