Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
The Doberman Pinscher is famous for its regal features, erect stance, and (original) dog guard status. Born to be an alert protector and highly athletic companion, this canine can be seen working alongside law enforcement and search and rescue teams for good reason.
Perhaps this dog should be recognized for its other amazing qualities though. Intelligent and loyal, the Doberman Pinscher can make for a wonderful family dog. In the hands of experienced people, this breed even exhibits a playful and fun-loving demeanor.
If you’re looking for an intense and lively pup, the Doberman Pinscher might be right for you.
Also Known As…
Dobie. Doberman. Dooberman. “Behold, the Doberman Pinshcer: the most awkward dog alive!”
Did you know the Doberman has only been around since the late 1800s? Yes, the origin story of this breed is a surprisingly recent one. In response to threats of violence, a tax collector in Germany named Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann undertook the task of developing a new dog breed. He wanted a dog that could accompany him on visits to unhappy citizens, as well as protect him from thieves who might try to steal the money he collected.
By breeding together Rottweilers, Manchester Terriers, Weimarainers, and other dogs, the Dobie was created. The breed rapidly became popular due to their excellent abilities as working dogs. By 1908, the breed was recognized by the AKC.
26-28 inches (males), 24-26 inches (females).
75-100 pounds (males), 60-90 pounds (females).
For many years, the Doberman Pinscher received an unfair reputation of being reactive and dangerous.
Of course, if poorly treated and trained to be mean, this powerful dog could become those things. But with training and socialization, this breed makes for a trustworthy, loyal, and loving companion.
Still, this breed is only suitable for experienced dog people. Why? Due to their intelligence, high energy levels, and incredible focus, Dobermans also need to be mentally and physically challenged each day.
Intelligence / Trainability
Doberman Pinschers rank very high on the intelligence scale. Because of their sharp wit, they also learn and respond quickly to commands. Still, anyone interested in this bright breed is advised to enlist the help of professionals. In fact, by the age of seven or eight months, Dobie puppies should already be starting socialization and training classes.
Remember, it’s up to humans to ensure their Dobies are relaxed, safe, and friendly in public.
This is a high energy and super athletic dog that loves hiking, running, long walks, and intense training exercises. Therefore, it’s recommended that Doberman Pinschers live in places with large fenced-in yards or land to roam. Just remember that a dog this intelligent and sporty will become frustrated and destructive in a backyard without a daily exercise routine.
Imagining how safe you’d feel with a Doberman in the city? Most professionals discourage apartment-dwelling people from buying or adopting a Doberman Pinscher. Although with regular vigorous exercise these dogs can do fine without outdoor space, they’re better off having room to move.
Good For Families And Kids?
Yes, with the proper training and socialization. Any family with a Doberman Pinscher can sleep soundly at night. To ensure that this breed is reliable around children though, it’s vital that they’re well-trained and handled by a calm and confident human.
By teaching children proper “dog manners” and making sure that your Dobie never feels frustrated, trapped, or bored, this breed should make a wonderful family dog.
This breed should be strong, sturdy, and generally healthy. Unfortunately, due to overbreeding, a range of issues have arisen.
If buying a Doberman Pinscher from a breeder, make sure to look for genetic health conditions like hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, von Willebrand’s disease (a clotting disorder), dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart), albinism, and hypothyroidism.
Like other large breeds, Dobies are also susceptible to bloat. It’s important to know how the identifying signs of this life-threatening digestive condition—it requires immediate veterinary care.
Lastly, there is some debate about the practice of docking Dobies’ tails and cropping their ears. While these practices are still legal in the U.S., it’s important to remember that ear cropping in particular can be painful and lead to infection. Puppies with newly cut tails and/or ears should have these areas kept clean and treated according to directions from a veterinarian.
On the scale of “lazy butt” to “super charged,” the Doberman Pinscher is right up there at the top.
Just like a Border Collie, Belgian Malinois, or Australian Cattle Dog, this breed may push you to the brink of your physicality. Plan on two to three walks a day, regular runs, and lots of hiking. Depending on each individual dog’s personality, many Dobies also enjoy playing with toys in the backyard.
Friendly With (Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
Well-socialized Doberman Pinschers can get along with any animal or kind human. In fact, with the right socialization, they’re often characterized as being cuddly, sweet, and sensitive.
Due to their history as protection dogs, though, this breed is liable to be wary or even reactive to strangers. If your Dobie is out of control, overexcited, frustrated, and/or domineering, keep them away from other dogs, cats, and kids. By seeking professional help asap, you can prevent any incidents that have earned this breed its unfair stereotypes.
Coat & Grooming
This short-haired breed requires minimal grooming and bathing. To keep their coats smooth and shiny though, it’s recommended that you regularly brush a Doberman with a short-bristled brush.
Toys Dobies Would Like Best
While many Dobies are the biggest sweethearts in the world, there’s one thing for certain: They don’t go easy on toys.
Puzzle Toys will help mentally challenge this smart breed. Fetch Toys, like balls and frisbees, are great for burning off energy. Overall, this breed loves a rough round of tug, an intense game of fetch, or chewing something rubbery to the point of destruction. Which is why Super Chewer Toys might be your all-around best bet.
For more specific ideas, check out this guide on the best toys for Dobies.
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
If your dog is having problems with movement or joint pain, you may want to consider supplements for their diet. As always, it’s best to consult your veterinarian first.
This joint supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Doberman with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with joint issues, pain relief, and ease aggression in dogs during stressful situations. ($17.99-22.99.)
For older Dobermans or Dobermans suffering with arthritis or hip dysplasia (or just any dog that likes lying down!), a comfortable, supportive dog bed is probably a good idea.
This ultra plush orthopedic dog bed is great for supporting your pup’s stout body. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, hip dysplasia and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your Dobie. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues To Find The Doberman Of Your Dreams
- Doberman Pinscher and Little Paws Rescue is a nonprofit rescue based in California that’s very much in need of experienced adopters. They report that they always have at least 90 dogs looking for forever homes.
- Doberman Rescue Unlimited, Inc. is another smaller nonprofit rescue that saves abandoned and unwanted Dobies. They also take in lots of special needs dogs that require adopters who are willing and able to provide medical care.
- Adoptable Dobies on Petfinder
Notable Instagram Dobermans
Remington Doberman (no relation to Remington Steele…that we know of) was adopted at nine months of age from a local shelter.
This IG arguably features the coolest pack of Dobermans around. Based in southern California, these three tough-looking (but secretly lovable) dogs often pose for stunning pictures on the beach.
Meet Prima, an albino Dobie living in Maine. Seen hiking near the ocean and playing with other Doberman friends, Prima is a great example of why this genetic condition doesn’t have to prevent dogs from living long, happy lives.
***Looking for a gift to blow your Doberman’s mind? Spoil them with a Super Chewer BarkBox! Every month Super Chewer delivers 2 super-durable toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and 2 (!!!) meaty chews. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month.
Featured image via RemingtonDoberman/Instagram