- Breed group – Working group (American Kennel Club)
- Height – 26 to 28 inches (male), 24 to 26 inches (female)
- Weight – 70 to 100 pounds (male), 60 to 90 pounds (female)
- Coat length & texture – Smooth, short, and thick
- Coat color – Black, red, blue, and fawn. Rust should appear sharply defined above both eyes and on the dog’s muzzle, throat, forechest, and all four legs and feet. White patches may occur on the chest.
- Exercise needs – Regular
- Intelligence – High intelligence
- Barking – Moderate
- Life span – 10 to 12 years
- Temperament – Loyal, brave, watchful, and smart
- Hypoallergenic – No
- Origin – Germany
Doberman pinscher fun facts
- Named after Louis Dobermann, a native of Apolda, Germany, whose breeding experiments are considered instrumental in the Doberman pinscher’s development.
- These large dogs are often gentle giants and can be loving, good with kids, and playful.
- Orval Kellerman, the “dog man” in the movie Rambo starring Sylvester Stallone, had three Dobermans.
Doberman temperament and characteristics
Doberman pinschers are known for their unconditional love and bravery, so they’re often considered ideal guard dogs. But they’re also very playful and love physical activity. Long walks with their families and games of fetch are right up this breed’s alley.
Dobermans are loyal to the people in their household, so they make good family dogs. They tend to get along well with young kids but may or may not readily accept another animal in the home. Reputable breeders, shelters, or rescue groups will likely schedule a time with your current pet(s) and the prospective Doberman to make sure it’s a good fit. They can also provide insights on how the specific dog you are looking at gets along with cats. Though Dobermans are watchful and protective, they are usually friendly towards house guests and strangers.
Common Doberman health problems
Doberman pinschers usually live happy, healthy lives that last about 10 to 12 years. However, the breed is susceptible to certain conditions, including bloat and seizures. Knowing what to look for can help ensure your best friend gets the best, quickest care possible if a health problem arises.
- DCM. Large breeds like Dobermans are predisposed to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This heart condition occurs when the heart muscles stretch, weaken, and cannot adequately pump blood to the rest of the body.
- Canine acne. People aren’t the only ones who get pimples. Dogs, like Dobermans, can suffer from canine acne, technically called folliculitis and furunculosis.
- Seizures. Dobermans may struggle with seizures, and epilepsy is usually the most common culprit.
- Growing pains. Growing pains aren’t a euphemism for training troubles. They can happen when a young dog’s leg becomes inflamed, leading to limping and lameness.
- Bloat. Dog bloat happens when gas builds up in the body, notably the stomach. This gas can cause the stomach to twist, restrict blood flow, and ultimately be fatal. Early detection can be critical in saving your dog’s life.
- Canine von Willebrand Disease (vWD). This bleeding disorder happens when the von Willebrand protein, which controls bleeding, is not present in the dog’s blood.
- Hip dysplasia. This condition occurs when the hip joints don’t develop properly. It is common in large breed dogs.
Costs of caring for a Doberman
The cost of taking care of a Dobie will depend on a dog’s overall health. Treating some conditions costs more than others. Lifestyle changes, such as more frequent bathing and washing your pet’s bedding to remove bacteria, can reduce acne and other skin conditions. However, treatment for some other conditions can carry a hefty price tag. For example, it can cost more than $6,000 to treat DCM and $1,500 to $7,500 to help a pup suffering from bloat. Hip dysplasia surgery can cost five figures. Testing for vWD can cost about $50, and blood transfusions are more than $1,000 for Dobermans.
You love your pet and want them to stay healthy and happy. So, consider purchasing pet insurance or setting up a pet savings account to reduce expenses and enjoy peace of mind. Pet parents who buy an insurance plan earlier in their animal’s life will reap the greatest benefits.
History of the Doberman
Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a German tax collector, combined multiple breeds to develop the Doberman in the late 1800s. Historians are unsure exactly which breeds he used, but it’s rumored that the black and tan Manchester terrier and black English greyhound were involved in developing the original Dobermans. An old, extinct version of the German shepherd may have been involved as well, in addition to the German pinscher (the predecessor of the Rottweiler and the Weimaraner).
Introduction to the U.S.
