Many misconceptions surround the Doberman Pinscher. Most uninformed people may label them as aggressive and unfriendly, but they are actually one of the most loyal pets to have around. They have a protective nature that almost makes them unapproachable to some people, when in fact, they are affectionate and sweet at times. Yes, they may appear very defensive and protective of their owners, but that only shows how much they care about them.
What is a Doberman?
Standing 24 to 28 inches tall, Doberman Pinschers are highly recognized as excellent guard dogs. They are one of the large dog breeds that possess an aura of intimidation just by their stand and posture alone. A Doberman’s powerful and muscular physique is one of their most distinct features. Not only that, but the Doberman Pinscher breed is also highly intelligent, making them a stellar dog breed when it comes to obedience training and other athletic activities.
A common misconception about the Doberman Pinscher is that they are mean and overly aggressive, but this is far from true. Dobermans are very protective in nature, and they would do anything to protect their beloved dog owners. As long as they’re properly socialized and trained, they are wonderful family pets and would make a loyal companion.
Where Did Dobermans Originate From?
The history of the Doberman Pinscher breed dates back to the 19th century. During the late 1800s, a German man named Louis Dobermann, who resided in Apolda, was the town’s designated tax collector. His profession constantly put him at risk and in danger of getting robbed by bandits. He was also a dog catcher and had access to the local dog pound, where stray dogs of different breeds were found.
Dobermann had the interest to breed a guard dog that could accompany him while he did his job of collecting tax. This led to the development of the Doberman Pinscher, who is now popularly known as the fearless guard dog.
What Was the Doberman Bred for?
Doberman Pinschers were originally bred to provide protection to their owners. This is the sole reason why Louis Dobermann created and developed the breed. Many breeds are believed to be involved in developing the Doberman. According to American Kennel Club, this includes the Black and Tan Terrier, German Pinscher, and the old German Shepherd.
Aside from being terrific guard dogs, the Doberman Pinscher also worked as police and military dogs. Their athletic build, high intelligence, alertness, and trainability make them the best candidate for the job.
What Does a Doberman Look Like?
Dobermans have short, sleek coats in four colors: Black and Rust, Brown and Rust, Blue and Rust, and Fawn (Isabella) and Rust. These are the standard coat colors of the Doberman recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
A typical Doberman has rust markings usually located on top of their eyes, chest, muzzle, throat, legs, and feet. However, there are also Dobermans with completely rare coat colors; these are the all-black and white Dobermans, also often referred to as albino Dobermans. AKC doesn’t recognize these as a standard color of the Doberman Pinscher.
Dobermans are usually born with blue eyes, but it changes to brown as the puppy grows older. Although, there are some cases where a Doberman has natural blue eyes, which is true for Albino Dobermans.
Albino Dobermans have a genetic mutation that makes their coat white and their eyes blue, usually because of the lack of pigmentation in their skin. The Doberman Pinscher Club of America is against breeders who breed Albino Dobermans because of the serious health implications related to albinism.
Face and snout
At first glance, you will see that the Doberman Pinscher has a wedge-shaped head and long snout. A Doberman’s neck is just as long as their snout, so they are perfectly proportioned to the rest of their body.
Another physical attribute that makes Doberman Pinschers intimidating is their pointy ears. This is a characteristic that’s determined by their owners. Naturally, Dobermans have droopy ears, but the cropped ears became the breed standard set by the AKC. Now, seeing a Doberman with floppy ears is almost considered unusual.
Ear cropping is the process of making the Doberman’s ears stand erect, and most do this for practical reasons. Since Doberman are working dogs with a job to guard and protect, their erect ears allow them to have improved hearing, look more alert, and lower risk for ear injuries if under conflict with attackers. Plus, this makes them easier to identify and reduces the risk for ear infections.
Dobermans have naturally long tails that curve upwards. However, most dog owners prefer to get their Doberman’s tail docked. Tail docking involves the alteration or amputation of a puppy’s tail. Tail docking the Doberman’s tail at the second vertebrae is part of the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard. It’s also a common practice in the United States, Russia, and Japan.
