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The Doberman is a power packed medium sized dog. The Dobe has a beautifully wedge shaped head, a well arched neck that flows into smooth fitting shoulders which blend into a firm strong topline. Connect this with a muscular rear assembly and a well turned stifle, with tight fitting skin covered with short close fitting coat and you have a clean crisp silhouette of a dog that possesses an air of nobility, an alertness to his surroundings, and the courage and mobility to respond to any situation.

The Doberman is a dog that comes with a built in high energy level and watching this short backed galloper run free (flat out with four off the floor) along the beach, in a field, or through the mountains has left many owners explaining what they see by describing the gracefulness, speed and beauty of a deer.

NOTE: Caution - be VERY careful with your Doberman during hunting season!!

Even though the Doberman was originally bred as a guardian and personal protector, the Doberman has an excellent nose for tracking and has been used for capturing felons. For many years the Doberman has been chosen to become an outstanding member of Search and Rescue Teams. A few owners have been surprised by the pointing and retrieving instincts of the Dobe and have made excellent hunting companions out of their pets. Dobes can also be found herding sheep (one such Dobe even has a Herding Dog Certificate) and bringing the cows in at milking time. The Dobermans loyalty, devotion, confidence and high degree of trainability (in the right hands) made the Doberman the dog of choice by the USMC during WWII; giving his life for his country. In contrast, this same breed has been and is still being used as a guide dog as well as an outstanding therapy dog.

The Doberman is one of the smartest dogs of dogdom. He is known for his intelligence and his uncanny reasoning ability. These qualities combined with the Dobe's deceptive power, exuberance for life, and his simple yet complex nature and temperament require extra time for early socialization, obedience training, and ample exercise. The Doberman is not recommended for dog owners of limited time, energy, and experience.

On the other hand, the Doberman is extremely affectionate and has been able to find his way into the hearts of his owners, like no other breed, and many people are life long devotes of this magnificent "Cadillac" of dogs.


Ask a any Doberman owner and they will tell you a Doberman is a character with character. Look into those dark dancing eyes and you just know the Dobe is off to satisfy his curiosity. Investigating every tree and rock. Letting every blade of grass reveal it's "secrets" to a very fine tuned nose; alert for any movement (a squirrel, a lizard, a butterfly) that will provide a chase. Returning, perhaps with a grin, letting you know how fortunate you are to be "protected" by such a fine companion/guardian.

NOTE: Dobe pups have a propensity to put "everything" in their mouths. Be sure to clear the yard/floor before letting a puppy out/down to play.

Caution also needs to be taken if your Dobe will be encountering other dogs. With proper introductions (back to the early socialization and training) some Dobes will enjoy playing with other dogs. Other Dobes are not at all social.

NOTE: Male Dobermans are known to be territorial and normally WILL NOT accept other males in any situation...i.e. living with another male or meeting another male.

Look into the soft loving eyes of a Dobe, read what he is saying...You are being told you are the center of this dog's world. He will match your emotions, takes direction from your acceptance or non-acceptance of a situation. If he perceives there is "something wrong with this picture" or senses your fear he comes to attention - the eyes change - ready to meet the challenge.

NOTE: The instinct to protect is natural (i.e. early socialization will NOT undermine this trait), and further "guard dog" training is not necessary. A prospective Doberman owner being advised to forego early socialization, puppy kindergarten, and obedience training to produce a protective Dobe is being ILL ADVISED!

Living outside in a kennel or expected to stay in the backyard without constant attention and in a position as an important member of the family causes a host of problems with a Doberman. Often a Dobe that is relegated to this type of living arrangement goes hand in hand with poor training and these Dobes often show evidences of shyness, fear, and nervousness.

NOTE: As with any breed there will be dogs that exhibit these traits even when the breeding/training are correctly administered.

Dobes are people dogs -- showing an extraordinary devotion to their family or owner. A Dobe is very happy to settle down once inside (providing he has had time to exercise) to share your home, your bed (takes it over), and your food. It is also very normal for your Dobe to smile, lean on you, bump your hand for more attention, and follow you from room to room. For these reasons, Dobes are often referred to as "Velcro" dogs and one of the advantages of such a dog is; you never have to go to the bathroom alone again!

The Doberman is no different in their reactions to children than any other breed of dog. Interaction with children when the Doberman is a puppy often enables the dog to develop a strong loving bond with the child and family. There are also stories of rescued and older dogs adapting well to children. HOWEVER, as with any dog, ANY BREED, it is advisable NOT to leave dogs and small children unsupervised.

When faced with sickness, Dobermans can be quite stoic, concealing their pain long before you know something is wrong. A healthy Doberman comes to you, or moves around in the yard, with a special little trot, while a sick Dobe does more walking or plodding, perhaps holding its head and neck level or down. Some Dobes curl up and don't want to move. Their eyes are sometimes sad and almost soul searching.

Depending on the illness, some Dobes don't eat and may pace or move from one spot to another, restless and panting. Others may stretch a lot or try unsuccessfully to urinate. Dobes have been known to swallow items that can block the digestive track. If this is the case, your Dobe may not want to eat, or if he does eat, he will throw up, and pace and stretch again. Check with your vet if your Dobe shows any of these symptoms.

The hardest part of owning a Dobe is to be confronted with evidence of his mortality, that a loyal companion may no longer be there. It is then that you are faced with your only disappointment in owning a Dobe - the loss of your loved one. "It is then in these hours ... that he will best be able to face this difficult time, if he looks to the demeanor of his Dobe ... for it is their distinction that they squarely face adversity, not unlike that of a professional soldier." (anonymous)


In the Early Days, 100 years ago...

Early records tell us that the Doberman in Germany was a dog used by men as a guard dog. A dog that was alert, fearless, aggressive, intelligent, and trainable. The dogs were described as being "sharp" and became very popular as a police and watch dog. This type of temperament may have been accepted and desired in the rural settings of the past, but certainly not a temperament or dog that could survive in the urban society of today.

The Doberman of Today...

During the past 100 years the committed Doberman breeder has been able to produce a much milder/steadier disposition than the earlier dogs exhibited. Upon close examination, the breed is found in a variety of working positions as well as being an excellent dog for competition performances, the conformation ring, and a devoted family dog/clown/couch potato.

Questions about the Doberman Temperament

Quoted below are the two issues of temperament discussed in the AKC Standard for the Doberman. These areas are shyness and aggression. Either, if improperly displayed, will result in the Doberman being disqualified or excused from the ring.

"The judge shall dismiss from the ring any shy or vicious Doberman."

Shyness - A dog shall be judged fundamentally shy if, refusing to stand for examination, it shrinks away from the judge; if it fears an approach from the rear; if it shies at sudden and unusual noises to a marked degree.

Viciousness - A dog that attacks or attempts to attack either the judge or its handler, is definitely vicious. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs shall not be deemed viciousness."

FAQ's about the Doberman Temperament

Are Dobermans Are Nervous? No, a Doberman is not nervous. They are full of energy. If a Doberman owner tends to be nervous, stressed, and unsure of how to properly handle/train a Doberman, the Dobe will often display his owner's nervousness and confusion. Are Dobermans Shy? No, a properly bred Doberman is not shy. Early socialization and training should be part of developing the correct temperament of a Dobe. NOTE: This is not to say there are no shy Dobermans. As with any breed there are dogs that exhibit abnormal behavior and since there are various types and degrees of shyness. If you are having trouble with your Doberman, please contact a qualified Doberman trainer, join the Doberman discussion list (DOBERWORLD-L), and also inquire about the shy dog list.

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