Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Posted December 8, 2014
This is the third Doberman that we have had as a family and I think that is an initial indicator of how much we love them.
The Doberman breed has a bad reputation based on its use as a guard dog in Nazi Germany. This has been reiterated throughout movies. The ears were often snipped to be pointed making them look more aggressive and they were trained to attack. This is a totally inaccurate and unfair representation of the breed. Of course it is possible for a Doberman to be aggressive but that is possible of any dog depending on the owners and how they behave towards it and encourage it to behave. In my experience Doberman dogs have the softest heart by nature and it is nurture that makes them aggressive.
As a puppy our Doberman ate many pairs of shoes as well as blankets and pillows that were in the room in which it was kept. This meant that until recently she has been sleeping in a (very big) cage at night so that she doesn’t destroy the house. We have had 2 other Dobermans in the past and this has been the case with them as well.
They are also very energetic dogs. This means they require a lot of exercise, our current Doberman is an avid fan of fetch and refuses to stop playing for hours on end. Having a garden or living in the countryside would be advisable. Being so energetic can be a challenge for training. Our Doberman also loves human affection and attention… constantly.
Don’t forget though that Dobermans are BIG. No matter how friendly your Doberman is it still has the ability to do damage. Despite this I would definitely describe a Doberman as a family dog. My 3-year-old niece nuzzles and cuddles my dog in adoration and the dog couldn’t care less. She is ecstatic to be getting so much attention. Of course, I would never recommend leaving a small child alone with such a big dog because accidents can happen, intentionally or unintentionally. She is also very strong so you must be prepared for this when walking her. We use a head halter to control her and find this very effective. Teaching her to heal was also a necessity.
The reason we got such a big dog was mainly as a guard dog. I live alone and having my very own Big Friendly Giant is a very comforting thought. She has a big bark but doesn't often use it, unless there is a cat or threat outside. Despite her soft demeanour to guests when they are invited into the house, she is very response to body language and can sense if I am uncomfortable and I have no doubt that she would protect me effectively (this thankfully hasn’t been put to the test). The tough appearance of the dog can be a disadvantage if you are trying to use public transport however, since people assume she will be aggressive even if she isn’t.
The main negative point I have about having a Doberman is that she has a very sensitive stomach. And this doesn’t work well with her tendency to steal food from the kitchen counters. She is very sly and quick and has stolen more than her fair share of steaks, which usually result in an upset stomach and a big mess in her room the next morning.
Generally our Doberman has been healthy but we had the bad luck that she swallowed half a tennis ball and had to have an operation to have it removed... this actually happened 3 times! We were very lucky that she managed to pull through all of these operations and is now known at the vet as 'miracle dog'. It's important to note that because they have such strong teeth they can easily break toys and may swallow parts that could cause a problem like this.