The Doberman breed is relatively recent since its origins date back to the late 19th century when it was bred in Germany as a guard dog. Although its exact ancestry is not known, it is believed that it comes from a mixture of several races.
It is a dog with an athletic complexion, elegant, and with a lot of energy. It is a very intelligent watchdog that excels as a police and military dog, and also in various canine sports.
Although it has a reputation for being an aggressive dog, it can be a great companion to the whole family, loyal and affectionate. But it needs to be well trained by an owner who knows how to be a good leader.
Keep in mind that it is a large dog with a strong character. Find out well before choosing a Doberman as a companion.
The history of the Doberman
The Doberman breed developed in Germany in the late 19th century. It owes its name to a tax collector named Louis Dobermann, who lived in the Thuringian district. His job involved moving with money and this made him a potential target for bandits.
As he was also the city’s doggy man, Dobermann used to be accompanied by a dog for protection. To have a loyal and protective companion, he began to breed dogs, until he achieved the first Doberman Pinscher.
It is not known which were the dogs that Dobermann used to create the breed since he died in 1894 taking the secret of the crosses used to the grave, but it is believed that the Rottweiler, the German Pinscher, the Black and Tan Terrier are part of the mix.
At the end of the 19th century, other breeders continued Dobermann’s work, looking for a dog that stood out more for its function than for its appearance. They wanted to develop an exceptional dog that stood out for its courage, speed, intelligence, and resistance. They did so well that the breed became popular for its stubborn and aggressive character.
Otto Goeller was concerned with making a more rigorous morphological selection, to set a standard for the breed.
During the First World War, the breed was in danger, since Dobermans were expensive and only the military, police, and very rich people could have them. After 1921 several stallions were transferred to the United States.
During World War II, the Doberman was again threatened in Germany, to the point that many believe that the breed would have become extinct if the Americans had not brought so many dogs to the United States sooner.
In both wars, the Doberman was used to aid soldiers (and also, unfortunately, as suicide dogs, as they were made to carry explosives that detonated from a distance when they approached enemy tanks).
The word Pinscher was dropped from the name in the 20th century.
Main characteristics of the Doberman
- It is a dog of large size, which measured between 60 and 70 cm at the withers. Their weight ranges between 30 and 40 kilos and their life expectancy is 10-12 years.
- It is a stylized dog, very intelligent and loyal.
- He is always alert to what is happening around him, a characteristic that makes him an excellent watchdog.
- Although it has a reputation for being aggressive and bloodthirsty, the Doberman is an affectionate dog that, nevertheless, will not hesitate to defend its family and its territory against any threat.
- It is a dog that acts forcefully and with great precision. He has a lot of forcefulness in the attack and high resistance to a possible response from his opponent. Well trained, it is a very balanced, affectionate, and impulse-controlled dog.
- The Doberman needs an experienced owner who knows how to maintain leadership, otherwise, he will assume the role of alpha of the family. It is a large and very strong dog, which must be clear about its role so as not to constitute a problem.
- Well trained and socialized, he is an excellent and very reliable companion, getting along well with children and other dogs.
What is the Doberman personality?
The Doberman is a very intelligent and extremely active dog. This is a very loyal dog that you can trust blindly. He loves to play and share moments with his family. He seeks a company of his own and you must include him in family activities.
It is an excellent watchdog that will not hesitate to act if it perceives a threat, but it is not a dog that shows aggressiveness for no reason.
You need a lot of physical exercise and you like to work out. Mental stimulation is very important for this dog. Because he’s very smart, he’s a quick learner, and keeping training fresh and interesting can be challenging.
You need an owner who knows how to maintain leadership consistently and with kindness. The Doberman may have ideas of his own, but he is generally not overly stubborn if he has a good owner who knows how to handle him.
Their temperament depends as much on their genetics as it is on training and socialization. Good puppies are very curious and playful. They are always ready to get close to people and be petted.
The Doberman has to be socialized at a young age, exposing himself to many people and stimuli, to ensure that he will grow up as a friendly and balanced dog.
How many different Dobermans are there?
There is talk of three different varieties of Doberman: the American, the European, and the Warlock.
The Warlock Doberman is the largest of all. It was developed with the idea of obtaining a fierce and intimidating guard dog. There are several health problems associated with this Doberman, in addition to being less agile than the others. Therefore, it is not officially recognized.
The European Doberman originated in Germany in the 19th century for military and police work. It is the “most typical” Doberman. It is a loyal and affectionate dog with its own and distrustful of strangers.