Like with ear cropping, tail docking is not just done for cosmetic reasons. This procedure allows your Doberman to be easily recognized and lessens the risk for possible injuries.
How Big Does a Full Grown Doberman Get?
According to the AKC Official Standard of the Doberman Pinscher, male Dobermans stand between 26 to 28 inches (66cm – 71cm) tall. In comparison, female Dobermans stand about 24 to 26 inches (61cm – 66cm) tall. A male Doberman Pinscher has a weight range of 75 to 100 pounds (34kg – 45kg), while a female Doberman weighs 60 to 90 pounds (27kg – 41kg).
Different Types of Dobermans
Before you go and get a Doberman, you must be aware of the different types of Dobermans. Each type has its own personality, traits, and characteristics you need to know about, so you can make a sound choice of your ideal dog.
European Doberman Pinscher
The European Dobermann Pinscher is the ideal type of working or protection dog because they are slightly larger and more muscular than the American Doberman. Their physical attributes, strong personality, and temperament make them the better candidate for a working dog.
European Dobermans have more muscle mass, a thicker build (bone, head, snout, and neck), a broad chest, slightly shorter body length, darker eyes, and darker rust markings. This Doberman type is very confident, alert, intelligent, fearless, protective, and has high stamina. Contrary to popular belief, they are as good as loyal companions as they are as working dogs.
American Doberman Pinscher
Meanwhile, an American Doberman Pinscher is what you would describe as a more elegant or refined version of the European Doberman. This type tends to be gentler, more friendly, loving, and dependent on their owners, making them the ideal family pet. American Dobermans do better in a family setting and are more agreeable with people.
They are originally bred for show, so they are physically sleeker and elegant-looking. Compared to the European Doberman, the American Doberman has a leaner body, thinner build or bone structure, thin wedge-shaped head, muzzle, jaw, smaller chest, lighter brown eyes, and lighter rust markings.
American Doberman Pinscher and European Doberman Pinscher are the only two official variations of the Doberman Pinscher breed recognized by AKC. However, there’s another type of Doberman, the “Warlock” Doberman, that many breeders advertise to deceive people and gain extra money from. On the authority of the Dobermann Pinscher Club, there’s no such type of Doberman that exists and is only advertised by breeders as a gimmick to sell to unsuspecting people.
The Warlock Doberman, also called king Doberman, is a crossbreed of a Rottweiler and Great Dane and not a variation of the Doberman Pinscher. This crossbreed is a lot bigger; hence, they weigh more and are less agile and fast than the standard Doberman.
How to Take Care of a Doberman?
Taking care of a Doberman doesn’t require a huge effort as they are low-maintenance dogs. Still, there are a few things about them that need your attention to make sure your pooch is thriving well under your care.
Dobermans are born with a thirst for physical stimuli, basically, any work or activity that engages their whole body. They are athletic and high-energy dogs who appreciate a good run, hike, or swim once in a while. Most preferably, they have a huge play area to enhance their physical and mental well-being.
Swimming, in particular, is a great physical activity for a Doberman that allows them to exercise and engage all parts of their body. Doing exercises or playing with your Dobie is also a wonderful bonding experience both of you can benefit from.
Doberman Pinschers have low grooming needs. Their short coat requires minimal grooming is very easy to maintain with just a grooming mitt or bristle brush. Another good thing about their coat is that it doesn’t shed a lot, so brushing them weekly is enough. You don’t need to bathe your Dobie as often. Still, depending on their activity level, you can bathe them once every two to three months.
As always, it’s recommended to brush their teeth regularly to prevent bad mouth odor and tartar buildup. Check and clean your dog’s ears every week using wipes or a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar or other ear cleaning solutions. Also, make sure to trim your Dobie’s nails monthly to prevent breaks and infections.
