Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers

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Breed Notes

Louis Doberman of Germany developed a new breed of dog in the mid to late1800s. His goal, as a tax-collector and dog-catcher, was a service dog which would be protective, intelligent and agile. By crossing such breeds as the German Pinscher, Rottweiler, Weimaraner, English Greyhound and Manchester Terrier, he developed a dog with a distinctive coat color that was hardy, intelligent, strong, courageous, quick, with guard instincts and hunting ability . From Germany, the breed spread to other countries, including the United States by the 1930s. He has been used as a working dog by the military and the police, as well as guard work, search-and-rescue, and guides for the blind. He also excel in obedience training.
The Dobie is a highly trainable, intelligent dog. He is energetic, alert, loyal and fearless. His demeanor is one of nobility and pride. While being very affectionate, he needs to be well socialized with firm, though not harsh, control. He requires daily exercise.
The Doberman has a long, wedge-shaped head with powerful jaws . The eyes are almond-shaped, perferably dark brown, with a keen, alert expression. The bite is scissors. Missing teeth are a concern in this breed. His ears are set level with the top of his skull and naturally hang down along the neckline but, in the United States, are more often cropped to stand in an upright position. His body is compact and muscular but not heavily boned. His length should equal his height. His neck is well-arched and well muscled. His topline slopes slightly from withers to croup. His legs are straight and powerful. His feet are compact and cat-like with well-arched toes. He moves with a free, balanced, vigorous stride and should tend toward single tracking. The tail is docked at the second joint. The coat is short, smooth, hard and lies close to the body. Coat color may be black, red, fawn or more rarely blue, all with tan markings on the muzzle, throat, chest, legs and below the tail. The Doberman stands between 24 and 28 inches and weights between 65 and 85 pounds. of Ohio writes:

The best breed I have owned.
Without a doubt, the best of all the breeds I have owned in the past. I fallen head over heels for my Dobe. My eight-month old female is by far the most fun loving, affectionate dog that I have had. She is very protective, and also very accepting of other animals, including a cat that lives with me. Your dog is what you make of him or her. of Lusby, MD writes:

Most loyal, dedicated, and loving working breed dog.
There is so much information out there about dogs and how they are mean and aggressive. The reality, though, is it's never the dog's fault, it is the owners who ruin dogs by failing to properly train and control them. I can't even sit here and explain how much joy my Doberman has brought to my family, and that includes my five-year-old and my eight-year-old. He has always been gentle and loving to everyone, even the youngsters. My Dobe has brought more happiness to my life in the short year I have had him than any other dog I have ever had. I don't even have to explain the level of household protection he provides when I am not home, and for that matter when I am there. I'll just say this, I wouldn't want to be the idiot who breaks into my house at night, and further more God help him if he goes to my children's room. My Dobe is very protective of my kids. So to anyone who hates the breed, my house is proof that a dog and its attitude is what the owner makes of him. If you don't train and provide leadership for the dog he will provide it for you. Obviously these are the dogs given up to shelters by owners who blame the dog. A properly trained dog will provide years of enjoyment for the whole family. I recommend the Doberman to any responsible owner willing to put time and in some cases, money into proper training and heath care, not for the couch potato who just wants a dog to sit and watch him whittle wood on the porch. Best of luck, and remember these three words for your Dobe: training, love, and loyalty.

Name withheld by request of Canada writes:

Simply the best dog on the planet.
Without a doubt the kindest and smartest dogs I have ever seen. They have changed my live like nothing you could ever imagine. Highly recommended! They are prone to many health problems, so good quality food and pet insurance is recommended. of Boston, MA writes:

Man's true friend.
Words cannot express the respect and love I have for Dobes. They are fiercely loyal. They will protect your life by putting their life in danger. of Charlotte, NC writes:

Doberman lover for life!
I have a five-month-old male Doberman and I am so pleased with him. I will never own a different breed of dog for as long as I live. He is a major handful, but he is in his first few months of training and doing very well. These dogs are not for lazy people. He will make you play, he will make you take him for a walk or a ride in the car. He always wants your attention, but is happy to sit on your lap (on the couch, of course). of Michigan writes:

