The history of the Dobermann has been documented by many very reliable authors, who have sometimes spent a lifetime with this one breed of dog. It is highly recommended that anyone interested in including one of these magnificent animals in their family, to purchase and read at least one book (preferably more) that is written by these authors. It is also important that the potential new owner belong to a local Dobermann club; get to know the people who have experience in this breed, ask questions concerning training, nutrition, exercise, and temperament of the breed. The Dobermann is a noble-looking, elegant, powerful, and highly intelligent animal. The feelings between a Dobermann and its owner are reciprocal, the love and devotion that one has for the other is a mutual giving and receiving. That is one of the amazing benefits of ownership of this breed of dog.
Dobes are very loving and intelligent pets. They are termed "Velcro" dogs because where you go, they are attached to you like they were Velcro'd fast. Dobermanns are termed, by many, as "the Cadillac of dogs" or "Ferrari dogs". They do everything with a bit of extra flair. They will offer you unbound love and devotion for their every minute in this world. When their time comes to go, they will not worry about themselves but will spend their last minute of life reassuring you that everything will be okay. The only bad part about owning a Dobermann is that their lifespan is so much shorter than ours. But the years you will have with your dobermann is a blessing.
Ardens Izumrud, Italy
The Dobermann had its beginnings in the city of Apolda, located in the state of Thuringia in Germany, in the middle of the nineteenth century (1850-talet). Louis Dobermann was reputed to be a tax collector in this area, and was also responsible for keeping the strays in the local dog pound. Herr Dobermann carried money on his person, and wanted a dog for self protection. His ultimate aim was to possess a dog that was of average build, so that it could be intimidating to intruders or robbers. A dog with a short, smooth coat would be easy to care for, with a minimum of grooming. The dog would also have to have great stamina, be intelligent, and display alertness, and even aggression. When he decided to use different breeds to develop this special guard dog, Herr Dobermann had a very specific end in mind. His choices were not slap hazard, he picked and chose the dogs very carefully. This is one of the reasons why the "Doberman Pinscher" or Dobermann is referred to as "a man-made dog". Unfortunately, he did not keep any written records.
However, some very good conjectures can be drawn from the knowledge we have of the anatomy and temperament of the Dobermann, and the knowledge of the type of dogs that were indigenous to that area and time. Nobody knows exactly which breeds were used in this early breeding but the German Pinscher was probably the foundation breed that Herr Dobermann used to build his new strain of dog. This type of dog was described as being rather non-descript in looks, but the reputation of temperament that this dog had was one of alertness and aggressiveness. The Rottweiler was used in the development of the breed due to its massiveness and intelligence. This very solid dog also possessed great stamina, and had excellent tracking ability. Sometimes the Rottweiler strain can be seen in a Doberman with a "wavy" coat. The Manchester Terrier contributed the black-and-tan coloration, and the short, shiny coat. The Dobermann inherited some of the elegant looks, the refinement and line of this breed of dog. The Beauceron contributed size and color to the Dobermann bloodline. The Beauceron was a solidly built dog, very alert, and was known to be intelligent as well. Also the Great Dane and the Old German Shepherd, not the German Shepherd as we know today, were probably included in the foundation breeding of the dobermann.
No precise early breeding records were kept, but many studies of the Dobermann's background conclude, that the following breeds and more (see above) may have been involved:
Rottweiler The early version of this breed was probably used for its strength, courage and hardness.
Black & Tan Terrier Now known as the Manchester Terrier and German Pinscher, this breed was probably used for its agility and high prey drive.
Weimaraner and other hunting dogs may have been used for their endurance and superior instincts.
Greyhound May have been used for their elegance, style and speed.
Beauceron contributed size and color to the Dobermann bloodline.
Here you see the only known photograph of Mr. Dobermann (on the left) with some dog friends and some unknown Mongrel dogs.
By 1899, Dobermann enthusiasts had formed the first Dobermann breed club, which later became the DV (Dobermann Verein=Dobermann Club. This club developed the first official breed standard, which aims to clarify to breeders and fanciers how the correctly bred Dobermann should look and act. The Dobermann's own style developed very quickly and by the early 1930's, their look and character had already been molded into what we know of today.
