For the movie called "Dobermann", see Dobermann (film).
The Doberman Pinscher (alternatively spelled Dobermann in many countries) or Doberman is a breed of domestic dog. Doberman Pinschers are among the most common of pet breeds, and the breed is well known as an intelligent, alert, and loyal companion dog. Although once commonly used as guard dogs, watch dogs, or police dogs, this is less common today. In many countries, Doberman Pinschers are one of the most recognizable breeds, in part because of their actual roles in society, and in part because of media stereotyping (see temperament). Careful breeding has improved the disposition of this breed, and the modern Doberman Pinscher is an energetic and lively breed ideally suited for companionship and family life.
The Doberman Pinscher is a dog of medium size. Although the breed standards vary among kennel and breed clubs, the shoulder height of a Doberman Pinscher bitch is typically somewhere between 24 to 27 inches (61 to 68 cm), and the male typically stands between 26 to 28 inches (66 to 72 cm). The male generally weighs between 75 and 90 pounds and the bitch between 55 and 70 pounds. There is often a slight difference in type between bitches and dogs, with males being decidedly masculine (but not coarse) and females being noticeable feminine (but not spindly).
Doberman Pinschers typically have a deep, broad chest, and a powerful, compact, and square muscular body of medium size. However, in recent years some breeders have primarily bred, shown, and sold a slimmer or more sleek-looking Doberman Pinscher. This has become a popular body type among many owners, especially those who show their Doberman Pinschers competitively. The traditional body type is still more desirable to many casual owners and to those who want the dog for protection. Furthermore, despite the "ideal" standards, it is impossible to have complete control over the size and weight of dogs. Generally speaking, show animals must fall within the ideal range of both size and weight (for that country's breed standard), but it is not unusual to find male Dobes weighing over 100 pounds or females that are also larger than called for by the breed standards. Larger sizes might lead to additional health problems, although those who are looking for a Doberman Pinscher to provide personal protection or for use in police agencies or the military generally seek out the larger examples and some breeders create specific breeding pairs in the hope of getting a litter of larger dogs.
Most people know the most common black color of a Doberman Pinscher. However, two different color genes exist in the Doberman, one for black (B) and one for color dilution (D), which provides for four different color phenotypes: black, red, blue, and fawn (Isabella). The traditional and most common color occurs when both the color and dilution genes have at least one dominant allele (BB, Bb, or bB and DD, Dd, or dD), and is commonly referred to as black or black and rust (also called black and tan). The most common color variation occurs when the black gene has two recessive alleles (bb) but where the dilution gene has at least one dominant allele (DD, Dd, or dD), which produces what is called a red or red and rust Doberman Pinscher in America and a "brown" Doberman in the rest of the world, which is a deep reddish-brown with rust markings.
The remaining two colors, "blue" and "fawn", are controlled by the color dilution gene. In the case of the blue Doberman, the color gene has at least one dominant allele (BB, Bb, or bB), but the dilution gene has both recessive alleles (dd). The fawn (Isabella) is the least common color and occurs when both the color and dilution genes have two recessive alleles (bb and dd). Thus, the blue color is a diluted black, and the fawn color is a diluted red. Blue and fawn Doberman Pinschers often suffer from a condition called Color Dilution Alopecia, which can result in severe hair loss.
In 1976, a "white" Doberman Pinscher bitch was born, and was subsequently bred to her son, who was also bred to his litter sisters. This tight inbreeding continued for some time to allow the breeders to "fix" the mutation, which has been widely marketed. Doberman Pinschers of this color possess a genetic mutation, which prevents its pigment proteins from being manufactured, regardless of the genotypes of either of the two color genes; that is, it is an albino. Though some potential Doberman Pinscher owners find the color attractive, albino Doberman Pinschers, like albinos of other species, face increased risk of cancer and other diseases and because of this and because of abnormal development of the retina, should avoid sun exposure as much as possible. The popularity of the "white" Doberman Pinscher has decreased dramatically as these risks have become known, with many people have called for an end to the breeding and marketing of the white Doberman Pinscher because they perceive it as cruelty to the animal. Some countries have made the purposeful breeding of the white Doberman illegal, but breeders who care and take note of the ancestors can avoid breeding albinos as they are all descended from the original female. A list of every descendent of the original albino-producing dogs is available so that breeders can avoid producing this mutant dog. The American Kennel Club registers albino Doberman Pinschers but disqualifies them from conformation shows, and the Doberman Pinscher Club of America has actively worked to discourage breeding to obtain albino Doberman Pinschers.
