Dobermann or Doberman, the spelling varies in different countries! Their name derived from their creator Friedrich Louis Dobermann.
Ever since being bred during the 1800s, and especially after the breed‘s exposure at the dog show back in 1876, these dogs have immediately gained wide recognition and acclaim around the globe!
Dobies are well-known for their elegance, strong personality and good performance of duties, with much care and delicacy!
Usually, they get jobs as police or military dogs, rescue dogs and therapy dogs!
This is the only German breed that has kept the name of its breeder, Friedrich Louis Dobermann, due to no found evidence or records about the breeds he had used and mixed in order to create this excellent breed! However, he has presumably used the Rottweiler, the German Pinscher, the Black and Tan Terrier, the Great Dane, the German Shepherd Dog, and the English Greyhound short-haired Shepherd. After Friedrich Louis Dobermann passed away in 1894, his last name has been made as the breed’s official name, in his honor. The Pinscher part of the Doberman has been dropped about a half a century afterwards!
He has created the Dobermann due to his need of a dog breed that would make him feel protected while at the same time provide great companionship!
Friedrich Louis Dobermann was a known tax collector, offal manager, and a part time dog catcher – which means he was legally able to catch all stray dogs! As a tax collector, he had to walk around with lots of money, and generally, deal with money as his day job! He would encounter with threatening burglars, therefore strength and protection were a requirement! And his professional duty is what further empowered his decision to have such a dog by his side!
The first official recognition of the dog started in 1897 in Erfurt when the Doberman entered the show. From then on, being introduced to different dog breeders and owners, many were pleased with the Doberman’s appearance, and the Dobie won a household high position!
The Doberman was first recognized by the AKC in year 1908. And they are admired by their talents: tracking, guarding, military work, watchdog, search and rescue, competitive obedience and therapy work.
During the World War II, the United States Marine Corps had adopted the Dobermann as the official War Dog!
2.1 Pinscher and Schnauzer type Characteristics
Pinscher and Schnauzer belong together despite their different appearances and families!
They are well-known for their versatile utility, as service dogs, police jobs, guarding jobs, and as loving companions!
They have gained wide acclaim among the police for their excellency at performing many required tasks! Their performance is described as delicate, focused and, always with great delivery! They love to perform, and it pushes them to be great dogs at obedience!
The dogs in this group are loyal, playful, intelligent, and affectionate! They have also been noticed to provide assistance to citizens in need! Despite their size, they are very loving towards children and their families!
A lot of the breeds among this group have long coats, while the Doberman Pinscher has one short and easy coat to handle!
Pinschers have originally been developed as ratters to work on farms as well as for guarding and fighting purposes. Nowadays, they are mostly kept as household pets!
The dogs belonging in the Pinscher group are:
• German Pinscher
• Miniature Pinscher
• Austrian Pinscher
• Danish Swedish Farmdog
If you notice your German Shepherd scratching or licking their paws, rubbing their face frequently and continuously, you should start thinking about doing an allergy test and consulting the veterinarian. Three main types of skin allergies are the most common among German Shepherds and they are usually a consequence of:
- Atopic Dermatitis
This is a skin allergy which occurs due to hypersensitivity towards dust, mites and molds. Symptoms that may arise because of this specific allergy are: excessive licking, chewing paws and/or abdomen as well as the rear legs. Additionally, your dog’s ears may become red and if you touch their ears you may feel a lot of heat being released.
Except for their ears, you must also check for other symptoms showing up in their armpits, groin, between their toes, and abdomen. Moreover, changes in skin color which usually resemble deep pink, red or black colors are indications of atopic dermatitis!
- Inhalant Allergy and ‘Cherry Eye‘
This type of allergy usually arises due to inhalation of allergens like dust, pollen, mites, molds or other chemicals. You may notice your dog feeling more itchy around the feet, groin, armpits and abdomen. This allergy is also the main reason for your dog‘s ear infections!
When your dog rubs the abdomen with the outside world, they may come in contact with these allergens. Meanwhile, the ‘Cherry Eye‘ is caused by the inhalation of chemicals, which cause your dog’s eye to become cherry-colored. ‘Cherry Eye’predominantly occurs among puppies!
- Contact Allergy
It may occur after having come in contact with certain allergens, such as flea collars, specific plants, grass, wood, dog shampoo, among others. It is important to consult your vet and undertake the right actions towards finding out the specific allergens causing such reactions in your dog, and subsequently, avoid contact with these factors!
- Food Allergy
Usually, food allergies cause itchy skin and scratchy ears – similar as other allergies – and your dog may also turn to biting and licking their paws, rubbing their faces in the carpet, coughing, diarrhea, flatulence, sneezing, gagging, seizures, ear inflammation, and other discomforting reactions.
