Doberman Pinscher (Dobermann)

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black or brown, with rust red clearly defined and clean markings
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Pros Cons

  • uncompromisingly staunch to its masters

  • outstanding watch and guard dog

  • very basic grooming requirements

  • very trainable and intelligent

  • doesn’t like strange people

  • serious approach to socialisation is a must

  • needs a sizeable amount of vigorous exercise


The Doberman Pinscher is a German guarding dog, which is known for its ferocious nature, outmost intelligence and aristocratic appearance. Apart from guarding duties it’s also often used as a police and military dog as well as excels in various canine sports. Vast and early socialisation is a must if you plan to keep it as a family pet.


The first specimens of Doberman Pinscher were bred in Apolda, in Thueringen, Germany in the second half of the XIX century. This canine variety was created by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a German tax collector and an owner of the animal shelter. During his official tours through criminal areas of the home town he constantly run the danger of an assault so he thought that it would be a great idea to have a fierce-looking dog for a company. Evidently Herr Dobermann had access to the wide variety of dogs so he decided to launch a breeding program in order to develop a reliable and ferocious guarding breed. Unfortunately he didn’t bother himself with keeping appropriate records of his experiments so the detailed ancestry of the Doberman Pinscher will never be revealed.

Nonetheless the strong probability holds that the breed resulted from crossing shorthaired mixed-bred Shepherd dogs with such breeds as the Black and Tan Terrier, the smooth-coated German Pinscher and the Rottweiler. It’s also thought that the Beauceron, the Weimaraner, the black-and-tan Manchester Terrier and the Greyhound participated in the development of the breed.

The conformation and personality qualities of the Doberman Pinscher were well-established by 1899 and in 1900 it officially entered the stud book of the German Kennel Club. By that time the breed had already numerous fanciers in European countries, South Africa and the United States. Generally speaking its unique and quite chilling appearance, strong protective instincts and loyal nature earned it the reputation of a highly capable personal and property guardian.

During the Second World War the breed members demonstrated incredible stamina and quick-wittedness while working on battlefields as sentries, messengers, and scouts. In honour of the breed’s heroic deeds in 1994 the United Doberman Club sponsored the erection of bronze memorial statue of a Doberman.

The Doberman Pinscher attained the recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1908. Nowadays the breed is still best known for its rather aggressive demeanour but the clue to its enormous popularity lies in its faithfulness to and affection for its human family. The dog is also widely utilised by law enforcement and army of many countries.


The repute of the Doberman Pinscher as a highly and unpredictably aggressive animal seems to stick firmly to this breed. Although this perception may have the element of truth when it concerns the first generations of this dog, it is very unjust to its modern specimens. With the exception of some vicious lines created by certain irresponsible breeders the well-trained Doberman Pinscher is no more dangerous than any other dog of its proportions and power. Probably the most prominent feature, which shares all its members is its unwavering loyalty to its human pack. It’s also apt to become a one-person dog although if it’s brought up in a family environment it develops strong ties to all of its members. The dog does quite well with children but its rather hot temper makes it intolerant of any type of rough-housing during playing.

Even properly socialised Doberman Pinscher behaves itself warily and standoffishly in the presence of strangers. However some of these dogs have really strong innate propensity to become fearful and nervous around unfamiliar people. Only extensive and continuous obedience training can guarantee that this nasty predisposition won’t gradually develop into an outright aggression. This dog has all essential bents for making an ideal watcher and its fearlessness and protective nature is what makes it a famous guard dog in the first place. It’s worth to mention though that majority of these dogs are inclined to resort to intimidation rather than to physical abuse when they confront an intruder.

The Doberman Pinscher is averagely accepting of other canines. In most cases it will be satisfied to have a constant canine friend (especially of an opposite sex), but it certainly prefers the company of its masters. Hospitability towards strange dogs isn’t uncommon for its specimen and the reason for it may be rooted in variety of personality traits ranging from powerful territorial and possessive instincts to dominant streak. This dog will also chase and attack stray animals although it’s usually quite polite with those separate pets (including household cats) with which it has been reared since its puppyhood.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· heart problems;

· von Willerbrand’s disease;

· Wobbler’s syndrome;

· canine hip dysplasia;

· elbow dysplasia;

· hypothyroidism;

· progressive retinal atrophy;

· gastric torsion / bloat;

· skin allergies.


The grooming of the Doberman Pinscher takes minimal amount of time and efforts. The owner should regularly (usually weekly) brush the sleek and short hair of his pet in order to maintain its natural shine and health.

Other than that this dog needs quite basic care, which should comprise of monthly nail trimming, rare bathing and weekly teeth brushing. Don’t forget to periodically inspect the ears of the Doberman Pinscher for the signs of dirt and earwax and clean them as needed.


The second defining characteristic of the Doberman Pinscher after its loyal nature is its remarkable intelligence. This dog can be quickly and easily taught unbelievingly complex commands and even long sequences of commands and therefore it thrives in the vast majority of canine sports.

The Doberman Pinscher is able to precisely determine the position of a handler in a pack order and will never obey to a weak or indecisive person. It should be trained with a firm hand but without physical correction or disrespectful treatment. The dog’s favourite treats and generous praise will provide a great boost in your work with this dog.


The Doberman Pinscher is a very lively dog with substantial exercise requirements. It’s capable of sustaining an extremely vigorous physical activity for a very long time. This feature makes the breed a superb companion for a fitness-minded family who pursues such hobbies as hiking, biking or jogging.

It’s fair to say though that the Doberman Pinscher is not nearly so buoyant as the Border Collie or the Jack Russell Terrier and generally needs from 45 minutes to two hours of a daily walk to stay content and fit.

Additionally this dog is commonly endowed with a busy brain, which should be constantly stimulated with obedience training or other interesting and challenging tasks. Be aware that bored or idle Doberman Pinscher will always find ways to entertain itself, for example, by destroying your precious shoes or chewing your furniture.