The Doberman Pinscher is a sleek and stunning dog with a magnificent physique and the brain to match. These vigilant guard dogs make great additions to your family.
Over the years, the Doberman (spelled Dobermann in some countries) is known by many names, including Doberman Pinscher (in the United States and Canada), Doberman (in the rest of the world), Dobe, Warlock Doberman, and even affectionately as Dobie.
The Origin of the Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher got its name from Louis Dobermann. The dog breed originated in Apolda in Thueringen, Germany, in the 19th century. And the Doberman was first shown in 1876.
People first bred them as guard dogs. Louis Dobermann was a tax collector who was at risk of being attacked by bandits during his rounds. He needed an imposing and loyal companion that would protect him during his work.
With this in mind, Dobermann started breeding experiments. He then created the first Doberman Pinscher.
The breeders who continued his work focused on the dog’s function rather than its appearance.
They wanted to develop a “super dog” that would be intelligent, brave, loyal, and athletic and eventually succeeded with their goal. But Dobermans got the reputation of being aggressive.
A decade later, breeders introduced the Doberman to the United States.
When World War I started, most people couldn’t afford the Dobermans. They were too expensive that only the wealthy, the military, and the police owned them.
After the war, the Germans brought the best Dobermans to the United States.
World War II saw the Doberman Pinscher in peril in Germany. If breeders hadn’t shipped dogs off to the US, they would be extinct.
During World War II, the US Marine Corps used the Dobermans as scouts, messengers, and sentries. When liberating Guam, 25 Marine Dobe’s died.
In 2001, during 9/11, search and rescue Dobermans looked for bodies and survivors at Ground Zero.
Dobermans are not only working dogs but also service dogs, therapy dogs, and dog shows. This dog breed has won in competitive dog sports like agility, tracking, and obedience. They even win Best in Show.
Over time, Dobermans have become known as police dogs, military dogs, and war dogs. At the same time, breeders worked hard to soften the dog’s temperament.
As a result, Dobie’s are now considered affectionate and loyal family pets.
Doberman Pinschers are part of the Mastiff family and are not rare. No official records are stating what dogs created the Doberman Pinscher. And Dobermann died before he could share his recipe with the world.
Dog experts suspect that the Doberman is a mixture of Rottweiler, Black, and Tan Terrier. Smooth-coated herding dogs and German Pinscher may have also gotten in the mix.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has recognized the Doberman Pinscher since 1908. They fall into the category of working dogs. They also have an official breed club, The Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA).
Appearance: What does the Doberman Pinscher look like?
Dobermans have a long head that looks like a blunt wedge. The top of their skull is flat, which turns into the muzzle with a slight stop.
The Doberman’s nose depends on the color of the coat:
- Black coat – black nose
- Red coat – dark brown nose
- Bluecoat – dark grey nose
- Fawn coat – dark tan nose
- Whitecoat – pink nose nose
They have deep-set, almond-shaped eyes. Their eyes come in various shades of brown and usually match their coat color.
Doberman Pinscher dogs are born with floppy ears that do not stand up. But many breeders crop their ears to make them erect.
Doberman breeders often dock their dogs’ tails. If not anchored, their seat grows long. These practices are illegal in some parts of the world yet.
Purebred Dobermans have a muscled neck. Their ribs are well sprung from the spine, with their belly well tucked up.
They have wide and muscled loins with broad hips that are in proportion to the body. Their body should be in proportion to their head.
Their legs are straight, muscled, and sinewy with heavy bones. They have well-arched feet that are compact and catlike, facing frontward. The Dobe’s hindquarters are like their forequarters.
Purebred Doberman dogs should meet the breed standard. To know more about how they look, you can read the Doberman Pinscher Breed Standard.
Size: How Big is a Doberman Pinscher?
Dobermans are large to giant dogs with a compact build that is both muscular and powerful. This build allows them to have great speed and endurance.
Male Doberman Pinschers are around 26-28 inches (66-71 cm) tall and weigh an average of 75-100 pounds (32-45 kg).
Female Dobe’s are smaller, reaching around 24-26 inches (60-66 cm), and weigh an average of 60-90 pounds (27-41 kg).
Warlock Dobermans or ‘King Dobermans’ are way larger and considered the giant breed of Doberman.
Dobermans reach their full height and weight between seven and 12 months of age.