Dobermans are what you make them!
The Doberman Pinscher is what you make it. A responsible owner makes or breaks the breed. A vicious dog should never be allowed to live. Dobermans can be vicious. A person who knows nothing about the breed can cause the Doberman to have a bad reputation by not teaching proper dog etiquette. I had a Doberman put down because she was not raised properly. The person I bought her from kept the dog in a kennel when she left on trips. She was gone a lot. Then when she came home she would be rough with the dog. Thus making the dog neurotic. I knew it was a matter of time and she would bite a person. I cried. The dogs I have now have always been with the family and are very social dogs.

Name withheld by request of New Jersey writes:

The best dogs possible.
I have had four Dobermans in my lifetime and each has been very special in their own way. They are the most intelligent, loving and sweet creatures I have ever known. I have adopted three of the four from a Dobe rescue. There is something very heartwarming about the adoptees. They love you more than you can imagine! They bond so quickly. I adore these dogs. They are fabulous pets, guardians and family members. They are easily taught, always want to please and are only neurotic if the owner is. Dobes are funny, eager to join in the family fun and serve as great protectors. I had a Dobe chase off a derelict in a park. He "herded" the aggressor and kept him away from me. Living alone in LA was never a problem. I could always count on my Dobe for protection. Love 'em and they will love you more!

Name withheld by request of Pecos, NM writes on 5/3/01:

A very misunderstood breed!
When I worked as a vet's assistant, I discovered that the Doberman's reputation was very much misunderstood. They were very calm and extremely easy to work with. My belief is that there are no bad dogs ... there are just bad owners. An abandoned Doberman came to live with us. She is the world's sweetest and most loving dog. We have a couple of small terriers and they just run all over her! She actually grins at me when I get up in the morning! She is literally a velcro dog and is lying at my feet at this moment. I agree totally about a fenced yard! Sasha has never gone to the bathroom in the house and never destroyed anything. We are very lucky to have her as a member of our family. of Pueblo, CO writes on 3/11/01:

A wonderful breed, but do your research.
We grew up with a Doberman. My father was working nights, and my mother felt she needed more protection than our loving beagle could provide. She did her research on bloodlines and dispositions, and finally found a litter raised in a home which also had children. It was the best decision she could have made. My mother made VERY sure we respected our Dobe's space. This is not a breed you can tease or abuse without penalty. They deserve respect. A friend had one who was basically timid, she would just stand and bark. A stranger was trying to catch her, and when she was cornered, she bit. As a harsh word from my mother would crush our Dobe's feelings, she was easily trained. She ran circles around our friend's lab who was the same age. She patrolled the borderline of our property, and provided my dad with hours of entertainment. The only "fault" I could find with her was that she was extremely jealous if we were paying attention to another pet. She would shove her way between, and insist that we pay attention to HER. She stood on guard until company sat down, then she became a pest for attention. An elegant, loving dog. of Davisburg, MI writes on 2/10/01:

Great family companion.
The Doberman Pinscher can be a clown when you need a laugh. They are very strong animals and need early training and sociallization to become a wonderful family pet. The breed is very sensitive to your moods. Their feelings get hurt with a harsh word. They retain their clownish behavior as adults. Almost human. Very loyal, good memory. of Cashton, WI writes on 12/2/00:

Delightful to be owned by - a true "velcro" dog.
I am once again proudly "owned" by a 9 month old red male Doberman pup. He is the second Dobe I've had the distinct pleasure of losing my heart ... and oft times my mind over! These pals are NOT for the shy, meek or faint-hearted, they NEED a LOT of consistant excercise - so you couch potatoes, get a kitty! Seriously, these dogs are such jokers, facially animated and always always in your face - between your feet and stuck in ones heart. Early heavy socialization is a must...a "BARF" or natural diet is essential and a lite touch helps. These are elegant beauties who thrive on kindness and affection - always returning the favor. of Johnstown, OH writes on 11/6/00:

