Breeds 101: The Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman is highly trainable and exceptionally loyal.

In her nonfiction Album of Dogs, author Marguerite Henry describes the Doberman as “the true aristocrat of dogdom – tall and well-proportioned” while appearing “distinctive and distinguished.”

They ranked No. 15 in the American Kennel Club’s rankings for breed popularity in 2017, the most recent year stats are available.

Female Dobermans stand around 24-26 inches at the withers (shoulders) and weigh anywhere from 60-90 pounds, while males stand around 26-28 inches at the withers and weigh around 70-100 pounds.

As the AKC Breed Standard states: “The appearance is that of a dog of medium size, with a body that is square. Compactly built, muscular and powerful, for great endurance and speed. Elegant in
appearance, of proud carriage, reflecting great nobility and temperament. Energetic, watchful,
determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient.”

In color they are generally black with tan patches along the paws, chest and eyebrows, and the coat is naturally short and shiny.

Their tails are traditionally docked (in fact, the AKC Breed Standard requires it), though naturally they are rather long and ropy.

In the mid-nineteenth century in the German town of Apolda, a man named Louis Dobermann was in charge of the local dog pound, and factory owners in the city had asked for guard dogs to patrol at night.

Dobermann set out to breed this uber-guard dog, beginning with a female terrier he possessed, which became the foundation for the Doberman Pinscher breed  (In German “pinscher” means terrier, though the breed itself is not recognized as part of the terrier group.)

No one knows exactly what breeds Dobermann used as a base for this new breed, but Rottweilers were probably involved, and perhaps German Shepherds.

The AKC recognized the Doberman as an official breed in 1908, about ten years after the first breed club was established.

They are one of the most intelligent breeds out of all dogkind; psychologist Stanley Coren ranks them fifth in his book The Intelligence of Dogs. 

They are classified into the Working Group in AKC dog shows.

Coren believes that Dobermans bred in North America could possibly be calmer than those bred in Europe, though this isn’t confirmed for sure.

Their life expectancy is fairly long for a medium-large dog at 10-13 years.

However, the breed can suffer from a variety of health problems, including issues of the heart and spine, as well as bleeding problems.

The first known canine casualty of World War II was a Doberman named Cappy serving with the Marines in Guam in 1944, who was killed by a Japanese grenade. Cappy is the dog atop the World War II War Dog Memorial.

Next: Dog-Eared Reads: Yin & Yang Nutrition for Dogs

For more general canine information, news and tail-waggin’ fun, be sure to follow and interact with Dog O’Day on Facebook and Twitter.