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Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is a dog breed first developed in Germany as a guard dog. Once known to be aggressive, the Doberman's temperament has improved through tactful breeding over the years and is now considered a reliable family pet. 

Physical Characteristics

The Doberman's powerful, muscular, compact, and square-proportioned build gives it speed, elegance, strength, and endurance. Its posture is alert and proud, while its gait is fast and loose. The accepted colors for the breed include black, red, blue, and fawn -- a light yellowish brown. And its rust-colored markings are found above each eye, on the muzzle, throat and forechest, below the tail, and on all four legs and feet. The Doberman also sports a smooth, short coat with neat lines and a white patch on its chest.

Personality and Temperament

This adventurous and loyal companion is a talented and obedient pupil, always ready for a mental challenge. Though it’s usually sensitive and responsive to its owner's commands, the Doberman can be dominating and overbearing. The breed is also shy with strangers, while aggressive towards strange dogs. A Doberman's alertness and protection ability, however, are often the qualities sought after by dog fanciers.


The Doberman requires mental and physical exertion daily or it may become destructive or frustrated. This need can be easily met with a walk on a leash, a run in an enclosed area, or a long jog. And while it can live outdoors in cool climate, the Doberman is most effective indoors as a guardian and a family companion. Its coat requires minimal care.


The Doberman Pinscher has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Wobbler's syndrome, cervical vertebral instability (CVI), and cardiomyopathy are some serious health problems affecting Dobermans; some minor diseases seen in this breed of dog include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), osteosarcoma, von Willebrand's disease (vWD), demodicosis, and gastric torsion. Albinism, narcolepsy, hypothyroidism, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are occasionally seen in Dobermans, while the Blue Doberman is more prone to hair loss. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run cardiac, eye, hip, and DNA tests.

History and Background

Louis Dobermann, a German tax collector, is credited for the creation of the Doberman Pinscher. In search of a watchful guard dog to accompany him during his rounds, Dobermann developed the Doberman Pinscher in the late 19th century by crossing the old German shorthaired shepherd and the German Pinscher. Later, the Black and Tan Manchester Terrier, Weimaraner, and Greyhound were also crossbred.

The original Dobermans had round heads and heavy boned bodies, but breeders soon developed a more robust-looking dog. Over time, the breed evolved remarkably and by 1899, the National Dobermann Pinscher Club, the first club for the new breed, was created in Germany.

After attracting much fame, the first Doberman was introduced to the United States in 1908. The Doberman was used as a guard dog, police dog and even as a war dog, all qualities that eventually made it a favorite as a family protector. Its chiseled outline also made the Doberman a popular show dog.

A new challenge for the breed would arise in the 1970s -- the emergence of the albinistic white Doberman. With this albino gene came a wide range of serious health conditions. In an effort to remedy this problem, the Doberman Pinscher Club of America convinced the American Kennel Club to tag the registration numbers of dogs susceptible to the albino gene with the letter "Z."

In 1977, the Doberman became the second most popular breed in the United States. Since then, the breed has kept its well-regarded status as both a guard dog and a family pet.

Comments  6

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  • Incorrect information
    04/12/2013 09:17pm

    I don't know where the author of this article got his/her information from but there are a couple points that are incorrect.

    First off, the author states that the Doberman has a white patch on its chest. While some Dobes DO have white, that is NOT a breed standard and not an accepted physical attribute. In fact, in dog shows, a Doberman with white will be severely marked down depending on the size of white on the dog and, really, the dog would not be considered show worthy. Not a big deal to not have a show worthy dog but that is evidence enough that it is not a Doberman characteristic.

    Point number two is where the author states that Dobes are aggressive with strange dogs. That, once again, is not a breed standard. All dogs, regardless of breed, can be aggressive with strange dogs and Dobes are no exception. However, that is NOT standard behavior and is not an accepted behavior. A respectable breeder will not breed a dog that shows dog aggression like that. It would be more accurate to say that Dobermans can be wary of strange dogs just like they are wary of strangers but that does not equal aggression by any means. Dobermans that are aggressive with strange dogs (which I define as attacking strange dogs or otherwise instigating a fight) are either improperly socialized, untrained, poorly bred or most likely a combination of the three. That is not a breed standard as the author makes it appear to be.

  • 11/04/2013 12:43am

    Thank you I don't know where people get their information.

  • 05/16/2016 01:03am

    You also didn't put down that they were also mixed with Rottwieler! I've over the last 40 years I owned AKC Doberman and one or two you would swear they looked more like a Rotti! Little box shaped dog, nothing sleek and slim about her, but she was also probably the smartest, and most gentle Dobermans we ever had!
    I had to put my 11 year old male down about 8 weeks ago and I still cry every day, I miss him sooooo much!!! He was a lover to everyone!!!
    If anyone in the Portland area has puppies up to a year old at the most, and that has been around cats call me!!! I need a baby to spoil!!

  • 08/19/2013 11:51am

    please call me about 2 door 's u have,,i'm looking for my life long buddy ,i retired from the Military in 2010 and my doc says getting a buddy would help me with my PTSD John Pugh
    314 398-3994

  • doberman insurance
    10/31/2013 03:44pm

    thank you for this article, i have really enjoyed reading this and i will be returning to find out more in the future about doberman pet insurance

  • good info
    02/28/2017 10:42pm




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