While typically portrayed in popular culture as a mean guard dog, I think that the remarkable Doberman Pinscher intelligence is what initially attracted me to this breed. According to the American Kennel Club, they rank as the fifth smartest dogs in the world.
This is the breed for you if you’re looking for a dog that is:
- big and muscular, while stylish and graceful
- easy to groom due to their short hair
- loves to get outside for a walk and run around the neighborhood
- can help protect you, your family, and property
You can join the ranks of numerous celebrities that have chosen to adopt one of these amazing pets, such William Shatner, Liam Neeson, Rita Hayworth, Sasha Grey, Elizabeth Hurley, and Sylvester Stallone to name just a few.
Although not as popular with the American public as Golden Retrievers or Labradors, they have made a few notable appearances in the movie theaters, such as:
- Alpha the protagonist in ‘UP’
- Apollo and Zeus from ‘Magnum PI’
- Blackie in the Scorsese film ‘Hugo’
- Cerberus the Resident Evil dog
- Diablo from the movie ‘Beverly Hills Chihuaha’
Think you might want one of these for a pet so far? If so, keep reading to learn all about this amazing breed. Let’s start with some background…
This breed came about in the late 1800’s – probably sometime in 1890 – by the breeding of German pound owner and tax collector (how’s that for a combination!) named Herr Karl Louis Dobermann. It could be dangerous out on his routes late at night, so he wanted to bring along a tough-looking guard dog that could keep him safe while he carried back collections.
They were imported to the USA in the early 1900’s and have grown in popularity to rank #12 in the country. The AKC officially recognized the breed in 1908 and classified it as a member of the Working group. Indeed, these amazing animals have served in the military, search and rescue units, and as therapy dogs.
These dogs fit the bill do to their massive size and muscular strength. Both a female Doberman and male Doberman weigh generally anywhere from 65 – 95 pounds. A Dobermans teeth can be truly intimidating, enhanced by their sleek long muzzle.
The largest are sometimes called Gladiator Dobermans or referred to as the Warlock Doberman Pinscher and its origins come from Borong the Warlock, a legendary dog in the 1970’s that had an outstanding show record and was considered an elite representative of the breed with a very good temperament.
Apparently today’s version is really only used by occasional breeders as a sales tactic to make them sound more appealing. A standard size one is ideal because they have been bred mainly for their outstanding agility and speed, and they lose that as size increases.
Types of Doberman
One thing that’s kind of ironic to me is that “Purebred Dobermans” are ultimately some mix of Pincer, Rottweiler, Thuringian Shepherd Dog, Greyhound, Dane, Weimaraner, German Short Hair Pointer, and German Shepherd from just 150 years ago. The actual specifics are unknown but as mentioned earlier, this mix is officially an AKC breed.
BUYING NOTE: European vs American Doberman differences exist. In the United States, the aggressive character is slowly diminishing and they are becoming more like gentle Labs. According to Kansadobe, American style has better necks, shoulders, rear assemblies, and gait, while the Euro style excels in head, heavy bone, and coat. Each has their own pros and cons, with the American version significantly cheaper than importing one from across the pond.
There are two points of view on this subject. The first is that you shouldn’t mess with the AKC standard by promoting Doberman mixes. Although 150 years certainly isn’t the longest history and tradition in the AKC register, it is long enough for distinct characteristics to take hold by knowledgeable, professional breeders. Messing with that could cause trouble.
On the other hand, with its history the breed could certainly be considered a “mix of mixes”. So for completeness sake, here are the most popular Pinscher mixed breeds:
Dobie Doodle / Doodleman = Doberman Poodle Mix
Dobie = Border Collie Doberman Mix
Doberman Retriever = Doberman Golden Retriever Mix
Beagleman = Beagle Doberman Mix
Weimerman = Weimaraner Doberman Mix
Doberdane = mixed with a Great Dane
Doberhuahuah = mixed with a Chihuahah
Missing any? Post yours in the comments below and tell us WHY it’s the best and cutest!
Blue Doberman Pinscher – Not actually blue but does have a blueish tint to it, and is sometimes referred to as gray colored. This is a diluted version of the all black.
Red Doberman Pinscher (see right)
White Doberman Puppies for Sale / Albino Doberman – Sometimes offered for sale as rare, but are more common than you think. They are more likely to have issues and breeders should not purposely aim for this color.
All Black Doberman / Melanistic Doberman – These dogs lack the brown accent color which is a key trait that makes up the AKC standard.
