The Doberman – Your Ultimate Breed Information Guide

Once referred to as Devil Dogs, Doberman Pinschers are deceivingly imposing. Their pointed ears, muscular build, and history as formidable guard dogs has had somewhat of an impact on this breed’s overall reputation over the years.

That said, Doberman dogs have continued to surprise novice dog enthusiasts with their charm, wit, and affection. These loyal and intelligent pups make wonderful additions to families and are quick to learn, eager to please, and a joy to work with.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the Doberman is the right dog for you and your family. So before you decide to go out and get a Doberman Pinscher dog for yourself, let’s take a moment to learn more about this dynamic dog breed and learn if he really would be the perfect fit for you, your family, and your unique lifestyle.

What Is A Doberman?

Pic 1 a brown Doberman by a pool
Doberman Pinschers are large working dogs who originated in Germany. 

The Doberman Pinscher is a large working dog breed created by a tax collector known as Louis Dobermann in Germany during the early 19th century. This tax collector was on a mission to create a powerful, intimidating dog breed who was loyal, trainable, and protective and that would help keep him safe on his rounds.

Through the years, the Doberman Pinscher was refined and perfected, resulting in the beautiful, agile, and loyal breed many of us know and love today.

While the Doberman does have a history of being a guard dog, he has also made a name for himself as a police dog, military dog, service dog and therapy dog. His intelligence, loyal nature, and love for his family and people make him a surprisingly sensitive breed who is greatly intune with the needs of those around him.

Dobermans did get a bad rep during World War ll, when the breed was closely associated with German Nazis, who found the dogs to be ideal military companions due to their trainability and devoted nature. In spite of this, Dobermans have more recently been seen as heroic canines, with many of them playing a vital role during the 9/11 search and rescue missions in New York City.

That said, Dobermans are also known to be gentle with children, playful with other household pets, and friendly to strangers when properly trained and socialized.

Today, Doberman Pinschers stand proudly at 17 out of 196 on the American Kennel Club’s list of America’s most popular dog breeds.

Doberman Temperament And Personality Traits

Pic 2 a man kisses his Doberman
Also known as Devil Dogs, Doberman’s are surprisingly sweet and family-friendly. 

Courageous, focused, and seriously devoted, the Doberman’s fierce looks are undermined by his loving, sensitive nature. This gentle giant can have a tendency to be territorial around same-sex dogs, but for the most part when he is properly trained and socialized he is known for being a loving, friendly, and fun-loving companion.

The Doberman also excels in show and is a leading champion in a number of titles including obedience, tracking, agility, and conformation.

These dogs are highly active and energetic, and due to their incredible intelligence can also be prone to behavioral problems if their social, physical and emotional needs are not met. While they are larger sized dogs, Dobermans are not ideal for living outdoors. They prefer to be with their families on a soft, cushy couch or dog bed, and will thrive when given a purpose or a job to do in the home.

However, it is important to note that the Doberman breed does have a tendency to be domineering, stubborn, and destructive if not properly trained and socialized at an early age. They are a proud breed with tons of potential, but that potential certainly needs to be harnessed.

When properly raised, Dobermans are a joy and fit in best with fun-loving, adventurous families. They get along well with children of all ages and enjoy playing with other household pets. That said, it is not uncommon for Doberman’s to bond more closely with one person in the household than others, which can be problematic for owners looking for an all around family dog.

Of course, it is always important to monitor young children around any dog and teach children how to properly and respectfully interact with household pets.

What Does The Doberman Look Like?

Pic 3 a Doberman with a bowtie
Most people are used to seeing Doberman dogs with clipped ears, but this is no longer the breed standard.

One of the most famous traits of a Doberman Pinscher are their long, pointed ears. However, their ears are not naturally formed this way and are instead often clipped during puppyhood in order to maintain their alert appearance.

This was once considered a necessary trait for these pups, who were originally designed to be used as guarding dogs and thus needed pointed ears in order to hear better. Today, however, the clipping of ears and docking of tails is highly controversial and no longer a breed-standard needed in order for the Doberman to qualify for show.

That said, most Dobermans, regardless of if they have clipped ears or docked tails, will look as follows:

Doberman Height: 24 – 28  Inches

Doberman Weight: 60 – 100 Lbs

Doberman Coat Color: Black & Rust, White Black, Fawn, Red, Blue, Red & Rust, Fawn & Rust, Blue & Rust

Coat Type: Dobermans are short-coated breeds who shed most seasonally.

