Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Doberman Pinscher



A working dog designed for a specific purpose, the Doberman's temperament has intentionally been "softened", particularly in North America, by breeders who wanted a dog that was suited to more than just guard work.






Typically, Dobermans are still naturally protective of their families however, some individual Dobies are so loving and friendly that even their owners question if they would be protective should the need arise. Among Doberman breeders, the consensus generally is, if you ever needed your dog's aid, the dog would probably rise to the occasion.






My friend's family had a female Doberman that was one of the sweetest, kindest dogs I've ever met. She would bark with joy when anyone drove into their yard, then wag her way over to greet visitors. Technically, this made her a watch dog, because she let everyone know when someone had arrived.





I once worked with a dog trainer from a city police K-9 unit who claimed that the Dobermans he'd met were either always "on" or "off" - that is, a Dobie either was a constant watchdog, alert to trouble, or it was a big love sponge. While this may have once been true (we had this conversation almost 30 years ago) selective breeding has made changes within the breed.




Modern Dobies are capable of being alert and wary of strangers, while sweet and loving with those they know. A Doberman is devoted to their people and also has the potential to be a therapy or service dog. This is a very intelligent breed that trains well and was designed to be around people. This is not a breed that does well when left alone in a yard - they require social interaction. They would prefer to be couch potatoes who receive a couple of brisk walks a day.



Some lines have more drive than others, and require more activity. Adopting a Dobe from a rescue can allow a family to know ahead of time how much exercise, and additional training, their companion will need. And just because a dog is a Doberman, doesn't mean it was born to be a guard dog. Many dogs can be watch dogs, given that a watch dog's role is to alert people (bark) when there is something out of order, or a new person in their environment.



Guard dogs are usually trained to provide specific responses to specific stimuli; these responses usually include the capacity to escalate behavior that deters a person, like giving chase, or grabbing a person. Just as not all Labradors were born to be guide dogs, not all Dobermans were born to be guard dogs. Some Dobermans have personalities that are too gentle for this kind of work.


A watch dog is like a lock - it helps keep honest people honest. A barking dog deters people from wandering into one's yard and home. Burglars also usually avoid the houses where there is a barking dog. And some breeds have a look and a reputation which deters people from interacting with them - which can also lead to downfalls like breed specific legislation.


 In North America, Dobermans' looks have been shaped by the established practice of cropping ears and docking tails. In many European countries cropping and docking are no longer permitted. North Americans are showing a slowly growing willingness to leave their dog's ears natural - I think we're a long way out though from seeing Dobe's here with natural tails.




 
Regardless of how a Doberman looks, they tend to have big hearts, strong bodies, quick minds, and a willingness to please their people. A devoted breed that is suited to people who want a willing pupil to train and an oversize lap dog to cuddle, this is a breed that deserves a better reputation then they sometimes have.




22 comments:

  1. The Dobes I have met have been show dogs, with the cropped tails and ears. But whenever I see these sleekly muscled dogs, I have to stop and admire them. They really are stunning with their glossy coats.

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    1. They are very capable looking dogs aren't they :-)

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  2. I have always thought Dobermans were the
    most regal looking dogs. They definitely always catch my attention with their stunning good looks.

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    1. I agree - they have a noble look, don't they :-)

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  3. Those cropped ears make me feel ill when I see them. Why oh why? Thankfully no more cropped ears over here. Have met some very nice Dobermans in my travels.

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    1. It's interesting to me how when one lives in an environment where cropping is commonplace, people often don't think twice about cropping. To many people who grew up around cropped dogs, the dog doesn't look 'right' if it isn't cropped. And then there's the chicken and egg when it comes to Kennel Club shows - people say a natural eared dog won't place at shows but judges don't see many natural eared dogs to judge - so who can say they won't place?

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    2. It's the cruelty and pain they have to go through that makes me feel ill. The natural look is much softer, which seems ideal for a dog like a Doberman. And speaking of black and tan dogs, have you met any Manchester or English Toy Terriers? A friend of mine has just acquired her second ETT. They are an endangered breed here.

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    3. I've met several Manchesters but have only encountered an ETT at a show. A small black and tan I'm fond of is the Miniature Pinscher - love the action when they trot :-)

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    4. Sorry you feel ill, I would like to tell you that I own 2 dobermans, a male and a female. My male has cropped ears and his ears are clean on the insides. My female on the other hand has natural ears. She has many yeast infections and issues with her ears. You should educate yourself Cate, because for some breeds (Doberman) it's better to have cropped ears, plus the part that is removed is a thick membrane. The dog is under sedatives when this happens as well. My guess is that you are a bleeding-heart person who doesn't educate themselves on things before formulating an opinion.

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    5. John, I think cropping is a rather like religion - people aren't likely to be converted from the beliefs they hold. There are strong feelings on both sides of this debate.

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    6. All floppy eared dogs are prone to ear problems, some more than others, because the flopped ears trap in moisture and dirt. It is an additional upkeep dog owners are expected to accept and fulfill when they choose to have a floppy eared dog. Preventing ear problems is chiefly a matter of vigilance. It is the owner's responsibility to always keep their dog’s ears clean and dry.

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  4. Great breed profile! The Doberman is close to my heart ;)


    On the topic of cropping....my Elka is cropped. She is also spayed. The spaying is what bothered her most, of the two.

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    1. Elka is an excellent ambassador for the breed thanks to the training she's receiving :-) The lovely personality she was bred to have has been enhanced by her upbringing.

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  5. Love Dobies! One of my favorite breeds. My Ben was a Doberman/GSD cross. Big, bold, a protective love sponge.

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    1. Sounds like Ben was a huge, handsome fellow!

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  6. They're very elegant looking dogs. I've met a few that were rescued and they were frightened of their own shadows, which is very sad to see.

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    1. I agree, it is always sad when people mistreat those who are powerless. A loving home and rehabilitation can really bring these dogs along with time.

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  8. I'm gonna come out and say it, I don't think I would own a Doberman with Natural Ears, it's not appealing to me in the slightest and drastically changes the appearance to the point where I'd get a Rottweiler or GSD instead. There's nothing cool looking about Natural Ears on a Doberman when you go from one with a nice crop, it's night and day . They look just like any other "soft" dog left natural blah.

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    1. Whilst I do agree with you that cropped ears and docked tails do make Dobermans a much more regal and badass breed, I think that a Dobe is a Dobe, and what really matters is their giant hearts. That said, I do prefer Dobermans with docked tails and cropped ears because it does give them a more threatening look, and that's one of the things I love about them :)

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  9. We just went to Estes Park for the day last week, and I saw plenty of leashed dogs in the downtown areas, near the shops and food. There were even a few that had signs saying they welcomed well behaved dogs inside. And Coffee On the Rocks offers outdoor seating, and since they had a community dog water bowl out, I'm going to venture they are ok with your companion! Now, if only my dogs were behaved enough to bring with...lol!
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  10. My Dobi (my baby) is 2 years old. He has a 5* on his Graduation of Social. He is also my ESA service companion. He is much more talkative than I am. His ears are natural (I went against recommendations for cropping). I usually call ahead to places that I need to go because of the reaction of others seeing a Dobi with a red vest. The social "Stigma" regarding breeds is very frustrating to me. I believe that a companion should be regarded for their "Deed" and not because of their "Breed". I am sad that in trying to find a place to live (rent) has issues with my Dobi just because he is a Dobi. I would rather live in a tent or on the road before I would leave my best friend.

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