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12 Interesting Facts About the Doberman Pinscher (Vet-Reviewed)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 29, 2024 by Dogster Team

doberman pinscher dog in the forest

12 Interesting Facts About the Doberman Pinscher (Vet-Reviewed)

VET APPROVED

Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

The Doberman Pinscher is an athletic, strong dog of German origin. They have long been used as guardians, which was the original reason for breeding this dog. They’ve also been police dogs and worked with the armed forces, proving especially useful during World War II.

The modern Doberman is loyal to their owners but is likely to be kept as a pet and as a working dog. They do have high energy requirements but are intelligent, easy to train, and can form very close bonds with their family.

Below, we look at 12 interesting facts about this intriguing, popular breed.

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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.

They were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908 and while the breed has retained a lot of their original characteristics, they have become less “tough” and more of a family dog since.

black and tan short coat medium dog lying on floor
Image Credit: JOSHUA DANIEL, Unsplash

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 several 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 Doberman had access to a lot of different breeds, it is not known precisely which breeds formed 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.

Doberman Pincher
Image Credit: Laith Abushaar, Unsplay

4. Dobermans Make Excellent Service Dogs

The breed falls under the category of working dogs. They are considered very intelligent, easy to train, extremely vigilant, and keen to work. This combination has seen the Doberman employed in a wide variety of service roles. They worked originally as guard dogs and have 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 for some people. 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

German forces used Dobermans during World War I, and they 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 various roles but were especially successful as scouts, messengers, and to accompany soldiers through challenging terrain and difficult situations. During World War II, they were the United States Marine Corps’ official war dog breed, but as mentioned above, they were not the only breed utilized by the military during wartime.

Little Doberman will become big
Image Credit: Valerie Berdinel, Shutterstock

6. They Are Considered Very Smart Dogs

It is difficult to assess the intelligence of dogs. While we 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 they were ranked #1 in both the 1994 and 2006 adaptation of “The Intelligence of Dogs” by Stanley Coren, a professor of canine psychology.

The Doberman features very highly on the same list (#5) 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:, which is a great trait to have when it comes to training.


7. The Breed Loves Work

This is a working breed, and the Doberman isn’t afraid of hard work. In fact, they’re known to enjoy tasks and take them seriously, as they’re often very eager to please their trainers. Giving the Doberman work to do is a good way to provide physical and mental exercise.

Because they are an athletic and intelligent dog breed, they require a lot of fulfillment and enrichment, and owners need to be prepared to meet these needs to ensure their dogs are happy.

Miniature pinscher puppy sitting on the couch
Image Credit: e-Kis, Shutterstock

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. 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, loyal, playful, generally very good with all people, and often gets along well with other dogs. They require patient training and early socialization, but this is true of all breeds.

dog doberman pinscher portrait in autumn
Image Credit: Daria Shvetcova, Shutterstock

10. There Are Four Official Colors of Doberman

Officially, the Doberman is recognized in four colors by the American Kennel Club, including black, red, blue, and fawn (Isabella). However, if you’re seeking a champion or show dog, you might want to double-check the requirements for different agencies. While the American Kennel Club accepts a small white patch on the chest of the dog not exceeding ½ square inch, other clubs or organizations may not accept any white markings.


11. Cropped Ears and Tails Served a Purpose

One myth about the Doberman is that they have an incredible pair of upright ears that give the breed an alert demeanor. However, this isn’t how their ears are naturally placed, and the Doberman’s ears are naturally large drop downwards. Likewise, they’re sometimes depicted as not having a tail or only having a short stump-like tail. However, they do naturally possess long tails.

These depictions exist because the breed was popular for having their ears cropped and their tails docked. 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 many parts of the world today (including most of Europe), and the American Veterinary Association also opposes the practice, although it still exists today.

four-month old Doberman puppy sitting on a grass
Image Credit: Luiza Kleina, Shutterstock

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 and smooth. They don’t have the natural features to protect them against cold.

If you live in a cold area and want a Doberman, you are encouraged to consider ways to keep your dog warm when the weather gets slightly cooler.

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Is the Doberman a Good Family Dog?

The Doberman can make an excellent family pet. They are considered a loyal breed that loves their family members. They 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. This however is true for any dog and not necessarily a “downside” to having a Doberman.

Can Dobermans Live in Apartments?

This athletic and strong breed needs a lot of exercise, and the Doberman is a large dog that takes up a lot of room. As such, they do better when given plenty of space, including outdoor space. However, they 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. They’re also stereotypically depicted as having 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 playful. They do, however, tend to be very vigilant and are considered “natural” guard dogs by many. Therefore, investing in a “Beware of Dog” sign might still be something worth considering for your yard fence!

Doberman pinscher dog running
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

The Doberman Pinscher is a strong, athletic dog with 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. They are still very loyal and require socialization and training.

They  will benefit from mental stimulation in the form of being given tasks to perform that require a lot of exercise, but they are an incredible breed that will integrate into family life. They can also make an effective and efficient service dog or working dog. If you’re looking to adopt a dog, we hope these facts have helped you better understand this breed.

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Featured Image Credit: Daria Shvetcova, Shutterstock

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