Dobermans are known worldwide and are considered noble, typically German guard and protection dogs. They supported German armies in both world wars, which is why they are associated with military discipline and fearlessness abroad. Although the training is not for beginners, the dogs are popular in Germany and are also kept outside of the police and customs as companion dogs. You can find out here what is necessary for this.
The Largest Among the Pinschers
Dobermans and German Pinschers are similar in many respects, apart from body size. They are recognizable by their wedge-shaped head and flat forehead, the body is athletic and slim. In the past, Dobermans were instantly recognizable by their cropped ears and tail. Docking has been banned since 2015 and is no longer part of the breed standard. However, docked dogs are still very common due to high demand on the European black market.
Height and weight
Males: Height at the withers between 68 and 72 cm, weight 40 to 45 kg.
Bitches: Ideally 63 to 68 cm, weight 32 to 35 kg.
Differences between similar dog breeds
- Rottweilers are similar in coloring to Dobermans, but they are much broader in build and their features are more like Molossians than Pinschers.
- German Pinschers and Miniature Pinschers are significantly smaller (maximum 50 cm) and they also come in solid red coats.
- Giant Schnauzers are mostly solid black or salt-and-pepper and sport rough, medium-length fur with a distinctive mustache. Their physique and head shape closely resemble Dobermans.
- Retrievers (Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Labrador Retriever) are usually built wider and created for water work.
Identifying features of Dobermans in detail
- The wedge-shaped head shape is even more noticeable in cropped dogs than in dogs with natural ears. The forehead is flat and the eyebrows are pronounced. The skull just merges into the powerful muzzle, while the cheeks are hardly noticeable.
- The flies lie taut on the strong jaw. The skin on the mouth is darkly pigmented.
- The expression in the eyes appears sharp and attentive. They stand relatively close together, have a rather oval shape, and are somewhat lighter in brown color varieties.
- The ears are set high and to the side. They are V-shaped and slightly rounded, natural they fold forward over the temples.
- The posture appears elegant and upright, the neck is relatively long and heavily muscled. The croup slopes slightly towards the tail and is rather short so that the dog appears compact and not stretched.
- The forecast is well defined and the ribs reach to the elbow. The lower profile line is clearly tucked up towards the loins.
- Today the tail is no longer docked. It is saber or sickle-shaped and is carried over the back when excited.
- The shoulders are muscular and well laid back, giving the dog a proud stance. The bones on the fore and hind legs are very strong.
- The hind legs are well angulated and very strong. Pelvic and hip muscles are particularly pronounced.
Coat and coloring of the Doberman
- Dobermans have a short coat with no undercoat. It shines similar to otter fur and additionally emphasizes the natural body shape of the dogs.
- Two colors are approved for breeding: black-and-tan (black with a tan) or brown with red tan.
Red markings are permitted on the muzzle, eyebrows, inside ears, chest, inside legs, anus, and paws.
- Blue and fawn are lightened variants of the two primary colors. Since the lightning is due to a genetic defect, these dogs may not be used for breeding.
- Very rarely Dobermans are born solid black (not eligible for breeding).
- Very few breed lines in the US carry on albino genes, resulting in white or creamy white Dobermans. These breeding lines are descended from a single albino bitch and have a history of inbreeding.
History and Origin of the Doberman
Dobermans were bred in the 1870s by tax collector Friedrich Louis Tobermann from Thuringia’s Apolda near Weimar. The dog catcher deliberately crossed different breeds with his favorite bitch and her offspring to create a keen companion for his collections. The Doberman was used as a service dog by the police early on and was thus given the nickname gendarme dog.
Reporting dog at the front
In both world wars, Dobermans accompanied soldiers on the field, relaying messages in the hail of bombs or assisting in attacking ground troops. The dogs were also often used in concentration camps. Internationally, they, therefore, have a sharp, dangerous reputation. Abroad, too, Dobermans are still used today for police operations.
Close relatives and ancestors of the Doberman
- A Greyhound was probably crossed to make the dogs lean and athletic.
- Shepherd dogs in Thuringia in the 19th century exhibited the black and tan coloring typical of Dobermans.
- Various butcher dogs (precursors of today’s Rottweiler) were also crossed.
- Mixed breeds of pinschers and hounds supplemented the basic stock of Dobermann.