Doberman Pinscher

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Meet the fearless and loyal  Doberman and discover the unique characteristics of this beloved breed.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
10 to 12 years
Size:

Large

Maintenance Level:

Medium

Shed Level:

Low

Temperament:
DevotedProtectiveSensitive
Coat Color:
BlackRedBlueAnd Fawn

Best For

Dobermans are best for homes where they can be the center of attention—they love their people and want to be with them all the time. Also, an active lifestyle suits the Doberman's need for exercise.

Doberman Pinscher Traits

What makes the Doberman Pinscher a Doberman Pinscher? Let's find out how they stack up.

Doberman Pinscher Temperament

Dobermans are well known for their intimidating demeanor. They are highly intelligent, athletic and alert—all things that make them great guard dogs, which is what they were bred to do. And Dobies take their job as guard dog extraordinaire very seriously. This drive, along with their imposing physical appearance, has earned them a reputation of being notoriously protective. But when the pup parent provides the proper training, socialization and structure, these dogs are also a loving member of the family.

You’ll soon discover that, along with their formidable presence, Dobermans possess a deep devotion to their people. In fact, they bond so deeply with their humans and are so dedicated to their families, these affectionate dogs are sometimes referred to as “Velcro dogs.”

In addition to their work as guard dogs, Dobermans have a long history as police and military dogs, dating back to the early 20th century. Dobermans even assisted U.S. Marines during World War II. Today, Dobermans work as therapy, service and emotional support animals.

How to Care for a Doberman Pinscher

Caring for a Doberman isn’t rocket science, but there is definitely some work involved, as with any dog. While their grooming needs are fairly easy to keep up with, Dobies require daily exercise and lots of training. With all that training and time spent together, you’ll quickly build a tight bond with this super-smart dog.

Doberman Pinscher Health

Hopefully, your Doberman is a healthy dog who happily reaches their 10- to 12-year lifespan with little or no trouble. That said, there are some Doberman health problems and conditions that commonly affect this breed.

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): DCM is an inherited disease that affects the heart muscle and is commonly seen in Dobermans. In dogs with DCM, their heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump blood effectively. Over time, this leads to heart enlargement (dilation) and can result in complications like abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), difficulty exercising and heart failure. Screenings should be done annually. Several drugs are used to treat the symptoms and help prolong life.
  • Von Willebrand Disease: This is a genetic disorder that affects the ability of blood platelets to clot properly, which can lead to excessive bleeding from injuries. One study showed that over 70 percent of Dobermans are carriers, although not all show signs of the disease. Your veterinarian can screen your dog for it.
  • Wobbler Syndrome: This is a problem with larger dogs like Dobermans. Issues with the spinal cord in the neck cause considerable pain and may affect the legs (especially the hind legs). Dobermans may begin showing signs of the disease—like a lack of coordination—around age 6, and some are treated with medications while others may need to undergo surgery.
  • Hip Dysplasia: This is an inherited issue involving the hip joint that results in pain, muscle loss and lameness. It’s a degenerative disease, but there are many treatments and therapies available. Hip dysplasia can affect any dog, but it’s more common in larger breeds like German Shepherds or Dobermans.

Search for Adoptable Doberman Pinschers Near You

Doberman Pinscher History

So what is the origin of the Doberman dog? Once upon a time in 19th century Germany, a tax collector named Louis Dobermann decided he needed a dog to be his companion and protector as he went about his duties. He wanted a dog who would be loyal and strong but intimidating too. Over time, he developed the breed now known as the Doberman. (The breed was named for him, but with only one N.) Several breeds are believed to have influenced the Doberman’s development, including the English Greyhound, the Black and Tan Manchester Terrier, the German Shepherd, the German Pinscher, the Weimaraner and the Rottweiler.

By the early 1900s, the Doberman breed had arrived in America, and the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1908. Doberman population growth in the United States was slow in the early years but received a boost thanks to George Howard Earle III, a Doberman enthusiast and politician. (He was later governor of Pennsylvania.) Earle was one of the founders of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA), which was formed in 1921. The breed was admired for its excellent skills and qualities, especially as a protective and loyal guard dog. And the rest, as they say, is (Doberman) history.

During the 1970s, a random albino mutation gene occurred, and while it resulted in a new color for the breed (white), the albino gene wasn’t without its accompanying health issues. The specific gene has since been identified, and breeders can use a simple DNA test to help avoid albinism in Dobermans.

Today, the Doberman is a highly popular breed, currently ranking 18th in popularity out of the 195 breeds recognized by the AKC. Along with 30 other breeds, the Doberman Pinscher is part of the AKC’s Working Group classification, which recognizes breeds that have historically performed jobs (search-and-rescue dogs or guard dogs, for example).

So, where is the best place to find Doberman puppies? You can find a list of reputable Doberman breeders on the American Kennel Club’s website. What’s the average Doberman price? Depending on the breeder, expect to spend anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for a pup. But for that, you usually are getting a dog who’s been screened for health and temperament issues, and they might even come with pedigree papers. You can also reach out to Doberman Pinscher rescue organizations to adopt a Doberman or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.

FAQs

Are Dobermans hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately no, Dobermans aren’t hypoallergenic, and even though they are a short-haired breed, their hair and dander may trigger allergies.

Are Dobermans good with kids?

A Doberman puppy and a small child probably aren’t a wise combination, but an older dog and an older child can often coexist quite well, as long as you properly instruct the child on how to behave around dogs (and vice versa). Of course, every dog is different, and some may not be good with kids, but once a Doberman understands the child is part of the family, they usually shower the child with love and protection. Remember, always supervise your Doberman when interacting with a child.

Are Dobermans dangerous?

Dobermans are strong, imposing dogs and may seem intimidating, especially to those outside their families, but they aren’t considered more or less dangerous than other dog breeds. Like all dog breeds, Dobermans can display unwanted behaviors you’ll need to address, but a reputable trainer can help you work through any issues. As noted, Dobermans can display protective tendencies, and they do have a strong bite force.

What are the most popular Doberman names?

Some of the most popular Doberman dog names are universally popular in other breeds too, such as Bella, Luna, Max, Lucy, Charlie, Duke and Lola. And some pet parents choose names in honor of Doberman characteristics like coat color, strength or German heritage. These might include Baer, Alpha, Diesel, Axel, Zeus and Nero. Other fun options to consider: Angel, Adele, Apollo, Zoe and Harley. If you need even more ideas, try our list of top dog names.

What are the most common Doberman mixes?

The most common Doberman mixes are:

  • Doberman-Rottweiler mix (Rotterman)
  • Doberman-German Shepherd mix (Doberman Shepherd)
  • Doberman-Beagle mix (Beagleman)
  • Doberman-Labrador Retriever mix (Doberdor)
  • Doberman-Boxer mix (Boxerman)
  • Doberman-Corgi mix (Dobergi or Dorgi)
  • Doberman-Golden Retriever mix (Golderman)
  • Doberman-Husky mix (Siberian Pinscher or Dobsky)
  • Doberman-Great Dane mix (Doberdane)
  • Doberman-Poodle mix (Doberdoodle)
  • Doberman-Bouvier des Flandres mix (Bouberman)
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Top Takeaways

It’s easy to see why so many pet parents love their Dobermans. These devoted dogs are happiest when spending time with their families and provide lots of affection and protection. Their short coats make grooming a breeze, and their intelligence makes them easy to train—plus Dobermans are bold, brave and beautiful. What more could you ask for?

Expert input provided by veterinarian Dr. Ryan C. Fries, Assistant Professor of Cardiology, Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and certified dog trainer Erin Magnani Topp, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, owner of Topp Canine Solutions.

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