The American Doberman has a physical appearance similar to the European, although their structure makes them less resistant to a bite or attack. Their character is softer and more friendly than that of Europeans, and they can be too shy.
The Doberman comes in seven different colors. In the Doberman, two genes correspond to color: one for black and one that causes dilutions.
Both genes produce four color combinations, which are recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club): black, red, blue, and fawn (brown, like deer), with rust marks. There is also the albino color. Thus, we have Dobermans in the following colors:
- Black and Rust (reddish-brown).
- Red and Rust (red, brown, and chocolate).
- Blue and Oxide (blue, gray, silver, and oxide).
- Fawn or Isabella and Oxide (light brown and rust).
- All Black (genetic rarity due to excess melanin. Not to be used for breeding).
- Partial Albino (due to melanin deficiency, not accepted in the breed standard. Not to be used for breeding).
- Total Albino (total absence of pigmentation. Theoretically it may exist, although there is no reference to any. Partial Albino is often confused with a Total Albino).
Is the Miniature Doberman Pinscher a Doberman?
Although he is sometimes considered a Doberman, due to his physical appearance, he is a Toy Terrier. It constitutes a separate breed, with a different personality, which does not share behavior or genetics with the Doberman.
What are the most common health problems in the Doberman?
The Doberman is a very healthy dog, but like other breeds, it shows a propensity for some diseases. The most frequent are:
Von Willebrand disease.
It is an inherited blood disorder, which interferes with the blood’s ability to clot. It is due to the deficiency of a plasma protein called von Willebrand factor, which is involved in the functioning of platelets. Its main symptom is excessive bleeding after injury or surgery. Also, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, or bleeding in the stomach or intestines can be symptoms of this disease. There is no cure and the only current treatment is a blood transfusion. However, most dogs that suffer from bleeding are mild and can lead normal lives. Being hereditary, we must avoid using dogs that suffer from it for breeding.
The thigh bone does not fit well in the hip joint. This causes a limp in one or both hind legs. Sometimes it is accompanied by pain, but not always. Chondroprotectors relieve symptoms.
Progressive retinal atrophy.
An eye disease consists of the gradual deterioration of the retina, due to the loss of photoreceptors. At the beginning of the disease, the dog suffers from night blindness. As it progresses, it loses vision during the day and can reach absolute blindness.
Disorder of the thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing thyroxine. Thyroxine is a hormone that controls the metabolic rate. Dogs with hypothyroidism have lower than normal metabolic rates. The causes are unknown. It is treated with medication and a proper diet.
It is a characteristic inherited disease of the Doberman. The affected dog suffers a compression of the spinal cord, due to the instability of the cervical vertebrae or a malformation of the spinal canal. The symptoms are neck pain and staggering gait, which can lead to paralysis of the legs. Treatment is surgical, but in some cases, the condition recurs after surgery.
Heart muscle disease, characterized by an expansion of the heart’s chambers, resulting in an abnormally large heart. This causes heart failure, as the heart muscle is too weak to efficiently pump blood to the rest of the body.
It is a genetic disorder that affects Doberman. The albino dog has whitish skin, a pink nose, and blue or light eyes. This dog is very sensitive to sunlight and can suffer from various diseases associated with his condition, such as cancer or eye problems.
Color Mutant Alopecia.
It is a condition of the coat associated with the colors blue or fawn. It affects blue and sometimes red Dobermans. Most of these dogs are born with normal fur and symptoms begin between four months and three years of age. Hair becomes brittle, followed by uneven fall. Only the blue parts of the coast are affected. Secondary infections and inflammation are common. There is no cure for this alopecia, but medicated shampoos are available to reduce flaking and itching.
It is characterized by the inability of the brain to regulate sleep patterns. The dog suddenly falls asleep. There is no known treatment.
- The Doberman is a dog bred in Germany in the late 19th century.
- It is a large, intelligent dog, with a strong character and is very active.
- For all this, you need an experienced owner who knows how to maintain leadership.
- It is not a suitable dog for sedentary owners.
- The Doberman is an excellent guard dog, but if it is well trained it does not show aggressiveness unless it perceives a threat to its family or territory.
- There are three varieties of Doberman, and although the most famous is black, it can appear in several colors.
- The European Doberman is the one that best maintains the characteristics of the breed.
- Although it is a healthy dog, there are some characteristic diseases of the breed.
- He gets along well with children and other animals if he is raised with them.
- You must inform yourself well about the characteristics of the breed before bringing a Doberman home.
- See your vet for any symptoms of illness.