Doberman dogs are energetic dogs that need a lot of space to run around. As such, they are NOT suitable for apartment living. This breed does best in a house with a yard where they can run.
Unless you do plenty of exercise and frequent walks, keeping your Dobie in an apartment isn’t a good idea.
If you’re looking for a mini Doberman, you should read about the Miniature Pinscher. These dogs have a similar appearance to the Dobe and may be better suited for apartment living.
Coat Hair: Doberman Pinscher Colors
Doberman Pinschers coat hair is usually smooth and short. It is sleek and lies close to the skin.
Their hair is sometimes also hard and thick. The Doberman dog breed sometimes has an invisible gray undercoat on its neck.
Most Doberman coat colors are black with rust markings. But Doberman Pinscher coats also come in color variations such as blue (grey), red (brown), and fawn or light tan (also known as Isabella).
It is also possible for Dobermans to have a white coat. These albino Dobermans have severe health problems.
Dobermans can also have tan markings, like the black and tan terrier.
These tans usually appear above each eye, on their muzzle, throat, chest, legs, feet, and tail. White markings appear on their chest. These, though, are often considered faults.
Solid blue and solid black (or melanistic) Dobermans are rare, but it is possible. Solid blue Doberman Pinschers are the rarest Doberman coat color.
Blue Dobermans only make up around 8% of the breed, and solid blue Dobies are rare.
Doberman Pinscher Temperament: Are they good family dogs?
Dobermans are one of the smartest dog breeds who make fun and loving companions. If you don’t raise them right, they can be problematic and even destructive.
Dobie’s do take a while to grow up. They will remain puppy-like and playful until they are around four years old. As a
Doberman owner, make sure your dog has early socialization. Expose them to various people, sounds, sights, and experiences when they are young. Doing this will make sure they become well-rounded dogs.
The Doberman Pinscher makes a great pet but needs to be part of your family. They like to be around those they love and will protect them.
Dobermans are good with children, guests, and friends as long as you raise them well.
You also have to treat them with respect and kindness. Keep in mind, though, that you must still supervise their interactions.
Dobermans love to cuddle, but this can become more challenging when they are grown. They are a bit too big to be lap dogs.
Doberman puppies can be destructive if they aren’t stimulated or entertained. These puppies have a high energy level, so you’ll need to play with them and ensure they get proper exercise.
Want to know what it’s like to live with a Doberman Pinscher? Just watch this video:
Are Dobermans Aggressive?
Dobermans are natural protectors who will act if they see a potential threat. They are not aggressive without good reason. They do not turn on their owners and are not likely to show aggression towards them.
Dobermans are sometimes known as ‘Devil Dogs’ because of being vicious. This name may be correct for Dobermans in the 19th century. But, the Doberman dogs bred today are family-oriented sweethearts.
Despite this, people might still be afraid of them. It’s best to keep your Doberman on a leash in public to prevent people from acting fearful.
They also get along well with other pets in your home, like cats and other dogs. But you’ll need to make sure you introduce them when they’re young.
Having two male Dobermans is NOT advisable since they experience same-sex aggression. This aggression leads to possible dog fights and injury.
Both male and female Dobermans make excellent companions. If you’re looking for a dog that’s easier to train, stays by your side, and gentle around kids, a female Dobie is better.
If you’d rather have a more playful and social pup, your best bet is to get a male.
Doberman Pinschers love to join family activities. Because of this, they shouldn’t be alone for extended periods. If your Dobe gets bored or feels neglected, they may become destructive and loud.
This breed is an alert and responsive watchdog and can bark a lot if not trained. You’ll need to teach them proper barking behavior when they are young.
Since they’re intelligent dogs like the Labrador Retriever, the Doberman has a high trainability and is eager to please.
They learn fast and adapt well to training. You’ll need to make sure you assert your dominance over your Dobe early on. Otherwise, they will try to become the alpha. You can do this with proper and consistent training.
They do well in obedience training. This training not only stimulates your Dobies but also provides essential mental stimulation.
They love a good challenge, but they can be sensitive, so don’t be too hard on your Dobie. They should respond well to a firm ‘no’ if trained.
You should start preparing your Doberman when they are as young as eight weeks old. Enrolling them in puppy kindergarten is essential!
These dogs are easy to potty train thanks to their high intelligence and temperament. With consistent positive reinforcement, you’ll have your pup housebroken in no time.