The most ordinary food allergens found among dogs are soy products, corn, wheat, chicken, beef, pork, fish, milk, eggs, whey, additives, preservatives, sugar, artificial flavorings – products that are usually found in commercial foods. Therefore, you should consult with your vet and go after identification of allergen ingredients – which may take weeks to find out – then change your dog’s diet accordingly!
The most likely foods to cause allergic reactions in dogs include:
However, if you notice your dog having allergic reactions to one of the above mentioned foods, consider very much possible the rise of allergic reactions to the rest of the listed ingredients!
In dogs, fleas can cause allergy reactions through their saliva, not their ticking. If you cannot detect any fleas in your dog, it is advisable to take your dog to the vet and perform the tick-allergy test which enables determining whether your dog has any fleas! If positive, a routine removal of remaining fleas must be done, and your vet may also prescribe necessary remedies like capsules, sprays or shampoos.
Flea allergy, food allergy, parasitic allergy cause similar symptoms. Check for fleas or other parasites‘ presence as their salivas may be what causes the allergic reaction in your dog!
Flea shampoos, soaps and other dedicated medications have proven helpful in eliminating such skin allergies in dogs! Always remain alert towards your pet dog’s health and behavior!
Famous Dobermann Pinschers
Among the many famous Dobermans throughout the years, below are mentioned some of the most notable and highlighted Dobies, like:
• Rodney – from the movie It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dog, 1946.
• Zeus & Apollo – from the TV Series Magnum Pi, 1980-1988.
• Cerberus – from movie Resident Evil, 2002.
• Tripoli – from movie Eyes of an Angel, 1991.
• The Doberman Gang movie and the next 2 sequels where a pack of 6 Dobermans played.
• Alpha – from the movie UP, 2009.
• Blackie – from the movie Hugo, 2011.
• The pack of Dobermans from the movie Chinese Zodiac, 2012.
Many diverse and notable people of high respect and achievements owned Dobermans throughout the years. And these Dobermans became famous ever since!
A few of them also made their way into appearing in different films, music videos and other interesting activities through their known owners, such as:
• Hunter S. Thompson’s Doberman,
• John F. Kennedy’s,
• Beatrice Arthur,
• Jean-Christoph Novelli,
• Nicolas Cage is known for having a white Doberman,
• Mariah Carey,
• Kevin Hart,
• Forest Whitaker.
They belong to the large category of dogs with a long elegant and muscular body and a long head. Their natural ears are long and have a slight curve at the top, falling back forwards, but usually the Doberman’s ears get cropped in order to stand erect!
Doberman ear cropping is a procedure that almost all Doberman puppies go through while they are still very young – around 7 to maximum 12 weeks old.
The procedure requires anesthesia as well as for the Doberman to not be fed, approximately 12 hours before the surgery. Usually, the whole procedure takes about 30 minutes and the healing takes between 7 to 10 days.
While your Doberman puppy is healing, a rack or a cup must be put on each ear in order to protect from touching and infecting. Also, their ears must be taped to these cups in order to stand erect until completely healed! In this way, after removing the cups the Doberman’s ears will remain erect! There are three styles of ear cropping, depending on your preference – whether you want them longer, shorter or wider.
The whole procedure must be done by an experienced and professional vet, which you can usually find through your breeder, as they do know the best vets around! Many times, you will let your breeder know you want your Doberman’s ears erect and then the procedure will be performed while the puppy is still being kept at his breeder!
Except for aesthetics, cropped ears help your Doberman stay clear of the many recurring inner ear infections that happen to un-cropped ears because of restricted air flow! Another benefit of ear cropping is believed to be the intensifying of their hearing!
Their tails usually undergo a similar procedure, known as duck-short tail! As their natural tails are long and thin, similar to a hound’s, to have it short as is seen in most adult Doberman’s -requires surgery! Surgery performance usually takes place while the puppy is around 7 days old. It is done at such an early time in order to avoid tail nerves from growing, and because the healing will be easier on the youngster puppy!
The primary reason for having their tails ducked is believed to be because of their nature. Being working dogs, all possibilities of attackers getting a hold on these dogs had to be avoided! The grabbing would cause a lot of pain, which would prevent an immediate reaction from the Dobermans!
Also, due to their tails being thin, the possibilities for it to break are quite high. The
Doberman could break their tail by hitting it somewhere, or by getting it caught up in an uncomfortable spot, which would cause severe pain. And, they would suffer from a lot of pain should they have them ducked during adulthood.
