If a smart, athletic, loyal, and protective furry addition to your family is what you’re looking for, you may not need to look any further than the Doberman Pinscher. These highly intelligent dogs may seem intimidating to some, but they’re an excellent protector of families and little ones and make great working dogs due to their sharp minds and high energy. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect if you’re thinking about bringing home one of these amazing, elegant dogs.
Basic Characteristics of Doberman Pinschers
The Doberman is a beautiful breed standing around 27-28 inches tall with the females coming in at just an inch or two shorter. Males will tend to weigh around 70 lbs. compared to the 60 to 65-lb. average female. This gorgeous guardian breed has a short, smooth coat that only moderately sheds, so you’ll still see some hair around your home, but you won’t be absolutely covered in it like with other breeds.
Dobermans can also come in a few different color variations as well. Black and rust is the most common color combo, and the red and rust mix comes in at a close second. Although seen less frequently, they may also have coats in blue, fawn, and white.
When it comes to their build, these beauties have a lean, muscular figures with sleek features. Dobermans are often well-known for their imposing stature, and they certainly look great while guarding your home and family.
Grooming and Varieties
Dobermans are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to their grooming needs. Their short, smooth coat mainly just needs regular brushing and bathing with nothing particularly fancy taking place in between. As with most dogs, you’ll also need to stay on top of keeping their nails trimmed and eye boogies cleaned off too.
If you’re the pet parent of a fawn or blue-coated Dobie, there may be a slight risk of your fur baby having a condition known as “Color Dilution Alopecia” (or CDA) though, possibly leading them to experience some partial or even significant hair loss. Dobies also sometimes struggle with dandruff and acne as well, but most of those issues can be resolved by ensuring good hygiene and a high-quality, balanced, and healthy diet.
Most people tend to think of Dobermans as vicious, aggressive guard dogs—and they can certainly be protective—but they also make great family pets when trained well and respected by younger kids in the home. Dobermans are incredibly loving and family-oriented dogs, and this makes them one of the most loyal and affectionate dogs a pet parent could have.
Although they are wonderful with their families, Dobermans are still known for being quite dominant when it comes to other dogs as well as other animals, making early socialization quite important! Dobies sometimes need a little extra help when it comes to learning not everyone is a potential threat to their loved ones when out on a stroll or having visitors come into their home.
Being an extremely intelligent breed, they will also need a pet parent that can be consistent with training and stimulating their sharp minds with plenty of positive games, playtime, exercise, and even puzzles. Dobermans need a good schedule with plenty of positive reinforcement training, love, and affection, so spoil them accordingly!
Dobermans are fantastic working dogs, and their intelligence has allowed dogs of this breed to be very successful as service dogs, therapy dogs, and even search and rescue dogs! They’ve even been featured on display in competitive television shows such as America’s Top Dog, proving themselves to excel at a variety of complex tasks. However, due to their lack of undercoat and inquisitive nature, Doberman dogs are not quite as common as German Shepherds when it comes to them being used in K-9 units.
With any partnership, they’re so smart that they typically will try to find a better way to handle a situation than simply obediently following every single order given by their fellow officers and service workers, so a strong bond of loyalty and high obedience is absolutely essential for these geniuses when in a working position. If you’re lucky, you’ll still manage to see one serving its community well and being a great service dog despite it thinking it might just know a bit more than everyone around it.
Exercising Your Doberman Pinscher
Dobies are incredibly energetic, so you’ll need to be sure you have the time and resources to devote to burning off some of that endless stamina. No pet parents want their fur baby to get bored enough to cause their garden to be dug up or their home to look like it got hit by a doggy tornado, so exercise is essential for this breed!
They need mental stimulation, multiple hours of exercise, and regular walks. Their high intelligence leaves them constantly curious, so providing them with one or two half-hour or longer walks per day allows them to explore the world outside your home and sate their curiosity for a while. You wouldn’t want them trying to pull a trick like Houdini and go exploring all those sights and smells without you, would you?