A high-quality diet adapted to your Dobie’s age is the best dog food you can get your pooch. Also, you might want to opt for dog foods that are rich in proteins, carbs, and fat. Animal-based proteins are good for maintaining lean muscles, while carbs and fats fuel your Doberman’s energy needs. A muscular and highly energetic dog like the Doberman Pinscher will require a good amount of protein, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats to meet their basic nutritional needs.
Related Review: 10 Best Dog Foods for Dobermans in 2022
1. How much to feed
How much food should your dog get will essentially depend on their weight, life stage, activity level, and metabolic rate. An adult Doberman Pinscher can eat between 2 to 5 cups of food every day with a recommended calorie intake of 25 to 30 calories per pound of body weight.
Meanwhile, Doberman puppies can be fed with 1 to 6 cups of dry food every day. As they reach their senior stage, you’re going to have to reduce their portions as older dogs have lower activity levels and metabolic rates. Consuming a large portion of food may make it harder for them to digest.
2. How often to feed
Portion your dog’s food to two to four meals a day, so they can maintain their energy to get through the whole day. Doberman puppies tend to be more active and energetic, and feeding them four to five meals a day is highly recommended. Adult Dobermans can thrive with two to three meals a day. Doberman Pinschers are prone to bloating. The best way to avoid this is to not overfeed them and, at best, make sure not to go beyond their daily recommended calorie intake.
3. Common food allergies
Dobermans are not at high risk for food allergies. Still, there’s a chance of them developing allergies when exposed to specific food ingredients. It’s best to watch out for these common food allergens such as animal proteins (chicken, beef, or turkey), fillers (corn, wheat, or soy), dairy, eggs, and artificial additives or ingredients.
Here are the common signs of an allergic reaction in dogs:
- Irritated skin like itching, rash, or skin sores
- Skin inflammation
- Hair loss
- Dry and dull coat
- Glassy eyes
- Teary eyes
- Bloodshot eyes
- Chronic ear infection
- Upset stomach or diarrhea
- Coughing or wheezing
- Biting or scratching of their own skin
Are Dobermans Easy to Train?
Doberman Pinschers are highly intelligent breeds which makes them fairly easy to train. The two most important training they need to undergo while they are still puppies are socialization and obedience training. This training will shape their personality and behavior towards other dogs and other people as they grow up. That’s why it’s important to start them early.
Are they easy to potty train?
Potty training is not a big problem for this breed as they are inclined to learn quickly from their owners. Training them early will save you the hassle of training them at an age where they might be more stubborn and misbehaving.
How long does it take to train a Doberman?
Again, since Dobermans are intelligent and skilled breeds, they can be fully trained within 6 to 12 months. Aside from socialization, respect training, or obedience training, you can also expose them to other dog sports like agility, dock diving, or Schutzhund. These canine sports will keep them entertained, physically active, promote a good mentality and, healthy well-being.
What is the Doberman’s Temperament?
Intelligent, fearless, confident, alert, and loyal. These are the words commonly used to describe a Doberman’s temperament. If socialized and trained early, they grow up to be well-mannered dogs and great around people and other breeds.
Does this breed do well with children?
Yes, Dobermans are wonderful family pets and can adapt well to children. Introducing them early is a great way to establish rapport and bond between the two. Dobermans will stay loyal and affectionate to anyone in the family or as long as they are familiar with them. They could be sweet, gentle, and just really wonderful, so don’t let their proud and bold demeanor intimidate you.
Does it do well with other pets?
Well-trained Dobermans do well with other dogs or pets. They are friendly and often have no problems interacting with other dogs, especially the opposite sex. Although you should probably consider that male Dobermans tend to not get along with other male dogs. While female Doberman Pinschers have no problem living with other female or male dog breeds. However, regardless of gender, if a Doberman is not properly trained and socialized, they can become reserved or defensive towards strange dogs.
Are Dobermans aggressive?
No, the Doberman is not a naturally aggressive dog despite what others may believe and say. They are protective and confident in nature, which can sometimes come off as aggressive behavior for some.