Except for giving the Doberman a more elegant look as is thought, tail-ducking is also healthy to be done! Also, infections are more common when their tails are long and thin!
However, tail-ducking procedure has been banned from many European states, such as: Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and Greece. These states believe that the whole ducking procedure causes unnecessary pain to the dog, therefore should be avoided. Also, this is a natural way of how the dog must grow and the tail helps them in having a better balance!
Dewclaw or de-clawing is another surgical procedure that is performed in many dog breeds, in Dobermans also! It has to do with removing the thumbs in the dog‘s forelegs in order to avoid any situations where the dog may get caught up in their thumbs and hurt themselves, or even worse, cause infections in the area. The idea is to remove the thumbs while the puppy is a week old!
Other than the facts mentioned above, the Doberman has a short and shiny coat, usually black with tan markings, which are usually found on their face, body and tail. Although, they do come in other coat colors as well, like: dark red or brown, blue, fawn and more rarely white (albino) Dobermans.
Their coats are short and shiny, typically in the colors of black with rust markings or brown/reddish with lighter rust markings. Other colors that vary between Doberman coats are fawn and blue with even lighter markings, although these colors are more rare among the breed!
The Doberman rust markings usually appear on their muzzles, above their eyes, in their throats, front of chest, beneath their tails as well as on their legs and feet.
Whereas, white markings are not acceptable in the Doberman breed, except for a small white patch which may be found on the chest. If your Doberman is white or if there are more than this small white marking found in your Dobie, it will be a disqualifying fault. Although, in some clubs even all white Dobermans and Dobermans with white markings, are accepted!
Height, Weight and Life Span
Their weight and height varies, especially between male and female dogs, but on average they are:
Male Weight: 30-40 kg
Female Weight: 30-40 kg
Male Height: 66–71 cm
Female Height: 60-66 cm
Life Span: 10 to 12 years
Descended from Terriers, and they are listed as one of the most dangerous dogs in the world! They were bred to be tough! They are superior watchdogs and they are different in 4 characteristics: athletic body, wedge-shaped head, mighty bite, multiple scissor-type bite, cropped ears and duck-tail!
Today they are being bred to have a less aggressive temperament, falling more on the gentle side, although, they still struggle with their reputation!
Dobermans are people-oriented, and affectionate dog – even more so, when socialized and trained properly!
They are generally good with children, especially if they are raised with them!
They are the type of dogs that usually bond the best with one person only! And, they need to feel the position in the pack, therefore, the owner must project the assertive, leader energy at all times!
Being characterized by high intelligence and obedience levels, they do great in training to become police dogs, guardian dogs, search and rescue!
Dobermans can do in apartments, only and if only, properly exercised. Dobes enjoy living in an average-sized backyard, but they are not made to stay outside the whole time as they are very sensitive to climate conditions, especially coldness! You need to bring them indoors!
Bringing them indoors is not a burden with Dobes, as they do not shed a lot, and they also have a low drooling tendency!
Socialize them when they’re young and they will be extremely loyal and lovable dog towards family, children and household pets!
Although Dobermans are generally healthy, provided they have been bred by a trustworthy breeder – yet, they may suffer from several health conditions, such as:
• Cervical Spondylitis, also known as the Wobbler Syndrome
• Bleeding Disorder, also known as the Von Willebrands Disease
Other health problems include:
• Skin Issues
• Hip Dysplasia
• Congenital Heart Defects
Cervical Spondylitis or The Wobbler Syndrome
Cervical vertebral instability or cervical spondylosis is also commonly referred to as The Wobbler Syndrome, which is a disorder of the degeneration of the cervical spine, cartilage and bones of the neck. It is an instability in the intervertebral disks in the neck area. It is believed to be a genetically inherited disorder and it may occur in any dog breed, but more often in large-sized dog breeds, although not completely absent in younger dogs!
The disorder is known to cause severe neck pain as well as affect the dog’s overall mobility! Surgery may work well on such cases.
Obesity in later years
Just like in humans, obesity can occur in dogs, too. As you probably know, it refers to the accumulation of body fat, leading to excess body weight. Many other health problems may arise if your dog is overweight or obese! The dog automatically puts more stress on joints, heart, liver, lungs, kidneys which may cause earlier problems or failures of the organs mentioned. And, they will also not feel light and ready for exercise – as their energy will obviously be lower!
Dogs are considered to be obese when their body weight surpasses by 20% their ideal body weight!
Bleeding Disorder or Von Willebrand’s disease
Is also known as the Von Willebrand disease and it is usually an inherited bleeding disorder in dogs. It is an abnormal blood-clotting system which means the blood doesn’t clot normally and your dog bleeds longer than others after a cut or an injury. Internal bleeding is also possible in such cases!