Dobermans are not good fighting dogs since they have soft skins. Doberman breeders also dock their dogs’ tails at around three days old.
People do this because their long tail is thin, fragile and can break easily. Docking their tail prevents this. Professionals should do this docking when your Doberman is still a puppy.
How to Take Care of Your Doberman Pinscher
Dobermans need moderate maintenance. Their energy requirements are high, but their grooming requirements are low.
You’ll need to keep them busy and entertained, but you won’t need to spend too much money on grooming.
Doberman Pinschers don’t handle extreme weather well. They are especially sensitive to cold weather and will need shelter in winter.
Exercising Your Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher needs structured exercise and free play. They need daily walks and will love going for hikes with their owners.
You should make sure your Doberman gets at least two hours of exercise every day. These working dogs love participating in canine sports like tracking, agility, and obedience.
They need a large area to run around during the day if you want them to remain happy and healthy.
Grooming: Do Doberman Pinscher dogs shed?
This dog breed sheds moderately, so frequent brushing helps eliminate any excess fur. These furs are not hypoallergenic.
You’ll need to trim their nails once a month and brush their teeth regularly. You should also wipe their ears out every few days to keep them clean.
Dobermans don’t need much maintenance in the grooming department. To keep their coat in the best condition, brush them with a short-bristled brush every day.
You can also use a grooming mitt. Then, run a wet towel over them. Doing this will keep their coat shiny and healthy.
To make sure your dog handles grooming well, introduce it to them as a puppy. Make sure it’s a positive experience.
Dobermans are clean dogs with minimal lousy odor. But if they roll in something smelly, they will start to stink.
A simple bath will get rid of the smell. Besides this, Dobermans (adults and puppies) need occasional baths.
Feeding Your Doberman Pinscher: Daily food consumption
Your Doberman Pinscher should eat 2.5 to 3.5 cups of high-quality dog food daily. Make sure to divide this into two meals and control how fast they eat.
Make sure they don’t drink too much afterward or exercise too much straight after eating.
During puppyhood, your Dobe will need less food and more meals throughout the day.
Half a cup of food three to four times a day should do the trick. These dogs do need top-quality food to ensure they live long, healthy lives.
Also, be sure you know which human foods are safe for dogs and which aren’t. And make sure that your pup has plenty of fresh, clean water.
Doberman Pinscher Lifespan and Health Issues
Dobermans are typically healthy dogs, but these purebred dogs can suffer from certain health conditions and genetic disorders.
As mentioned above, Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) is a blood disorder that results in a lack of blood clotting. This inherited disease can cause excessive bleeding after surgery or injury.
Additionally, you might see symptoms like nosebleeds, bleeding gums, or even bleeding in the intestines or stomach. Unfortunately, this disease has no cure, and the only treatment is blood transfusion.
Cardiomyopathy is one of the most severe heart problems for the Doberman Pinscher dog breed.
The heart muscle becomes thin and weak, causing an enlarged heart, and you should do tests on your dog yearly to detect this condition. Dogs with this illness can eventually suffer from heart failure.
Dobermans can inherit Dilated Cardiomyopathy, but it can also occur even if both dog parents are clear. Make sure to screen your pups for this condition before bringing them home.
This dog breed can also suffer from Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI) or Wobblers Syndrome.
Dogs with this disease suffer from spinal cord compression caused by CVI or a malformed spinal canal. The most severe symptoms can include leg paralysis and neck pain.
You can treat Wobblers Syndrome with surgery, but even afterward, the condition may recur.
Dobermans also face Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GBV) or Bloat. It occurs when they eat or drink fast or exercise after meals. Because of that, your dog is unable to belch or vomit.
Gastric torsion can be deadly because it causes the stomach to distend with gas and twist, resulting in a loss of blood pressure and shock. Without prompt medical attention, your dog could die.
Albinism is another genetic condition seen with Doberman Pinschers. This condition does not just mean their fur is white.
It also results in pink skin and nose and light or blue eyes. Albinism causes sunlight sensitivity as well as other health conditions like cancer.
Some breeders suspect this condition can also cause deafness, blindness, or an unstable mind.
Doberman dogs with blue, fawn coat colors can suffer from Color Mutant Alopecia. This condition most commonly affects blue Dobermans.
