Acquired: Breeder (hobby breeder)
Posted December 3, 2013
A lot of people see the Doberman as aggressive, slavering guard dogs. However, they are, as many breeds are, only so if trained so.
My first Doberman - and one of her pups - was welcomed to our home when I was no more than 5. As we grew up, we often would nap in the shade together and she would trot along with me wherever I went. Even when approached by strangers, she would just watch them carefully, without making any movement save her eyes.
After she passed, one of her male pups took up ownership of the back room of my grandfathers general store, being welcomed by all the regulars that would stop for coffee and gossip. To be fair, he wasn't much of a guard dog, but he made a hell of a mascot.
Dobermans are easy to groom with their short coats and lean bodies. They are very sociable and great with kids - at least in my views. They are very tolerant of younger children and their heavier petting as long as it isn't overly hard. I would advise limiting petting time from children younger than three, more to keep the dog from being annoyed and seeking to hide from the child.
Downsides, they are often seen as mean no matter what they are doing and many are ostracized for just being a Dobie. They tolerate baths, but will seek any chance to be done with the affair. They are also very protective of their litter, even against their owners.
Also to note, many owners will dock their tails and crop their ears, but this is for the image presented by the animal and has no bearing on their health. My dog had her ears and tail done, but I have seen some that have not, and they were just as energetic and friendly once they were familiar with me.
In short, if you want a dog that will be protective of your home and family, but not too aggressive for your younger children, a Doberman is not a bad choice, but try to get one from a trusted breeder or shelter, and be just as loving to them as they will be to you.