Doberman Appearance Overview:

Muscular, leggy, and alert, the Doberman embodies everything a good guard dog should. He looks just as impressive and intimidating and his original creator had likely hoped he would, though he is a sweetheart when properly trained.

The Doberman Pinscher can have floppy ears and a long tail, unless of course his owner opts to have his ears clipped and his tail docked.

In the United States, docking the tail and clipping the ears of dogs is not banned, though it is widely controversial, as we mentioned above. In fact, many modern veterinarian’s no longer practice the technique as there are no known health benefits for the breed to have their tails and ears clipped and docked.

How Do You Groom a Doberman?

Pic 4 a black Doberman with an orange ball
Doberman dogs only need moderate brushing and grooming upkeep.

Their sleek look gives the Doberman breed a sense of tedious upkeep, but the truth is this dog is pretty simple to maintain. Grooming requires routine brushing once a week or so, with many experts suggesting that a grooming mitt should suffice.

The Doberman does shed, with most loose hair happening around shedding season in spring and fall. During this time, you may find that brushing your Doberman twice a week helps reduce loose hair.

Bathing only needs to be done if the Doberman gets especially dirty, and his nails need to be trimmed or ground down at least once a month. This is an active dog breed who can be prone to breaking his nails during play or exercise time, which can lead to pain and infection.

Your Doberman Pinscher’s ears should also be cleaned and checked regularly to keep them free of waxy buildup, moisture and other debris. Keeping up on your Dobernan’s routine ear cleanings can also help reduce the chances of ear infection, which can be painful and costly.

Last, it’s very important to keep up with your Doberman’s oral health. Brushing his teeth once a day with a dog-safe toothbrush and toothpaste can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and early tooth loss in the breed.

The Average Lifespan and Common Health Issues Of A Doberman

Pic 5 a black Doberman Pinscher profile
Doberman dogs are prone to serious a health condition known as Bloat.

On average, Doberman Pinscher dogs can live between 10 and 12 years, though some have been reported to live longer if conditions are ideal.

That said, there are some serious health concerns the Doberman can be prone to which potential owners should be aware of.

The health issues that most commonly plague the Doberman Pinscher breed include:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Albinism
  • Retinal Atrophy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • And Gastric Torsion (AKA Bloat)

According the the National Breed Club, Doberman dogs should also undergo a series of recommended health tests including:

  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease DNA Testing
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Now let’s talk briefly about Bloat in Doberman Pinschers

Bloat is a very serious and often fatal condition that affects large, deep chested dog breeds like the Doberman. Bloat is when air fills the stomach, often causing it to twist. The condition can be caused by a number of different factors including eating too much food at once, overexertion, eating too soon after exercising, stress, and over excitement.

It is important to know the symptoms of bloat, which include obvious pain or distress, panting, pacing, pale gums, unproductive vomiting, excessive drooling, and extended stomach. If you notice any of these symptoms in your Doberman Pinscher dog, get them to your nearest emergency animal hospital immediately.

You can also work to prevent Bloat in your Doberman by making sure he calms down after exercise or play time before meals, monitoring how much he eats, and investing in elevated dog bowls or slow feeders to ensure he does not eat too quickly.

Along with ensuring your Doberman is safe from Bloat, there are other steps you can take to better ensure his overall health.

Exercise 

Doberman Pinschers are very active and energetic dogs. They need a good amount of exercise and playtime each and every day to stay happy and healthy. If their exercise needs are not met, Doberman’s can quickly become depressed, stressed, and even destructive.

Two good walks a day with your Doberman followed by plenty of playtime in the backyard or at the dog park will help this athletic breed burn through excess energy. He will also enjoy participating in dog sports like agility, and playing frisbee or fetch with his favorite people.

Diet 

Diet is very important for large, athletic dog breeds like the Doberman. This is a breed who will do well on a high quality dog food that is specifically designed for large breed, active dogs.

Whether you choose to feed your Doberman dry dog food, wet dog food or raw dog food, it’s important the brand you choose is high in protein and has a balanced amount of carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals.

If you prefer to make homemade dog food for your Doberman, experts suggest doing so under the guidance of your veterinarian. This will help ensure your Doberman gets all the nutrients he needs to live long and thrive.

