Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher

Developed in Germany to serve as both a guard dog and a companion, Doberman Pinschers have retained the best qualities of each role. These large-breed dogs are protective, fearless, and alert, while also being eager to please, loving, and loyal. Dobermans have sleek, elegant frames with lean muscles that give them power and speed. Dobies hold their sculpted heads high and their exceptional intelligence is evident in their almond-shaped, brown eyes.


Other Names

Doberman Pinschers are also commonly called Dobes or Dobies.


Doberman Pinscher Mixes

Doberman Pinscher mixes are a commonly available mixed breed in shelters and rescues. Doberman Pinscher mixes will have traits in common with Dobies and the other breeds in their ancestry. Because most shelters don't perform DNA testing on their mixed breeds, heritage is a best guess determined by physical traits, temperament, and any information shared at surrender.


If you would like a Doberman Pinscher or a Dobie mix, locate a shelter that performs genetic testing on mixed breeds, or let local shelters know you are interested in AKC-registered Doberman Pinschers. Remember, proof of ancestry doesn't ensure the dog will have predominant Doberman characteristics. Each dog's personality will differ based on genetics, experience, training, and socialization.


Common Doberman Pinscher mixes include Rottweiler, Australian Shepherd, German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Bloodhound, Great Dane, and Poodle.

Physical Description

Coat

The thick, close coat of the Doberman is smooth and shiny. Their coat colors may be black and rust, blue and rust, and fawn and rust. There are also white Dobermans who are albino. On the Dobermans with rust, the markings appear over each eye, on their muzzle, chest, throat, below the tail, and on all legs and feet. Some Dobermans have a small white patch on their chest.


Height

Average Height: 24-28 inches


Weight

Male: 75-100 pounds

Female: 60-90 pounds

Breed Standard & History

The Doberman Pinscher has a square, compact, and muscular body built for endurance and speed. They have a sleek, noble carriage and an alert expression. Doberman's are watchful, brave, loyal, and obedient.


A German tax collector named Louis Dobermann developed the Doberman Pinscher in the late 1900s for protection from bandits on his rounds, as well as companionship at home. No one is exactly sure which breeds were used to create the Doberman, but it is believed they likely evolved through crossbreeding between old shorthaired shepherds, Rottweilers, the German Pinscher, and Black and Tan Terriers. Dobies were prized as police and military dogs because of their intelligence, fearlessness, and obedience. Over time, the ferocity that early Dobermans were known and feared for was slowly bred out of them and they are now considered excellent family dogs.


AKC Breed Category

Working Group

Personality

General Temperament

Dobes are smart, attentive dogs who enjoy having their mental and physical abilities challenged through training and games. These are extremely active dogs who like to stay busy and on the move. They are highly loyal and obedient to their families, though they can be pushy. Though mostly friendly, they will become aggressive if they sense a threat.


Family Life

Are Doberman Pinschers Good with Kids? Doberman Pinschers are good with kids when they are socialized alongside them from puppyhood. They are better with older kids who recognize the warning signs of frustration in dogs.


(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)


Are Doberman Pinschers Good with Other Pets? Dobermans can live with cats and dogs when they have been socialized with them. They should be supervised, however, and crating your Dobie is advisable when left alone with other pets for extended periods of time. Dobies are sometimes aggressive with dogs they don't know, especially male dogs.


Protective

Dobermans are highly protective of their families and their territory.


Are Doberman Pinschers Good Guard Dogs? Doberman Pinschers make excellent guard dogs who will alert you to trespassers and become aggressive when they feel threatened.


Energy Levels

Dobes have very high energy levels. They must be kept engaged throughout the day.


Specific Concerns:

  • Can be domineering without proper training.
  • They must be supervised with small children and other animals.
  • They require an active family willing to ensure they get enough exercise.
  • Dobermans have a reputation for being ferocious, so people may be wary of them.

Requirements

Indoor 

Dobes are robust, but they are not hearty enough to spend hours on end outside. They should live indoors with their families. It's important that they are well trained and socialized from a young age so they don't assume the alpha role in the house. Dobermans require frequent mental stimulation so they don't become bored and resort to destructive behaviors to pass the time.


Outdoor 

With their short coats and low body fat, Dobermans are not well adapted for outdoor living. However, this highly athletic breed needs to be taken outside multiple times per day for walks and play sessions in order to get enough exercise. Dobies benefit from a fenced-in backyard for long games of fetch.


Exercise 

Dobes require abundant exercise and play to keep them healthy and prevent destructive behaviors.


Endurance 

This breed doesn't tire easily. You'll likely be ready for a break before your Doberman.


Activity distance rating

  • Running Miles: Healthy Dobermans will happily run three to five miles.
  • Hiking Miles: A healthy Doberman will easily hike for five-plus miles.


Food 

Dobermans generally eat between 2.5 and 3.5 cups of quality dry dog food per day over two meals. Talk with your veterinarian about the optimum nutrition for your Doberman, based on his unique weight, age, and activity level.


Alone Time 

Doberman Pinschers are able to be alone for several hours comfortably. They shouldn't spend entire workdays alone, however, because they require exercise and engagement. Be sure your Dobie has a familiar dog walker who can take him out for walks and playtime during the day. Crate training Dobermans when they are young can help keep them out of mischief when spending time alone.

Health and Grooming

Life Expectancy

10-13 years


Grooming

Dobermans should be brushed several times a week to keep their coats healthy and shiny, and to get rid of shedding fur. They can be wiped down with a damp cloth if they get a little dirty. Dobermans require only a few baths per month. Trim their nails every few weeks to prevent chipping, and check and clean their ears once a week to avoid wax buildup and infections.


Common Health Issues

Doberman Pinschers may be prone to some breed-specific health concerns, including:


  • Von Willebrand's disease (a genetic blood disorder)
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye disease
  • Bloat and gastric torsion

You can minimize serious health concerns in a Doberman by purchasing from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.

Trainability

Basics

Dobermans are considered among the most highly trainable dog breeds because they are smart, attentive, and eager to please. They are eager to train from an early age, learn quickly, and enjoy adding new skills.


Advanced Training

Dobermans are excellent candidates for advanced training that tests their agility and stamina, and keeps them engaged.


Sporting Dog Training

Dobies are not considered natural-born sporting dogs.

Breed FAQ

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Doberman Pinschers.

Explore Other Breeds

No. Doberman Pinschers shed and, as a result, release pet dander into your home. Dander is the cause of most pet-related allergies.

With their history as guard dogs, war dogs, and police dogs, the Dobermans' reputation as an aggressive, ferocious canine is not surprising. But Dobies are not especially vicious and they are considered wonderful, safe family pets today, as long as they are properly trained. All dog breeds have the potential for aggression depending on how they are raised, trained, and socialized, as well as in situations where they feel threatened.

Dobies are not natural swimmers because their low body fat makes them less buoyant. However, some Dobermans will take to the water and learn to swim if encouraged, and others will enjoy wading to cool off on a hot day.