When the Doberman Pinscher breed first came into existence the last thing on the mind of breeder Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann was to develop a city type of dog. He was, in fact, looking for an energetic, high stamina type of dog that was courageous and protective enough to take him through some very rough countryside. Mr. Dobermann was both the local tax collector as well the dog pound owner, so he was able to use many different breeds that came through the pound. Since this was in the late 1800's there were no spayed or neutered dogs, he basically had his pick of the various types of dogs that came under his care.
Within the Doberman Pinscher ancestor lines, which only date back to about 1900 or so, there are several different breeds with very different characteristics. Rottweilers, Great Danes, Old German Shepherds, Black and Tan Terriers, Beaucerons, Greyhounds and German Pinschers and even German Shorthaired Pointers all came together to create the breed now recognized as the Doberman Pinscher.
From this lineage came several very different traits and temperaments, some which blend well with city living and others that are more of a challenge. The overall temperament of the Doberman Pinscher is not a highly aggressive dog, but rather a courageous and loyal dog that is capable of high levels of protection as well as acting as a watchdog and guard dog. Within a city these types of traits can be both an asset as well as a liability, especially if the Doberman Pinscher is not properly trained.
As a city dog the Doberman Pinscher must be very well socialized both with other people as well as with other dogs. Naturally the Doberman Pinscher is friendly and affectionate with his or her owners but is definitely aloof and distant from strangers, willing to bark or even become aggressive to defend their property. When out walking the human becomes the dog's property and the dog sees his or her role as a protector. Obviously a dog that is not well socialized and very well trained will pose a huge danger when out walking if he or she thinks everyone approaching is a potential enemy. Early training in both socialization and obedience needs to start as soon as the Doberman Pinscher reaches about 12 weeks of age and should continue through until at least one year of age.
Since the Doberman Pinscher is a very bonded dog with the owner, obedience training at advanced levels is ideal for these dogs. For city Doberman Pinschers the high level of obedience training allows them to continue to interact with others and become less prone to any type of aggression unless warranted. Training in the most advanced types of work such as Schutzhund competitions is great for the Doberman Pinscher as it teaches control of aggression as well as extreme levels of obedience.
For Doberman Pinschers living in the city the need to get out and run and exercise is important, especially if they are living in an apartment or a home without a fairly substantial yard area. Since dog aggression may be an issue for some Doberman Pinschers, off leash areas during low use hours may work, or even better finding a remote area to walk and play with your dog is ideal. The Doberman Pinscher is a wonderful jogging or running companion and they have energy and stamina to keep up no matter how grueling of a pace you may set.
Exercise is seen as a key element in keeping the Doberman Pinscher happy and content in the city. Doberman Pinschers that donít get enough regular exercise can turn their energy into destructive behaviors. These dogs are capable of digging, chewing and climbing their way out of almost any type of fence if they are bored or have little contact with their owners. Although a protective dog by breeding, the Doberman Pinscher has a strong desire to be with people more than they are alone. This bonding between the dog and the family is important and is part of the reason why the Doberman Pinscher continues to be such a popular breed. Exercising by regular walks, jogs or runs reinforces the bond between the dog and the owner as well as provides physical stimulation. Obedience training in combination with exercise provides the much needed mental exercise for these very smart dogs.
City raised Doberman Pinschers also need to be desensitized to traffic as some can be rather skittish if not properly trained. Typically in the obedience classes early work can include some "homework" where the owner is to practice heeling and leash work on increasingly more heavily used streets. Since these dogs may have a very quick startle reflex it is essential to start with them on a short leash and only work them on a long, loose leash after they are calm and adjusted to traffic noise.
The Doberman Pinscher has to be well behaved when they are in the house, yard or apartment just as they should be when they are outside going for a walk. This is because irresponsible owners have allowed poorly trained or aggression trained Doberman Pinscher to cause problems. It is so important to stress that these dogs are not typical of the breed, however it does form an impression in the public about what the Doberman Pinscher is like. After the reputation as a vicious or aggressive dog is formed, any acts of lunging or barking by a Doberman Pinscher is seen as an attempted attack, even if that was not at all what was occurring.
In some cities and areas the Doberman Pinscher may be on a breed ban list or there may be specific requirements an owner must put in place to have a Doberman Pinscher. In some areas this may include a specific type of fence, typically with a locking gate and at least a six foot fence level, as well as other security features. Some cities may also require that a Doberman Pinscher, among other breeds, only be allowed outside of the owner's property when wearing a muzzle or head restraint. It is important to know any restrictions or rules and ensure that they are followed to prevent any issues with animal control in your area.