Allowed colors in the Doberman Pinscher breed include black, red, blue and fawn. Black is the most common color and the most recognizable.
Large, Extra Large
26-28 inches tall at the withers
24-26 inches tall at the withers
The Doberman is not an outdoor dog. They are very intolerant of cold weather. They also are much happier if allowed to live indoors. However, they do need room to exercise, so a yard is preferable.
Because Doberman Pinschers are prone to bloat, they should be fed twice a day rather than one large meal. Because they are prone to obesity, they should be fed dry dog food.
The Doberman Pinscher is a medium sized dog with a square shaped body. They are compact and muscular, with a very strong appearance. They are powerful and capable of great speed. This is an energetic and protective dog with a regal appearance. Males look decidedly masculine and females decidedly feminine.
The Doberman has a long head with a bit of a wedge shape. Their eyes are almond shaped, deep set and dark in color. Their ears are carried erect, and are normally cropped. The top of the skull is flat and turns with a slight stop to the bridge of the muzzle. Their cheeks are flat and their jaws are full and powerful. Teeth are strong and meet in a scissors bite.
The Doberman's neck is proud, arched and muscular. Their necks should have a length that is well proportioned to their body. Their backs are short and firm, with a width that is proportionate with a hard and muscular body. They have a slightly rounded croup and a deep, broad chest. Their tails are carried high and are typically docked to approximately the second joint. Tails are carried slightly above horizontal.
The Doberman has very powerful legs that are straight and perfectly parallel. Their feet are somewhat small, turned out and catlike.
The Doberman has a vigorous and balanced gait. These dogs are beautiful and elegant runners, capable of great speed.
Ear cropping and tail docking were once considered "must" for these dogs. Tails are docked just a few days after birth and ears are cropped between 7 and 9 weeks of age. Today, however, both of these practices are coming into question. In fact, tail docking is illegal in many countries, but not in North America.
Cropping of the ears was begun to help create effective sound localization when the dogs were bred to be guard dogs. The process involves trimming off part of the ears and then propping them up with tape and bandages. This allows the cartilage to develop into an upright position. Cropping of the ears is also illegal in some countries. If the dog's ears are not cropped, they will resemble the ears of other hounds, and will turn downward. Likewise, if their tails are not docked, they will grow fairly long, like that of a hound or retriever. In some organizations, docked tails and cropped ears are required in order for the dog to compete in shows, but other shows will allow dogs to compete with ears that have not been cropped and tails that have not been docked.
The Doberman has a smooth coat. The hair is short, hard thick and close lying. There is often an invisible gray undercoat on the neck. The Doberman's coat is very sturdy and low maintenance.
They will often have markings of rust appearing above each eye, on the muzzle, throat and fore chest, on legs feet and below tail. A small white patch on the chest is allowed, provided it does not exceed 1/2 inch.
There are also white Dobermans, but they are rare. White Dobermans face increased risk of diseases and abnormal development of the retina, so breeding of the White Doberman is discouraged. The American Kennel Club registers these albino Dobermans but disqualifies them from conformation shows. The Doberman Pinscher Club of America actively works to discourage breeding designed to create albino dogs.
The Doberman Pinscher is a fairly new breed. It is believed that they were created by using German Pinschers, Rottweilers, Beauceron, Pinschers, Greyhounds, English Greyhounds and German Shepherds. German tax collector Louis Dobermann created the breed to be a watchdog, but he liked the look of the Miniature Pinscher. So, the Doberman Pinscher was created to look like the Miniature Pinscher breed, but with the size and strength of a watchdog. So, the belief that the Miniature Pinscher is a smaller sized version of the Doberman Pinscher is incorrect. The new dog was given Dobermann's name after his death in 1894.
It is said that Dobermann wished to create a watchdog breed because as a tax collector, he was forced to travel in some very dangerous areas and wanted a dog to protect him. In addition to being a tax collector, he was a dog breeder on the side, so he had access to dogs for breeding purposes. The Doberman Pinscher was presented at its first dog show in 1876.
In 1976 a white Pinscher bitch was born. She was bred to her son, who was also bred to his litter sisters. This tight breeding was performed to continue the creation of the white color. The white color is caused by a genetic mutation which prevents pigment proteins from being manufactured. The White Dobermans had a following, as some people were very attracted to this albino coloring, and for awhile there were some breeding programs dedicated to increasing the numbers of this variety of Doberman, because they were in great demand.
However, it was discovered after a time that the same genetic mutation that prevents color from developing also makes the dog more prone to disease and causes abnormal development of the retina, which means the dog must be protected from the sun. Today, breeding programs for the white Doberman are not encouraged. However, there are some advocates of the white Doberman who insist that these dogs can be quite healthy.