In 1908, breeders first registered the Doberman with the America Kennel Club. George Earle III founded the Doberman Pinscher Club of America in 1921. Ch. Ferry v Raufelsen of Giralda, owned and bred by Mrs. M. Hartley Dodge, became the first Doberman to take home Best in Show honors at the Westminster Kennel Club Show in 1939.
Dobermans fought bravely in World Wars I and II (sometimes called “devil dogs”) and were part of search and rescue efforts at Ground Zero in New York City after the 9/11 attacks.
Caring for your Doberman
Caring for a Doberman puppy is a rewarding but challenging experience. One of your first orders of business when you bring your new friend home will be a trip to the vet. You’ll also need to schedule your dog’s vaccinations, puppy-proof your home, and keep them comfortable during teething.
Just like humans, physical activity can keep Dobermans healthy and enhance their quality of life. Dobermans need regular exercise to stay fit and stimulated. How much varies, but experts say about two hours per day or more is best.
Exercise doesn’t all have to come from walks. Games of fetch, swimming, and running around the backyard or dog park will keep Dobermans mentally and physically engaged. Dobermans are big on family, and they need plenty of love and attention. They’d do best with someone who can be around to give them plenty of opportunities to move and cuddle. A dog walker or sitter can help ensure your Doberman is happy if you’re gone during the day.
The Doberman has a short coat, but it’s thick, and a good bit of shedding is common with this breed. Though Dobermans won’t require frequent trips to the groomers, dog owners will need to perform some regular maintenance to keep their furry friends looking and feeling their best.
Bathe your Doberman at least once every three months and more frequently if they have acne. Frequent nail trimmings will prevent overgrowth or breakage, which can be painful and make walking and exercising challenging for these play-loving pups. Gum disease is common in dogs, and Dobermans are no exception. Brushing their teeth once per day is considered good dental hygiene. Dobermans aren’t susceptible to ear infections as a breed, but cleaning them once every week or two will keep bacteria at bay.
Diet and nutrition
Dobermans without special conditions who are at a healthy weight will do best on food with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) seal. A veterinarian is your best resource for food portioning. They can also let you know if your dog’s health concerns, such as diabetes or obesity, require a special diet.
Dobermans should eat twice per day after the age of four months. Young puppies need three or four meals per day. Many food bags have a recommended serving size amount, so you’ll need to divide that into two. The amount of food your dog needs will vary based on which brand you choose. Generally, a 90-pound spayed or neutered Doberman will need about 1,800 calories daily. Roughly 90% of those calories should come from kibble, and the rest can be from treats, supplements, or other sources.
Training your Doberman
Dobermans are known for being intelligent and eager to please, so they’re usually highly trainable. Their ability to pick up commands quickly has made them valuable members of the police, military, and search and rescue squads, as well as families.
Doberman pinschers need training from a young age. The ASPCA and Humane Society urge pet owners to keep training positive. Rewards, such as treats, cuddles, and praise, are more effective than yelling or punishment.
Dobermans are smart, but the Humane Society recommends starting with simple one or two-word commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it.” The Association of Dog Trainers has listings of professional trainers who use positive methods and can help your dog reach their fullest potential.
Breeds similar to the Doberman
Not quite sure a Doberman is the best addition to your family? It’s worth looking into other breeds, even if you love Dobermans.
- German pinscher. One of Germany’s oldest breeds, these dogs are also courageous and vigilant.
- Jack Russell terrier. The original Doberman was likely mixed with some terrier. These friendly and protective pups are usually good with children.
- German shepherd. This large-size, brave breed is also known for its loyalty and alert personality.
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Frequently asked questions
Are Dobermans good family dogs?
Dobermans can make excellent family dogs. They are known for being loyal, affectionate, and good with children. Be sure to speak with reputable breeders, shelters, or rescue organizations about how the Doberman is with other dogs and cats because it can vary. A meet-and-greet between your dog and the Doberman you want to welcome into your home can help you gauge whether the animals will get along.
Are Dobermans known to be aggressive?
There are aggressive animals in any breed of dog, but Dobermans are noted for their affectionate personalities. They are often used as guard dogs because they are protective of their families, but they are usually good with strangers and visitors.
Are Dobermans mean or nice?
Dobermans are usually friendly dogs. They get along well with small kids and are generally accepting of strangers. Many can be gentle giants when properly trained and socialized.
Are Dobermans protective of their owners?
Dobermans are fearless and loyal, making them great guard dogs. They love their families and want to protect them.