Doberman Pinscher

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Is the Doberman Pinscher right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Doberman; Dobermann; Dobie; Dobe

The basics:
The Doberman Pinscher was first developed in the 1860s by Louis Dobermann, a German dog pound owner and tax collector who wanted an intelligent, powerful, and aggressive watch and guard dog. He probably succeeded beyond his wildest expectations. Over the years, the Doberman has been developed into one of the most popular breeds worldwide. Loyal, alert, trainable, and strong, this dog can be a rewarding companion in the hands of a responsible owner able to provide plenty of mental and physical exercise. They are often at their best when they have a job to do, be it search and rescue, police or military service, or competing in an agility competition. A bored, neglected Dobie, on the other hand, can be a problem animal or even an insurance liability. Know how much time you really have to spend working with this social breed before you select your puppy.

Appearance / health:
The Dobie is considered a medium sized dog. His head is long, with a bit of a wedge shape, and the top of his skull is flat and turns with a slight stop to the bridge of the muzzle; his eyes are almond-shaped, deep set, dark and animated; his ears are erect and are normally cropped; cheeks are flat; jaws are powerful; teeth meet in a scissors bite. His ears may be cropped or left natural, but his tail is generally docked. There is a distinct difference in look between males and females, with males appearing quite masculine and somewhat more square and rugged, while the females have a very feminine and somewhat more refined appearance.

Ear cropping and tail docking were once considered "absolutes" for the Dobie. Today, however, these practices are in question. Tail docking is now illegal in many countries, but not in the United States.

The Doberman requires minimal grooming. A weekly or twice-weekly brushing, or even a good rub-down with a moderately wet towel, is all they really need. The Dobie is an average shedder. When your Dobie does require a bath, it is recommended you use a mild shampoo designed especially for dogs and preferably one recommended by your Veterinarian. After bathing, the only drying needed is a towel drying. Keep an eye on their toenails and make sure they are regularly clipped. If you choose not to crop your Dobie’s ears, make sure they are very dry after bathing or swimming and check them frequently as they will be susceptible to the ordinary concerns of any dog with pendant, hound-like ears.

Dobermans have high energy and require high amounts of exercise to burn that energy. They are somewhat active indoors, but they need jogs, hikes, short bouts of running fast with you, or games such as fetch or Frisbee to keep them physically exercised and mentally stimulated. Setting up a small agility course in your yard and teaching your Dobie to run it will give him great enjoyment in addition to the physical and mental stimulation.

The Doberman Pinscher is known to be a generally healthy dog but the following health issues are those to which they are considered prone:

  • Dilated Cardiomyopaphy
  • Cervical Spondylitis (“Wobbler Sydrome”)
  • Von Willebrands disease
  • Bloat
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Thyroid Disorders
  • Eye Disorders
  • Albinism
  • Copper Toxicity
  • Middle-aged obesity
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Heart Disease

Behavior / temperament:
The Doberman Pinscher is protective and unafraid, but generally not vicious; they are loyal to their people and sensitive to the needs and wishes of their owners and they need to be around their owners as much as possible for optimum mental and emotional health.

Dobermans are a versatile and extremely intelligent dog that has an intense personality and remarkable stamina and strength. This is a breed that is very individual from dog to dog in their personality; some can try to dominate family members; some are extraordinarily submissive; some love every member of the family; and, some will bond with only one person.

Select your puppy with care, making sure he wasn’t bred for aggressiveness (referred to as “sharpness”). Avoid choosing a Doberman puppy that is timid as these often turn out to be the fear biters and shyness often turns to aggression. Imported lines are consistently more aggressive than American lines; this is a result of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America and its members working for many years to correct this genetic aggression. The Doberman is best suited for the experienced dog owner.

The Doberman Pinscher requires an owner who is willing and able to discipline him and who is not afraid of him; in fact, all members of the family should learn to handle the dog properly and without fear because Dobies can be pushy if they’re allowed to have their own way too much. The Doberman is instinctively protective and does not need additional defense training to be a great guard dog. In fact, it is essential that he be fully socialized to adults, children and other pets while still a puppy to prevent the development of over-protectiveness due to shyness. The Dobie must be consistently and thoroughly trained to be a good pet through positive reinforcement techniques. It is said that male Dobermans tend to be less stubborn and dominant than female Dobermans.

The Doberman Pinscher is rated high in learning rate, intelligence, creativity, and obedience. Dobermans do have a dominant personality and must be taught during puppyhood that you are the "alpha dog". Dobermans are assertive but they are not naturally aggressive. However, if your Dobie senses that you fear him or that you can’t show dominance over him, he will be quite happy to take on the role of the dominant one in your home. Dobies are full of energy and love an opportunity to run off all that energy. He should be thoroughly socialized at an early age so that he is comfortable around strangers of all kinds: adults, adolescents, children, infants, and other dogs and pets. Additional guard dog training is not needed; in fact, too much guard training can cause a Dobie to be aggressive or overly dominant.

By nature he is protective, but he is not prone to attacking unless he fully believes there to be cause. This is the natural temperament that you want to keep in your Dobie. There are owners who run into training issues because they are afraid of their Doberman. It is of the utmost importance that every member of the family learns to handle your Dobie with confidence, or you do run the risk that he will become dominant. If you spend time with your Doberman and take the time to train him appropriately, you'll find no better family dog.

Dobermans are prone to barking and can become nuisance barkers; however, those with barking issues are generally those that have been consigned to the backyard, have limited interaction with their people, and have become bored and overly protective of their space. This breed is social, and you need to respect that fact.


obedient companion, VELCRO dogs, great family dogs, sweet personality, undying loyalty, awesome dogs


temperment problems, separation anxiety, responsible breeder, health defects, ear infections


easy keepers, public misconception, tan doberman, Undeserved Bad Reputation

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