The average lifespan of a Doberman is between 10 and 13 years. Of course, their life expectancy is dependent on various factors including health risks, diet, and exercise but when well-taken care of, this large breed can meet their average life expectancy.
Most Dobie parents worry that this breed may have a shorter life expectancy compared to other dogs because of its size. However, according to an official UK survey on Doberman life expectancy, the average lifespan is 9-11 years with the oldest living to 16 ½ years. Many Dobie parents report an average lifespan of 9 years.
Their life expectancy also varies between males and females with males living to an average of 10 years and females living up to 8-9 years. Compared to other dogs, this can seem like a short lifespan, but for a dog as large as a Dobie, it is a long time.
Statistically, purebred Dobermans have shorter lifespans because of the risks associated with inbreeding. Dobies that are closely linked often suffer from genetic health conditions that significantly reduce their lifespans.
Mixed breeds enjoy longer lifespans than purebreds as a result of diverse breeding. However, it is important to have a DNA test performed to determine your dog’s genetic make-up.
Common Doberman Health Issues
The Doberman, being a deep-chested dog, faces an increased risk for bloat and other severe health conditions that impact their lifespan. Their large size also means that they generally have a shorter lifespan than their smaller relatives.
Other diseases that affect Dobermans include:
Von Willebrand’s Disease
This is an incurable condition prevalent in Dobies. This scary disorder is genetic and causes difficulty in blood clotting. Minor cuts and abrasions instantly become life-threatening. Dobies suffering from Von Willebrand’s Disease may also experience spontaneous bleeding from the oral and nasal cavities.
If your Dobie suffers from Von Willebrand’s disease, you will need to take extra care of them to minimize injuries.
As earlier mentioned, Dobermans are deep-chested which increases their risk of experiencing bloat. This disease causes a build-up of gas and fluid in the stomach cutting off the blood supply to their digestive system as well as the flow of blood back to the heart.
Cutting off the blood flow causes the death of cells, releasing toxins into the bloodstream. Bloat is fatal due to its sudden onset therefore it is important to learn the symptoms so you can spot it early and get your pooch treated as soon as possible.
Chronic hepatitis is a progressive condition that causes inflammation of the liver, eventually leading to severe damage and eventual destruction. This disease significantly reduces the lifespan of a Doberman.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DMC)
DMC is a serious condition in large dog breeds that targets their heart muscles. The disease causes the heart to enlarge, stretching and weakening its muscles. The stretching reduces the heart’s ability to contract properly and pump enough blood to oxygenate the dog’s body tissues.
Considered a silent disease, DMC results in poor oxygenation preventing organs from performing sufficiently and eventually leading to fluid accumulation in the lungs and abdomen. Some signs and symptoms of DMC include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Weight Loss
- Abdominal swelling
- Intolerance to exercise
Early diagnosis is critical in treating DMC, so observe your Dobie keenly and take them to the vet if you notice any of the above symptoms.
Wobbler Syndrome affects the cervical vertebrae causing severe chronic degenerative disorders that affect the intervertebral and vertebral discs of the spine. The disease also causes excessive compression on the spine and the nerves in the neck.
Larger dogs such as the Doberman, account for over 50% of Wobbler syndrome cases. Genetic predisposition appears to be the main risk factor for this disease however, it can also occur as a result of a significant impact on the cervical region.
While Wobbler syndrome is often hard to notice in its early stages, watch out for symptoms such as cautious steps, wobbly walking, difficulty in moving, and frequent loss of balance. The silent neurological disorder can be managed for up to 4 years depending on its severity when diagnosed.
Hip Dysplasia also called Coxofemoral Dysplasia is a common degenerative disease in large dogs. The condition develops from hereditary malformation of the bone structure between the femur and pelvic bone.
This disease can also be caused by a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Hip Dysplasia causes intense pain and can lead to lameness. If your Doberman is affected by this disease they will have difficulty participating in common activities such as climbing the stairs, sitting, or walking.
Advanced hip dysplasia often causes complete incapacitation. Although Dobermans do not commonly suffer from this disease, it is important to be aware of its symptoms. Watch out for:
- Excessive fatigue
- Disinterest in playing, training, and exercising
- Muscle rigidity
- Rigid hind legs
If you notice any of these symptoms, see a vet immediately.
The above medical conditions can significantly affect a Doberman’s lifespan. However, when detected and treated early, it is possible to effectively manage them and extend your Dobie’s lifespan. As a pet parent, it is up to you to spot symptoms early and seek medical attention.