Some dogs, although resulted positive in carrying the disease, still do not have any problems, whereas for others it may be a huge problem.
The biggest problem that you may face if your dog is with the disease is the hardships of undergoing surgical procedures, as VWD can lead to bleeding, which may also, unfortunately, lead to death!
This is an inherited condition, which occurs when the femur does not fit in the pelvic socket of the hip joint. It mostly occurs in large dogs, and the signs and symptoms in some dogs may not even show. X-ray screenings are the best way to find out if your German Shepherd is suffering from hip dysplasia. If your dog suffers from it, it is advised to not breed as it is an inherited disease!
Gastric Dilatation volvulus – Bloat
Or otherwise known as Bloat, is a life-threatening condition which affects large dogs with deep chests. The condition may develop if your dog is fed only one but large meal per day, eats fast, drinks large volumes of water right after eating, or exercises strenuously after eating.
Bloat causes filling of the stomach with air or gas and it can turn fatal if the dog twists. As it is impossible to throw-up air, it will continue to cause problems with blood circulation and the heart, which may further lead to shock. If you cannot react immediately, your dog may even die! Be mindful towards your dog’s behavior! If you notice a swollen abdomen in your dog, or if drooling is excessive, tries to throw up without actually throwing up or he seems restless, weak,
depressed, and has a rapid heart rate – you should take your dog to the vet for a quick check up!
Congenital Heart Defects
This disease occurs when there is a congenital (from birth) defect where the result of blood shunting’s volume turns to an overload of the pulmonary arteries and veins, especially the left side of the heart!
Skin problems in Dobermans mostly arise due to dry skin, although there are also a variety of genetic problems which may affect the skin. Most of the skin issues respond well to medication, still, taking your dog to the vet is the best way to handle the situation as many problems could be causing skin reactions in your dog, such as:
• Canine Acne
• Color Dilution Allopecia
*Note: There is a number of albino Doberman Pinschers, caused by a specific gene producing white Dobermans. There are controversial beliefs, whether this gene causes other health issues in the dogs, and there is still no confirmed news upon the matter!
Exercising your Doberman should start from the early age. You may start with obedience training in order to set your role within the pack, and maintain the leadership!
Dobermans are strong characters, intelligent and energetic, therefore they need a strong leader in order to understand their role in the pack!
If not trained, they will start showing undesired behavior!
They should not be trained to guard as they are natural guardians, and training more in that aspect may turn them into over-guarding and aggression.
They need a lot of exercise in order to prevent irritability and aggressiveness. They can live in apartments, too – if properly exercised.
Due to their high energy and intelligence levels, they require daily exercises and mental challenges for at least 40 minutes daily – which is the least!
Being known as the best dogs in obedience training, they are surely one of the easiest dogs to train! Without a doubt, they learn new commands and tricks very quickly!
Having also been bred to work, they are undoubtedly intelligent, which also contributes to their quick-wit and learning – as mentioned above, since they have been bred to work!
In order to achieve great and fast success with your Doberman in training, you are expected to provide a nice and bonding relationship with your Dobie. Aggressive and harsh training will not work with these dogs, just like with most other dogs!
Make reward and non-violent training your focus as Dobermans are highly motivated students, eager to learn and please!
The recommended daily amount of food for your adult Doberman varies from 2.5 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food, which should further be divided into two meals daily.
It is recommended to feed your Doberman 2.5 to 3.5 cups of high-quality dry dog food daily, which you should divide into two meals. Your dog’s meals should be given at regular times as dogs love routine! Concerning your Doberman puppy, you will have the chance to consult with your breeder in order to understand in detail how often to feed your newly adopted puppy and the amount you should give within a day!
Depending on the discussions you have with the breeder and the vet, you should be able to determine what exactly to feed your dog as well as the exact amounts! It is good to add raw fruits and vegetables to their diet, from time to time! Although, you must consult your vet regarding this issue, in order to understand specific fruits and vegetables that are allowed to be included in your dog’s diet!
Other than that, be careful and avoid overfeeding at any cost. You may influence health problems in your dog if not careful! Do not leave food in their bowl the whole time! Their joints are vulnerable until a certain age either way, so do not increase the pressure by unnecessary extra pounds!
As Dobermans grow rapidly during the first four to seven months, you must be careful regarding feeding and exercising as they are highly vulnerable to developing bone disorders. During these specific months, balancing protein and fat intake is a great idea in order to prevent a very rapid growth that can result damaging for them!
