Breed Type

Working/Utility (depending on National Kennel Clubs) 

History

The Dobermann was developed in Germany in the 1860's from German Pinschers (ancestor of the Rottweiler and Weimeraner), Greyhounds and the German Shepherd of the time (now extinct). The breed is more commonly now referred to as the Dobermann. It is totally unrelated to the Miniature Pinscher. The Dobermann was developed to display - fast reactions, power, intelligence, courage, loyalty and physical and mental soundness. The first Dobermanns were aggressive, fearless dogs who were very distrustful of strangers. With further refinement the breed has become the more balanced Dobermann that we know today. 

Description

The Dobermann is a medium to large sized dog - powerful, muscular and elegant. It has a wedge shaped head with a muscular neck and a well-proportioned chest. The teeth should close in a tight scissor bite with the lips close fitting around the mouth. The slim but muscular legs are perfectly straight and the gait is smooth and powerful. In some countries (for example, the United States), the ears are surgically cropped at about 12 weeks of age and must then be taped for a few months to ensure they become erect. It is believed a cropped ear enhances the appearance of the breed.

In many countries the ears are left in their natural shape which is a soft hound like shape. England has now banned the cropping of ears and many other countries are following suit. Like ear cropping, tail docking also varies between countries. If the tail is docked this is done between 3- 5 days of age and cut to the first or second joint. The tail should appear to be a continuation of the spine. If left in its natural state, the Dobermann has a long elegant tail, again like a hound (with close-fitting hair).

The most common color found in the breed is black with tan or rust markings. However reddish brown, bluish gray/steel blue and a rare light fawn color may also be found in the breed. There has been an albino Dobermann bred, but like all albino animals they face an increased risk of cancer and other diseases and most countries either discourage or have made their breeding illegal.

Size

HEIGHT - a male Dobermannn should stand 26.5 to 28 inches (68 to 72 cm) , A bitch should stand 24.5 inches to 27 inches (63 to 68 cm)
WEIGHT - males weigh between 89 to 100 pounds (40 to 45 kg). and females between 71 to 78 pounds (32 to 35 kg).
Despite the breed standards, the general size of Dobermann's can vary dramatically. Many breeders now breed and show a more slender looking dog which is popular as a family dog.

Coat

The coat is short, tightly fitted to its body and easy to care for.  

Temperament

Today's Dobermann is extremely intelligent, loyal and is one of America's ten most popular breeds. It is still used as a protection dog by the police and the military. With training the Dobermann will exhibit fearless aggression and will attack human aggressors on command or when it feels threatened. However this quality has been encouraged and trained in these individuals. Dobermanns as a breed are not mindlessly vicious or aggressive dogs. The Dobermann is generally a dominant breed and can be aggressive with other strange dogs, especially male or dominant dogs.  

Longevity

11-13 years 

Health

The Dobermann does not have any particular health issues requiring special care. (Unless of course you buy a puppy with cropped ears - this requires a great deal of attention to ensure a successful cropping). They are very sensitive to extremes of cold and heat however so should have access to protection from the weather if kept outside.

Being a large breed dog they can be prone to developing gastric dilatation volvulus (or bloat).

Possible Genetic Disorders

You should be aware of the following hereditary diseases: Von Willebrand's Disease, Hypothyroidism, Cardiomyopathy (heart disease), cervical spondylitis (Wobblers), Hip Dysplasia, Narcolepsy and PHPV (a congenital eye problem). Not all of these diseases can be screened for by DNA testing but a reputable breeder should be able to give you information on the background of the parents in these cases. 

Best Suited

  • For active, energetic people - ideal for joggers!
  • Experienced dog handlers who will commit to firm and consistent training
  • When the entire household is committed to training and regular interaction with the dog. (Dobermanns demand a lot of social interaction).
  • For those involved in guard / protection dog sports training.

Worst Suited

  • For the elderly or disabled (the breed can be domineering and physically is very strong)
  • For inexperienced dog handlers
  • If any members of the household are fearful of the breed. (all family members must be able to handle the dog with firm and consistent discipline due to the dominant nature of the breed).

Recommended Reading

Getting to Know Dobermanns

Getting to Know Dobermanns: A Guide to Choosing and Owning a Dobermann. Author: Rae Joy