Over a lifetime of sixty years of interbreeding, Herr Dobermann (lived 1823-1894) achieved great success in breeding the required character and created a breed of dog which showed to a considerable extent similar exterior characteristics - in other word "bred true".
Prinz Modern v. Ilm-Athen, whelped May 25, 1909.
Another breeder, Otto Goeller, was attracted to these dogs and through his efforts the breed was recognised as the Dobermann Pinscher (the word Pinscher being dropped later) in 1899. Otto Goeller and later Philip Gruenig (photo below) played a tremendous role in refining and developing the breed to its present form.
Since the beginning of the present century, the Dobermann has spread rapidly over Europe and America. Strangely enough, it was not until after World War II that the breed was introduced into England on any scale. The Dobermann was thought to have been introduced into Australia in 1952 although current research now indicates that their arrival was in fact a lot earlier. There have been numerous dogs imported from all over the world by devoted breeders.
The Dobermann was known as the "Devil Dog" by the American Marines and is their mascot. He earned his name during World War II in the Pacific where he used to go ashore with the marines and flush out the enemy. This name, together with his reputation as a guard and protector, has stuck in the minds of the public throughout the world. So today, a small sign on the front gate stating "Dobermann lives here" is usually sufficient to deter intruders. Certainly, a Dobermann by one’s side gives a person a supreme feeling of security.
DOBERMANN CHARACTER It is in the Dobermann’s nature to be a trustworthy and loyal companion, usually gentle but as robust and tough as you care to make him. A great playmate for the children of "his family" he’ will quite happily join the family at the table and sleep in your bed... if you are foolish enough to encourage him. In fact, he will become very "human" if you forget to remind him that he is a dog! Though affectionate and obedient to his own the Dobermann can be quite stand-offish to those he does not know. However, he should not be nervous or aggressive in normal circumstances. A dog like this is unreliable and will react badly in times of stress. (See more specific about the character of the Dobermann below).
ARE YOU THE RIGHT PERSON? The Dobermann is a large, active and intelligent breed and you must be willing to provide the exercise and attention this dog needs.
Anyone buying a Dobermann for the Show or Obedience Trial ring must realise that they require DAILY training and exercise. All Dobermanns, pets included, should be housed on an adequately fenced property. In the world most local by-laws require this, and certainly lots of Dobermann Club members in the world insist on this before they will sell a puppy.
ACQUIRING A DOBERMANN Every registered breed of dog has a "Standard" that describes in detail the true Breed Characteristics. In the Show ring, the Judge uses this Standard to asses the entrants. While not all pedigree dogs meet the Standard, a genuine pedigree guarantees that accurate records have been kept of the dog’s parentage. The pedigree can be a guide to the dog’s looks and character.
As the Dobermann breed is popular, it is important to sort the "wheat" from the "chaff" when it comes to breeders.
You should when viewing a litter be able to meet and handle the dam, but the sire does not necessarily belong to the breeder and therefore would not be available to see.
If you are buying a puppy for breeding in the future, or for the Show or Obedience Trial ring, the puppy must be registered with an affiliated State Controlling body.
You should never purchase a puppy "without papers". All reputable breeders are almost certainly members of an affiliated Dobermann Club. You should view your puppy’s registration papers at the time of purchase.
OBEDIENCE AND SOCIALISATION Obedience and socialisation is highly recommended for all Dobermanns. Dobermanns generally need some type of control if they are to fit happily into the family and tend to excel at obedience. To use the words of the nursery rhyme. "When they are good they are very very good, and when they are bad........".
It is important that the public understand that in the early years of the Doberman Pinsher the breed was valued most for its aggressiveness. It had a use at that time, it was a working dog, used in guard work, military policing, and with the police. Today, the responsible breeder is more aware than ever before of the importance of temperament. The responsible breeder will not knowingly sell an aggressive tempered dog into a family situation. The aggressive types must be trained, and possessed, by a dominant (not abusive) owner, who has a job for the Dobie to do. A new owner to the Dobermann breed should have the common sense to research and get to know the breed very well before buying. He, or she, should not be getting the Dobie for the purpose of scaring his neighbours, or their dogs. If that is the case, shame on you. You possess an animal that can become dangerous in the wrong hands, yours. Just like a mishandled weapon, it's not the gun that kills, it is the mentality behind it.
