|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 2 Section 1 #143
||Group 6 (Utility)
||Group 3 - Working Dogs
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Dobermann (alternatively spelled Doberman in
America) or Doberman Pinscher is a
Dobermanns are commonly used as
dogs, and have a reputation as being a dog that is loyal and intelligent, is
suitable for families with young children and are trusting companion dogs.
A Dobermann bitch's shoulder height is about 24 inches (61 cm) and weight is
about 75 to 80 pounds (34 to 36 kg), whereas the male stands about 26 or 27
inches (66 to 68 cm) at the shoulder and weighs around 90 pounds (41 kg).
Dobermanns typically have a very deep, broad chest, a thick but fit body, and
a generally muscular build. However, in recent years some breeders have
primarily bred, shown, and sold a much slimmer or slender-looking Dobermann (as
seen in the picture). This has become a popular body type among many buyers,
especially those who want to show their Dobies competitively. The traditional
body type is still more desirable to many casual owners and to those who want
the dog for security reasons.
Most people picture a Dobermann's color as the typical black with brown
markings. However, the existence of two different color genes in Dobermanns
provides four different
in Dobermann color. The traditional color, produced when both genes have the
is commonly referred to as black or black and tan, while the most
common variation, due to one gene having the
allele, produces what is called a red or red and tan Doberman
in America and a "brown" Dobermann in the rest of the world, which is primarily
deep reddish-brown with tan markings.
The other gene having the recessive allele, while the first one retains the
dominant, produces the blue (grey) Dobermann, whereas the least likely
combination of both color genes having recessive alleles produces fawn,
which is a light tan color, often called isabella.
In the 1970s, a fifth color of Dobermann, dubbed the white Dobermann,
was born and she was subsequently bred to her son who was also bred to his
litter sisters. This tight inbreeding went on for some time so certain breeders
could "fix" the mutation, which has been widely marketed. Dobermanns of this
color possess a genetic
which prevents its pigment proteins from being manufactured, regardless of the
of either of the two color genes; that is, it is an
many potential Dobermann owners find the color beautiful, albino Dobermanns,
like albinos of other species, face increased risk of
other diseases and should avoid sun exposure as much as possible. The popularity
of the white Dobermann has died down dramatically as the risks have become
known, with many people even calling for an end to the breeding and marketing of
the white Dobermann, because they perceive it as cruelty to the animal. Some
countries have made the purposeful breeding of the white Dobermann illegal, but
breeders who care and take note of the ancestors can avoid breeding albinos as
they are all descended from the original bitch.
What may come as a surprise to people who are used to seeing Dobermann tails
that are just a couple of inches long, is that the Dobermann is actually born
with a tail that is longer than that of most breeds of dog. Typically, a
Doberman Pinscher undergoes
procedure in which the majority of its tail is cut off within days after its
birth. The rationale for this is that it is the "look" that the dog is supposed
to have, since it was the way Louis Dobermann originally envisioned the dog.
Aside from these more vain reasons of putting the animals through a procedure
that many view as inhumane, one practical reason for docking the tail is that it
removes what would be a convenient "handle" for a criminal or attacker to grab
when the Dobermann is performing its guard or police work. Another reason is
that dogs with the type of tails that the Dobermann has (long with little hair
or flesh over the tail bones) have a very common occurrence of "broken tail".
Broken tail may range from the actual tail bones being broken to the more common
skin injuries that are very difficult to heal because of the difficulty of
bandaging or protecting the tail. Broken tail is often a self inflicted injury
caused by the Dobermann enthusiastically wagging its long tail, regardless of
the objects it is hitting with it.
Regardless of people's beliefs on this matter, few Dobermann purchasers have
a choice on the length of their Dobermann's tail; docking must be done soon
after the dog's birth, which means that the breeder nearly always makes the
decision, before their dogs are even put on the market.
Dobermann with natural ears.
This is not true, however, of Dobermann
which should be done between 7 and 9 weeks, though it can done up to six months
or a year after the Dobermann's birth, and is therefore usually left up to the
discretion of the dog owner. Cropping done after 12 weeks has a high rate of
failure in getting the ears to stand. In larger and larger numbers, Dobermann
owners are opting not to have their pet's ears cropped, in a procedure that is
believed to be extremely painful for the animal. The process involves cutting
off part of the animal's ears and then propping them up with posts or cups and
tape bandages, which allows the cartilage to develop into an upright position as
the puppy grows. The puppy will still have the ability to lay the ears back or
down. The process can take a few weeks or may take months. Because taping too
tightly can cause blood flow problems, taping must be done by a veterinarian or
While there have been no studies that involved looking at cropped vs
non-cropped dobermans, it is believed that cropping dramatically reduces the
occurrence of ear infections and hematomas (blood blisters caused by damage to
the ear tips commonly from hard shaking of the head).
Although the acts of ear cropping and tail shortening seem inhumane to some,
the traditional Dobermann has always been the one that has had both procedures.
In some countries, docking and cropping are now illegal, but in some
Dobermanns are allowed to compete only if they have the traditional look.
Because of the Dobermann's typical use as a guard dog, and its often
stereotyped role as such in
people are afraid of Dobermanns. However, Dobermanns are in general a loving and
intelligent breed. Although there is variation in temperament, an average
Dobermann rarely attacks people, and only when it feels that it, its property,
or its family are in danger.
An average, healthy Dobermann is expected to live around 12 years, with a
majority of Dobermanns dying between age 11 and 13. Common health problems are
von Willebrands disease (a bleeding disorder that can be tested for
cancer, and in the blues and fawns,
Dobermanns were first bred in
around 1890 by
Louis Dobermann. He was a
tax collector who needed a protection dog to guard him, so he set out to
breed a new type of dog that, in his opinion, would be the perfect combination
of strength, loyalty, intelligence, and fierceness. Later, Otto Goeller and
Philip Gruening continued to develop the breed.
The breed is believed to have been created from several different breeds of
dogs that had the characteristics that Dobermann was looking for, including the
Thuringian Shepherd Dog, the black
German Shorthaired Pointer, and the
German Shepherd Dog. The exact ratios of mixing, and even the exact breeds
that were used, remains uncertain to this day, although many experts believe
that the Dobermann is a combination of at least four of these breeds. The single
exception is the documented cross with the Greyhound. It is also widely believed
that the German Shepherd gene pool was the single largest contributor to the
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