The Doberman, or Doberman Pinscher, was bred in the late nineteenth Century as a guard dog and named after his German owner, Louis Dobermann. Unique amongst dogs the Doberman was a man made dog, bred for protection. The dog had to intimidate, as Herr Dobermann was a tax collector who carried large amounts of cash he wanted to protect from robbers.
However he had other very specific requirements, he wanted a dog with minimum maintenance as he travelled and was constantly on the road, on had neither the time nor the inclination to groom it. The story did not end there, he must have been a picky sort of man, because he wanted a dog that would be a loyal companion, have extraordinary stamina, be extremely intelligent and also to show a sense of aggression when necessary, but without being vicious.
As luck would have it herr Dobermann had at his disposal lots of dogs, part of his duties as a local magistrate was being responsible for the local dog pound, so he was in a unique position to choose the both the dogs characteristics he wanted to breed and the original dogs. In some ways this is the ultimate example of a designer dog, he could manipulate the gene pool as he wished, although unfortunately he kept no written records as to the how and why he made his selection for the perfect doberman pinscher.
His start dog was probably the German pinscher, whilst this dog did not have any physical characters that were especially desirable it was alert and intelligent, but for Herr Dobermann's purposes it already displayed an aggressive streak. The short shiny black and tan coat is demonstrated in the picture of the sleek uncluttered line of the Manchester terrier.
The Rottweiler was interbred to give it solidity, as well as being a dog with excellent tracking ability, stamina and general intelligence. The Beauceron was a solid cattle dog, known for their being a good companion and loyalty. Herr Dobermann died before completing his perfect designer dog and he left the continuation of his genetic work to Otto Goeller who was added the black greyhound, to increase the speed of the dog as well as adding stamina.
The condition in Europe of near starvation during the First World War very much affected the future of the breed, and how it was bred, most of the people had not got the money or food to keep a dog. Many were put down as an unsustainable luxury, but the demand was still there from the wealthy, the police, and the army who demanded excellence from the doberman breeders.
Fortunately for the continuing survival of the breed between the wars the Americans had bred virtually every renowned sire left in Germany . More importantly for the dogs survival they had taken German experience and advise regarding the temperament and traits to look for in the dog. During this time there were only a small number of Dobermans left in Europe . At this time the dog was still bred and valued for its aggressive trait, nowadays the emphasis is on an even tempered Doberman at home in a family.
After the death of Herr Dobermann the German authorities honoured his engineering of the new terrier by calling it the Doberman pinscher, as pinscher was the German word for terrier. About 1950 the Germans gradually dropped the word pinscher recognizing that the word was no longer appropriate, as the dogs breed type was a mastiff. The British followed their lead a few years later; ands the dog is no relation to the German pinscher, or the miniature pinscher.
The dog is of medium size, with a square body, and a wedged shaped head. Compactly built, muscular, powerful, and fast. It has an elegant carriage, a magnificent head in short an uncluttered designer dog with a short gleaming coat over a sleek muscular frame.
Historically the ears of the doberman were cropped at about three months, and then they were fixed to the head by tape for several months. The tails were docked when the dog was three days old. Both of these procedures were entirely cosmetic and modern trends are to allow the tail and ears to develop naturally, in appearance they resemble those of a hound. Some countries such as Great Britain have gone a step further and banned the docking of both by law.
Colour in Dobermans
The American Kennel Club (AKC) allows four colours for the doberman and they all involve the rust bred from the Manchester terrier. The accepted colours are black and rust, red and rust, blue and rust and fawn and rust.
The most common colours are black and rust and red and rust, the other two are diluted forms of these colours. Mendels law governs the colouring of the doberman, each parent may carry black, or black and recessive red, or red only. Besides these colours they may carry a dilution gene and both parents must have the dilution gene for it to be dominant. If the dilution gene is present in the dam and the sire then the dilute form of black may create a blue doberman, and if the dilute form of red is present then the doberman may be fawn and not black and red. The presence of the dilution gene in both parents' does not guarantee the doberman puppy will be a dilute colour but without it, it definitely will not be.
