Doberman Pinschers originated in Germany during the late 19th century, mostly bred as guard dogs. Their exact ancestry is unknown, but they’re believed to be a mixture of many dog breeds, including the Rottweiler, Black and Tan Terrier, and German Pinscher.
With their sleek coat, athletic build, and regal appearance, this pup looks like an aristocrat. They’re highly energetic and smart dogs who perform well in police and military work, canine sports, and as family guardians and companions.
Remember, you can find just about any breed of dog at local shelters and rescues. If you decide that this is the breed for you, adopt! Don’t shop!
Because the Doberman Pinscher (spelled Dobermann in some countries) came into existence at the end of the 19th century, they are, in the world of dogs, the new kid on the block. This hasn’t stopped the Dobie, as they’re affectionately called, from becoming one of the most popular and recognized breeds in the United States.
Their look is elegant and their style is athletic; the Dobie is also intelligent, alert, and loyal. They’re a courageous guard dog as well as a beloved family companion.
The Dobie’s fierce reputation precedes them. They’re feared by those who don’t know them, stereotyped as highly aggressive and vicious. True, they’re a formidable guardian, but they’re usually a gentle, watchful, and loving dog. They don’t go looking for trouble, but they’re fearless and will defend their family and turf if they perceive danger.
The Doberman Pinscher enjoys being part of a family. They like to be close to those they love and, when this love is present, they’re a natural protector. They’re trustworthy with their family’s children, friends, and guests as long as the pooch is treated kindly.
In spite of their positive qualities, the Dobie isn’t the right breed for everyone. They’re large, at 60 to 80 pounds, and they’re extremely active, both physically and mentally. They need a lot of exercise.
They also need plenty of mental challenges to keep them from becoming bored. They need a strong owner/pack leader who can take time to properly socialize and train them, and who will keep them busy every day. This may be too much to handle for people who lead a more laid-back lifestyle.
The current look of the Dobie is slimmer and sleeker than that of past years. Their temperament has also changed somewhat, say breed enthusiasts, softening a bit from their early days in Germany, though they’re still an excellent guard dog.
Originally, Dobies’ ears were cropped to increase their ability to locate sounds, and tail docking gave the breed a more streamlined look. North American breeders usually dock the tails and crop the ears of Doberman puppies, though it’s not mandatory. Docking and ear cropping is illegal in some countries.
Those who know them say that a properly socialized Dobie is an excellent pet and companion, suitable for families with other dogs, gentle with young children, and overall a loyal and devoted family member.
The Doberman has a great deal of energy and needs a lot of exercise.
This breed can be protective, so don’t be surprised when they assume the role of household guardian.
The Dobie will assume the alpha role in your household if you’re not a strong leader. Early, consistent training is critical to establish your role as pack leader.
The Dobie is sensitive to cold weather and needs adequate shelter in winter (they like to be in the house next to the fireplace).
The Doberman Pinscher is a family dog and shouldn’t be left alone. They thrive when they’re included in family activities.
The Doberman has gained a reputation as being vicious. Even though your Doberman may have a sweet personality, neighbors and strangers may be afraid of them.
To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store.
Once upon a time, in the late 19th century, there was a tax collector named Louis Dobermann, who lived in the town of Apolda, in the Thuringia district of Germany. His job of collecting money was dangerous because there were bandits in the area who might attack him as he made his rounds.
Since Dobermann was also the town dogcatcher, he often took along a dog for protection. Dobermann began breeding dogs with the idea of a loyal companion and protector in mind. The result of his breeding experiments was the early Doberman Pinscher.
There are no records about what dogs Dobermann used to create the breed, but it is speculated that the Rottweiler, German Pinscher, and Black and Tan Terrier are part of the mix. The Dobie was first shown in 1876, where he was met with great enthusiasm.
When Dobermann died in 1894, the true knowledge of the breeds that were combined to make the Dobie went with him to his grave. Because of his contributions in developing the breed, however, it was named in his honor.
At the end of the 19th century, German breeders who continued Dobermann’s work were primarily concerned with function rather than appearance. They wanted to develop the Doberman to be a “super dog.” At first, they bred only the bravest, smartest, quickest, and toughest dogs. They succeeded almost too well. The breed became known for being headstrong and aggressive.
A breeder named Otto Goeller is credited with shaping the Doberman into a more usable dog and, in 1900, the German Kennel Club recognized the Dobermann Pinscher as a breed.
Around 1908, the Dobie was brought to the United States. Legend says one of the first Dobies brought to Amercia was shown in conformation and won “Best in Show” honors at three consecutive shows before any judge dared to open the dog’s mouth to check his teeth.
The Dobermann Pinscher Club of America was formed in 1921. A year later, it adopted the breed standard that had been written in Germany.
The next 15 years were critical in the development of the Dobie. During World War I, the number of Dobies in Europe declined severely, because people who were starving couldn’t afford to keep large dogs. Dobies who survived were owned by the military, police, and very wealthy people. Breeding was a luxury; only the very best were bred.
After 1921, nearly all the top German sire and progeny were brought to the United States. Then came World War II, and the Doberman Pinscher was again in peril in Germany. Many think that if Americans hadn’t previously brought so many dogs to the United States, the breed would be extinct.
In the mid 1900s, the Germans dropped the word Pinscher from the name, and the British dropped it a few years later.
Over the years, breeders have worked diligently to take the edge off the original Dobie’s sharp personality with good results. Although the Doberman is protective of their family and home, they’re known as an affectionate and loyal companion.