Doberman Pinscher was created by Louis Dobermann, of Apolda, Germany, in the 1890s. Dobermann wanted a medium-sized dog who could be a companion dog and yet still serve as a guard dog. It is believed that Dobermann used German Pinschers, Rottweilers, a black and tan Manchester Terrier, and a short-haired shepherd to create his new breed. Some experts believe that there might also be some Greyhound mixed in.
No matter what the ancestry, Louis Dobermann created a versatile working dog who has served ably in many capacities. The U.S. Marine Corps has used many breeds, including the Doberman. In World War II, dogs were integral to the success of so many operations that a war dog platoon was required to serve with every Marine Corps division. A life-sized bronze statue of a Doberman stands in Guam, labeled “Always Faithful,” in honour of the many war dogs who served and died there.
The Doberman Pinscher today is a medium-sized dog who stands tall and carries herself proudly, making her look larger than she actually is. Doberman Pinschers stand between 24 and 28 inches tall and usually weigh between 60 and 85 pounds, with females smaller than males. The head is wedge-shaped, the eyes almond-shaped and expressive, and the neck well-arched so that the head is carried proudly. The ears are cropped, although today many people retain the natural ears, which are folded. The Doberman’s chest is broad, back is straight, and tail is docked.
The Doberman Pinscher coat is smooth, short, hard, and thick. The Doberman can be black, red, blue, or fawn; all four colours will have rust marking above the eyes, on the muzzle, throat, fore-chest, and all four legs, and below the tail. Grooming the Doberman Pinscher’s short coat is easy; brush it twice a week with a soft bristle brush or curry comb. During spring and fall, when shedding is at its worst, daily brushing will help keep hair in the house to a minimum.
Doberman Pinschers need exercise, and a walk is certainly not enough. A run alongside a bicycle will be better, as will a vigorous game of catching a tennis ball or a good workout on the agility course. Vigorous daily exercise is needed to keep her fit and to prevent problem behaviours that will crop up when she’s bored. Although Doberman Pinschers today are much softer that those of years past, they are still excellent watchdogs and protectors. It’s very important that Doberman Pinscher puppies attend a puppy class where socialisation is emphasised, especially to a variety of people. An overprotected and under socialised Doberman Pinscher can be worried and fearful, neither a good trait for this proud breed.
Doberman Pinscher training should begin young, too, not just to teach household rules and social manners—although both are important—but also to keep that intelligent, inquisitive mind busy! The Doberman Pinscher dog breed thrives on canine sports. Doberman Pinschers are dedicated, loyal companions, excellent with people of all ages, although Doberman Pinscher puppies can be rowdy and need to be taught not to play roughly with children. They can be good with other pets and, when taught not to chase, with the family cat. They can be aggressive toward unknown dogs. Health concerns include cardiomyopathy, wobbler’s syndrome, and von Willebrand’s disease.