The Dobermann (alternatively spelled Doberman in North America) or Doberman Pinscher is a breed of domestic dog. Dobermans are commonly used as guard dogs, watch dogs, or police dogs, and have a reputation as being a dog that is loyal and intelligent, is suitable for families with young children and are trusting companion dogs.
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Doberman puppies were first bred in Germany around 1890 by Louis Dobermann. He was a tax collector who needed a protection dog to guard him, so he set out to breed puppies of a new type of dog that, in his opinion, would be the perfect combination of strength, loyalty, intelligence, and fierceness. Later, Otto Goeller and Philip Gruening continued to develop the breed.
The breed is believed to have been created from several different breeds of dogs that had the characteristics that Dobermann was looking for, including the Pinscher, the Rottweiler, the Thuringian Shepherd Dog, the black Greyhound, the Great Dane, the Weimaraner, the German Shorthaired Pointer, and the German Shepherd Dog. The exact ratios of mixing, and even the exact breeds that were used, remains uncertain to this day, although many experts believe that the Doberman Pinscher is a combination of at least four of these breeds. The single exception is the documented cross with the Greyhound. It is also widely believed that the German Shepherd gene pool was the single largest contributor to the Doberman Pinscher breed.
A Working Dog Breed, a Doberman Pinschers bitch's shoulder height is about 24 inches (61 cm) and weight is about 75 to 80 pounds (34 to 36 kg), whereas the male dog stands about 26 or 27 inches (66 to 68 cm) at the shoulder and weighs around 90 pounds (41 kg).
Dobermans typically have a very deep, broad chest, a thick but fit body, and a generally muscular build. However, in recent years some dog breeders have primarily bred, shown, and sold a much slimmer or slender-looking Doberman (as seen in the photos). This has become a popular body type among many buyers, especially those who want to show their Dobies competitively. The traditional body type is still more desirable to many casual owners and to those who want the dog for security reasons.
Most people picture a Doberman Pinscher color as the typical black with brown markings. However, the existence of two different color genes in Dobermans provides four different phenotypes in Doberman Pinscher color. The traditional color, produced when both genes have the dominant allele, is commonly referred to as black or black and tan, while the most common variation, due to one gene having the recessive allele, produces what is called a red or red and tan Doberman in America and a "brown" Dobermann in the rest of the world. This is primarily deep reddish-brown with tan markings.
The other gene having the recessive allele, while the first one retains the dominant, produces the blue (grey) Doberman dog, whereas the least likely combination of both color genes having recessive alleles produces fawn, which is a light tan color, often called isabella.
In the 1970s, a fifth color of Doberman, dubbed the white Doberman Pinscher was born and she was subsequently bred to her son who was also bred to his puppy litter sisters. This tight inbreeding went on for some time so certain puppy breeders could "fix" the mutation, which has been widely marketed. Doberman puppies of this color possess a genetic mutation, which prevents its pigment proteins from being manufactured, regardless of the genotypes of either of the two color genes; that is, it is an albino. Though many potential Doberman Pinscher owners find the color beautiful, albino Dobermans, like albinos of other species, face increased risk of cancer and other diseases and should avoid sun exposure as much as possible. The popularity of the white Dobermann dog has died down dramatically as the risks have become known, with many people even calling for an end to the breeding and marketing of the white Doberman puppy, because they perceive it as cruelty to the animal. Some countries have made the purposeful breeding of the white Doberman pup illegal, but dog breeders who care and take note of the ancestors can avoid breeding albinos as they are all descended from the original bitch.
Doberman Pinscher Puppy Tails
What may come as a surprise to people who are used to seeing Doberman Pinscher (A Working Dog Breed) tails that are just a couple of inches long, is that the Dobermann puppy is actually born with a tail that is longer than that of most breeds of dog. Typically, a Doberman puppy undergoes docking, a procedure in which the majority of its tail is cut off within days after its birth. The rationale for this is that it is the "look" that the dog is supposed to have, since it was the way Louis Dobermann originally envisioned the dog.