Intelligent, obedient, and responsibe - but too needy and neurotic.
We've had our female dobie since she was a tiny pup. She is now three years old, and we have very mixed feelings about her. On the plus side, she was housebroken with ease, is extremely loving, obedient, and good with other animals and kids. We can often have her off-lead and have nearly perfect voice control of her. On the minus side, she is way too needy. She whines continually for attention, and is very restless indoors unless she gets it. She is a pushy dog- an "in your face" dog, which sometimes is amusing, sometimes annoying. She has several health problems - if you want a good Dobie, do your homework and don't buy from backyard breeders, like we did. Ours has Von Willebrand's disease, a blood clotting disorder. Make sure to ask if the parents have been tested, and move on if they don't know what you're talking about. She also has urinary incontinence, usually when she's asleep, but anytime her bladder is very full. She also chews on her tail until it bleeds- I guess another neurotic manifestation. We love her, but she is very hard to live with. Only buy from breeders who know what they're doing, and make sure the parents have sound temperments. Ours is not agressive at all - quite different from the stereotype - but she does insist on being top dog in the household. of U.S. writes on 10/10/00:

Intelligence combined with snuggles.
I can honestly say that I am alive today because of the loyalty and understanding of my moods that my Doberman has given. She watches over me, and communicates with me on a level that is comprehendable. She is able to make choices when given one. When training I have never had to show her anything more than once before she picked it up and remembered. When I got her I promised I would always be with her, and through my deepest hours of depression she guarded me. Now that I've been well for several years, I watch over her in her declining years.
Dobes are like cats, they shed very little and they groom themselves well. She hasn't had an "accident" in the house since she was 12 weeks old and she's still housebroken today. I would add that this breed is not for someone with a quick temper and a fast hand. Dob's are so cuddly, funny and affectionate but they will not tolerate abuse of any kind. No swatting with a rolled-up newspaper. Read the good training books and be consistent and patient. Show humor, and set a schedule for dog walks and play.
Because the breed is so often mis-understood don't let your Doberman run loose. Keep it in a fenced yard or always on a leash. Also, unfortunately, many insurance carriers will not issued renters or home owners insurance with a Doberman on the property. Proper training and a certificate of completion in an obedience course can often overcome these objections. The bad few spoil it for the majority of responsible owners.

Name withheld by request of Claremont, CA writes on 10/4/00:

A wonderful pet and a most industrious worker.
I presently own my second Doberman. When I purchased my first Doberman I was admittedly afraid of these dogs. "After all", I thought, "I have always seen them portrayed as vicious and predatory in the movies." Well, I am here to tell you not to believe everything you see in the movies as they are purposely hyped to entertain the viewer. I have found that this breed is exceptionally gifted in many ways. Both my dogs have shown me an intensive loyalty, innate inquisitiveness, incurable playfulness, protection from strangers and a whole lot of affection. Although they were both females I know people who have males and they heartily agree with me on their enduring qualities.
There is one thing you must know though ... be prepared to offer your Doberman the chance for plenty of exercise as they belong to the working group of dogs. They not only need action in their daily lives but will often show you how much by chewing and tearing up your possessions when they are bored. The Doberman thinks he is a member of the family and no matter how you may try to distance yourselves from this fact it will be an "everpresent" one. Also, since the Doberman is a fairly large dog it is imperative that you train you pup in obedience and always make sure he knows that YOU are the alpha dog. With plenty of love and care you will find this breed to be one of the best you have ever owned. If you want a most loving and fiercly loyal dog who will love you forever and always want to play then get a Doberman. They are terrific dogs!

