Doberman Pinschers are medium-sized, square dogs with well-developed muscles. Their coat is short, thick, and hard and comes in red, black, fawn, and blue. These dogs have long heads and almond-shaped eyes, and their ears are generally cropped and carried erect. Dobermans measure 24 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 66 to 88 pounds. With proper care, these dogs live 10 years or more.
Dobermans have the ability to absorb and retain commands and training, and these talents have made it possible for them to excel as police and war dogs.
When properly trained, Doberman Pinschers are loyal friends and guardians with an elegant appearance and a great temperament. They are intelligent dogs and make great companion animals provided they are given enough socialization and attention.
Although it's tempting to purchase a unique white or cream Doberman, these colors result from a genetic mutation that's associated with a number of very serious health problems. Breeders selling these dogs, especially if they market them as prized varieties, should be avoided and reported.
Dobermans are energetic, fearless, and obedient animals, but they are also affectionate and sweet. Although the breed has a bit of a reputation as sinister or cold, these dogs are actually very loving and loyal. Unless threatened, Dobermans are calm, friendly, and stable. However, this breed is always on the alert and was created to be a guardian. That basic instinct still lives inside these dogs.
These dogs should be physically and mentally challenged to keep them happy and to ward off boredom. Physical exercise requirements are easily met with a long walk or jog every day. Some free running time is also beneficial, but this must be done inside a securely fenced area.
Dobermans need to live inside with their human family members. Additionally, they may become loud or destructive if left alone for long periods. They can be demanding and need interesting tasks and other mental stimulation to keep them occupied when their human family members are not around.
Doberman Pinschers are more prone to certain health conditions than some other breeds. Von Willebrand disease, demodicosis, osteosarcoma, gastric torsion, narcolepsy, congenital hip dysplasia, albinism, and Addison's disease are all known to affect Dobermans. One very serious health problem that occurs in Dobermans is cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes heart enlargement. A yearly heart exam can catch the disease quickly to ensure prompt treatment.
Another breed-specific problem to affect Doberman Pinschers is cervical vertebral instability, also called wobbler's syndrome. This disorder is caused by a malformation of vertebrae in the neck. Dogs with this condition may experience weakness, lack of coordination, and/or paralysis. Surgery can help in some cases. Additionally, blue Dobermans often suffer from alopecia, and white Dobermans are prone to several serious health problems.
Attention to breeding, routine veterinary care, timely vaccinations, and a healthy diet and exercise routine help ensure Doberman Pinschers live 10 years or even longer.
Dobermans have the ability to absorb and retain commands and training, and these talents have made it possible for them to excel as police and war dogs. These dogs are extremely intelligent and respond well to consistent and fair training techniques. They bore easy with repetitive tasks and need variety to remain engaged.
Dobermans are not happy when left alone in the backyard all day or ignored inside. They do best when involved in family activities and when kept busy. They need plenty of exercise, a steady stream of jobs to do, and interactive toys to stimulate their minds. Also, they enjoy engaging with their human family members, even if they don't often want a cuddle on the couch. Without exercise and attention, Dobermans quickly turn loud and destructive. Training can help prevent this, but a good quality of life is the only cure.
Although these dogs are calm and friendly with proper training and socialization, careless breeding has resulted in many Dobermans with temperament problems. These dogs may display excessive suspicion or aggressive behaviors. It's important to research breeders carefully before purchasing a Doberman Pinscher or any other dog.
Doberman Pinschers are low-maintenance when it comes to grooming. Brushing them with a hound glove or slicker brush once or twice each week is generally sufficient to control loose hairs and keep the coat in top shape. Cleaning this breed is as simple as running a wet towel over his coat. If a full bath is necessary to remove something sticky or stinky, it is important to use a pH-balanced dog shampoo and to rinse the coat and skin thoroughly.
Although they don't shed very much, the hairs that fall from Dobermans tend to stick into the carpet and furniture and are difficult to remove. Regular brushings and vacuuming furniture and carpeting frequently will cut down on these hairs.
Trim the Doberman's nails every few weeks or whenever they start clicking on the tile floors. Their teeth need close attention and should be brushed frequently. Supplement with dental chews between brushings to keep the breath smelling fresh and to protect against gum disease. The ears should be checked and cleaned weekly and any signs of infections should be reported to a veterinarian right away.
Although the true origin of the Doberman Pinscher breed is obscure, these dogs likely originated in Germany during the late 1800s. A door-to-door tax collector by the name of Louis Dobermann of Apolda desired a dog to accompany him on his rounds and protect him and his money. The dog he created, probably from some mix of shepherd, Rottweiler, terrier, Greyhound, Weimaraner, and the German Pinscher, went on to take his name.
Over time, the breed evolved, and the first Dobermans arrived in the United States in 1908. The breed quickly found favor through the country and Europe as a guard and police dog, and Dobermans were later used as war dogs around the world. As the breed became more recognizable, families began adopting the dogs as watchdogs. Eventually, Dobermans grew to be one of the most popular pets in America.
Dobermans have played a large role in military combat, including the battle on Okinawa, and in search and rescue missions. Following the collapse of the World Trade Center towers in 2001, Dobermans were deployed to search for survivors at Ground Zero.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Doberman Pinscher in 1908.