In the latter part of the 19th century Louis Dobermann, of Apolda, Germany, determined to produce the ideal guard dog - strong, agile, and intelligent. That he succeeded brilliantly cannot be doubted. There is no clear evidence to determine which crosses he used but various breeds such as the Rottweiler, the Greyhound, the German Pinscher, the GSD, the GSP, the Great Dane, the Weimaraner among others have been suggested. The Dobermann, with his strong guarding instinct, quickly became popular as a military and police dog. His sleek good looks and loyal nature also made him one of the most popular show and companion dogs. First recognized by the Kennel Club in 1948.
The sharp temperament of the early Dobermanns has been modified by selective breeding practices. Still alert, courageous and fearless under threat, the breed is not unduly aggressive but retains a swiftness of reaction to situations which, combined with intelligence and strong prey and defence drives, may make this too much dog for inexperienced handlers. They also need a great deal of human companionship and exclusion from their people will cause stress. In the right hands the Dobermann is a superb family dog showing absolute devotion to its owners and a natural instinct to protect his people and their property. Although aloof and reserved with those he does not know, the Dobermann should however show no sign of nervousness or unprovoked aggression. Extremely sensitive, a Dobermann will quickly pick up on, and will be negatively affected by, tensions and undercurrents within its family. Males can be very territorial and are unlikely to accept with equanimity the presence of another male dog.
An active breed their exercise requirements are considerable. Apart from regular daily walks and free-running and play in a secure area, participation in agility, obedience, endurance, Schutzhund, flyball, tracking, hiking, swimming, etc. will keep your Dobermann fit and healthy in both body and mind. Care must be taken not to over-exercise growing dogs.
This is a very trainable breed which excels in obedience competition. Being a somewhat dominant dog the Dobermann needs a strong leader who will be obeyed out of respect rather than out of fear, therefore firm fair, and consistent handling using positive reinforcement is the best way to achieve success. Training involving punishment will undermine the dogs confidence and trust and turn what should be an enjoyable bonding process into an unrewarding experience for all concerned. Early, thorough, and on-going socialization is essential to avoid problems of shyness, nervousness, and over-protectiveness.
- von Willebrands disease (VWD)
- cervical vertebral instability (CVI) (wobbler syndrome)
- chronic active hepatitis (CAH)
- thyroid disease
- hip dysplasia
Some photographs of the Dobermann...