Aside from these more vain reasons of putting the animals through a procedure that many view as inhumane, one practical reason for docking the tail of a puppy is that it removes what would be a convenient "handle" for a criminal or attacker to grab when the Dobermann is performing its guard or police work. Another reason is that dogs with the type of tails that the Dobermann has (long with little hair or flesh over the tail bones) have a very common occurrence of "broken tail". Broken tail may range from the actual tail bones being broken to the more common skin injuries that are very difficult to heal because of the difficulty of bandaging or protecting the tail. Broken tail is often a self inflicted injury caused by the Dobermann enthusiastically wagging its long tail, regardless of the objects it is hitting with it.
Regardless of people's beliefs on this matter, few Doberman Pinscher purchasers have a choice on the length of their Doberman’s tail; docking must be done soon after the puppies birth, which means that the breeder nearly always makes the decision, before their pups are even put on the market.
While there have been no studies that involved looking at cropped vs. non-cropped Dobermans, it is believed that cropping dramatically reduces the occurrence of ear infections and hematomas (blood blisters caused by damage to the ear tips commonly from hard shaking of the head).
Although the acts of ear cropping and tail shortening seem inhumane to some, the traditional look has always been the one that has had both procedures. In some countries, docking and cropping are now illegal, but in some breed shows Dobermans are allowed to compete only if they have the traditional look.
Because of the Doberman’s typical use as a guard dog, and its often stereotyped role as such in movies, many people are afraid of Dobermans. However, Dobermans are in general a loving and intelligent breed. Although there is variation in temperament, with proper Doberman Pinscher Dog Training an average Dobie rarely attacks people, and only when it feels that it, its property, or its family is in danger. An average, healthy Doberman Pinscher is expected to live around 12 years.
Important information you need to know in order to make an informed purchase...
When considering the purchase of a Doberman puppy (or any other breed), a person deserves a pup that is healthy, attractive, mentally sound, functionally correct and has the best possible chance of providing years of companionship whether it be a dog for pet, show (conformation), to compete in dog performance events such as obedience, agility, flyball, tracking, or to perform Search and Rescue or therapy work….anything.
Talk to puppy breeders who are open and honest about health and temperament testing. Realize that all dogs do have problems – you want to deal with breeders who admit their problems, will discuss them and will be able to tell you how they are attempting to solve them.
All ethical and responsible breeders health test, temperament test, title their dogs, and aim to produce only the highest quality Doberman puppies which will better the gene pool. Responsible breeders are choosy about which dogs they breed – they study pedigrees for quality in conformation, health, longevity, temperament and working ability. They try to find the absolute best match for their female. They travel to great lengths to find the best male. It is rare that this best male will be living in their home or their neighborhood.
Some people feel that it doesn’t matter which breeder they deal with because all they want is a nice pet. Some people feel that it doesn’t matter if the parents of the dogs have any conformation, obedience, working or temperament titles but it DOES matter. A puppy breeder who doesn't health test, temperament test and title their dogs is basically saying that a buyer does NOT deserve any of this. And it's extremely insulting that a breeder would try to satisfy a person with something that requires less knowledge, less effort, less commitment and less cost per unit. Don't settle for that!
It is not unusual for a breeder to expect a deposit on a puppy once you've made your decision on a particular litter or puppy. A typical deposit is $100-$200. This holds or reserves a puppy for you. A deposit is generally expected just before the litter is born or just after the litter is born and the breeder knows what is available. The deposit is generally not refunded if you simply change your mind, but generally is refundable if your choice (sex and color) of puppy is not available. You should obtain a receipt for any deposit you pay - the first and second choice of color/sex should be noted on the receipt. Do NOT forward full purchase amounts until it is time to receive the puppy. Do NOT put down a deposit on puppys months in advance. Ask how many deposits the breeder has taken - it makes no sense to be way down the list and paying a deposit when the likelihood of Doberman Pinscher puppies being available is low (for instance, don't be the 14th deposit when the average litter size is 8 puppies.)
If you can’t wait for a well-bred puppy from a reputable breeder, please consider adopting an unwanted, homeless Doberman from a rescue organization.
A well-bred, sound, healthy Doberman Pinscher puppy from a reputable breeder is WORTH THE WAIT. Don’t get caught up in a mind-set that you must have a puppy immediately. Take your time to do your research and don’t be surprised that you will likely have to wait for a quality puppy. The time and money you invest in the puppy up front is very likely to save you time and money later.
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