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What Were Dobermans Bred For? Facts, History & Origins

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

girl and brown doberman dog

What Were Dobermans Bred For? Facts, History & Origins

The Doberman is a strong and charismatic dog that has garnered popularity throughout the world. It’s a famous guard dog that has deep roots and a long history of guarding and protecting people. The original intent of breeding the Doberman was to protect tax collectors, and they eventually earned the title, “Tax Collector’s Dog.”

Dobermans have been wonderful companions for centuries and have consistently been known for their loyalty, bravery, and dedicated work ethic.

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The Origins of the Doberman in the 19th Century

Unlike many other dog breeds, the Doberman has a relatively traceable history. The first Doberman appeared in Apolda, Germany and was bred by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann.

During this era, tax collection was a dangerous job. Tax collectors often risked getting harmed by angry clients who wanted to dispute paying their dues. They were also targeted by thieves and often got robbed.

Dobermann saw this issue and created a solution by breeding different dog breeds with specific qualities, such as bravery and intelligence. Dobermann didn’t keep records of the original breeds to create the Doberman. However, people speculate that the original Doberman was a mix of the following breeds:

The mix of these breeds could have developed a new breed that exhibited important guard dog qualities:

  • Agility
  • Bravery
  • Obedience
  • Protective instinct
  • Quick reaction
  • Stamina
  • Strong sense of smell

It’s extremely probable that the first Doberman looked pretty different from the Dobermans we see today. Doberman wasn’t as concerned about looks as he was about temperament. So, the appearance of the first Doberman litters varied. They were most likely much smaller and shaggier than today’s Doberman.

doberman close up
Image by: patstatic, Pixabay

Dobermans in the 20th Century

The Doberman eventually got introduced to Apolda’s dog market in the 1860s, but they didn’t gain much attention or popularity until the turn of the 20th century.

After the death of Dobermann, the Doberman breed received attention from Otto Goller, who shined the spotlight on these dogs. He founded the first Doberman Pinscher club, and he also helped propel the dog’s popularity to reach international fame and recognition.

To create a more consistent appearance, the Manchester Terrier and Greyhound were mixed into the pedigree of the early Dobermans, and this dog breed eventually developed its signature look that we all know today.

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The Doberman Today

Dobermans are now one of the most recognizable dogs in the world. While they no longer protect tax collectors, they still help many people in more ways than one.

Guard Dogs

You can see Dobermans still working as guard dogs and protecting large properties. They can be trained to detect intruders and quickly track them down.

Military Dogs

Dobermans also have a decorated military history. In fact, about 75% of dogs in service during World War II were Dobermans. Their bravery eventually led them to earn the recognition of the greatest military dog in US history.

These intelligent dogs can be trained to be scouts, messengers, or a part of the infantry. They’re known to learn how to sniff out mines, deliver supplies, and alert their troops of any presence of enemies.

doberman pincher exercise
Image by: DragoNika, Shutterstock

Police Dogs

Dobermans have the perfect qualities to become K9 dogs and search and rescue dogs. They may not have the strongest sense of smell, but their admirable work ethic and trainability often make them successful police dogs. Their strength, endurance, and high energy enable them to tenaciously search for their targets until they’re found.

Service Dogs

Dobermans are quick learners and can become very attuned to humans. So, many can become excellent service dogs. However, due to their guard dog instincts, they tend to require a lot of early socialization and firm training to find success in this field.


Final Thoughts

Dobermans have a long history with people and have been wonderful companions throughout the years. While they can be devoted and loyal family dogs, they do require consistent training and do best when living with an experienced dog owner. So, make sure to do your research before bringing home a Doberman.

Dobermans have done admirable work that requires a lot of bravery and determination, and we can confidently say that they’ve made the world a better place. This dog breed consistently remains a popular dog breed, and we’re happy that we don’t see the love for Dobermans dying down any time soon.

Featured Image Credit: Primorac91, Shutterstock

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