Although the Doberman Pinscher has most commonly been seen with a short tail, it is actually born with a tail that is longer than many breeds'. The short tail is the result of docking, a procedure in which the majority of the tail is surgically removed within days of the dog's birth. Today, docking is illegal in many countries, but not in North America. One argument for docking the Doberman's tail is that it completes the sleek look that the dog is supposed to have, since it was the way Louis Dobermann had originally envisioned the dog.
Few potential owners have a choice on the length of their Doberman Pinscher's tail, as docking is normally done soon after the dog's birth. This means that the breeder nearly always makes the decision before their dogs are even put on the market.
Doberman Pinschers will often have their ears cropped, a procedure that is functionally related to both the traditional guard duty and to effective sound localization. Doberman Pinscher ear cropping is usually done between 7 and 9 weeks of age. Cropping done after 12 weeks has a low rate of success in getting the ears to stand. Some Doberman Pinscher owners prefer not to have their pet's ears cropped because the procedure is painful for the animal. The process involves trimming off part of the animal's ears and propping them up with posts and tape bandages, which allows the cartilage to develop into an upright position as the puppy grows. The puppy will still have the ability to lay the ears back or down. The process of posting the ears generally takes about a month, but longer show crops can take several months.
After the initial surgery has been done, the ears are taped. Ear taping uses posts to keep the ears straight in the upright position, allowing them to grow and strengthen the cartilage. There are many variables involved such as crop size, infection, healing, post choice, tape choice, time, etc.
The traditional Doberman has always been the one that has had both tail and ears cropped. In some countries, docking and cropping are now illegal, but in some breed shows Doberman Pinschers are allowed to compete with either cropped or uncropped ears.
Doberman Pinschers are, in general, a gentle, loyal, loving, and highly intelligent breed. Although there is variation in temperament, a typical pet Doberman attacks only if it believes that it, its property, or its family are in danger. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, the Doberman Pinscher is less frequently involved in attacks on humans resulting in fatalities than several other dog breeds such as pit bull-type dogs, German Shepherd Dogs, Rottweilers and Alaskan Malamutes. Those familiar with the breed consider well-bred and properly socialized Doberman Pinschers to be excellent pets and companions, suitable for families with other dog breeds, excellent with young children, and even cats. The modern Doberman Pinscher is well known as a loyal and devoted family member.
The Doberman Pinscher has been used as a protection dog, due to its intelligence, loyalty, and ability to physically challenge human aggressors. Doberman Pinschers were once commonly used in police work and in the military. The breed was used extensively by the U.S. Marines in World War II, and 25 Marine War Dogs died in the Battle of Guam in 1944: there is a memorial in Guam in honor of these Doberman Pinschers. In these roles, they inspire fear. They are often stereotyped in such roles in movies (where they are trained to exhibit seemingly "aggressive" behavior), and video games, consequently many people are afraid of the breed. A related problem is the misunderstanding of their legitimate roles; because guard dogs are trained to neutralize unwelcome intruders, many people mistakenly believe that Doberman Pinschers are vicious.
An average, healthy Doberman Pinscher is expected to live about 10 years. Common health problems are dilated cardiomyopathy, wobbler disease, von Willebrand's disease (a bleeding disorder for which there is genetic testing). Other problems that are less severe or seen less frequently include:
- Hypothyroidism 
- Cancer 
- Progressive retinal atrophy 
- Cataracts 
- Glaucoma 
- Copper toxicosis 
- Colour dilution alopecia in blues and fawns (see follicular dysplasia).
