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Doberman Pinscher

Tags: working, Large-sized, Protective guardian

Leave it to the most unpopular guy in town, the tax collector of Apoldo, Thueringen, Germany, to build the perfect guard dog -- to protect Louis Dobermann as he went about his rounds. Beginning in the 1870s, Herr Dobermann crossed local black-and-tan sheepdogs with Rottweiler's, German Shepherds, Beaucerons, German Pinschers, and various terriers until he got a vigilant working dog for all occasions: hunting dog, farm dog, police dog, guard dog. And of course, dutiful protector of tax collectors. Along the way, we lost one "n" from Dobermann -- but none of our work ethic. Accordingly, when the Doberman Pinscher was recognized by the AKC in 1908, we were placed in the kennel club's Working Group.

Rave review

  • Affectionate, devoted, loyal family friend
  • Agile and active
  • Always alert
  • Confident and self-assured
  • Courageous canine
  • Energizer doggie
  • Outdoor enthusiast
  • Perfect protector
  • Pleased to please
  • Caters to country, tolerates town
  • Steadfast and strong

Report card

  • Better busy than bored
  • High strung
  • Independent thinker
  • Intelligent and ready to learn
  • Novice owner will be challenged with this breed
  • One owner-oriented
  • Socialization and training must start early
  • Stubborn streak
  • Training can be difficult
  • Wary of strangers
  • Willing watchdog

What to expect

I need you to think long and hard -- to do some real self-examination of your motives and abilities -- before you get involved with a Doberman Pinscher. Do you really want a strong, powerful dog that scares most people (and almost all other dogs)? Can you manage a dog that has to prove, every day of his life, to be a model canine citizen, rather than the reckless beast that some Dobies have become? Can you be the authority figure in my life (same for other humans in my new family) throughout my long and challenging training? And forever after, too? Can you commit to giving me daily exercise? Plenty of exercise? And when I'm old and infirm and need to go to the vet, will you still be able to lift me into the car? Have you talked to lots of other Doberman owners to get their assessment of the breed -- and of you as a prospective owner? Great! Now let's get to work.

Watch for

Hip and elbow dysplasia, dilated cardiomyopathy, von Willebrand's disease, wobbler syndrome narcolepsy, and a variety of other liver, renal, blood, immune system, and skin disorders.

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