Doberman Pinscher

  • By Kathy McRoberts
  • 08 Mar, 2013

DESCRIPTION

The Doberman Pinscher is also known as a Doberman, Dobe, Dobie. They have a medium built, powerful, muscular body with a deep, broad chest. They are typically black with brown or red markings, but also come in a steel blue, red, or fawn. Rare cases have been reported of a white or albino Doberman, the first one being born in 1976. The Doberman's head is long and wedge-like and they have a strong bite with scissor-like teeth. The short, hard, thick coat lies flat. They are born with floppy ears and long tails, resembling a hound dog, but the ears are traditionally cropped to stand erect, and the tail docked at the second joint.

Tail docking and ear cropping are practices that have been done for many ceturies. Tail docking was thought to prevent rabies, strengthen the back, increase the animal's speed and prevent injuries when ratting, fighting and baiting. In hunting dogs, tails could collect burrs or foxtails or be subject to injury while moving through dense brush or thickets. In guarding dogs such as the Boxer or Doberman Pinschers, docked ears are thought to make the breed look more ferocious rather than the cute droopy puppy ear look. Though personal choice, these practices are controversial, and outlawed in many countries. A Doberman's ears are cropped usually between 7 and 9 weeks of age. The pup's ears have to be taped for a couple of months to make them stand up. The tail is usually docked at the age of 3 days.

HISTORY

This breed began in Germany in the late 1800s. It was developed by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a tax collector. He wanted a dog who would protect him so he would not be robbed of his cash that he carried around town. The breed actually has several different dogs in its ancestory, including the old shorthaired shepherds, the German Pinscher, Rottweiler, Beauceron, Manchester Terrier, and Greyhound. Mr. Dobermann wanted to create a dog who had protective qualities such as strength and fearlessness, but also to be refined and elegant as a pet, and since he also ran the local dog pound he had access to a number of different dog breeds that had the characteristics he was looking for. The Doberman was first presented in a dog show in 1876 and was a big success. It was first recognized by the AKC in 1908.

TEMPERAMENT

The Doberman Pinscher is well known as an intelligent, alert and loyal companion dog, probably best known for its guarding qualities. The Doberman is said by some to be the 5th smartest dog in the world, as well as the 2nd best guard dog in the world, outranking the Rottweiller and German Shepherd. Dobermans were once commonly used as guard dogs or police dogs and have therefore developed a reputation as a viscious dog. Today's Doberman, however, is being bred away from aggression to have a less menacing temperament, and is much more gentle and affectionate. The modern Doberman Pinscher is an energetic and lively breed suitable for compansionship and family life. The Doberman is a watchful and protective dog who has no trouble distinguishing between friend and foe. These versatile dogs excel at many things including police work, search and rescue and therapy dog work. They are a determined and willful dog that needs consistent training and leadership. They are an energetic breed and need regular, daily exercise, both physical and mental, to be happy and fulfilled.

Recent studies do not rank the Doberman as the most aggressive breed, but their size, strength and aggression towards strangers makes them potentially dangerous. This is a dog who is perceptive, intuitive and sensitive. Your Doberman will not just place itself between you and a visible threat, he will anticipate that threat to you and your child. But that guardian instinct is balanced out with the world's most loving heart and sense of humor that will keep you laughing its whole life long. Dobermans are nick-named "Velcro dogs" because they loyally stick to their humans. Deep down this is a loving dog who wants, above all else, to please its owner.

Some Dobermans are extremely sensitive to stress or emotional upheaval in the home and can display physical symptoms such as upset stomachs and nervous behaviors if the people in their home are having family problems.

HEIGHT AND WEIGHT

The standard height of the Doberman Pinscher is 24-28 inches, with a weight of 66-88 pounds.

HEALTH ISSUES

The Doberman Pinscher is prone to several inherited health issues. Among them is a condition called Von Willebrand's Disease, a genetic bleeding disorder in which a clotting factor is missing. They are also prone to a disease caled Wobbler's Disease, a neurological spinal condition that causes their limbs to shake. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a major cause of death in Doberman Pinschers. It is characterized by a markedly enlarged and weakened heart muscle which results in irregular or abnormal heartbeats and can result in sudden death. Doberman Pinschers have shown this disease more than any other breed. The average age of developing symptoms of DCM is 7.5 years of age. Other health concerns include skin issues, bloat, hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism.

LIFE EXPECTANCY

About 10-13 years.

GROOMING AND CARE

The Doberman's smooth, short coat is easy to goom. They are an average shedder. They are very vulnerable to cold weather and would benefit from a jacket or coat in winter.

LIVING CONDITIONS

With proper training, Dobermans can do well with children and household pets. Dobermans like the company of people and are not suited to kennel or backyard life. They need human interaction and leadership. The Doberman can be a good family member with proper training, exercise and care. This breed is very sensitive to cold weather and would not do well as an outside dog. That is why police are not able to use them in areas where it gets cold.

TRAINING TIPS

Dobermans are intelligent and very easy to train. They need to be socialized when young so they don't develop aggression issues. The Doberman is not a breed for everyone. They need an owner who will display a natural authority over the dog. All family members must be firm, confident and consistent, setting rules and sticking to them. Dobermans can be stubborn and willful if allowed to have their own way. Since this is a powerful breed with protective instincts, it is imperative that owners begin obedience training and socialization as early as possible.


Sources:   Animal Planet's Video, Dogs 101: Doberman Pinscher; dogbreedinfo.com; wikipedia.og; dpca.org; breederretriever.com; yourpurebredpuppy.com; dogster.com; dobermanhub.com

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