Of all the negative stereotypes associated with the Doberman Pinscher, there seems to be one that even some owners and breeders believe: that these dogs shed a lot.
This is one of the many reasons people use to justify the fact that they don’t own a Doberman or that their neighbour’s dog isn’t welcome in their house.
The truth is, there are many misconceptions regarding the grooming needs and shedding patterns of this breed. That’s why we’d like to take some time today to answer one of the most pressing questions regarding these dogs.
Do Dobermans Shed?
Yes, Dobermans are moderate shedders. They can be great dogs for those of you who lead busy lives and don’t want to spend a lot of time dealing with your dog’s hair.
Dobermans shed slightly throughout the year, with minimal seasonal variation in shedding. Doberman furs will be about 1/4-1/2 inches long, and the furs will be soft, not coarse.
Generally, this is not enough reason for owners to give up caring for Dobermans because grooming is not particularly time-consuming or difficult. Grooming your Doberman will ensure that he looks and feels great and that his shedding is kept to a minimum.
Let’s talk about the various ways you can groom your Doberman and why these practices are essential for this breed.
Grooming Your Dobermans
Dobermans are large muscular dogs with short, shiny coats and a distinctive black and brown pattern. They are maligned as the “velcro dog,” for their adherence to their owners, but they are also described as “standoffish.”
These characterisations speak to the fact that Doberman Pinschers need frequent companionship and touch. They crave attention and affection, and they will demand it through various displays of physical and vocal behaviours.
This means that if you want your Doberman to have a healthy relationship with you, you will need to groom it regularly. Not only does grooming provide an opportunity to touch your dog, but it also helps to establish consistency and predictability in relations between dog and owner.
Because Dobermans are single-coated, they don’t cause as much cleaning and vacuuming as their double-coated counterparts.
Their coat needs very little grooming compared to most breeds but does require some attention. The Doberman’s coat should always feel nice and smooth, not coarse. If it becomes course, your dog is lacking in nutrition.
Here are the most critical grooming skills you should know about grooming your Doberman:
Brushing your Doberman is an integral part of regular grooming. Not only will it keep your dog’s fur looking good and distribute natural oils evenly through his coat, but it will also stimulate blood flow in the skin and help to keep your Doberman’s skin healthy.
Brush your dog at least once a week outside to avoid bringing all that dog fur into your house. Daily brushing is also acceptable, but you’ll need to pay special attention to the areas where mats tend to form: under the collar, below the shoulder blades, and behind his ears.
Choose the correct brush for your Doberman’s coat. A curry brush or a rubber grooming mitt with short or medium-length nibs will do the job for most dogs.
Follow these steps to brush your Doberman:
- Start with a curry brush or grooming mitt.
- Comb your Doberman’s coat with the brush, using long strokes. Start at the base of the tail and brush forward towards the withers, then brush towards the muzzle.
- Use a de-shedding tool or traditional dog grooming brush to remove any stubborn mats, using short strokes in the direction of fur growth.
- Pay special attention to areas where mats form: under the collar, below the shoulder blades, and behind the ears.
If there are any mats that you can’t get out with a grooming tool, take your dog to a professional groomer.
Dobermans can go a long time without bathing, but it is best to bathe them at least once every 6-8 weeks.
How often you should bathe your Doberman will depend on their activity and the climate they live in.
Dogs with short coats (like Dobermans) do not need to be bathed as often as those with long coats, and more active dogs will need a bath more frequently than lazier ones.
To bathe your dog successfully, follow these steps:
- Comb out all mats in the coat before bathing to make it easier on you and your dog. You can use a mat breaker on stubborn mats.
- Gather all supplies you’ll need before starting: shampoo, towels, and a bristle brush.
- Wet down your dog with lukewarm water, making sure not to get the face wet.
- Apply shampoo starting at the back of the neck and working back, lathering the coat to the tail.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water, dampening the coat again to eliminate any soap residue.
- Use the bristle brush to fluff up the coat while drying, starting at the back and working to the front.
- Once the dog is dry, comb through the coat to ensure there are no tangles. If you find any, don’t attempt to brush them out; take your dog to a professional groomer.
