The Doberman Pinscher was created around 1890 by Louis Dobermann, a taxman from Apolda, Germany. Louis wanted to create a dog that could accompany him on his rounds collecting taxes to provide protection from the sometimes-hostile reception he received. The tax collector strove to breed an imposing and loyal protector using a combination of the German Pinscher, Rottweiler, and Black and Tan Terrier, among others. Dobermans have since excelled as police and military, search and rescue, therapy, and service dogs.
Originally recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908, today the Doberman Pinscher is ranked number 17 in popularity of the 193 AKC-recognized breeds and categorized in the Working Group.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DOBERMAN PINSCHER
What characteristics define the Doberman Pinscher? Read on to discover what physical attributes and personality traits make the Doberman Pinscher such a unique breed.
Doberman Pinschers are easily identified by their large, muscular body, wedge-shaped head, and short, sleek coat. Dobermans are bred to look imposing. This breed is characterized by a long muzzle, alert stance, and a square frame, sporting rust-colored markings above the eyes and on the muzzle, chest and lower legs.
Their large size, athletic movement, and coloration all contribute to their “don’t mess with me” attitude and formidable appearance. The American Kennel Club accepts several coat color variations: Black & rust, blue & rust, fawn & rust, and red & rust. Dobermans may also have a white coat, but this is not part of the breed standard. The smooth double coat is short and lies close to the skin.
Controversy occurs in the traditions of ear and tail docking, where portions of the ears and almost the entirety of the tail are surgically removed not long after birth. In some countries, these practices have been made illegal, while in some clubs, (like the AKC) this is still the breed standard.
Doberman Pinschers are built solid and imposing. Males weigh between 75 and 100 lbs and stand 26 to 28 inches high at the withers (top of the shoulder). Females are slightly smaller, weighing 60 to 90 lbs and standing 24 to 26 inches high.
Doberman Pinschers’ temperament is that of the ideal guard dog: loyal, fearless, and alert. Dobermans are hyper-intelligent and incredibly active. They are trustworthy and playful with family members, but aloof around strangers. Dobermans are not aggressive without reason but will not hesitate to protect their own should they perceive a threat.
Dobermans’ intelligence and physical strength mean they are a breed that should be kept busy, both physically and mentally.
Doberman Pinschers have a life expectancy of 10-12 years.
CARING FOR A DOBERMAN PINSCHER
Understanding and maintaining a Doberman Pinscher’s particular needs will lead to a longer, healthier life for your dog and a more enjoyable partnership for both dog and owner. Read on to learn more about the nutrition, exercise, training, and health requirements of a thriving Doberman Pinscher to ascertain whether this is the right breed for you.
Doberman Pinschers thrive on high-quality dog food specially formulated for large breeds with high energy levels. Whether commercial or manually prepared, diets should be appropriately tailored to an individual based on age (puppy, senior, etc) and activity level. Many dog foods have serving suggestions on their packaging, but monitoring food intake and body condition, as well as consulting with your veterinarian, are all simple ways to make sure your dog is receiving the nutrition he or she requires.
Doberman Pinschers require vast amounts of exercise and play so if you are not prepared for a high-energy animal then this is not the breed for you. Dobermans enjoy a long walk or jog with their people at least twice daily. In addition, a large fenced-in backyard where a Dobie can run and play is essential for their physical and mental well-being. Dobermans can participate in many canine competitions including obedience, tracking, and agility.
The Doberman Pinscher is an incredibly intelligent breed. They learn easily, respond quickly, and are eager to please, though their intelligence means they may get bored quickly too. Training should be kept fun and ever-changing to keep their interest.
Like all dogs, training and socialization during puppyhood are essential to a well-rounded pup. Dobermans have a tendency to remain in puppyhood for longer than the average breed, approximately 3 years. Puppy classes are a great way to start training and socializing a new puppy early on. At a minimum, your Doberman Pinscher should learn basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come. Training a Dobie works best with a focus on positive reinforcement. Consistent training and patience are key to successfully raising a well-behaved Doberman.
Due to their strong familial ties, Doberman Pinschers left alone for long periods of time can resort to undesirable and destructive behaviors. Some of these behaviors can be mitigated by providing access to puzzles and interactive toys. Dobermans are family dogs and should never be left to live in the yard or chained but rather inside a home.
Doberman Pinschers are generally healthy but may be prone to bloat, hip dysplasia, dilated cardiomyopathy, von Willebrand’s disease, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
Bloat is a common though life-threatening occurrence in most large, deep-chested dog breeds like the Doberman. Know the symptoms and causes of bloat to identify the problem and quickly seek medical attention.
Hip dysplasia is an inherited joint condition that may be assisted with the use of joint supplements. The easiest way to diagnose the problem is via a visit to the vet and x-rays.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that leads to an enlarged heart. This disease may result in heart failure. Treatments include oxygen, fluid therapy, and medication to improve heart function.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is a family of eye diseases that involve gradual deterioration of the retina. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited vision.
Von Willebrand’s disease is an inherited clotting disorder. This disorder leads to excessive bleeding from wounds, nosebleeds, and bleeding from the gums. There is no cure, but the treatment involves blood transfusions from normal dogs and those suffering from this disease may live a relatively normal life.
This breed’s sleek, short coat requires minimal grooming. Dobermans do shed, so weekly brushing with a grooming mitt or curry comb is recommended. Frequent bathing is unnecessary and dog odor is minimal.
Dobermans ears should be gently cleaned every few days, checking for redness or odors.
Other breeds similar to the Doberman Pinscher include: