The Doberman is the canine version of Frankenstein's monster. A mismatch of physical traits and behaviors, the Doberman has been designed as an elite guard dog. This doesn't mean they are dangerous, however. Training and socialization makes these guys a loyal and friendly companion.
Where I'm From
In the late 19th century a tax collector and dogcatcher from Apolda, Germany, named Herr Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, was determined to breed the perfect guard dog. Bandits would often try and steal the tax money he kept, so Dobermann set out to create a guard dog that would deter any would-be thief.
His second job as a dogcatcher gave him access to a range of dogs, all with varying traits. As Dobermann did not keep any records, it is impossible to tell exactly what breeds contributed to his initial attempts, although the German Pinscher and a butcher dog (thought to be similar to the Rottweiler’s predecessor) are speculated. Otto Goeller was a dog breeder of the time and a friend of Dobermann. He claims that A German Shepherd and Great Dane were also used.
Dobermann’s death in 1894 dispelled any hopes of finding out exactly what gene pools led to the modern day breed. Although, later records indicate that Greyhound was also introduced into the mix.
Goeller and another breeder, Philip Gruening, continued the cultivation of the Doberman into the early 20th century.
During the First World War, the breed was almost eradicated due to the inability for starving owners to feed their pets. The breed survived through wealthy owners who could feed their pets, and migrators who fled Europe for the stability of the United States. The Doberman’s German population took another hit during the second World Word, whilst being bred and used by the US army.
What I Look Like
The Doberman’s look reflects the convoluted nature of its heritage. You can see traits of various breeds without being certain of any one. Without knowing it’s history, you would say that it is crossed between a Rottweiler and a Greyhound, and you wouldn’t be that far off. Throw the silky coat of a German Pinscher increase its size with a bit of Great Dane, and you’ve got the modern day Doberman.
Overall it’s look reflects the intentions set out to breed the perfect dog. Athletic, strong, fast with a protective temperament.
As is the case with many other European breeds, the popular variety of Doberman is primarily black with brown highlights. There are however a few different colours that go under the radar. Red Dobermans are the next most popular with Blue Dobermans and Fawn Dobermans being seen much less often.
It was once common to see a Doberman with cropped ears and a docked tail however depending on where you live, this might becoming a sight seen less often. These procedures have been outlawed in many countries to varying degrees.
How I Act
Dobermans are known to be extremely loyal companions. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not vicious dogs. These guys can be real softies given they receive proper training and attention from their owners.
Raised as guard dogs, Dobermans can become defensive against people they are not familiar with. They are not attack dogs, but their high-energy nature and large size make Dobermans not suitable for young children.
These dogs crave companionship and love being around people. This is why it is important they are exposed to socialization from a very young age. Getting them used to interacting with people and other dogs will ensure that they will always remain a calm and happy pet.
Dobermans need to feel like they are part of a cohesive family unit. Frequent conflict in the home may negatively affect their behavior. These dogs need to live in an environment without tension or stress to avoid them become anxious and disruptive.
It is important to have a sense of consistency when owning a Doberman. It takes them time to adjust to new places and environments. Therefore, they are not ideal pets for families who move frequently.
Because they are very intelligent dogs, Dobermans are known to become easily bored, and need constant attention and stimulation. These guys are not a good fit for people who are not home all day, or are repeatedly away on holiday.
Looking After Me
Exercise is they key to prevent Dobermans from becoming restless and anxious. Dobermans who are not frequently taken out for walks will bark excessively and even destroy property. It is important to dedicate at least 30min every day to exercising them.
These guys love the outdoors and they are perfect exercise buddies. Varied activities such as running, hiking and obstacle jumping help them stay active and prevents boredom.
A spacious yard is needed to house these dogs. Keeping them inside a small yard or flat will have negative effects on their mood. Dobermans are excellent jumpers. So it is important they are contained by a fence that is at least five feet high.
Most importantly, Dobermans should not be kept isolated. They naturally crave company, and can develop separation anxiety if they find themselves alone for long periods of time.
When it comes to training, Dobermans should be taught to socialize early on. They are very obedient, so getting them to learn simple commands is usually an easy task.
You should make sure they eat twice a day. Feeding them high-quality products from reputable brands will ensure your pet stays healthy. Using a raised bowl is recommended in order to avoid back and neck injuries. This also helps their digestion and prevents bloat – which may lead to more serious medical complications.
Dobermans are generally healthy dogs. However, they are prone to develop anxiety and neurosis if they are not properly looked after. Other health issues related to this breed include hip dyslexia, Von Willebrand’s disease, hyroid disease, and eye and heart problems.
Am I the pet for you?
- Doberman Pinschers are extremely loyal and protective pets.
- If you enjoy outdoors activities, these dogs are ideal exercise companions.
- They are great and loving family members in homes with access to space.
- If they do not receive enough attention and care, Dobermans become disruptive.
- They struggle to adapt to change. They are not a good choice for people who are planning to move houses.
- Because of their energetic personality, it is not always a good idea to keep them around young children.
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