Fawn Doberman / Isabel Doberman – This is a diluted version of the red one and probably the least popular color, after Brindle Dobermans.
At the end of the day, the color is not as important as the fact that you have a very special dog!
So now that you know you have decided which color you want, it’s time to talk money. It’s vitally important that you connect with a legitimate breeder when purchasing. Yes, I know that means it will most likely cost more, but in my opinion you will either pay more now or pay more later in Doberman costs due to behavior problems and health issues.
So how much do Dobermans cost? American doberman puppies cost between $1600 and $2400 and usually includes the first batch of shots.
European Doberman prices are even more, and usually start at $3500 and up for a quality puppy here in the US. If you travel to Europe to get one, prices start at 1000 Euros each.
Of course, there are more things to take into consideration than paying the estimated Doberman Pinscher price and being all set. These costs include food ($400 per year), puppy shots $300, preventative care $200, and some dog accessories.
You can usually sort through a list of dog names to find one you like. I put together this short list of half a dozen that I think fit the guard dog theme of the breed:
- Xander – “defender” in Greek
- Mamoru – “protector” in Japanese
- Akiva – from Hebrew word for “protect and shelter”
- Alastair – Scottish word for “man’s defender”
- Ansel – Old German word for “God’s helmet”
- Aegeus – means “protection”
- Kaiser – my grandfather’s dog’s name 😉
Doberman Ear Cropping
Doberman ear cropping styles became popular because of owners that put their dogs on guard duty. If it got into a fight with another one, the cropped ears were less likely to be bitten or torn. It is still fashionable today (despite calls to stop it for humane reasons) but mainly for other purposes like infection prevention and to keep them from breaking.
The cost to crop a dog’s ear is about $500 and can be up to three times that amount depending on the services available in your area. See the above picture and decide if it’s worth it…
Training is relatively easy due to their intelligence and strong obedience instincts, and therefore a well trained Doberman can mean years of joy ahead. Indeed, a lot of the dog’s adult temperament is a result of the puppy Doberman Pinschers training that has been received while it is growing up.
One key point to note: these dogs do very well when positive reinforcement is used in their training. They are too smart and don’t respond well to being tricked or yelled at.
No special guard dog training is required, because it’s in the nature of the breed to be protective of its owner (remember Louis from earlier in the article?).
However, they are considered highly trainable in other fun task-based activities and sports, such as running agility courses, rally, and more.
If you do want to take your dog for training, the cost usually runs about $60-70 for an 8-week session. I recommend checking out Don Sullivan’s dog training program. It’s tested, affordable, and proven to work.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can you describe the typical Doberman personality? Always alert, brave, and a loyal friend that will love you and your family.
How much exercise does a Doberman need? Starting when your dog is a puppy, they are an enormous bundle of energy and you will need to spend 45 minutes to an hour a day at a minimum to play with them, otherwise they can become anxious and edgy. If you have a backyard that’s nice, but they also need mental stimulation to be at their best.
What is the best food for Dobermans? After doing extensive research, the general consensus is these are the top picks:
- Merrick Grain Free Real Buffalo and Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food – great source of protein for all that muscle
- Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream – dogs seem to find it the most tasty
- Newman’s Own Organic Turkey Wet Formula – very responsible and experienced manufacturer
- Precise Naturals Large Breed Puppy – best puppy food for Doberman Pinschers 2017
How long do Dobermans live? A Dobermans life span is at least a decade and usually a dozen or more years.
Are Dobermans good with kids? If purchased from a reputable breeder to ensure your puppy has the correct temperament, it should be trustworthy with friends and family.
Do Dobermans like to swim? A Dobermans swimming desire varies – some owners say that their pup won’t go anywhere near it, while others report that they can’t get theirs out of the water!
My friend’s Doberman barks a lot, is this normal? Unless trained to be hyper-aggressive, they have a low tendency to bark and usually only when necessary.
Rottweilers vs Dobermans: which ones is better? This one is up for debate, so I’ve included a quick 3 minute video to help you decide:
Is a Doberman Pinscher hypoallergenic? I looked all over for Doberman allergy information and the answer is unfortunately no. Although they have a short coat that keeps close to their skin, they shed enough to possibly cause a problem.
Looking for Doberman puppies for sale? Make sure to go with one of the best Doberman breeders and I’m confident you will enjoy the newest addition to your family. Or perhaps consider stopping by your local animal shelter and see if they have one available for adoption that you can bring to its forever home!
Do you already own one? Then do one of these two things:
1) buy it this SUPER CUTE Doberman sweater
2) share some tips in the Doberman forum below =)