- Hip dysplasia 
- Peripheral neuropathy ("Dancing Doberman disease", very rare) 
Doberman Pinschers were first bred in Germany around 1890 by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. After his death in 1894, the Germans named the breed Dobermann-pinscher in his honor, but a half century later dropped the pinscher on the grounds that this German word for terrier was no longer appropriate. The British did the same thing a few years later. Dobermann was a tax collector who frequently traveled through many bandit-infested areas, and needed a protection dog to guard him in any situation that might arise. He set out to breed a new type of dog that, in his opinion, would be the perfect combination of strength, loyalty, intelligence, and ferocity. (He also worked with dogs as a second job, giving him access to dogs for breeding.) Later, Otto Goeller and Philip Gruening continued to develop the breed.
The breed is believed to have been created from several different breeds of dogs that had the characteristics that Dobermann was looking for, including the Pinscher, the Beauceron, the Rottweiler, the Thuringian Shepherd Dog, the black Greyhound, the Great Dane, the Weimaraner, the German Shorthaired Pointer, the Manchester Terrier and the German Shepherd Dog. The exact ratios of mixing, and even the exact breeds that were used, remains uncertain to this day, although many experts believe that the Doberman Pinscher is a combination of at least four of these breeds. The single exception is the documented cross with the Greyhound. It is also widely believed that the German Shepherd gene pool was the single largest contributor to the Doberman breed.
Famous Doberman Pinschers
- Bingo von Ellendonk - first Dobermann to score 300 points (perfect score) in Schutzhund 
- Graf Belling v. Gr?Ânland - first registered Dobermann 
- Roscoe and DeSoto from Oliver & Company
- Zeus and Apollo, "The Lads" in Magnum, P.I.
- Additional clubs, associations, and societies
- Directories and informational pages
- Pedigree databases
- ^ http://mail.ukcdogs.com/UKCweb.nsf/80de88211ee3f2dc8525703f004ccb1e/4f1ea5ff6d180b3585257044005de3eb?OpenDocument UKC breed standard. Retrieved March 23, 2007
- ^ http://www.ckc.ca/en/Default.aspx?tabid=99&BreedCode=DBP Canadian Kennel Club: Doberman Pinscher breed standard. Size: "Males, decidedly masculine, without coarseness. Females, decidedly feminine, without over-refinement." Retrieved May 2, 2007
- ^ http://www.dpca.org/color.chart.5.html Doberman Pinscher Club of America: Color Chart. Retrieved March 23, 2007
- ^ http://www.dpca.org/albinoinfo1.html Doberman Pinscher Club of America: What is and Albon Doberman. Retrieved March 25, 2007
- ^ http://www.dpca.org/zlist.html Doberman Pinscher Club of America: The Z List. Retrieved March 25, 2007
- ^ http://www.dpca.org/ac.html Doberman Pinscher Club of America: Albino Committee. Retrieved March 25, 2007
- ^ http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/dogbreeds.pdf US Centers for Disease Control: Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998. Retrieved March 25, 2007
- ^ http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/7109/wardogs.html Doberman Wardog Memorial. Retrieved March 25, 2007
- ^ a b c d e http://www.upei.ca/~cidd/breeds/doberman2.htm Canine Inherited Disorders Database: Doberman Pinscher. Retrieved March 25, 2007
- ^ http://www.uniteddobermanclub.com/breed/health.html United Doberman Club: Health Issues in Dobermans. Retrieved March 25, 2007
- ^ a b c d e http://www.dpcc.ca/dpcc-health.htm Doberman Pinscher Club of Canada: Health Issues in the Doberman Pinscher. Retrieved March 25, 2007
- ^ a b http://www.dpca.org/gendisease.html Doberman Pinscher Club of America: Genetic and Suspect Genetic Health Conditions in the Doberman Pinscher. Retrieved March 26, 2007