Most of these dogs are born with regular coats and only show symptoms between four months and three years of age.
As the dog ages, their hair becomes brittle, and they experience patchy hair loss, which affects their coat’s blue areas.
This Blue Doberman Syndrome can also result in secondary infection and inflammation. You can’t cure this condition, but some shampoos can help.
Dobermann Pinscher dogs can also suffer from Narcolepsy. This condition is caused by the brain when it is unable to regulate wake-sleep patterns. Dogs with this condition might suddenly become sleepy and even fall asleep.
Additional health problems to keep an eye out for are:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Addison’s disease
- Congenital heart defects
- Skin problems
The National Breed Club recommends the following health tests and genetic screening:
- Cardiac Exam, including Echocardiography and Holter examination
- Thyroid, Hip and Heart Evaluation from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Hip Evaluation
- Von Willebrand’s Disease DNA Test or the OFA or DPCA evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation and eye test results from the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)
- Work aptitude test from the DPCA
The average Doberman Pinscher dog lifespan is around 10-13 years. Blue Dobermans have a similar lifespan. This dog breed usually dies from heart disease like dilated Cardiomyopathy.
For more information on Doberman Pinscher’s health, read their official health statement.
How Much Is a Full Breed Doberman Pinscher Puppy?
The average Doberman Pinscher puppy litter consists of about six to ten puppies. Doberman Pinscher puppies will cost you an average of $1500-$2500.
After the initial cost, you should budget around $1500 per year for food, medical expenses, and anything else that you might need.
Finding Doberman Pinscher Breeders
Doberman Pinschers in Need of Rescue or Adoption
Despite their lovable nature, some Dobies do end up in rescues or shelters. Many Dobies are waiting for their forever homes. To find a Doberman in your area, you can try the DPCA’s Doberman rescue list.
You can also try these Doberman Pinscher rescues:
- Doberman Rescue Minnesota (DRM) (Minneapolis, MN)
- Doberman Rescue Unlimited, Inc. (Sandown, NH)
- Doberman Rescue of Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)
- Dobies and Little Paws Rescue (Fillmore, CA)
Doberman Pinscher VS Comparable Breeds
Are you wondering about the difference between the Doberman Pinscher and other breeds?
The German Pinscher and the Rottweiler are distant cousins of the Dobie, but they are very different dogs. They are a few similarities between these dog breeds, though.
German Pinscher VS Doberman
The Doberman and German Pinscher are distantly related. Their standards are similar, but the German Pinscher is smaller than the Dobe and bred to be a hunter rather than a guard dog. They are both brilliant.
Rottweiler VS Doberman
Dobermans are more athletic and slender than the Rottweiler. The Rottweiler, on the other hand, is heavier and bulkier.
They both make great guard dogs and excellent protectors, but the Doberman is more agile, demands more exercise, and has better mental stimulation.
Curious About Doberman Pinscher Mixes?
Mixed breed dogs inherit characteristics from both of their parents. This fact means that their temperament and appearance can vary. Here are a few of the most popular Doberman Pinscher mixes.
Doberman Pinscher and Great Dane Mix
When you mix a Dobe and Great Dane, you end up with a dog that’s larger than a typical Doberman – the Doberdane.
It is sleek and agile, which makes an excellent guard dog. Doberdanes are also loving companions that need plenty of exercises.
Doberman Pinscher and German Shepherd Mix
The Doberman Shepherd is a cross between the Doberman Pinscher and the German Shepherd.
The result is a large dog that has lots of energy and high intelligence. This dog can be stubborn during training, so you’ll need to assert your dominance early on.
Doberman Pinscher and Husky Mix
The Siberian Pinscher, a mix between a Husky and Doberman, is medium-sized with high intelligence and excellent endurance.
They have plenty of energy and are very athletic. This mix needs plenty of mental and physical exercise.
Who Should Get a Doberman Pinscher?
Doberman dogs require plenty of attention, exercise, and mental stimulation from their owner. If you’re not able to dedicate enough time to your new Dobie, it’s best to choose a different dog breed.
Because of this, they aren’t the best choice for your first dog. They can be challenging and are better suited for a seasoned dog owner.
The Doberman is intelligent, full of energy, and will protect you endlessly, provided that you gave them the proper training and socialization.
Have you had experience with the Doberman Pinscher? Leave us a comment below and tell us all about it.