You can also research Doberman health and care to find out more about how you can keep your pooch healthy and positively impact their lifespan. Check out a few tips below.
How to Keep Your Doberman Healthy
Once you understand the factors that can affect and even shorten the lifespan of your Dobie, it is also critical to learn how you can keep them healthy and increase their lifespan. Any reasonable pet parent understands that dogs need a basic care routine. This includes plenty of exercise, regular visits to the vet, and good hygiene.
While there is no guarantee that you can keep your Dobie alive longer, here are a few tips to promote good health and improve their chances of a longer lifespan.
Feed them Top Quality Food
A balanced, nutritious diet ensures your Doberman is in good health and significantly impacts their lifespan. As a puppy, meeting their daily nutritional needs goes a long way in ensuring your pooch develops correctly.
If you are a new Dobie parent who is unsure of their nutritional requirements, consider visiting a vet to get a diet plan suitable for your dog. Creating a diet plan that meets all their dietary needs ensures your young pup is well-equipped to meet all their growth milestones.
Although Doberman’s eat fewer calories than other dogs, they do require a rich diet to meet their nutritional needs. As a general rule, protein should make up the bulk of every meal. Consult the veterinarian about how much protein your Dobie needs as consuming too much of it can aggravate renal diseases.
Include healthy fats such as Omega-3 to ensure their coats remain healthy and shiny. As a result of their active nature, Dobermans also need a boost in their sugar levels to ensure they do not suffer from hypoglycemia.
Adding complex carbs to their diet ensures they have steady sugar levels throughout the day. Avoid simple sugars that can cause their glucose levels to rise and fluctuate unevenly.
It is also important to regulate the amount of food you feed your Doberman. Overfeeding your Dobie can lead to obesity which can shorten their lifespan. Ensure you give them enough food but don’t overfeed them to improve their life expectancy.
Avoid foods that cause allergies in Dobermans such as chicken, pork, soy, rabbit, dairy, and corn.
Get Your Doberman From a Reputable Breeder
You can help your Doberman live longer by getting them from a reputable breeder. Some genetic health conditions, as outlined above can be avoided with ethical breeding practices.
Before Dobermans are used for breeding the Canine Health Information Center recommends screening for genetically predisposed conditions such as:
- Von Willebrand’s
- Hip dysplasia
- Autoimmune thyroiditis
- Heart disease
While some hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia may not be fatal, they can significantly diminish a Doberman’s quality of life and even negatively impact their lifespan.
Choosing a reputable breeder ensures you have all the information about your pup and reduces the risk of passing on hereditary diseases to any pups in future. A reputable breeder will also have all the relevant documents to prove health evaluations.
Buying your Doberman from a reputable breeder helps you give your pooch a chance at a long, healthy life.
Sufficient Exercise and Proper Grooming
Doberman’s are athletic dogs that thrive with plenty of exercise. These dogs are considered a working breed and sufficient exercise help them stay healthy both physically and mentally giving them a chance at a longer lifespan.
Exercises such as resistance training can help your Dobie build muscle. Consider incorporating swimming, running up hills, running in sand, and agility training into their routine to help your pooch build their chest area and build muscle.
Sufficient exercise combined with a healthy diet keeps your dog strong and plays a big role in improving their life expectancy.
While Dobies do not require much grooming, all dogs benefit from proper grooming. Check their coat regularly to catch any skin infections or irritations early. Ensure you do not neglect their oral hygiene and brush their teeth once a week.
Regular Medical Checkups
Dobermans are one of the low maintenance canine breeds. However, as earlier discussed they have a propensity for genetic diseases such as hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand’s and Wobblers Syndrome.
This breed does not require more regular checkups than other breeds, but it is predisposed to developing certain conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and others. If caught early, these conditions can be managed to significantly extend their lifespan. It is important to schedule regular medical checkups to keep an eye on their health.
If from previous visits to the vet, your Dobie is proven to have any genetic mutations that make them susceptible to developing illnesses, then you may need to schedule a few extra appointments to give them a chance at a longer life.
The Bottom Line
The Doberman is a tough but affectionate dog. Unlike their predecessors, the newer generations are gentle, obedient, and bond closely with their families so, understandably, you would want to give them a chance to live a long, healthy life.
Studies show that with plenty of exercise, a quality diet, and medical care, you can extend the lifespan of your Doberman. However, 9-11 years is still an impressive lifespan for a dog, and if you give them a good life and lots of love and care, you might just help your Dobie live longer.