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The FCI lists the Doberman in standard no. 143 in Group 2 of the Pinschers and Schnauzers, Molossoids, and Swiss Mountain Dogs. There he belongs in Section 1.1 to the Pinschers and Schnauzers.

Doberman Pinscher Dog Breed Information

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Size: 63-72cm
Weight: Males: 40-45 kg, females: 32-35 kg
FCI Group: 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molosser – Swiss Mountain Dogs and other breeds
Section: 1: Pinscher and Schnauzer
Country of origin: Germany
Colours: fawn, black, red, blue, white, black-dark brown
Life expectancy: 10-14 years
Suitable as: guard, protection and companion dog (family dog if there is expertise)
Sports: agility, obedience
Personality: Intelligent, Alert, Obedient, Loyal, Energetic, Fearless
Outlet Needs: Medium
Drooling potential: rather high
Thickness of hair: rather high
Maintenance effort: low
Coat structure: short, hard, dense
Child friendly: medium
Family dog: yes
Social: no

Origin and breed history

Strictly speaking, the Doberman is a Saxon. Breeding of the breed came from the Saxon town of Apolda. Friedrich Louis Dobermann, who gave her name to her, lived here in the 19th century. He wanted a large, strong and lean dog with versatile qualities. Therefore, he initially mated his mixed-breed bitch with a traditional butcher’s dog, the forerunner of today’s Rottweiler. In the later generations he mixed in pinschers and hounds. A final cross with a greyhound created the Doberman’s elegant, lean build.

Due to its fearlessness and versatility, the Doberman pinscher was used as a police dog from an early age. He was officially recognized as such in the early 1920s. This earned him the nickname Gendarmenhund. The courageous animals were also used in the world wars as medical and reporting dogs and for mine detection.

In addition, similar to German Shepherds and Airedale Terriers, they served as guard dogs in concentration camps. The FCI officially recognized the breed in 1955. Today, the dog breed is often used as a working dog. This can be used by the police, customs or as a guide dog for the blind.

Is a Doberman a list dog?

In Germany, the Doberman is a listed dog in the state of Brandenburg. In Switzerland, it is completely banned in the canton of Valais and listed as a dangerous dog in nine other cantons.

Nature & temperament of the Doberman

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The reputation of a fearless dog with a certain basic aggressiveness precedes the Doberman. In the state of Brandenburg, the Doberman is therefore listed as a dangerous dog. In Switzerland, the breed is generally considered dangerous. Breeding, keeping and importing are prohibited in the canton of Valais. Nine other cantons also have the Dobermann as a list dog.

Due to the variety of dog breeds in his lineage, some aggressive animals are among his ancestors. With the original attitude and character as a guard and protection dog, the Dobermann retained this characteristic for a long time.

Breeders are now placing increasing value on a cautious and courageous, but friendly and harmless character. Anyone who buys a puppy from a responsible breeder today will receive an animal that is by no means aggressive. However, if the attitude is wrong, this original quality can reappear.

As with only a few breeds, breeders of the Doberman have different breeding goals. Some breeders focus on the typical characteristics of a guard and protection dog. They retain characteristics such as medium sharpness and threshold for use as police and military dogs, as well as vigilant guard dogs.

Other breeders make sure that only parents with friendly and well-balanced temperaments are mated. Her work is aimed at creating peaceful and child-loving family dogs. Before buying, interested parties should therefore first inquire about the explicit goals of a breeder.

The Doberman is basically:

  • faithful
  • clingy
  • friendly
  • cuddly
  • brave
  • confident
  • fearless
  • open minded
  • curious
  • willing to work
  • alert
  • sensitive
  • perceptive
  • spirited
  • intelligent

Other characteristics that characterize a Dobermann are his good comprehension, a high level of commitment and medium sharpness and threshold. While the dog is affectionate and peaceful in the family, it is initially suspicious of strangers. Depending on his individual characteristics, he can clearly show this distrust with erect fur and bared teeth. However, this does not mean that a Doberman pinscher will attack people or other animals for no reason. However, the dog consistently defends its pack, its family and its territory.

Some Dobermans have strong hunting instincts, while others exhibit herding traits. The behavior of the animals can be very ambivalent, so that every Doberman is an individual in a certain way.

How much does a Doberman cost?

At a reputable breeder, Doberman puppies cost between $1,000 and $1,300.

The appearance of the Doberman

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The Doberman is characterized by an elegant and distinctly muscular physique. He appears almost square and shows an overall proud posture. The back slopes slightly towards the croup and tail. Since the tail, which is set high, may no longer be docked, it reaches to the heels. The tip of the rod is turned slightly outwards in a relaxed position.

