- Dog Breed:
- Breed Group:
- Working Group
- Loyal, vigilant, fearless, intelligent, and athletic.
- 24-28 inches
- 60-100 pounds
- Life Span:
- 10-12 years
- Coat Colors:
- Black, red, blue, and fawn
- Area of Origin:
- Best For:
- Active families/Training enthusiasts/Keen walkers
About The Doberman
Fearless and watchful
A dog for enthusiasts
The Doberman combines a sleek athletic physique and keen intelligence. They are fearless and ever-watchful, making them one of the world’s most exceptional protection dogs.
The Doberman has changed over the years and is now slimmer than they were. Their temperament has also mellowed a little from their early days, but they do still have strong guarding tendencies. They are the ultimate multitasking breed. From loyal family members to police and military protection dogs, therapy dog, through to sports dog, they really can turn their paw to pretty much anything.
So, as you can see, this is not a dog for the faint-hearted; they are an enthusiast dog who will spend all their spare time training, exercising, and ensuring that their Doberman is a full-blown member of the family.
Doberman Breed History
Developed in Germany
Known as the ‘Tax Collectors Dog’
Recognized by the AKC in 1908
Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann was a 19th-century tax collector from Apoloda in Germany. He was well aware that he was rarely a visitor that anyone looked forward to receiving. The cold and hostile welcome he regularly received encouraged him to breed a dog who would become his imposing yet dependable protector as he collected the dues.
It’s thought that Dobermann included crosses of the Rottweiler, the Black and Tan Terrier and the German Pinscher to develop what was at that time a much larger form of the Doberman we know now.
The breed became known as the ‘Tax Collector’s Dog’ and quickly gained a reputation for their working ability. They have since served in the military alongside the Marine Corps during World War II, as police dogs and as search and rescue dogs.
The Doberman Pinscher was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908 and has become of the most popular working dogs in America. The ‘Pinscher’ part of the name, translating to ‘terrier,’ was dropped in the mid-1900s as no longer being relevant to the breed.
In North America, it’s usual for breeders to dock tails and crop ears of their puppies, though it’s not mandatory. You should be aware that both of these procedures are illegal in some countries.
Doberman Size & Weight
Males 26-28 inches and females 24-26 inches
Males 75-100 pounds, females 60-90 pounds
Built for endurance and power
Males should measure between 26-28 inches, with females being slightly smaller are 24-26 inches. Males are also heavier at 75-100 pounds, with females weighing 60-90 pounds.
The American Kennel Club describes the Doberman as being a medium-sized dog who should be both muscular and elegant. This is a breed that is built for both endurance and power.
Doberman Personality & Temperament
Generally trustworthy with children
Needs mental and physical exercise
Sensitive to cold weather
This is a breed with a reputation for being fierce, but this is generally only believed by those who have leaped onto a stereotype encouraged by Hollywood. Now they are a loyal guardian, and they’ll defend their family and home when needed, but generally, they’re a gentle and loving dog.
This isn’t a breed who goes looking for trouble, but if it knocks at their door, then they are ready to face it full on. The Doberman is a family dog who is at their happiest when part of home life and able to be close to those they love. They are considered to be trustworthy around children and guests to the house but should, as with any breed, be treated with respect.
The Doberman is highly intelligent, and while this is a gift for those who enjoy training, if they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, then they’re going to get themselves into trouble. They also require a lot of exercise, so a potential owner has to be wholly committed to them to ensure that their needs are met.
It’s unlikely that a Doberman is going to be suitable for apartment living, they need space inside and a fenced yard or garden outside. They can adapt to being left for part of the day, but training for this should commence when they are pups so that they learn to settle when alone.
They are sensitive to cold weather and will need adequate shelter to keep them warm if they are left outside at any point.
Doberman Health & Grooming
Testing for genetic conditions needed before breeding
Minimal grooming requirements
Light hair shedding all year round
Dobermans are a pretty healthy breed, but there are some genetic conditions that they can be prone to. These include genetic health conditions such as those listed below. A responsible breeder will have their dogs tested for these before breeding from them.
- Cardiac Exam to check for Cardiomyopathy a condition where the heart muscles degenerate and wear thin
- Hip Evaluation to check for abnormalities in the hip joints
- Thyroid Evaluation to assess for low thyroid levels and the potential for hypothyroidism
- Von Willebrand’s Disease DNA Test. This is a condition which causes a clotting abnormality, similar to hemophilia in humans
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation – Eye diseases are relatively rare in Dobermans, and optic evaluations help to keep it this way.
The Doberman is a quick and easy do to groom. A weekly brush will collect dead hair and any dirt and that’s about all that’s required. They do tend to shed all year round rather than having a shedding season, but it’s easy to keep on top of this with the daily groom.
Slow to mature
High prey drive
The Doberman likes to be kept busy. They tend to learn quickly, and so training is easy as long as you’re consistent and use reward-based techniques.
Many owners mention that their Dobermans have been slow to mature. They tend to stay puppyish until their three or four years old. This means that training needs to take this into account and to go for a slow and steady path, rather than becoming too serious too quickly.
Many Dobermans have a high prey drive, they love to chase with focus and intensity. Care does then need to be taken when exercising off-leash. The breed doesn’t have a reputation for being noisy, so if they are barking, it may well be that they have seen or heard something which needs investigation.
Doberman Exercise Requirements
Slow to mature
High prey drive
This is a highly active dog who needs exercise every day and not just a walk on a leash. They need the opportunity to run and burn off some energy. It’s likely that you’ll need to dedicate two hours a day for exercising your Doberman
Combining exercise with training is a great route to take. Dobermans excel in a whole range of dog sports, including tracking, agility, scent work, flyball, and working dog sports. When you exercise mind and body, you’re much more likely to come home with a dog who is ready to relax.
If playfulness is one of your criteria, then you’ve hit the jackpot with the Doberman! These guys will play for as long as you can keep up!
Doberman Diet & Feeding
Speak to professionals for individual nutritional advice
Look for foods to match your dog’s age, size and exercise intensity
Risk of bloat
Have a chat with your veterinarian or pet nutritionist to receive personalized advice about the nutritional requirements for your Doberman.
Usually, dogs will be on puppy food until they’re around 6 months of age, and then they can slowly be changed over to adult food. Look for foods that are suitable not only for the age of your dog but also for their size and exercise intensity.
As a large, deep-chested dog, bloat can be a risk. This occurs when the stomach becomes distended with air and then twists, causing a torsion. This then means that the air can no longer escape, and the result can be fatal.
Although not all the causes of bloat are fully known, the risk is thought to increase if dogs have one large meal a day and if they eat quickly. Drinking large amounts of water after eating, and vigorous exercise just before and just after eating is also thought to increase risk.
Doberman Rescue Groups
If you’re considering offering a new home to a Doberman in need, we recommend chatting to breed rescue for help and advice. There are many organizations across the US including –
United Doberman Rescue – https://www.uniteddobermanrescue.org/
Doberman Rescue League, Florida – http://doberescue.net/
Doberman Dog Rescue of New England – https://www.dru.org/
For additional information on the breed, take a look at the website of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America – http://dpca.org/.