The gene, which produces the albino or white Dobermans, is the same gene, which produced the white lions and tigers, owned by Siegfriend & Roy in Las Vegas . The gene is said to be a masking gene, which means that it masks the colour that the dog would be. There is contention as to what that means some regard it as a "Deleterious Genetic Mutation" which is associated with deafness blindness and mental instability. This means that it should never be bred. There are people that say it does not affect the dog at all in aspects other than colour. Many doberman breeders will have nothing to do with doberman albino dogs.
As we have heard the Doberman was bred for his aggressiveness, but in the 21 st Century there are not many tax collectors wandering around bandit territory needing protection, and those that are, usually face the end of a gun, and in these circumstances even the exceptional qualities of the Doberman is not that much protection. Committed doberman breeders have been forced to produce doberman puppies with a milder temperament. They have been used as a working dog in a variety if settings even being excellent therapy dogs.
Every dog must conform to "ideal" standards, and the doberman is confident, stable and fearless, but when the breed of doberman is a show dog then they are penalized for showing traits of aggression or shyness.
There is emphasis on early socialization training for Dobermans, without destroying their determined, alert, energetic temperament and their fierce protective loyalty. The doberman is not a dog for the inexperienced or the faint hearted; they need to interact with people. They need things to occupy their inquisitive minds; they should not le left for long periods or they can be destructive. This is one of the many reasons why you should consider if a doberman is the correct dog for you and the family, buying a doberman puppy is a big responsibility.
Though in general a doberman is a dominant breed, individual doberman dogs do vary widely. Though they do respond best when every member of the family knows how to handle them, as they will dominate a human if allowed to.
The Dobermans coat sheds very little hair, but it is a housedog, its short coat means it cannot take extremes of heat or cold. The thin coat around the ears and muzzle means that it is susceptible to sunburn, and its thin ears mean it can be prone to frostbite.
They need to have an area where they can run free and unfettered it is not sufficient to exercise them on a leash. They do need a yard or garden or area that is fenced, as their speed and agility can be terrifying in the wrong circumstances. Also whilst they are inherently obedient a doberman in full light may not hear a command to stop, and they can run into the road and traffic.
Dogs as canines are different from humans but dobermans are about as near as the two can be. They are born with a genuine desire to please; they are excellent companions and take to training from a very early age. Basic obedience is inherent in a doberman, but it must be trained and understand the word respect. A doberman is a powerful athletic dog with extremely sharp teeth and they are physically more than capable of inflicting terrible damage, even to a family member. It is necessary to foster the "pack" animal mentality into a doberman. Sometimes a female can resist training, and this may make some of them harder to train.
They must be trained early to foster the traits of a loving family dog. Doberman puppies can be a handful as they are bundles of energy and interest and they can get into trouble if not supervised.
They are determined and they will not be deterred from their objectives and if that objective is protection, they will carry on until they are certain in their mind, not yours, that everything is correct in their world. This essence of determination is fundamental to a doberman and that gives him or her an opinion about everything. Whilst this is crucial to the psyche of Dobermans patience tolerance and an acceptance of this trait will mean that you can convey your wishes to the doberman. It is imperative that you are more determined to do this than the doberman is to resist, if you have not got the time and energy to do this then the doberman is not the dog for you.
They are the ideal dogs for protection, but this is tempered with the fact that they are devoted to their family; he is capable of forming that bond which makes him an unsurpassed loyal affectionate family pet.
Special Doberman Tendencies
As doberman puppies have a tendency to place everything, and that means everything in their mouths they should never be allowed into areas that have not been cleared, and that is for their protection and yours.
Males can be extremely territorial and be very unsocial, which is why early training as a puppy is imperative for this breed as this helps them to be social adults. The Doberman will look at its owner as the center of the universe, which you are, but the instinct to protect is an instinct, and if he understands fear or thinks something is wrong, that picture can change very quickly and dramatically. Which is why early obedience is crucial, and these dogs are not for those without experience of dogs.
Ideal weight: 60-100 pounds / 27-45 kg
Average height: 24-28 inches / 60-71 cm
Life expectancy: 10 years on average, the females tend to live a little longer than the males.