The Doberman Pinscher breed is a newer breed, just over a hundred years old. It was developed by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann as a personal protection dog to help protect him while he collected taxes. These medium to large-sized dogs have muscular bodies covered with short glossy fur, and generally wear an alert expression on their strong, wedge-shaped faces. They require very little grooming to keep them at their best, but they do require vigorous exercise and mental stimulation as they are both athletic and intelligent. These dogs tend to be highly trainable, although if they are poorly socialized they can begin to display dominant or inappropriate guarding behaviors that will need to be corrected. They are an exceptionally loyal and alert breed suitable as a family pet, military and police animal, or as a search and rescue dog.
The Doberman Pinscher breed is a fairly new breed, originating in Germany sometime in the 1890s. The founder of this breed is one Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a dogcatcher and tax collector, who developed this breed in order for the dog to accompany him on his job. He was looking for the perfect personal protection dog; one that was intelligent, loyal, and brave, with a naturally protective instinct and a reliable nature. Mr. Dobermann did not keep very clear records to document which dogs he used, and in many cases, breeds were not known for some of the dogs he utilized to create his personal guard dogs. Although we do not know all of the dogs that went into the formation of this breed, there are a few breeds that are suspected as ancestors of the Doberman, including a breed that was very similar to the Doberman, known only as Thueringen breed or Thueringen Shepherd, as well as German Pinschers, local sheepdogs, butcher’s dogs, and Black and Tan Terriers. Since their inception, these dogs have provided exemplary service as guard dogs, police dogs, and military dogs, and were key players in World War II, acting as sentries, messengers, and even scouts. Dobermans were involved in directly supporting our military in the battle of Okinawa in 1945, and a memorial statue of a Doberman stands in Guam to commemorate the 25 marine war dogs that gave their lives to free it. There is a softer side to these courageous canines however, and they can make loving and affectionate pets, true and loyal friends to those that they love.
The Doberman is a medium to large dog that is both elegant and athletic, with short, smooth, glossy fur that accentuates their athletic build. Their heads are well proportioned and wedge shaped with a flatter skull than most breeds. They have almond-shaped eyes, typically with an alert and energetic expression, and powerful jaws. The iconic Doberman look has triangular ears that are carried erect and a stub of a tail, but these dogs are actually born with long tails that have a tendency to curl up, and hanging ears. The alteration typically occurs when the puppy is still quite young, usually between seven and twelve weeks old. The cropped look is considered the breed standard for the American Kennel Club, but there are many reasons that some Dobie owners who are not showing their dogs may choose to leave the dog’s tail and ears intact. There are four recognized colors for Doberman Pinschers: black, red, blue, and fawn, all sporting distinctive rust-colored markings on their face, chest, and legs. In rare cases, however, a Doberman may be born albino, a pale cream color referred to as white, or even all black with no tan markings. The albino and white Dobermans may be prone to additional diseases and disorders and should be protected from sunburn, although this is not the case for the melanistic (all black), dogs of this breed.
This breed of dog sheds, although not heavily, and it is not hypoallergenic, however, they are very clean animals with very low odor. This makes the grooming requirements for Doberman Pinschers minimal. Regular brushing with a slicker brush and occasional wiping down with a wet cloth will help to reduce shedding and odor, and bathing is only typically needed every few months. It is also important to check and clean your dog’s ears and brush their teeth on a regular basis to prevent bacterial or fungal infections from becoming a problem. These dogs are very athletic, and although they are not as high energy as some breeds, they do require quite a bit of vigorous activity each day to maintain their strong and healthy physical appearance. Although Dobies thrive with room to run and play, most also do fairly well in apartment buildings if provided with adequate exercise and consistent training. It is also important to provide this intelligent breed with plenty of mental stimulation, either through training sessions or through puzzle and foraging games and toys. Early socialization is a huge benefit with this breed, and a lack of socialization may create a more anxious animal.