If you're thinking of bringing home a Doberman, you might be concerned about integrating a large dog with a fierce reputation into your family with small children. The truth is, there is no clear cut answer; there are those that claim that they are perfectly safe around small children, while others are steadfastly against it. In this article, we'll take a look at the pros and cons of having a Doberman Pinscher around your small children.
Let's start off with the positive aspects. Contrary to popular belief, Dobermans are no longer the aggressive, vicious dogs they have been portrayed as in movies and television. While it is true that they were once naturally inclined this way, much of these characteristics have been bred out of the breed in the last thirty years or so. Today, you can count on your Doberman to be very loving, affectionate, playful and loyal as long as you are willing to take the time to properly train him and spend time with him. These dogs are very social and require interaction with their human families every day.
Now we get into "he said she said" territory. On her website dedicated to Doberman Pinschers, Burdette Page says that Dobermans are suitable for small children if they are raised together. In an article about Doberman Pinschers on DogChannel.com, several breeders and owners claim that they had no problems between their Dobermans and their kids. Jim Briley, a breeder in Louisiana, says, "My first show Dobe, Ch. Bailes Beau Rikki of Rehbar, was exceptional and helped raise my three children." It seems even adult Dobermans can get along well with small kids. Dayna C. Hewitt, a breeder from Virginia, explained that her Dobermans went into protection mode when her granddaughter was born. "At first, the Dobes stood over her looking somewhat confused at her crying and noise making, but after months of being around her, they became her little police dogs. They herded her in the yard when she got too far from the porch and barked whenever she fell or got into some kind of difficulty."
These breeders and owners agree that as long as the Doberman is very well trained and the children are taught to respect the dog, everyone can get along happily.
And then there are those that say that Dobermans are not suitable at all for small children. Dobermans are naturally very playful and rambunctious when they are puppies, and they may not be wise enough yet to understand that the smallest children can get hurt with this behavior. On the other side of the coin, children that don't know their own strength may be tempted to play a little too roughly with a puppy or not understand when the puppy needs a break, both of which can lead to the dog lashing out at the children in order to get some peace.
While if trained well, guests in your home will have nothing to fear from your Doberman, the dog may be confused when your children's friends come over and engage in innocent but rough play. Dobermans are naturally protective and may attack your children's friends if they perceive that the child is in danger, even if he really isn't.
Finally, Dobermans may feel overwhelmed by the noise and quick movement of your small children, which could result in a shy or stressed dog.
Not every Doberman is the same and it is difficult to predict how a Doberman will fit into your family. The important thing is to weigh the pros and cons and get the advice of other Doberman owners and breeders before you make a final decision.