Breed Highlight: Doberman Pinscher

Doberman PinscherThe Doberman Pinscher is a dog breed first developed in Germany as a guard dog. While it was once known to be aggressive, the Doberman’s temperament has improved through tactful breeding over the years is now considered a reliable family pet.

Physical Characteristics

The Doberman is a medium-sized, squarely built dog with a compact, muscular body. The head is long and when viewed from the side, looks similar to a blunt wedge. The top of the skull is flat, and turns into the muzzle with a slight stop.

The color of the nose usually depends on the color of the dog’s coat; black on black dogs, dark brown on red dogs, dark gray on blue dogs, dark tan on fawn dogs and pink on white dogs. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The color of the almond-shaped eyes is various shades of brown, depending on the coat color of the dog.

In the U.S., the ears are typically cropped to stand erect (cut at the age of about 12 weeks). The dog’s ears have to be taped for a couple of months to make them stand up. Also, the tail is usually docked at the age of 3 days. If not docked, the tail grows somewhat like a hound. It is important to note that cropping ears and docking tails is illegal in many countries and we are starting to see more and more dogs with their body parts left in tact.

The chest of Dobermans are broad and the legs are perfectly straight. Dewclaws are sometimes removed as well. The short, hard, thick coat lies flat. There are sometimes when there is an invisible gray undercoat on the neck. The coat comes in black, black with tan markings, blue-gray, red, fawn and white. Markings usually appear above each eye, on the muzzle, throat, forechest, legs, feet and on the tail. There is also a solid white color. White markings are considered a fault in some clubs, but in others they are accepted.


The Doberman is an adventurous and loyal companion. This breed is also a talented and obedient pupil, always read for a mental challenge. While it is usually sensitive and responsive to its owner’s commands, the Doberman can be dominating and overbearing. The breed is also shy with strangers, while aggressive towards strange dogs. However, a Doberman’s alertness and protection ability are often the qualities sought by dog fanciers.


Daily mental and physical exertion is required for Dobermans or they may become destructive or frustrated. This need can be easily met with a walk on a leash, a run in an enclosed area or even a long jog. This breed can live outdoors in cool climates, but the Doberman is most effective indoors as a guardian and a family companion. Its coat requires minimal care.


The Doberman has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Wobbler’s syndrome, cervical vertebral instability (CVI) and cardiomyopathy are some serious health problems affecting Doberman Pinschers. There are some minor diseases that have been seen in this breed of dog as well, including canine hip dysplasia (CHD), osteosarcoma, von Willebrand’s disease (vWD), demodicosis and gastric torsion. Ablinism, narcolepsy, hypothyroidism and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are occasionally noticed in Dobermans as well. Blue Dobermans are also more prone to hair loss. To identify some of these health problems, a veterinarian may run cardiac, eye, hip and DNA tests.


A German tax collector named Louis Dobermann is credited for the creation of the Doberman Pinscher. He was searching for a watchful guard dog to accompany him during his rounds. Dobermann developed the Doberman Pinscher in the late 19th century by crossing the old German shorthaired shepherd and the German Pinscher. Later, the Black and Tan Manchester Terrier, Weimaraner and Greyhound were also crossbred.

While the original Dobermans had round heads and heavy boned bodies, breeders soon developed a more robust-looking dog. Eventually, the breed evolved remarkably and by 1899, the National Doberman Pinscher Club, the first club for the new breed, was created in Germany.

After attracting much fame and attention, the first Doberman was introduced to the United States in 1908. The Doberman was used as guard dog, police dog and even a war dog, all qualities that eventually made it a favorite as a family protector. This breed’s chiseled outline also made it a popular show dog.

In the 1970s, a new challenge for the breed would arise: the emergence of the albinistic white Doberman. A wide range of serious health conditions came with this albino gene. In an effort to remedy this issue, the Doberman Pinscher Club of America convinced the American Kennel Club to tag the registration numbers of dogs susceptible to the albino gene with the letter “Z.”

The Doberman became the second most popular breed in the U.S. in 1977. Ever since, the breed has kept its well-regarded status as both a guard dog and a family pet.


For more information the Doberman Pinscher or other dog breeds, don’t hesitate to contact us here at All Pets Veterinary Medical Center with the link below!

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