History of the Doberman Pinscher Breed
Louis Dobermann of Thuringen, Germany, became a tremendous influence in the dog world when he developed the Doberman Pinscher. Dobermann was a door-to-door tax collector, (and also rumored to be the keeper of the local dog pound) who decided to create a guard dog to accompany him while he did his work. It is believed that in the late 1800s, he crossed the German shepherd with the German pinscher, and subsequently crossed the creation with other breeds such as the Weimaraner, the greyhound, and the black and tan Manchester terrier. Some believe that Rottweilers and Beaucerson were also part of the mix. Eventually this led to the dog we know today as the Doberman pinscher. The original Doberman had a heavier look, but later breeders developed a racier looking dog. Otto Goeller and Phillip Gruening are considered to be contributors to the development of the breed. The Doberman pinscher is a relatively new breed, and it evolved quickly. In fact, it was first presented in a dog show in 1876, and the first breed club was organized in 1899. It is believed that the first of the Doberman breed arrived in the United States in 1908, and it was soon a popular choice as a guard dog or police dog. It also became a favorite in Europe for these jobs and was sought after as a war dog, as well. As the popularity of this breed continued to grow over time, it was thought of as a family protector, a show dog, and a family pet. In 1977, the Doberman was the second most popular breed in the United States. It was around this time that the white Doberman (albino) emerged. This raised a challenge for the breed, as white was not an accepted color for a Doberman in show. The AKC was convinced by the Doberman Pinscher Club of America to tag the dogs likely to carry the albino gene with a registration number using the letter Z, so that breeders would be able to identify and avoid using dogs carrying the albino gene.
Size and Appearance of the Doberman Pinscher Breed
With a square proportion and a muscular, compact build, the Doberman is considered to be a picture of elegance and strength that offers both speed and endurance. The front legs are perfectly straight with a muscled, sinewy look. The hind legs are also straight and parallel to one another giving a balanced look to the breed. The catlike feet are compact and well-arched. The head offers a blunt, wedge shape that features almond-shaped eyes with an energetic and intelligent expression. The eyes are normally fawn to dark brown in color, and the iris blends well with the markings on the dog. The ears are usually cropped and carried upright, and if not cropped, the ears develop with a hound-like look. The muzzle features full and powerful jaws with strongly developed teeth that meet in a traditional scissors bite. The nose is usually solid black on black dogs, dark grey on blue dogs, dark brown on red dogs, and dark tan on fawn dogs. The well-arched neck is muscular and blends smoothly into the short, firm back. The tail is usually docked at the second joint, and it is carried slightly above the back when the dog is alert. The gait of the Doberman can be described as free and balanced. The smooth, short coat of this breed is hard, thick and close-lying. The markings are rust colored, and they are sharply defined – found above each eye, on the muzzle, throat, and front of the chest, on the legs and feet, and below the tail.
Doberman Pinscher Temperament
The Doberman pinscher can be described as loyal and adventurous. It is a wonderful guardian for the family and home. It is alert and intelligent, and it likes to be challenged mentally. While it can be aggressive with strange dogs, and reserved with strangers, the Doberman is loyal and loving to its family. It is best suited for a family with older children. The reputation of viciousness is misleading, but this breed is usually determined, fearless, and assertive, making it an ideal guard dog. It is important for the entire family to be able to handle the dog in a proper fashion – the Doberman can become pushy if guidelines are not set. Training is best accomplished through positive reinforcement, and females tend to be slightly more stubborn to train. The Doberman can also be a wonderful therapy dog if well trained at an early age, and they can be gentle and affectionate with nursing home patients.
Doberman Pinscher Recommended Maintenance
Coat care for the Doberman is minimal. Grooming with a soft cloth or brush just a couple times a week should be sufficient. This active breed does, however, require a lot of mental and physical exercise or it may become frustrated and destructive. Long walks on a leash or runs in a safe area are suggested. Apartment dwelling is acceptable for this breed as long as sufficient exercise is provided, but rural life is best. A fenced-in yard is recommended. The Doberman is sensitive to cold and should not be left outside for long periods in cold climates. Training should begin at an early age, and puppies should be handled by a number of people to encourage good socialization.
Doberman Pinscher Health
Life span: 10 – 12 years
Major concerns: CVI (wobbler's syndrome), cardiomyopathy
Minor concerns: vWD, demodicosis, osteosarcoma, narcolepsy, gastric torsion, CHD
Occasionally seen: albinism
Suggested tests: DNA for vWD, cardiac, (hip)
Note: Blue Dobermans often have alopecia; white Dobermans suffer from several serious health problems.