- Finally, use a spray conditioner if the coat feels dry.
Use a Formulated Dog Shampoo
Do not use human shampoo on your Doberman, no matter how tempting it might be. Human shampoos are pH balanced for humans’ skin and hair. Dog skin and coats are different, so only use products formulated for dogs.
Since Dobermans have sensitive skin, you’ll want to use a shampoo that’s gentle on your dog’s skin. Look for shampoos labelled “for dogs with sensitive skin” or “pH balanced for dogs.”
Never use chemical-based flea and tick shampoos on your Doberman. These products, especially those containing pesticides, can be deadly if ingested.
Also, we recommend not using anti-shed formula dog shampoos on Dobermans, especially if they already groom themselves frequently.
The goal of anti-shed shampoos is to reduce the amount of dog fur your dog is shedding, but since Dobermans don’t have a double coat, it’s pointless to use one.
Instead, opt for a formula with oatmeal extract or aloe vera extract. Both help soothe itchy and irritated skin, which Dobermans often suffer from.
Feeding Your Dog Supplements
If your Doberman is on a special diet, such as one that’s low in legumes and peas, you may need to supplement the nutrients they’re missing with a dog food supplement.
The most popular supplements for Dobermans are Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, which promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.
Just as with a dog shampoo, never use a human Omega-3 supplement on your Doberman. If the label doesn’t say “formulated for dogs,” it’s not safe to use.
Also, look for Omega-3 supplements containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); these are the most important Omega-3 fatty acids for promoting healthy skin and a shiny coat.
If your Doberman has dry, flaky skin, you may want to supplement their diet with an Omega-6 fatty acid (like borage seed oil).
Omega-3 and -6 supplements are most effective when given to your dog in capsule form, but liquid supplements are an option for dogs who won’t eat the capsules.
Look for a supplement that contains a blend of Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.
Are Dobermans Hypoallergenic?
No, Dobermans aren’t hypoallergenic. If you’re looking to buy a dog that will not cause allergies, a Doberman may not be the best choice.
Though Dobermans have relatively low allergenic properties, they are not completely hypoallergenic. This means that having a Doberman may still cause allergies, though possibly fewer than other breeds.
If you are hoping to get a Doberman, there are ways that you can groom your dog to reduce allergic triggers:
- Brush Your Dog Regularly – Brushing your Doberman regularly removes dead skin cells and other allergens that can trigger an allergic response.
- Trim Nails Frequently – Longer nails can tear and break, leading to bleeding and spreading allergens. It’s essential to keep your dog’s nails short for this reason.
- Bath Your Dog Only as Needed – Frequent bathing can strip away your dog’s natural oils and cause dry, flaky skin. If your dog does not regularly get dirty, you may not need to bathe it regularly.
- Exercise Your Dog Regularly – Dobermans, like all dogs, enjoy exercise. Get your dog moving to promote the release of natural oils that keep its skin healthy. Plenty of exercise help circulation and will improve your dog’s coat condition.
- Diet can also affect allergies. If you think your Doberman’s diet is causing allergies, switching to a more hypoallergenic dog food may help. Adding a spoonful of olive oil to meals will provide your dog with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce shedding and improve skin conditions.
As with all things, the best way to avoid allergies is prevention. Make sure your Doberman has regular veterinary checkups and up-to-date vaccinations.
The Bottom Line
Dobermans shed minimally year-round. This means less vacuuming and dusting, so they make a great house pet. However, brush the Doberman Pinscher two to three times a week to control loose fur and minimise cleanup.
Bathe your Doberman only when necessary and use a dog shampoo formulated for coat and skin health. You can also use dry dog shampoo occasionally to minimise the bathing frequency.
Dobermans are considered average shedders, so do not expect to see enormous clumps of fur covering your furniture and carpets. Most Doberman owners cope with the issue just fine by using routine habits, like brushing and grooming.
If you’re still concerned about shedding, it is best to talk with a Doberman breeder and your family doctor. They can help you decide if the Doberman is right for you and recommend shedding solutions.