Agility training is a great way to train your dog to learn new skills while also encouraging them to run about and perform various maneuvers. When your Dobie just needs some good ol’ fun, they’re a breed that can play fetch or catch a flying frisbee for hours at a time—they never get tired! If the weather is terrible and you need to get your pup’s mind off of not being able to go out and enjoy the outdoors, treat puzzles, snuffle mats, and some indoor obedience training should do the trick just as well.
Food Consumption for Your Dobie
Large breed dogs always have a different set of dietary needs compared to their smaller counterparts due to their big, heavy frames and tendency to develop hip and joints problems. Dobies may be slender, but a focus on ensuring good bone, joint, brain, and muscle development is essential.
Doberman Pinschers need to be fed a high-quality diet of animal proteins along with the proper necessary grains and vegetables to meet their omnivorous needs. The amount of food they’ll consume daily will vary depending upon their current stage of life, so be sure to always read the recommended serving sizes included on the dog food you’ve chosen for your growing pup.
Common Health Problems for Dobermans
Although they’re very athletic and fit-looking, Doberman Pinschers have quite a few health risks that pet parents need to be aware of.
The most common ailment of concern is dilated cardiomyopathy (or “DCM”). This causes their hearts to beat erratically and sometimes even stop without warning. For those who don’t experience a sudden onset of the condition, it may instead lead to congestive heart failure. Although there is testing that can be done to see how at-risk your furry family member may be, consulting with your veterinarian regarding regular care and monitoring is what we strongly advise. The condition isn’t reversible, but it can sometimes be managed with certain therapies and medications.
Additionally, Dobies may have trouble with hip dysplasia (as with most large breed dogs), hypothyroidism, Wobbler’s syndrome, and von Willebrand’s disease—Dobies take the top spot for the breed most likely to have that last one, but they also tend to have much milder cases of the blood condition compared to other breeds of dog.
Bringing Your New Doberman Pinscher Home
When looking for the Doberman puppy (or adult or senior!) of your dreams, you have quite a few options. Although you can potentially find a Dobie in need at a shelter or even on a site like Craigslist, you also run the risk of the dogs not having been socialized properly and even being at risk of health issues not having been screened for before the dogs were allowed to be rehomed. This will significantly increase the likelihood of you shelling out more on healthcare in the short-term and possibly even the long-term depending upon your dog’s needs that haven’t been addressed.
When choosing to get your Doberman from a reputable breeder, you may be emptying a bit more out of your wallet at the time (often falling in the $1,000 to $2,500 range), but knowledgeable breeders and people that are familiar with raising this breed of dogs will be able to provide you with all of the information you’ll need about temperament, health concerns, and more (and backed by their veterinarian’s confirmation on all of these issues) for your new furry family member.
With shots, a Doberman’s specific health risks, and the supplies you’ll need for a large dog that will grow fast those first few years, you can easily expect to spend close to $800 a year on health care and easily over $1,000 per year on good food, durable toys, and most of the usual pup necessities for a large breed dog. You will also need to factor in the potential costs of sterilization, worm and flea preventatives for the span of the dog’s life, and the future expenses of your Dobie developing conditions such as DCM (which can cost thousands in medical care).
When deciding to bring a Doberman home, please keep in mind their exercise requirements and ensure you have the time as well as the energy and space to keep them happy, exercised, and well stimulated. For pet parents with smaller homes or apartments, a Doberman may not be the best choice due to their size and needs, but someone with reasonable space accommodations and a yard to let their dog play and burn off its energy each day may find themselves with a much happier fur baby.
Every dog is unique in its own ways, but hopefully, this collection of information helped to give you a better idea of this amazing breed if you were thinking about adding one to your family.
For further help, whether it’s for in-home pet visits, pet sitting, or even walking your fur baby, we’ve got you covered here at Space Coast Pet Services. We provide care for all sizes and breeds of dogs, and Dobermans are a welcome breed that we absolutely adore and love to see.
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born in 2016! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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