More Dobie Characteristics Ask any Dobermann owner and they will tell you a Dobermann is a character with character. Look into those dark dancing eyes and you just know the Dobe is off to satisfy his curiosity. Investigating every tree and rock. Letting every blade of grass reveal it's "secrets" to a very fine tuned nose; alert for any movement (a squirrel, a lizard, a butterfly) that will provide a chase. Returning, perhaps with a grin, letting you know how fortunate you are to be "protected" by such a fine companion/guardian.
NOTE: Dobe pups have a propensity to put "everything" in their mouths. Be sure to clear the yard/floor before letting a puppy out/down to play.
Caution also needs to be taken if your Dobe will be encountering other dogs. With proper introductions (back to the early socialization and training) some Dobes will enjoy playing with other dogs. Other Dobes are not at all social.
NOTE: Male Dobermanns are known to be territorial and normally WILL NOT accept other males in any situation...i.e. living with another male or meeting another male.
Look into the soft loving eyes of a Dobe, read what he is saying...You are being told you are the center of this dog's world. He will match your emotions, takes direction from your acceptance or non-acceptance of a situation. If he perceives there is "something wrong with this picture" or senses your fear he comes to attention - the eyes change - ready to meet the challenge.
NOTE: The instinct to protect is natural (i.e. early socialization will NOT undermine this trait), and further "guard dog" training is not necessary. A prospective Dobermann owner being advised to forego early socialization, puppy kindergarten, and obedience training to produce a protective Dobe is being ILL ADVISED!
Living outside in a kennel or expected to stay in the backyard without constant attention and in a position as an important member of the family causes a host of problems with a Dobermann. Often a Dobe that is relegated to this type of living arrangement goes hand in hand with poor training and these Dobes often show evidences of shyness, fear, and nervousness.
NOTE: As with any breed there will be dogs that exhibit these traits even when the breeding/training are correctly administered.
Dobes are people dogs -- showing an extraordinary devotion to their family or owner. A Dobe is very happy to settle down once inside (providing he has had time to exercise) to share your home, your bed (takes it over), and your food. It is also very normal for your Dobe to smile, lean on you, bump your hand for more attention, and follow you from room to room. For these reasons, Dobes are often referred to as "Velcro" dogs and one of the advantages of such a dog is; you never have to go to the bathroom alone again!
The Dobermann is no different in their reactions to children than any other breed of dog. Interaction with children when the Dobermann is a puppy often enables the dog to develop a strong loving bond with the child and family. There are also stories of rescued and older dogs adapting well to children. HOWEVER, as with any dog, ANY BREED, it is advisable NOT to leave dogs and small children unsupervised.
When faced with sickness, Dobermanns can be quite stoic, concealing their pain long before you know something is wrong. A healthy Dobermann comes to you, or moves around in the yard, with a special little trot, while a sick Dobe does more walking or plodding, perhaps holding its head and neck level or down. Some Dobes curl up and don't want to move. Their eyes are sometimes sad and almost soul searching.
Depending on the illness, some Dobes don't eat and may pace or move from one spot to another, restless and panting. Others may stretch a lot or try unsuccessfully to urinate. Dobes have been known to swallow items that can block the digestive track. If this is the case, your Dobe may not want to eat, or if he does eat, he will throw up, and pace and stretch again. Check with your vet if your Dobe shows any of these symptoms.
The hardest part of owning a Dobe is to be confronted with evidence of his mortality, that a loyal companion may no longer be there. It is then that you are faced with your only disappointment in owning a Dobe - the loss of your loved one. "It is then in these hours ... that he will best be able to face this difficult time, if he looks to the demeanor of his Dobe ... for it is their distinction that they squarely face adversity, not unlike that of a professional soldier." (anonymous)