The Doberman Pinscher is an athletic, strong dog of German origin. It has long been used as a guardian, which was the original reason for breeding this dog. It has also been a police dog and worked with the armed forces, proving especially useful during World War II. The modern Doberman is loyal to its owners but is as likely to be kept as a pet and as a working dog. It does have high energy requirements but is intelligent, easy to train, and can form very close bonds with its family.
Below, we look at 12 interesting facts about this intriguing, popular breed.
The 12 Facts About Doberman Pinscher
1. They Were First Bred in the 19th Century
In dog breed terms, the Doberman Pinscher is quite a new breed. While some breeds have been around for thousands of years, the Doberman is only about 150 years old, having first been bred in the 1880s. The breed has fallen out of and into favor during this time.
It was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908 and while the breed has retained a lot of its original characteristics, it has become less tough and more of a family dog since.
2. They Were Bred by a German Tax Collector
The name Doberman comes from the original breeder, a German tax collector called Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. As well as working as a tax collector, Dobermann also worked as a security guard and police officer. However, it was in his role as a tax collector that he felt he needed a dog to protect him while on the road making collections.
Dobermann’s work running a dog pound gave him access to and experience with a lot of different breeds. He set to work combining a selection of these breeds in a bid to create what he believed would be the perfect guard dog, and the Doberman was born.
3. The Doberman Is a Melting Pot of Breeds
Because Dobermann had access to a lot of different breeds, it is not known precisely which breeds form the Doberman’s original bloodline. German breeds including German Pinschers and Rottweilers likely featured, and it is believed that Greyhounds and Manchester Terriers, as well as a selection of other dogs, also had an input.
4. Dobermans Make Excellent Service Dogs
The breed falls under the category of working dogs. They are considered very intelligent, easy to train, and keen to work. This combination has seen the Doberman employed in a wide variety of service roles. It worked originally as a guard dog and has continued to guard people, property, and even livestock since.
The breed has been used as police dogs and has worked with the armed forces. They can be trained to fulfill search and rescue roles, and their temperament also makes them suitable as therapy dogs. You may even see a Doberman working as a guide dog, helping those with impaired vision.
5. They Were Very Useful During World War II
Having been used by German forces during World War I, dogs were heavily utilized during World War II by most armed forces. They were especially popular with the U.S. forces, and it is estimated that around three-quarters of all U.S. service dogs during the war were Doberman Pinschers, making them even more popular than German Shepherds, which admittedly account for the other 25%.
Dobies were used in a variety of roles but were especially successful as scouts, messengers, and to accompany soldiers through challenging terrain and difficult situations.
6. They Are Considered Very Smart Dogs
It is difficult to accurately assess the intelligence of dogs. While we most often think of intelligence as meaning easy to train, there are other factors to consider. The Border Collie is widely considered the most intelligent breed because it picks up new training commands after just a few repetitions and will respond properly to learned commands virtually every time.
The Doberman features very highly on the list of most intelligent breeds and is also said to be easy to train. They are also curious, which means they are inclined to learn. They are active and when they have settled with a family, they will want to please their owners and make them happy: a great trait to have when it comes to training.
7. The Breed Loves Hard Work
This is a working breed, and the Doberman isn’t afraid of hard work. In fact, it is one dog that seems to thrive on hard work. Give the Doberman a task and they will take it seriously. Giving the Doberman work to do is a good way to provide physical and mental exercise.
Because this is an athletic and intelligent dog, it needs a lot of fulfillment and enrichment, and owners need to be prepared to meet these needs to ensure they have a happy dog.
8. The World Record Tracking Dog Was a Doberman
Tracking dogs are dogs that identify, differentiate, and follow scents. Generally, we think of breeds like Bloodhounds and Beagles as being the best at tracking, and this is usually true. However, the world record tracking dog was, in fact, a Doberman.