Proper Grooming 

While the Doberman Pinscher does not require excessive grooming and is overall an easy dog to keep, sticking to a good grooming schedule is still important to maintain your dog’s overall health and vitality.

That said, make sure you keep up with routine brushing and take care of your Doberman’s ears, nails, coat, and teeth.

Routine Vet Visits

Routine veterinary visits and wellness checkups not only help ensure your dog is healthy, but they can also help you stay one step ahead of any potential health issues prevalent to the breed.

If you’re worried about veterinary costs, speak with your local veterinarian about payment plans or pet insurance. It is also wise to put aside a pet emergency fund for serious health issues that could crop up unexpectedly like Bloat.

What Are The Training And Exercise Requirements For A Doberman?

Pic 6 a woman and her doberman in a field
These are incredibly intelligent dogs who are quick to learn. 

Doberman enthusiasts are quick to say that this breed is highly intelligent, but that shouldn’t fool you into assuming these dogs are easy to raise. They require a hands-on owner who is willing to take time to make training fun and exciting for their Doberman dogs.

Their high level of intelligence means they can get bored easily and they won’t respond well to punishments or scolding. These sensitive dogs like to please and will do best with positive reinforcement training methods like treats and praise. They will also enjoy shorter training sessions that are repetitive and game-like, with frequent breaks in between.

Many experts recommend obedience training for Doberman Pinschers at an early age to help them better understand what is expected of them and develop good manners.

As a large, proud and brainy breed, Dobermans do have the potential to become domineering and hard-headed if not properly raised and trained.

Doberman Pinschers should also be properly socialized during puppyhood to ensure they grow up happy and well-rounded. Socialization is an important part of reducing anxiety in dogs and can help acclimate them to different people, places, and situations.

We highly recommend introducing your Doberman to plenty of children, strangers, other animals, and different scenarios and situations to ensure they are well-adjusted. We also suggest playing with their paws, muzzle, ears and tail while they are young so they are used to these sensitive body parts being handled by people.

What Are Some Pros And Cons Of Owning A Doberman Pinscher?

Pic 7 a Doberman on a hiking trail with a red collar
Doberman dogs might have a tendency to bond more closely with just one person in the home. 

Not every dog is right for every person or family, and it’s important to understand that all dogs have pros and cons. In order to better assess whether the Doberman Pinscher would be the right dog for you, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the breed as a whole.

Pros To Owning A Doberman:

  • They require very moderate grooming
  • Doberman’s are highly intelligent and loyal
  • They do well with children and other household pets when properly trained and socialized
  • They make excellent guard dogs
  • Doberman Pinschers are active and athletic
  • They become very bonded to their families

Cons To Owning A Doberman:

  • They are susceptible to a serious health condition known as Bloat
  • Doberman’s can be expensive to feed due to their size
  • They require lots of exercise and training
  • Doberman’s will not do well if left home alone often
  • They have a tendency to bond very close to one person in the home

What Is The Ideal Home Type For A Doberman Pinscher?

Pic 8 a Doberman with a german shepherd and a yorkie
Dobermans will do best in active homes and can get along well with children and other pets.

Dobermans will do best in homes with active families who are able to spend lots of time with them each and every day. The ideal owner will be hands-on and will have some general experience and knowledge of dogs and dog behavior.

They can do well with families that include children and other pets, or in homes with singles or active adults. Doberman Pinschers will also enjoy any owner who is active and can make a wonderful jogging partner to anyone who likes to run.

Due to their size and athletic nature, Doberman’s do not make ideal apartment dogs. They will require a decent sized yard where they can run and play and owners who have flexible schedules.

Remember, Doberman Pinscher dogs are not outdoor dogs and will need to be inside with their family for the majority of the time.

Choosing A Doberman Puppy Or Rescue Dog – Tips On Finding The Healthiest Doberman Possible

Pic 9 a Doberman Puppy
Go through reputable sources to get your Doberman puppy or rescue dog and steer clear of backyard breeders or uncertified online sellers. 

When looking to purchase your Doberman, experts warn against buying puppies from uncertified online sellers and backyard breeders. While doing this could save you money on your Doberman in the beginning, many people wind up paying much more in the long run after ending up with a sick puppy.

Even though Doberman Pinschers are generally a healthy breed, they can be prone to some serious health issues, especially if proper breeding standards are not met.