The physique corresponds to the head of the dog. He is slim and powerfully formed. His medium-sized eyes are oval in shape and deep brown in color. Thanks to the docking ban, medium-length floppy ears frame the face. The muzzle is strong and surrounded by close-fitting lips. The end is a pronounced nose in the color of the fur, black or brown.

The Doberman has a short, shiny, and close-lying coat. The fur of most animals is black with clear rust-red markings. These are located:

  • above the eyes
  • in the catch area
  • on the inside of the barrels
  • on the paws
  • on the chest
  • at the throat
  • in the seat hump area

Rarer are Dobermans with dark brown fur. The coat color is also broken up by rust-red markings.

The dogs move energetically but elegantly and have straight and powerful legs. Males reach a height at the withers of 68-72 cm, while females only grow between 63-68 cm. The adult dogs weigh 35-45 kg, depending on size and gender.

How big is a Doberman?

Bitches grow up to 68 centimeters, males up to 72 centimeters.

Upbringing and keeping of the Doberman – this is important to note

The Doberman is a rather large and very active dog. Keeping him requires sufficient space and exercise. A house with a garden in a rural setting suits his temperament. Like most dogs, Dobermans don’t like to be alone. They feel comfortable in families where there is always one person by their side. If the dog is left alone often and for long periods of time or has to live outside in a kennel, it can show aggressive behavior. So the place for his basket is in the house and in the middle of the family.

Dobermans are fond of children and like to romp around. Due to their weight and size, the children in the family should be a bit older. Small children should not be left unsupervised with the dog. They do not have the necessary empathy when dealing with the animal and can possibly cause it pain. The dog’s reaction to this is difficult to predict.

A Doberman is not a dog for beginners in dog ownership. He needs a consistently consistent education and clear boundaries. If its owners don’t pay attention to observing the limits, the intelligent and extremely trainable animal will quickly show its own self-confidence. He then decides for himself what is right or wrong.

The Doberman has an innate protective instinct. It is therefore important to limit this in education. Otherwise, the dog can develop into a sharp and aggressive animal. The same happens when the upbringing lacks the necessary empathy. Despite all the consistency, Dobermans need a loving method of upbringing. This includes praise and reward when the dog exhibits the desired behavior. Punishments and loud insults are out of place if he fails to do so. A firm tone without increased volume is enough to criticize his misconduct.

Because the Doberman is a very sensitive dog, he is quick to respond to and mirror his owner’s behavior. If he behaves nervously and insecurely in the role of the pack leader, this is passed on to the dog. It is therefore all the more important that the caregiver acts confidently and calmly. In this way, she makes it clear to the animal that it can feel safe and be guided.

As hard-working animals, Dobermans need a job to keep them physically and mentally busy. Walks lasting several hours are part of the daily program for dog and owner. It’s not enough to walk alongside the dog. Rather, it makes sense to always include small games and tasks in the walk. An ideal supplement is the active execution of a dog sport.

The Doberman’s acclimatization to his environment and socialization begins with the breeder. Both should be continued after moving into the new home in a puppy school. Here the dog gets the necessary contact to other dogs of the same age and gains its first experiences. Later in the dog school, the dog and its owner learn how to properly interact with each other and with other people and animals

Can the Doberman pinscher live with cats and other small animals?

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If you get used to it early on, living with other animals is usually not a problem.

Diet of the Doberman Pinscher

As an active and powerful dog, the Doberman needs a nutritious and high-quality feed. He eats dry and wet food. The dogs can also be fed very well with raw meat in the sense of the BARF. Supplemented with vitamins, this form of feeding offers the optimally large proportion of meat. A varied diet with fresh, cooked meat and dry food as well as a few vegetables is also healthy for dogs.

Dog biscuits with a high meat content such as tripe bread are suitable as a snack. Rawhide jerky and chews are among the favorite treats of most dogs. The following foods are poisonous to the Doberman and sometimes even poisonous:

  • Chocolate and foods containing cocoa
  • raw pork
  • pork bone
  • cooked bones in general
  • tomatoes
  • eggplants
  • raw legumes
  • raw potatoes

These ingredients are especially important to watch out for when the Dobermans get leftovers or are fed from the table. Bones should only be given to dogs in small amounts as they cause constipation. In addition, sharp-edged splinters can injure the dog.

The Doberman has a relaxed relationship to the amount of food and therefore does not tend to be overweight. The daily feed ration should be divided into two meals. After eating, dogs need a quiet period to avoid the risk of stomach torsion that all large dogs have.

Health – life expectancy & common diseases

The average life expectancy of a Doberman is between 10 and 13 years. It depends on the optimal husbandry conditions and good nutrition.