Temperament is usually one of the important factors that dog owners consider when finding the right breed for them. That said, Doberman Pinschers are highly misunderstood dogs that are often perceived as mean, too protective, or aggressive. We want to debunk those myths and misconceptions and tell you that the Doberman is a lovely family dog to own. If a Doberman shows signs of aggressive behavior, it’s most likely because of poor handling or lack of training or socialization.
What Environment Is Ideal for a Doberman?
Dobermans typically love to get involved in any type of physical activity, so having a large play area or yard where they can exercise and play is an ideal setting for them. They can adapt well to any environment, but because Doberman Pinschers have short coats keeping them indoors while it’s cold outside is most advised.
What is the Average Life Span of Dobermans
The average life span of Doberman is 10 to 13 years, and their life expectancy can still improve if they are healthy up until their senior life. However, you can’t rule out that most dogs suffer from a health condition or conditions that can affect their life expectancy, cutting their time shorter than anticipated.
Doberman Common Health Issues
It’s a good thing to be optimistic and have hope that your Dobie will fulfill a long and healthy life with you. Still, it’s also good to be aware of the different health problems that the Doberman is prone to, so you know what kind of health risks your dog will be facing while taking care of them.
Bloat, also referred to as Gastric Torsion, is the buildup of gas in the stomach causing it to expand and twist, prohibiting the gas from exiting the body. This results in the blockage of proper blood flow and inhibiting the distribution of blood to the other organs of the body. Bloating is a serious condition that needs immediate action; unfortunately, the early signs are hard to recognize. If treated late, it may result in sudden death.
The symptoms of bloat include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Enlargement of abdomen
- Lack of appetite
- Dry heaving
- Sudden collapse
- Failed attempt at pooping
- Looking at their belly
- Stomach appears to be hard
Hip Dysplasia is the displacement or malformation of the hip ball and socket, causing immense pain and lameness on the affected leg. This condition has long been believed to be acquired hereditarily or environmentally.
Other symptoms of canine hip dysplasia are:
- Exercise intolerance
- Stiffness on the rear legs
- Skipping or hopping
- Physically in pain
- Difficulty walking, running, or climbing
- Loss of interest in exercises or physical activities they used to have fun doing
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a common condition that affects large dogs. It is characterized by the enlargement of the heart, where the heart’s muscle gets thicker and weakens. What happens next is the heart is unable to pump blood properly, restricting blood flow and preventing oxygenation. The lack of oxygenation in the body can result in the organs not functioning well.
It’s a very progressive disease that’s unfortunately hard to diagnose because the symptoms are almost unnoticeable. Here are the symptoms of DCM in dogs:
- Difficulty breathing
- Exercise intolerance
- Shortness of breath
Von Willebrand’s Disease
Von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD) is an inherited blood disorder that causes excessive or prolonged bleeding time. This disease is common in Doberman Pinschers, and the counterpart of the blood disease in humans called hemophilia.
The vWD is categorized into three types, and Type 1 is the type with mild symptoms and is most commonly found in Dobies. While Type 2 and Type 3 are the more severe types affecting other dogs such as German Shorthaired Pointers, Scottish Terriers, and more.
Watch out for these symptoms of vWD:
- Bleeding in the tonsils or gums
- Bloody urine or stool
Wobbler Syndrome, also known as Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI), is a degenerative disorder that targets the spine at the neck. This disease leads to the compression of the spinal cord, affecting the nerves on the neck with no known cause.
Wobbler Syndrom is a disease that silently progresses and results in symptoms like:
- Wobbly gait
- Weakness on the rear legs
- Shorter steps
- Partial or full paralysis
- Difficulty getting up or moving
- Loss of balance
Hypothyroidism is defined as the lack of thyroid hormone, thyroxine. The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating our metabolic rate. The underproduction of thyroid hormones causes our metabolism to slow down. Unfortunately, this is a common disease in Dobermans.
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, the symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Weight gain
- Cold intolerance
- Slow heart rate
- Dry, dull coat
- Hair loss or excessive shedding
- Increased risk for skin and ear infections
How Much Does a Doberman Cost?
