Meet the Breed: The Doberman Pinscher



  • Height: 24"- 28”
  • Weight: 66-88 pounds
  • Historical function: War dog, guard dog, watchdog
  • Modern function: Companion, police dog, service dog, search and rescue
  • AKC classification: Working

Physical Characteristics:

The Doberman Pinscher, also known as the Doberman or Dobie, is a medium-sized, square, compactly muscular dog. The ears are usually cropped at 12 weeks and tapped for a couple of months to make them stand up. The tail is docked at 3 days. If left natural, the ears and tail resemble those of a hound. The chest is full and the legs are straight. The coat is short and sleek and can be black with tan markings, black, blue-gray, red, or fawn, and white. 

History of the Breed:

The Doberman was developed in Germany in the mid 1860s by a man named Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. Dobermann was a tax collector and also ran a dog pound. He used his access to dogs of many breeds to develop a breed that would help protect him as he would have to travel through dangerous areas where he was likely to be robbed. The desired characteristics included intelligence, speed, loyalty, bravery, ferocity, and tenacity. The breeds believed to have possibly contributed to the creation of the Doberman Pinscher are the German Pinscher, the Beauceron, the Rottweiler, the Thuringian Sylvan Dog, the Greyhound, the Great Dane, the Weimaraner, the German Shorthaired Pointer, the Manchester Terrier the Old German Shepherd Dog, the American Pit Bull Terrier. Experts believe at least four of these breeds were the foundation to the Doberman. The dogs were often used in police and military work.


The Doberman Pinscher is a dog that got the reputation in the 1970s as being an aggressive dog due to media portrayals. Indeed, the reputation was probably warranted based on what the dog was bred for back in Europe. In the United States, however, breeders have been cautious to select dogs of a milder temperament and the U.S. strains of Dobermans make excellent house pets. This has contributed to the rise in popularity in recent years to the 12th most popular breed. With their high intelligence, stamina, versatility, and trainability, this dog is getting high marks as a service dog and family companion. This dog does have a loyal and protective nature and will make a suitable guard dog.

  • Best suited for: Active families that like to include this people-oriented dog in daily activities. Requires a strong, calm leader to reinforce his place in the family to prevent dog dominance.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog likes to participate in family life. Not suitable for a kennel or outdoor living as they are not tolerant of cold. Prefers at least an average-sized yard.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Dobies have a short, clean coat that requires little maintenance. Is an average shedder. 
  • Exercise needs: Long daily walk or jog. This is an energetic dog with a lot of stamina. Teach the dog to heel to moderate dominant behaviors.
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a major cause of death in Doberman Pinschers. Also prone to bloat, cervical spondylitis, Von Willebrands disease, and skin issues.

Breed Club Links: The Doberman Pinscher Club of America Perfect Pairings: Fido Fleece. Doberman owners rave about our Fido Fleece coats and how they fit these cold-sensitive dogs.

Have any stories about a Doberman Pinscher? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Andrew Kraker.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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