Sauer, a South African Police Dog School prospect, had been deemed too apprehensive to be a police dog. But under the expert guidance of handler Detective-Sergeant Herbert Kruger, Sauer excelled at tracking. And in 1925, the pair followed a cattle rustler 100 miles on foot before apprehending the thief. Sauer still holds the world record for tracking.
9. Dobermans Make Great Pets
Although they have had a reputation for being fierce and even aggressive dogs, the modern Doberman has been bred to be less fearsome. They will still protect their family if needed, but today’s Doberman is loving and loyal, playful, and generally very good with all people and even other animals. They do require patient training and early socialization, but this is true of all breeds.
10. There Are Four Official Colors of Doberman
Officially, the Doberman is recognized in four colors by the American Kennel Club. The black and tan coloring is the one that most people think of when they consider this breed, but you can also find Dobies in fawn and tan, blue and tan, and liver and tan.
Also, while the American Kennel Club accepts some small white spots on the chest of the dog, European kennel clubs do not accept any white markings.
11. Cropped Ears and Tails Served a Purpose
One distinctive feature of the modern Doberman is an incredible pair of upright ears that give the breed an alert demeanor. Originally, though, the breed was more often seen with cropped ears and cropped tails.
It was believed that long ears and tails were prone to being bitten or attacked, so cropping or docking them protected the dogs. Cropping the ears and tails is banned in most of Europe and the American Veterinary Association also opposes the practice, although it does still go on today.
12. Dobermans Tend to Dislike Cold
Despite being athletic, strong, and very courageous dogs, one thing that the breed is known to dislike is cold weather. This is because they do not carry a lot of extra body weight and their coat is short. They don’t have the natural features to protect them against cold.
If you live in a cold area and want a Doberman, you will have to consider buying your dog a jacket and ensuring they have somewhere warm to sleep and rest.
Is the Doberman a Good Family Dog?
The Doberman can make an excellent family pet. It is a loyal breed that loves its family members. It can be very playful and even a bit of a comedian. However, you should always ensure that children know how to behave respectfully around dogs and ensure that your Doberman has proper training and socialization from a young age.
Can Dobermans Live in Apartments?
This athletic and strong breed needs a lot of exercise, and the Doberman is a large dog breed that takes up a lot of room. As such, it does tend to do better when given plenty of space, including outdoor space. However, it can adapt to life in an apartment as long as you are prepared to offer regular walks and ensure that your pup gets enough daily exercise.
Are Dobermans Aggressive?
Dobermans have had a reputation for being aggressive. This reputation came from the fact that the breed was commonly used as a guard dog. It also has a fearsome look and a strong build. However, with good socialization and training, as well as a loving family and good home life, the Doberman can be loving, loyal, and even soft.
The Doberman Pinscher is a strong, athletic dog that has a fearsome look and reputation. However, while the dog was originally bred as a guard dog, today’s Dobie is a family dog that is loving. It is still very loyal and does require socialization and training. It will benefit from being given tasks to perform and will need a lot of exercise, but it is an incredible breed that will integrate into family life. It can also make an effective and efficient service dog or working dog.
Featured Image Credit: Daria Shvetcova, Shutterstock
- The 12 Facts About Doberman Pinscher
- 1. They Were First Bred in the 19th Century
- 2. They Were Bred by a German Tax Collector
- 3. The Doberman Is a Melting Pot of Breeds
- 4. Dobermans Make Excellent Service Dogs
- 5. They Were Very Useful During World War II
- 6. They Are Considered Very Smart Dogs
- 7. The Breed Loves Hard Work
- 8. The World Record Tracking Dog Was a Doberman
- 9. Dobermans Make Great Pets
- 10. There Are Four Official Colors of Doberman
- 11. Cropped Ears and Tails Served a Purpose
- 12. Dobermans Tend to Dislike Cold
- Is the Doberman a Good Family Dog?
- Can Dobermans Live in Apartments?
- Are Dobermans Aggressive?