An American Doberman Pinscher puppy would cost around $1500 to $2500. While a European Doberman Pinscher puppy would be priced for more and can cost between $2500 to $3500 if purchased from the United States. If you want a budget-friendly option, you can choose to adopt instead, costing you around $300 to $400.
Although, when computing for expenses, the price of the dog is not the only thing you should factor in. Also, consider additional fees, for example, supplies, health care, food, grooming, medications, vet visits, and more. It’s better to be aware of these expenses, so you can prepare beforehand and budget your money wisely.
Other Similar Dog Breeds
It’s no doubt that a Doberman would make a great addition to your family. However, if a Dobie is not the exact breed you have in mind, but you’re looking for a somehow similar option, you have a great line of other breeds to choose from.
This table lists ten breeds similar to the Doberman Pinscher and what makes them different and alike.
|1. Rottweiler||German origin, color and pattern, (black and brown), intelligent, loyal, affectionate, excellent guard dog||broader and bigger, more muscular, large head, short legs|
|2. German Pinscher||short and sleek coat, athletic, energetic, working dog, coat color and pattern, protective||smaller in size, stubborn, difficult to train|
|3. Great Dane||working dog, German origin, coat color and pattern, intelligent||larger in size, chill, less active|
|4. Beauceron||coat color, sleek coat, intelligent, working dog||originated in France, herding dog, muscular and thicker build,|
|5. Australian Kelpie||pointy ears, body shape, energetic, intelligent, alert, loyal, coat color||originated in Australia, longer hair, larger face, devoted, strong work ethic|
|6. Miniature Pinscher||German origin, sleek coat, proud, fearless, active, energetic, athletic||much smaller in size, bred to be a companion|
|7. Pharaoh Hound||proud, noble, smart, easy to train, friendly, low maintenance||hunting breed, slightly shorter in height|
|8. Weimaraner||German origin, affectionate, high energy levels, friendlier with strangers, intelligent||hunting dog, silver-grey coat color, not as easy to train,|
|9. Manchester Terrier||intelligent, easy to train, confident, active, energetic||originated in England, reserved with strangers and other animals, moderate exercise, sport dogs|
|10. German Shorthaired Pointer||German origin, intelligent, easy to train, short and sleek coat, high energy levels||soft and floppy ears, liver-spotted coat|
Tips on Finding the Right Breeder
Have you set your mind to getting a Doberman pupper? That’s great! Now that you’ve decided to get your very own Dobie, the next step involves finding a reputable breeder.
Signs to look for in a responsible breeder
Hunting for the right breeder is a careful process and to help you out we want to give you a list of things you should look for in a responsible breeder.
- The breeder is part of a parent breed clubs (i.e. Doberman Pinscher Club of America or National Breed Club)
- Great background in breeding
- Shows genuine concern for animals
- Provides necessary documents such as Hip Certification, Genetic Testing, Registration, and Bloodline
- Open to answering questions
- Implements health screening to ensure puppy’s health is in good condition
- Schedules a visit or video call to see the puppy
- They make sure that the puppy will live in a good home with good fur parents
What to avoid when looking for a breeder
Now that you know what to look for in the right breeder, let’s discuss what breeders to avoid.
- Backyard breeders and puppy mills… enough said
- They sell two to three litters of puppies at the same time
- Making false undocumented claims about the dog’s character
- Defensive when asked about their breeding practices
- Doesn’t allow visits
- If visits are allowed, the place where the puppies are bred doesn’t satisfy comfortable living conditions
- No pedigree information and registration documents available
- No medical history provided
If you were having doubts or questions about the Doberman Pinscher, hopefully, this was the place where your doubts were cleared and your questions answered. Dobermans have many qualities that make them wonderful companions. They are extremely loyal, protective, obedient, and smart working dogs, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! You will love their sweet and affectionate nature and how well they get along with the people and other dogs around them. I’d like to say when it comes to this breed is don’t judge a book by its cover. Dobies may look intimidating, but they have soft spots for anyone they love and reciprocate that love by protecting their precious owners.