It may be difficult to imagine that a whole breed of dogs that are loved throughout the world came into being thanks to one man, but this is true of the Doberman Pinscher. Not only did this dog become popular throughout the world, but it went on to become prominent in its service during a time of war. In this article, we'll take a look at the Doberman Pinscher's beginnings and its service during World War II.
The time is the late 19th century and the place is Apolda, Germany. Louis Doberman had a curious collection of jobs - not only was he a tax collector and night watchman, but he was also in charge of a dog pound. Without a doubt, these jobs made him less than popular, especially in a time when robberies and muggings ran rampant. He finally decided to use the tools that he had to breed a dog that would serve as protection and accompaniment while he went about his duties. His aim was to create a breed that would be large enough to be intimidating but not too large to control, while also being fearless and easy to train.
Unfortunately, Doberman didn't keep records of the different breeds of dogs he used in the development of his new guard dog, but experts have considered which dogs would have been available to him at the time and have been able to make an educated guess. It seems that two English breeds and two German breeds were used in order to take advantage of their individual strengths. The early German shepherd, which has since become extinct, and the German Pinscher are thought to have been included for their size and guarding capabilities. These two breeds were ancestors to the Rottweiler and the Weimaraner. To improve the look of the breed, he incorporated the black and tan terrier, later known as the Manchester terrier, and the Black English greyhound, which gave the new breed a sleek look with short hair.
Doberman died in 1894, perhaps before his vision could be realized, but the banner was picked up by his associate, Otto Goeller. Goeller continued to fine tune the new breed and christened it the Doberman in memory of his mentor. He created the National Dobermann Pinscher Club in Germany in 1899 and had a hand in writing the first breed standard.
While popularity in the new breed was slow to take off, it wouldn't be until the two World Wars in the first half of the 20th century that the Doberman came to prominence around the world. Used extensively by the Germans in World War I, both sides used dogs for a number of different duties during World War II, with the Doberman Pinscher prominent among them. Some of the duties war dogs performed include tracking, scouting, finding wounded soldiers in the field, detecting mines, assaulting the enemy and guarding prisoners. The United States Marines were so impressed by the Doberman's service that they made the Doberman Pinscher their official mascot. Today, Doberman Pinschers are remembered for their exceptional service thanks to a sculpture placed in the US War Dog Cemetery on the island of Guam, which is in memory of a Doberman named Kurt, who served with distinction during the battle there.