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Hello! This is my first time posting here, though I've been reading through posts for the past few days, mostly researching. I'm really, really interested in getting a doberman puppy, and have been trying to read up as much as I can on this breed. A couple family members have this breed, as well as one of my dearest friends, and they fully and whole-heartedly stand by it, and have really drawn me in.

The problem is, I have two small dogs. A toy poodle, and a chihuahua. Both are very well mannered dogs, very well socialized and are used to being around larger dogs.

My friends and family tell me that dobermans (dobermen?) raised around small animals/children typically do very well around them.

But, likewise, I've read the negatives, that dobies tend to have high prey drive and see little dogs as chew toys (or rag dolls) rather then packmates. That they tend to be better as an only dog (although all the actual owners I've talked to/read about have multiple dogs and they do just fine).

My question is, is the risk truly greater then usual with a dobie w/ small dogs, as opposed to say, a gsd or lab or whatever w/ small dogs? I've always been a firm believer that it's how you raise, socialize, and treat an animal that determines their temperment and behavior, and not the breed.

What sort of signs do you look for in a puppy when you're looking for one that will likely have low prey-drive?

Please help! My heart is set on one of these beautiful dogs, but I want to do what's best for everyone involved.
 

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If either one of the dogs you have now are male then get a female. Get your puppy from a reputable breeder. Dobermans can get along with other dogs very harmoniously.

Maybe you could consider a rescue Dobe that you already know loves other dogs??

Lisa
 
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Hi & welcome. Good for you for doing your research first.

Porsche has been raised around cats, my friends Shih tzu's, and my parents Fox Hound and Beagle. If anything she is the most gentle out of all of them, the Shih Tzu's of my friends being the worst.

It all depends how the dog is socialized. Socialized doesn't just include people, it includes all animals.

Like Sheezbusy said, get the dog from a reputable breeder, search the boards for good and bad experiences and go see the dogs before buying, see if they are being raised with the family or in a kennel type set up.

At the end of the day, you get what you put into it.

Good Luck,

Shaun
 

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Reputable breeders will know their lines best. You are right some are prey monsters and even with a lot of training instincts will kick in. Try and find some of the more mellow show lines and you will be fine.

My female grew up with a little dog and was fine for the most part. But my little dog didn't run around a lot because she was older. I have a cat also and with my male it's a constant battle. If the cat moves so does Cash. Inside the house he is o.k. with the cat, if they are outside I believe Cash would kill him if given the chance.

Training will start the minute your puppy meets your other two. Be consistent and I believe you shouldn't have any problems. But I would probably stay away from some of the higher drive lines.
 
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my pup is almost 8 mo, and he does chase the cats, but doesn't hurt them, ones he catches them, he noses them till they scratch and walks away. With little dogs he's pretty good, when I take him to the dog park he always wants to be with the littler ones, and plays gently with them, when they've had enough they bark and he backs off. My babysitter has a 4yr old male and he is good with cats and dogs as well, and of course great with kids too. Some is temperament and some is training, best of luck to you!!
 

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Dobes and Small Animals

My pup lives with four cats. He does like to pester them, but it's all in trying to get them to play. He is also good around little dogs, which he doesn't live with, but does see in obedience class, friends' houses, etc.

That said, the dometstic bunny that's been loose in the neighborhood - I don't think he just wants to play with it.
 

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There are a couple of stories on here of accidental damage done to small dogs by housemate Dobermans. JennieATX posted about her chi and Doberman. Her Dobe accidentally broke her chi's leg very badly. It can be risky with very small dogs, even if you have a well-socialized, low prey drive dog. Accidents happen, and Dobermans do play rough. If you decide to go ahead, I would plan to never leave the dogs unsupervised, and to possibly plan to seriously limit play time. In Jennie's case, I don't think it was even a play session when the break occurred. Small dogs are just a lot more fragile.

Edited to add: Here's Jennie's thread: http://www.dobermantalk.com/non-doberman-animal-talk/53736-why-bigs-littles-dont-mix.html
 
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My question is, is the risk truly greater then usual with a dobie w/ small dogs, as opposed to say, a gsd or lab or whatever w/ small dogs? I've always been a firm believer that it's how you raise, socialize, and treat an animal that determines their temperment and behavior, and not the breed.

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There are some genetics you cannot change (good bad or indifferent). I think socialization/raising etc plays a HUGE role in behavior. However, there ae some dogs that cannot be safe with kids, cat, small pets, etc. no matter what you do. I don't want to dissuade you from getting a Doberman but keep that in mind.
 

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My question is, is the risk truly greater then usual with a dobie w/ small dogs, as opposed to say, a gsd or lab or whatever w/ small dogs? I've always been a firm believer that it's how you raise, socialize, and treat an animal that determines their temperment and behavior, and not the breed.
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Herding dogs herd because of genetics, it's instinctive behavior rather than trained behavior. The same with hunting dogs, etc.

So a HUGE portion of temperament is genetic. You can maximize or minimize genetic potential with environment, but you can't train for what God left out.

I *do* think there's a higher risk of a doberman or a gsd considering a small dog prey than with some other breeds. I've owned a doberman who would go into prey drive at dog shows if you walked him past small fuzzies...you had to be VERY careful with him. Since I don't live with small fuzzies, it was something easily managed, I just avoided them whenever possible. I'm pretty doubtful this particular dog would ever have been considered safe around tiny dogs, no matter how much training was done.

This doesn't mean you can't train some dobermans to live with small dogs, a lot of people do. But I do think a lot has to do with how much prey drive each dog has.

I wouldn't ever live with small dogs and dobermans because I think the small dogs are at risk from a larger dog exploding into a frenzy of fun, not watching where they're going, and trampling the toy breed dog.
 

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Hi Cahtie,
I currently have a two year old female Doberman, a twelve year old male Jack Russell terrier and an eighteen month old female Siamese cat all living in total harmony. It is truly wonderful and can be done relatively easily if your lifestyle supports it. I work out of my home and feel this is the main reason my animals are so stable as I am here to correct 95% of poor behavior as it happens. Equally important is training with a reputable organization. I used a local AKC training school and was very happy with the outcome. We also bought our dobie from a breeder whose focus was that his dobies LOVE people and believe me mine definitely does. We jokingly call her our Doberman Retriever instead of just our Doberman. She is a total Love Bug. So breeding is by far the most important thing.
This is my third Doberman the previous two were a little more difficult but so was my lifestyle. We did not have any other pets with our first doberman and worked twelve hour shifts so he was a handful and stayed that way until he passed away at ten years of age.
My second doberman, Sheena was the love of my life. She was the ultimate protector and almost sacrificed herself to save me from a water moccasin. I will always remember her as the best damned dog I ever owned. We had a female Jack Russell terrier when we brought her into our home. Their relationship was great up until one day out of the blue Sheena decided she wanted to sit next to me on the couch and the Jack Russell was in her way so she grabbed her by the neck and drew blood. We weren't able to keep those two in the same room after that point because the Jack Russell would harass Sheena and Sheena would only take it for a little while before she would bite the Jack again. Thankfully, my daughter was moving out and took the Jack Russell with her so we had Sheena for another 9 years before she passed. Then we got our most recent one and love her beyond words.
So my suggestion to you is to continue doing your research making sure you find a reputable breeder, make sure you have the time to dedicate to training and you have the space for a dog that requires a lot of exercise. Doberman are unlike any other dog and are truly the best.
Best wishes!
 
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