About the Breed
Before you adopt, know what you’re getting. Just as Dobies aren’t suitable for all people, neither are all people suitable for them. Browse the rest of our resource section and blog to learn even more.
Living With a Doberman
- Dobermans are natural athletes who need lots of exercise. For a healthy Doberman not in his or her last years, a half-hour walk is a warm-up, not exercise. See agility, rally, and obedience for some ideas about how to have fun and exercise your dog.
- Dobermans are inside dogs meant to be part of the family. No Doberman should ever be kept outside or isolated from his or her human and dog family. All dogs are animals who live in packs and that goes double for Dobies. You are your Doberman’s pack. Be prepared to assume that role.
- The Doberman Pinscher is one of the top five smartest dog breeds. They need lots of mental stimulation. If they don’t get that, they will tell you all about it perhaps by eating your couch or swallowing an entire underwire bra in a fit of frustrated boredom. (Yes, it happened.) Unless the rescue already has it, we usually require obedience training to help you get off to a good start with emphasis on start! We also don’t like to place Dobermans in homes where every human’s away for 40-50-60 hour weeks.
- Dobermans were bred to be guardians of the person. Out of your Dobie’s very strong bond with you and your family comes your Dobie’s readiness to protect you with its life. Respect that. Don’t toy with it or show it off or needlessly set your dog up by antagonizing someone, even in play. In other words, if trouble comes, your Doberman is bred to address it, but don’t go looking for it.
- Dobermans are extremely intuitive and have a strong desire to please. They neither need nor appreciate loud, harsh tones, or rough, domineering people. Often they “get it” before you do. Patience, practice, and gentleness, along with treats and fun, will work well in the training process.
- Most Dobermans are very sensitive; their feelings are hurt easily. Your job is to communicate firmly, kindly, clearly, consistently, and patiently.
- Never think that your sensitive Doberman can’t also be a staunch family defender. S/he’s a better defender because s/he is sensitive to human nuances.
- Dobermans need a strong and centered pack leader. If you don’t have one in your home, your Doberman will assume the role. Trust us: You won’t like that. Dobermans want and need to know that someone is in charge. But you aren’t in Marine boot camp; we don’t mean “in charge” like that. We mean willing to make and communicate firm decisions clearly whenever necessary.
- Dobermans are called Velcro dogs. You’ll never be alone in the bathroom, or the closet, or the laundry room again. Wherever you are, your Doberman will be there if he or she can get there. If you don’t want a constant close companion, don’t get a Dobie. Their greatest pleasure is to be close to you. That’s part of their breeding, after all.
- Dobermans have an undeserved bad reputation. This is important to understand. The Hollywood image can mean real danger for your dog, and possibly frustration for you. For instance, people in public may react to your dog like it’s a grizzly bear, and regard any forward motion on its part as an excuse for a lawsuit. OK, I exaggerate! Some people are irrationally afraid of Dobermans. Respect their fear, and remember that you are a Doberman ambassador in public. Work for the breed’s protection.
- Understand that the breed ban climate is a real threat. These days, all over the country, people seem to want to ban certain breeds, even without any supporting data. Dobermans are among those breeds. So if an incident occurs, your Dobie will be blamed whether it’s his/her fault or not. If there’s a bite accusation, your Dobie may be quarantined or even euthanized. Therefore, we can’t over-stress the importance of prevention. For instance, a good precaution is to treat strangers as potential threats to your dog especially young children and people on wheels or with off-lead dogs. Just say NO. For your dog’s sake, and because some people don’t trust Dobermans, please keep children, strangers, and people on wheels away from your Dobie even at home. (Crating is good.)
- Dobermans may be discriminated against by your insurance company, homeowners’ association, building manager, or landlord. If applicable, we ask you to obtain written permission on letterhead to keep a Doberman at your home, and we advise you to check with your insurance agent before adopting. Many agents in Arizona will cover homes with Dobermans.
Keep reading widely about your breed. This list is neither comprehensive nor intended to replace the advice of a qualified veterinarian.
For a general overview of the breed, see the website of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America. Spend some time there. Learn as much as you can. Learn about the Doberman personality, temperament, and physical requirements.
Learn about the breed standard so that you know that breeders who super-size or breed albino (white) dogs are irresponsible and why. Learn why the Standard is linked to the dog’s ability to move and work properly, and isn’t just about a pretty dog.
Get to know the significant legislative threats to your breed, and get involved. If we don’t stop PETA and HSUS’s misguided extremism, domestic canines, including yours, may be in trouble. Learn about breed bans, mandatory spay/neuter laws, insurance discrimination, and military base breed bans, and why they are bad public policy. Talk to your state representatives, Members of Congress, and your neighbors. It’s not just about Dobermans.
Learn about your breed’s history, including its distinguished history in the US Armed Forces, as well as its incredible versatility. When you understand this breed, you’ll want to live up to it.