It is very important to go through reputable sources when picking out a Doberman puppy or rescue dog. If you choose to get your Doberman through a certified breeder, you should prepare to spend anywhere between $1,500 to $2,500.

The price of your Doberman Pinscher puppy can vary depending on the breeder and the quality of your Doberman puppy’s parent breeds. Keep in mind that Doberman Pinschers bred for show are generally significantly more than Doberman Pinscher puppies bred for companionship.

Though expensive, the benefits of going through a certified breeder typically make the price worth it. Reputable breeders should be able to provide you with health certificates proving your puppy has been screened and cleared for any of the major health issues prevalent in the breed.

Furthermore, reputable breeders often take pride in their dogs’ temperaments and overall physical health and appearance, meaning your puppy will likely have already begun undergoing socialization practices.

However, if you feel the price for a Doberman through a breeder is too steep, you can always save money by looking for a reputable shelter. Many shelters in the United States specialize in Doberman breeds and should be able to align you with the perfect dog for you.

While it can be more difficult to find a Doberman puppy in a shelter, one of the benefits of going through a rescue, aside from saving a good amount of money, is that your Doberman will likely have gone through behavioral testing to ensure he is adoptable. Some adult Dobermans available for adoption may even come already trained and many include a free initial vet exam.

Our Five Favorite Products For Doberman Dog Owners

Pic 10 a Doberman i a pink harness
Quality products like a good harness can help ensure walking is easier for both you and your Doberman.

The Doberman Pinscher is a very special dog with lots of unique needs. If you are interested in getting a Doberman Pinscher for yourself, or if you already have one, then we definitely recommend you take a look at the below five products.

These are our favorite products for Doberman Pinscher dogs and their owners.

Casfuy Painless Paws Dog Nail Grinder

All dogs need special attention given to their nails, but for the Doberman dog it’s especially important to make sure his nails are kept trimmed. The Doberman is very active and could potentially hurt himself if his nails are not ground down regularly.

Visiting the vet for nail trimmings and grindings can become expensive, which is why we recommend investing in an electric nail grinder for your Doberman like the one listed above by Casfuy. This is an upgraded nail grinder that comes with safety features to ensure you keep your dog’s nails cut short but not too short.

It is simple to use and painless. Best of all, it’s quiet motor helps reduce fear and anxiety in pets who are anxious about grooming tools.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dog Food

Your dog’s health starts with a healthy diet, which is why we have listed one of our favorite dog food brands for the Doberman mix. Blue Buffalo dog food is a high quality dog food at a reasonable price.

It is also made with all natural ingredients and is rich in all the nutrients your Doberman dog needs to thrive including protein, healthy grains, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.

You can order the above dog food in different size varieties, age ranges, and flavors including chicken and lamb.

Easy Walk No Pull Dog Harness

Because of their athletic nature and high energy level, Doberman’s can have a tendency to pull on the leash during walks. You can help reduce this bad habit by investing in a quality front clip harness.

We like to use the Easy Walk No Pull Dog Harnesses listed above. These front clip harnesses help redirect pulling dogs and reduce the strain on their chests and back, further reducing their urge to pull in the first place.

Easy Walk Dog Harnesses also help keep your Doberman safe by reducing pressure on his throat and trachea.

These types of harnesses are also wonderful alternatives to prong collars, which some owners turn to in an attempt to quell the pulling and strain during long walks or hikes with their athletic dogs.

Pet Grooming Glove

Doberman’s do not need much grooming, but brushing them regularly at least once a week is still important. Most experts agree that using a grooming mitt like the one listed above will work just fine to get rid of loose hair and reduce shedding.

Grooming mitts are also easy to store and most dogs enjoy the process of being brushed with a mitt because it gives them one on one time to receive affection from their owners.

Outward Hound Fun Feeder Dog Bowl

Since Bloat is such a serious concern for Doberman Pinscher dog owners, we highly recommend investing in a slow feeder like the Outward Hound Slow Feeder listed above.

Slow feeders help reduce chances of Bloat in dogs by encouraging them to eat slower. They can also help promote a healthy weight and even make mealtime fun and feel like a game, which is wonderful for intelligent dogs like Dobermans.

So, now that you know more about the Doberman Pinscher, what are your thoughts? Would this be the perfect dog breed to join your family, or would you prefer a dog who doesn’t require as much attention and time when it comes to training?

Let us know what you think about the intelligent, loyal, and fun-loving Doberman Pinscher in the comment section below.

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