*Sidenote: The amount of food your adult German Shepherd eats also depends on the activity level they engage in, their metabolism, age and built!
If you notice any excessive weight in your Doberman, you should attend quickly to the matter! You need to keep your Doberman fit and in good shape in order to avoid health problems and mood problems that may arise due to their lowering of energy levels!
Doberman Pinscher’s coats are short and thin. They do not have an undercoat, except in the area around their neck.
Their coat colors vary between black, red/brown, blue, and fawn. They also have markings above the eyes, throat, chest, muzzle as well as on their feet and legs.
Having a short coat, they do not require a lot of grooming and what’s even better is that they do not shed a lot!
It is highly recommended that you brush your dog’s coat often in order to avoid excessive shedding as well as coat matting. You should commit to brushing at least once a week.
Their teeth need to get brushed two to three times a week, at the least – in order to remove tartar and other bacteria. If you can commit to daily teeth brushing, you will prevent a lot of teeth problems and gum diseases, as well as bad breath odor!
Their nails should also get regular trimming – once or twice a month depending on their growing pace. Also, dogs tend to wear them out naturally, but it is recommended to check from time to time in case trimming is needed. It is best to start trimming your dog’s nails at an early age so that they get familiar with the procedures and do not cause problems when the time comes. If you are inexperienced in trimming dog’s nails, ask for help from your vet and ask for a good pair of pointers to prevent hurting or causing your dog to bleed!
Their ears require regular checking for possible infections. Infection symptoms include redness and bad odor. It is a good idea to clean your dog’s outer ears with a dampened cotton ball from time to time.
Always, when grooming your dog, be mindful towards any noticeable rashes, sores, redness, tenderness, inflammation of mouth, nose, skin, eyes, and feet. Also, check their eyes for redness or discharge!
*Note: Their thin coat and skin makes them extremely vulnerable to cold weather – so, keep in mind to put a coat on your Dobie whenever it is cold outside as they are overly sensitive!
• Dobies need plenty of exercise in order to release their excessive energy.
• They are very protective dogs, perfect for taking over the guardian role.
• If you are not assertive and strong enough to maintain your position as a pack leader, the Doberman will assume it is up to him to take over the leading role within the pack.
• The Doberman is very sensitive to cold weather! You should remember to put a dog-jacket on your Dobie as well as to keep them inside during the night and cold weathers, always.
• Another reason why to keep them inside is that they cannot go on for long periods, without being included in the family’s activities and the bonding/connection!
• Their reputation is against their lovable nature! Everybody will be afraid of your Dobie on the first sight!
• Always get your Dobie from a reputable breeder who performs the necessary tests for possible inherited genetic health problems and temperament!
Facts & Stories
There are many Doberman heroic stories, old and new! The ones mentioned below are older than some, but yet, never cease to give a lot of pride to Doberman owners!
As they are bred as working, guarding and reasons, they have put these traits to great use even during the hardest of times. And their courage and fearlessness has saved many soldiers‘ lives!
Andy – the savior Doberman: During the US and Japanese conflicts, Andy was a trustworthy dog among the Marines. The Marines had a lot of faith on Andy’s ability to spot danger and threats out there in the fields.
Andy had previously led the Raiders inland and he became extremely famous for his abilities as well as his elegant way of holding himself and for his behavior with the other dogs!
That is why the Marines completely started relying on Andy to seek out the enemy’s strong points. Therefore, Andy, accompanied by his two handlers, moved beyond and into the enemy lines.
After a short walk, Andy had spotted two machine gun nests on both sides, and immediately stopped to alert his handlers! In this way the handlers understood the location and the position of the Japanese soldiers, which enabled them to start and end the attack successfully.
This made the way for the rest of the US army sector to move forward! And also, Andy saved many lives for which he is appreciated to this day!
Otto: Another astounding scout dog during the Japanese and US war, was the four year old Doberman, known as Otto.
Otto worked ahead of a reconnaissance patrol, and he warned the Marines about the position and location of the Japanese machine guns, which was not so far away! The threat was close by and it was going to be unnoticed if it wasn’t for Otto! His warning gave enough time to the Marines to react and take over before the Japanese machine guns opened fire!
Rex: Rex is another 2 year old Doberman dog present during the fight between a group of Marines and Japanese soldiers. He has alerted the Marines about the presence of Japanese soldiers moving forward during the night. The Marines, being ready for action, immediately reacted to Rex’s alert and dismissed the enemy’s attack successfully!
Rex’s handlers were the most proud Marines, for a long time to come!
Sources & other informations:
This video shows great obedience and training skills of the Doberman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEQBkktknLc (itzDeaMan)