Name withheld by request of Pennsylvania writes on 4/11/00:

None but a Dobe for my family.
We have two small children and people often freak out when I say that we're looking for a Doberman puppy. "Why in the world would you put your children at risk when there are so many other dogs to choose from?" a co-worker just asked yesterday. We had a georgous female Doberman that we had to put to sleep because of an inoperable breast tumor in December. She was a great friend and companion to my husband and I for five years before we had children; we got her primarily to force us to stay active and keep in shape. Her true colors as a companion did not blossom until the birth of our first daughter when she became extremely sensitive and unbelievably protective. She would follow our baby around as she learned to walk and got as many licks in as was allowed (much to the chagrin of my mother-in-law). When our second daughter arrived she seemed to know that her babysitting duties were starting all over again. She never blinked an eye during the fours years of being poked, pulled, climbed on and yes, even chewed on by our kids. She would sleep in the doorway of their bedroom during naptime and served as a pillow in front of the T.V. We miss the security we felt leaving her in the front yard with them if we needed to run into the house for a minute. Our 4-year old still includes her in her bedtime prayers. We are looking for another Doberman puppy so that our kids can grow up with a gentle friend that can scare away the "bad guys". We would not hesitate for a minute to encourage people with small children to choose a Doberman over some of the traditional "kid friendly" breeds. Ours was an extremely intelligent, loyal, gentle 95 pound lap dog and we hope to find another. of Ohio writes on 4/1/00:

The perfect pet and home security all-in-one.
I have owned three Doberman Pinchers. Aside from there destructive behaviour in the first 18 months, they are what you train them to be as with any breed of dog. They have the nickname to be a velcro dog and that definately stand true. The Doberman Pincher is loving, as well as protective and good with all children. My 8 year old son and his friends run and play with our Dobermans and have never had a problem with them biting or attacking people. I just wanted to let it be known stereotypes should be given to the people who raise dogs with bad reputations, not the breed of the dog. A Doberman is a good family dog to have, love and raise. of Golden CO writes on 3/21/00:

Not for the sedentary, but extremely loving and loyal.
I got my Dobie as a pup from a guy that was going to kill her for her diaper eating habits. I took her home with me with full intentions of finding a good home for her elsewhere. By the second night she was sleeping in the same bed with me. I spent a few weeks as her "personal" trainer and have never seen, much less owned, a more well behaved or more loyal dog. She was a natural at being a guard dog, always alert, and went everywhere with me until a job change finally made me leave her at home while I was at work. She needed, and got lots of exercise, running up to thirty or forty miles a day. For that reason, I would never crop their ears, as that is their main radiator and a Doberman with cropped ears has only a fraction of the stamina of their true potential. She turned out to be an excellent pointer as well. I used her as a gun dog hunting rabbits, and she excelled at it. Very smart dogs with great potential. My Sheila was still trying to be a good dog when she died of nasal cancer at 141/2.

Name withheld by request of Flagstaff, AZ writes on 2/29/00:

Affectionate, loyal, intelligent.
I would describe the Dobie as a very bright loyal dog that tends to grow very close to their owner. My current Dobie is a "chocolate" and tan female. She is very comical, always doing funny things to make me laugh. She follows me around every where, like a little shadow. Dobermans are not the type of dog to try and escape or wander (though they do need a fenced yard), although usually they can't resist chasing a fast critter such as a rabbit or squirrel, my dog included, so you have to be careful of that. Otherwise the Doberman tends to get along splendidly with other animals, mine shares a home with a Sheltie, German Shepherd and 11 horses and a Llama. She is protective in the sense that if someone she doesn't know comes up to our yard, she will bark, and she also barks at strange sounds. Usually though, when we are at someplace like a park and someone approaches us, she is aloof but sweet as well. She is also doing very well with her training. She is one of the fastest dogs that I have ever housebroke, and since she has learned, she has never had an "accident" in the house. She also knows her basic obedience (sit, down, etc.) as well as tricks such as "give me five" and catching a biscuit in her mouth. Also, something that she taught herself was that when she wants to play, she gets one of her stuffed animals and drops it in front of me, she also drops it when I throw it and she brings it back. Though she doesn't like to play with balls or sticks as much, she loves to play with her stuffed animals, which she handles very gently. She is normally calm indoors and likes to curl up on the couch with me while I watch t.v., however Dobies do need a lot of daily exercise as well. Mine goes hiking with me every day and also has acerage to stretch her legs and run on. Dobies tend to shed very little and are a cinch to groom. I would reccomend this breed to someone who is looking for a devoted, intelligent companion and who is willing to provide their dog with enough exersize to keep hem happy. of Perth, Australia writes on 2/12/00:

