If you are looking for an extremely devoted family dog, you may want to consider the Doberman Pinscher. Dobes, as their owners affectionately call them, make good watchdogs because of their natural guarding instincts. Find out why Doberman Pinschers are so popular, and use the information to decide if they are the best breed for you.

Just Taking Life Easy for a Minute
Credit: Female Doberman Pinscher by pato garza under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Doberman_Pinscher_down.jpg

How the Breed Was Developed

Louis Dobermann, head of the Apolda, Germany dog pound developed the Doberman breed, which bears his name. He crossed several breeds known for their strength, endurance, alertness and aggression to produce these dogs. These dogs have ultra-developed guarding instincts due to the blood lines such as German Pinschers, Rottweilers and Black and Tan terriers used to create the breed. Dobermans were officially recognized in 1900.

Fast Facts About the Breed

How well do you know your Dobes? Check out these fun facts to see what you can learn about these loyal companions:

  1. Germany is the point of origin for Dobermans.
  2. Dobes are also known as Velcro dogs, Dobie, Doby, and Dobermann.
  3. The Doberman's ancestors are the German Pinscher, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier and Pointer.
  4. They belong to the AKC Working group.
  5. Dobermans are used as show, companion, police, military and guard dogs.
  6. Their average lifespan is 10 to 13 years.
  7. Because of their extremely short coats, their grooming requirements are minimal.
  8. Dobes are prone to dilated cardiomyopathy, cervical vertebral instability (CVI), von Willebrand's disease, and prostatic disease.
  9. While they get along well if raised with children or other pets, they are extremely suspicious of strangers.

Agility JP1 & AG1 Doberman Pinscher

Breed Characteristics

Dobes are compact but muscular shorthaired dogs that present an overall square appearance. Their wiry bodies belie the incredible strength and actual size of the dogs; a Doberman can easily weigh about ten pounds more than one would think. Dogs stand about 26 to 28 inches high and weigh between 65 to 75 pounds. As with most breeds, bitches are smaller and shorter.


The head is wedge-shaped with inquisitive, alert eyes, cropped, erect ears and a fearless expression. Their tails are docked and the nose color varies depending on coat color. Their overall temperament is controlled and regal, neither shy nor aggressive. Dobermans excel as police dogs or on search and rescue work because of their superior ability to locate things by scent.


Their intelligence level is extremely high. In fact, the breed is comparable to the Great Dane and Schnauzer in terms of mental capacity. High intelligence, however, is a double-edged sword without proper training. With early socialization and consistent, ongoing training, the Doberman becomes a loyal and dependable companion who is always on the alert for potential danger to his family.

Social Skills

Dobermans love being physically close to their owners, and according to Spear-Bar Kennels, this particular trait earns them the name of a “Velcro dog.” Because of their high need for human interaction, this breed is best for individuals that can devote daily time for play, exercise, and bonding. They need daily exercise and are best for those with plenty of square footage in their dwellings and large yards.

Tips for Potential Owners

Now that you know more about Doberman Pinschers, you may want to obtain one. The AKC is a good place to start your search—check their breeder list—or visit your local animal shelter. There are many abandoned Doberman or Doberman mix dogs eagerly waiting for new homes.

Resist the temptation to rush out and get a large breed dog like this without considering all the ramifications of the lifetime commitment. You are committing your financial resources to ongoing health care, training, feeding and other maintenance for your Doberman.

When you travel, either the dog goes along or it gets boarded. You may have to extend your time outdoors longer than you want to make sure he or she gets enough exercise. If you are not willing to make some personal sacrifices, it's better to choose a different breed.