Dobermans were bred relatively recently. In the late 1800s, a tax collector named Louis Dobermann hoped to create a dog to help him with his job. Because he often had to travel through bandit-infested areas with large amounts of cash, he decided to breed a dog that was strong, intelligent, loyal, and fierce. A number of different breeds were brought in to achieve Dobermann’s aims, including Greyhounds, German Pinchers, Rottweilers, and Manchester Terriers. After Dobermann passed away, Germans named his breed of dog for him.
Today, the breed’s intelligence makes them a popular choice in many working environments. They are commonly used in police and military work, search and rescue, guarding, and competitive obedience. Although they have a reputation for being aggressive, the breed is actually quite suitable for therapy work. While they are not as popular in families as many other breeds, owners who are able to put themselves in the position of pack leader find Dobermans to be wonderful pets.
Dobermans are of a medium height and quite slender. They usually stand between 66 and 72 centimetres and weigh between 35 and 45 kilograms. The breed is obviously built for speed, having a very streamlined appearance. Their heads are long and their ears may be cropped or uncropped. If left to grow naturally, their ears will flop over, much like a hound’s will. When left undocked, a Doberman’s tail will grow quite long and will be held in a curl.
The Doberman’s coat is short, hard, and thick. This coat may be all black, black with tan markings, red, faun, blue-gray, and white. Opinions on whether white markings are a fault or not are mixed among different clubs. Expect only an average amount of shedding with this breed and don’t worry too much about grooming.
The reputation this breed has for being needlessly aggressive is not deserved. Dobermans are actually very loyal and love to be around people. They become very attached to their families and do not do well when left alone in a kennel or a back yard. They are extremely energetic and need lots of exercise to work off their extra steam. These dogs are quite intelligent and are not difficult to train.
Like many other breeds, Dobermans are happiest when their owners are able to maintain the position as pack leader. A well trained, properly socialized Doberman will never be needlessly aggressive. However, if you intend to do their owner harm, you can expect that they will do everything in their power to stop you. This breed does tend to be suspicious of strangers and may attack if your intentions are less than pure.
Sadly, there are a number of diseases this breed is prone to. Among them are hip dysplasia, congenital heart defects, cervical spondylitis, and skin defects. Despite their heightened chances of becoming ill, they do have an average lifespan of ten to fourteen years.
Dobermans are somewhat likely to be aggressive towards other dogs, but just like many other negative traits this can be avoided if they are socialized properly at a young age. Training for this breed must continue throughout their lives. Dedicated and patient owners who put in the time will find themselves rewarded with an intelligent and loyal dog.