Best of breeds.
i have an adult male Doberman, a purebred dog with papers the length of your arm, but that is not what I love about him. He is a real character. He is a cheeky so and so, who likes to move anything not nailed down outside. And when I have stern words with him about it, he just sits there and grins at me as if to say "Me? What did I do? I'm as innocent as the day I was born" then he sticks his head under my arm and demands that I give him a love. I work nights so the best time for me to walk him and my other dog is in the early hours of the morning. Being a Dobe, he loves to run and run and run and to keep on running, but when he hears someone he comes straight back to me walks at heel until the person is gone. He is very protective of me and of my other dog, and he stands a good watch on our home too. He is obedient, loyal and he makes me laugh, but he doesn't like the beach. It's funny - he loves going in the river but will not go in the sea. He is always alert, sudden movement and sharp noises make him stand to but he watches and listens before going further. I don't have children - well actually I do - it's just that mine stand on 4 legs and are covered in hair. of Florida writes on 1/27/00:

A wonderful friend and confidant.
I love the Doberman not just because as a child my family owned them, but that they are my best friends. Loyal, fun-loving, energetic, and a true confidant, they will give up their lives for you. (I know mine would). I found that even when I was unable to own a Dobe, no other breed would do. I love them so much - and want to preserve the breed so future generations will know what a true Doberman is. of Waynesville, GA writes on 10/10/99:

The Doberman is a highly intelligent and loyal breed
I have had Dobes for over 26 years. I find them to be very intelligent, and loyal companions. They are a relatively clean animal , and if fed a quality diet they have little to no doggie odor and shedding is at a minimum. Despite some bad publicity, Dobermans are a very affectionate and loving breed. The Doberman is very intelligent so it does need firm kindness and some basic training to be a good citizen you will be proud to take anywhere. Properly bred they have an excellent temperment and good health. As in all breeds, there are a few genetic disorders which affect the Doberman. It is important to find a breeder who does the pertinent health screening and breeding for longevity as well as adhering to the breed standard. This will help to insure you have a Dobercompanion which be healthy both mentally and physically and will be a pleasure for years to come. of high in the Colorado mountains writes on 10/10/99:

Finest companion there is!
Have lilved with four Dobies over 25 years and taken them wherever I go and work. Faithful, extremely loving and have taken care of my family, child, burros, mules, and cats. of Sugarland, TX writes on 9/23/01:

Loyal and entertaining companions.
I just lost my "best friend" of 4 1/2 years, who was a beautiful fawn Dobe who served as my buddy and my shadow. I was first turned on to Dobes by a friend who's dog sired him when she heard that I was in the market for a Weimerainer. I was attracted to the looks of the "grey ghost" until I saw her "fawn ghost". I was sold at first sight.
These dogs are so beautiful, intelligent, loyal, and sensitive. I taught Jones how to sit and shake hands during a single commercial break of a football game. 5 minutes and he never forgot either trick. It is true that you must spend the time to train and exercise dobes or they will certainly take the time to train you. These dogs are only for active people that like the outdoors and long walks/runs. They are so intelligent and will try and outsmart you every time. Jones served as the "man of the house" and took my place when I traveled for business and kept my wife and kids safe. My wife never worried with him around. Our two kids were born after we already had Jones for three years and they could do almost anything to him (sit on him, pull his ears, etc) and he would NEVER harm them. He would simply "excuse himself" and find a quiet place where he could watch them from a distance.
If not for a freak incident that affects large dogs where he drank a lot of water and ran around until his stomached literally "twisted" and cut off the circulation to his lower body ultimately causing cardiac arrest; he would certainly be here serving as my prince still today. I miss him dearly. But, I am a Dobe owner for life and , once our three month old is old enough to walk/run, I will find another hopefully just like my first Dobe to run and hang out with. I wouldn't own another type of dog than a Doberman.

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