Doberman Pinschers are energetic and alert dogs. They are typically fearless, and make great watchdogs; though they should never be vicious. They are very loyal to their owners, and overall, are very obedient dogs. They are sweet and loving with their families.
The Doberman Pinscher has a reputation for being a fierce and vicious dog. In the past, these dogs have often been used as guard dogs and police dogs, and they have been stereotyped in the media, leading to this reputation. However, Dobermans will typically only attack if they feel that their family or property are truly in danger. In fact, according to the US Centers for Disease Control, Dobermans are less likely to be involved in attacks on humans than German Shepherd Dogs, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, or Alaskan Malamutes. They have been used for guard and police work because of their size and strength. They were used extensively by the Marines during the Second World War.
If your Doberman is properly trained to be a family dog you have absolutely nothing to fear from having this breed become part of your family. You'll find no more loyal dog breed and they are an effective watch dog, should you need one. They are great with children and with other pets in the home, but they should be introduced to them at an early age. They are extremely intelligent, and they're quick learners who are eager to please their owners.
Dobermans vary in temperament more than many other breeds. Some are family oriented dogs while others bond predominantly to one person. Some have a tendency to be aggressive with other dogs, so they should be socialized with other dogs while they are puppies. Some Dobermans are very submissive, and males tend to be less dominant and stubborn than females. Still, because the dog is so intelligent and such an eager learner, with the right training, a Doberman of nearly any temperament can be a good family dog and a reliable, yet safe, watchdog.
Doberman Pinschers are typically healthy and strong dogs. However, they are prone to:
Wobbler's Syndrome is common in very large, fast growing dog breeds. Wobbler Syndrome causes the dog to wobble when they walk, particularly around the back end. They may also have difficulty with their front legs which may make them take short, choppy steps. If your dog has Wobbler Syndrome, your veterinarian may recommend kennel rest for a period of time and may prescribe pain medication as well as anti-inflammatory medications.
Von Willebrand's disease is a genetic disorder that causes internal bleeding for which there is genetic testing available.
Doberman Pinschers are also prone to bloating and hip dysplasia. In addition, they are prone to obesity in middle and old age. Like in humans, obesity causes a wide range of Health Problems, including Heart disease and joint problems, and it shortens their lifespan overall. Obesity also aggravates the hip dysplasia that is already common
Whenever you purchase a puppy, it's important to purchase from a reputable breeder. Reputable breeders will work hard to breed out deficiencies by not Breeding any dog that has shown signs of genetic or Health Problems. Breeders that are not reputable, however, will breed any dog, and are more likely to replicate genetic problems in their puppies. Before you purchase a puppy, ask questions about the lineage of the puppy.
The Doberman Pinscher requires very little grooming. Brushing them weekly or simply rubbing them down with a wet towel is all they normally require. They are average shedders. When your Doberman requires a bath, use a mild shampoo designed especially for dogs. Brush the dog before the bath to minimize the shedding. A simple towel drying is all he'll need after the bath to be sufficiently dry. Keep toenails regularly clipped.
This is an active and athletic breed of dog. They do need sufficient exercise to be happy and healthy. They will love being your running or walking companion. They are also quite good at agility and other dog competition activities. These activities not only help the dog stay in shape, but also provide the needed mental challenge.
The Doberman is a very intelligent breed, but they do need extensive training. They have a dominant personality and must be taught early on that you are the "alpha dog". In addition, due to their size and strength, it is imperative that their owners be able to handle them. They are assertive but not aggressive unless they are trained to be such. However, if they sense that you fear them or that you cannot show dominance over them, they are quite happy to be the dominant one in your household. If you have other pets, it's likely that your Doberman will be the dominant animal in your home.
They are energetic, and will be happiest if you give them regular opportunity to run off this energy. He should be thoroughly socialized at an early age so that he is comfortable around strangers.
The Doberman does not need guard dog training. They are naturally loyal and protective of their families. Too much "guard dog training" may cause them to be overly dominant or aggressive. By nature they will be protective, but will not attack unless they truly believe there to be the need. This natural temperament is what you want to keep.
Some owners run into training issues with Dobermans because they are afraid of them. It is imperative that every member of the family be taught to handle the dog with confidence, or the dog will become dominant. Training should be through positive reinforcement and should include the entire family. If you spend time with your Doberman and take the time to train him appropriately, you'll find no better family dog. They will want to be with the family and will require regular interaction. This is not a dog that can be relegated to living alone in the back yard.