Unfortunately, the breed is prone to various diseases, some of which are serious. These include:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM, enlargement of the heart, myocardial insufficiency)
  • Pulmonary stenosis (narrowing of the pulmonary artery)
  • Skin conditions such as folliculitis
  • zinc deficiency
  • hip dysplasia
  • elbow dysplasia
  • Blue Doberman Syndrome (alopecia, skin disease)
  • Wobbler Syndrome (spine disease)
  • von Willebrand disease (blood clotting disorder)
  • Congenital vestibular syndrome (inner ear disease)
  • Dancing Doberman Disease (neurological disorder)
  • hypothyroidism

DCM in particular is widespread in the Doberman. Heart disease is attributed to genetic causes. When the heart muscles relax, the heart beats weaker and is prone to cardiac arrhythmia. The disease usually occurs without recognizable symptoms and leads to death within a short time.

Blue Doberman Syndrome only occurs in dogs with a grey-blue coat. This coat color is the result of special breeding, which is forbidden in Germany as torture breeding. Symptoms include atrophy of the hair follicles and subsequent severe hair loss, cracked and dry skin, eczema and inflammation.

Dancing Doberman Disease is a rare condition that only affects Dobermans and Pinschers. The neurological disease initially weakens the hindquarters and later leads to signs of paralysis. The dog develops a dancing gait, which gives the disease its name.

Another often congenital disease is pulmonary stenosis, a narrowing of the pulmonary artery. The heart increases pumping capacity to compensate for the reduced blood flow. As a result, the right ventricle expands and the Dobermann can suffer from poor performance and cardiac arrhythmia. Treatment of pulmonary stenosis can be done through surgery, but it is much more important that the dog’s diet is adjusted. This relieves the metabolism and the heart can work better.

The Doberman’s coat has no undercoat. Dogs freeze easily when it is wet and cold and do not like to leave the house. You should therefore wear a coat in winter.

Caring for the Doberman

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The Doberman’s short, smooth coat requires little grooming, especially as it has no undercoat. Brushing the dog two or three times a week is enough. Dirt and plant debris are removed from the fur. In addition, dead hair comes off, so that the Doberman generally only sheds a little. The claws require attention if the dog rarely walks on asphalt or paved surfaces. They then wear out less and occasionally have to be cut back. The claws should not protrude beyond the pads.

Doberman pinscher activities and training

The agile Doberman needs a lot of movement. Hikes lasting several hours and several walks a day help to keep the dog busy and promote a balanced personality. The strong dogs are also suitable for running next to the bike. In order to challenge the animal mentally, it makes sense to play tracking games, fetch games or small hide-and-seek games during the walks. After a subsequent break, you can continue at home with intelligence games. This is how a Doberman loves his daily routine.

Dog sports are also available to keep you busy. Dobermans enjoy the following sports:

  • agility
  • obedience
  • dog dancing
  • tournament dog sport
  • companion dog sport
  • dog biathlon
  • tracking
  • mantrailing
  • mobility
  • rally obedience

All sports demand the dog physically and mentally. In this way, they contribute to its optimal utilization.

Good to know: Peculiarities of the Doberman

Dobermans have played an important role in many films. The “boys” Zeus and Apollo were regulars in the crime series “Magnum”. The Dobermans Laurel and Hardy played a rather inglorious role in the episode “Murder by Telephone” of the crime series “Columbo”. In the film The Doberman Gang, six trained Dobermans assist a bank robber. In the film, the voracious film cat Garfield declares the Doberman Luca his enemy.

The Doberman is the only German dog breed named after its founder.

Disadvantages of the Doberman

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The disadvantages of the breed consist on the one hand in its breeding-related high susceptibility to disease and in the breed problem. Due to its limited stimulus threshold and the pronounced protective instinct, good training is urgently needed. A poorly behaved Doberman can put its owner and other people in awkward situations.

How dangerous is the Doberman?

Although some governments classify the Doberman Pinscher as a dangerous dog, the breed is not inherently dangerous. If the dog is kept and trained incorrectly, the dog’s natural sharpness can come to the fore. This can make a Doberman dangerous.

Is the Doberman right for me?

The Doberman feels comfortable in an active family. He actively protects small children. With older children he rages full of joy. In order to satisfy his high urge to move, the Doberman needs very active people.

Its owners need to provide exercise for several hours a day. This involves a great deal of time. Dog-experienced people who want to live with a Doberman should consider all of these aspects before making the decision to own this breed.

For whom is a Doberman suitable?

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The breed is still common in police and military operations. Due to its versatile characteristics, the Dobermann is also suitable as a guide, rescue, or therapy dog. Depending on genetic preconditions and socialization, Dobermans are popular family dogs.