|Recommended for||Active, experienced owners & families with older children|
|Breed Classification||Working group|
|Other names||Doberman, Doberman Pinscher|
|Lifespan||10 to 13 years|
|Temperament||Loyal, fearless, alert|
|Tendency to bark||Medium|
|Health Risk||This breed has a higher than average probability of developing health issues during its lifetime, hence the cost to insure is above average.|
The Doberman originated in the German state of Thuringia and was first bred by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. Working as a tax collector, Dobermann was often threatened and as a result decided to breed a dog which could protect him during his work. The result was a larger, less refined dog than today’s Dobermann (or Doberman), named the Doberman Pinscher in honour of its creator. The modern Dobermann was later developed by Otto Goeller and Philip Greunig.
It is believed that the Doberman is a mix of several different dog breeds, including the German Pinscher, the Beauceron, the Rottweiler, the Thuringian Sylvan Dog, the Greyhound, the Great Dane, the Weimaraner, the German Shorthaired Pointer, the Black and Tan Terrier (forerunner of the Manchester Terrier or English Terrier as it is known in Australia), the Old German Shepherd Dog and the Thuringian Shepherd Dog. It is uncertain, however, to what extend each breed was used to create the dog we see today.
The “Tax Collector’s Dog” quickly gained an international reputation as a masterful working dog. Dobermans have excelled as guard dogs and police dogs, at military K-9 duty, as therapy dogs and service dogs for the disabled, as search-and-rescuers, and in competitive dog sports. During World War II, the U.S. Marine Corps adopted the Doberman as its official War Dog. Sadly, twenty-five of them died during the battle for Guam.
Despite their loyal and brave service, after the war the breed nearly became extinct. Werner Jung, who searched all over Germany for the right dogs, is credited with single-handedly saving the breed.
Dobermanns have a strong, square and muscular build and a lean stature that is physically impressive and reflects their athleticism, endurance and agility.
They have very short coats that come in four main colours, black, red, blue and fawn, and they can be one colour all over or mixed.
Dobermanns are born with long, hound-like tails and naturally flat, floppy ears. Tail docking and/or ear cropping are commonly performed on this breed, resulting in a stumpy tail and erect, pointy ears, leading many people to believe the latter is their natural appearance.
|Weight range||Male 34 to 45 kg, female 27 to 41 kg|
|Height range||Male 66 to 71 cm, female 61 to 66 cm|
|Colours||Black, red, blue and fawn; solid or with rust markings|
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Dobermanns are sensible, confident and smart dogs. Faithful and very attached to their owners, they thrive on human interaction and are eager to learn and to please. Playful and fun-loving, they will keep their puppy-like personality until around the age of 3 or 4.
Although they are often portrayed as aggressive dogs due to their history as working dogs, modern Dobermans have a much more even and friendly temperament, and they are usually very sociable with humans and other dogs. North American Dobermans tend to be calmer and more even-tempered than those from Europe.
Dobermanns thrive on firm, consistent leadership from all members of the family. Fiercely loyal, the Dobermann is a great guard dog that does not need any guard training – it is instinctively protective of its masters.
Mental stimulation is very important for the Doberman. They can make excellent therapy dogs and are great with nursing home residents, as they are very patient and are happy to go at the resident’s own speed.
Generally speaking, small children and adult dogs may not mix well with the Dobermann.
However, many Dobermanns are sensitive and gentle and can be great with kids and other animals if they have been socialised with them from a very early age.
Dobermanns are very energetic and need a lot of exercise and free play. A long walk, hike or jog every day and having a large fenced area where they can run is vital for their physical and mental well-being.
Keeping their minds active is important. Dobermans are very intelligent, learn easily and respond quickly, so teaching them a new trick or command is not difficult. Participation in canine sports such as obedience, tracking, and agility will provide the mental stimulation and physical exercise that is so important for this breed and strengthen the bond between dog and owner.
Early socialisation from puppyhood is essential for Dobermans, as is obedience training. Puppy training classes are highly recommended as well. With a reputation as being aggressive, it is every Dobermann owner’s responsibility to ensure that their dog is raised to be a happy, well-behaved companion.
Dobermanns require firm and consistent leadership from all members of the family. They are very strong dogs and can become pushy, destructive, and unmanageable if not raised properly.
Their of loyalty and protective instinct makes them excellent guard dogs, if the owner wants to focus on developing this trait.
|Energy level||Very high|
|Exercise requirements||Very high|
To effectively meet their energy requirements, Dobermanns should be fed an excellent-quality dog food throughout their lifetime.
During puppyhood, they should be fed an age-appropriate diet approved by the dog’s breeder or veterinarian.
Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your Dobemann’s weight or diet.
As they have very short hair, Dobermanns require very little grooming and shed an average amount.
A quick daily going-over with a short-bristled brush or a grooming mitt will keep their coats shiny and healthy.
They do not need to be bathed often.
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