The Doberman Pinscher is a medium-sized dog known for power, speed and a high ability as a guard dog. As well as being a good guard breed, it also has a number of qualities that make it a suitable family pet. The American Kennel Club accepted the breed in 1908 and its current breed standard was set in 1990.
Around 1900, German tax collector Louis Dobermann required a dog which could serve as both protector and companion. As a tax collector, he had to move through areas notorious for bandits. A dog was specifically bred by him that was a mixture of rottweiler, shorthaired shepherd, German pincher and the black and tan terrier. The resulting dog was so successful that it is also used as a police dog and in the armed forces today.
The Doberman Pincher is a medium-sized dog with a squared, lean body shape. Unlike the Rottweiler from which it descends, the Doberman Pincher's musculature is less dense but it is still powerful. The smaller body type also means it is fast and has good endurance. It has a long head with a pointed muzzle. The sharply pointed ears of the breed are forced from birth by breeders who tape the puppies' ears in place. The tail is also docked customarily in this breed, leaving a short stump.
Male dogs are generally the largest and grow to between 26 and 28 inches at the shoulder. The females grow to between 24 and 26 inches at the shoulder. The ideal weight range for the breed is between 66 and 88 lbs.
Coat and Color
Dobermans are generally dark brown to black in color with paler markings on the face, chest and lower legs. Red, blue and fawn are also colors that can occur in the breed and are acceptable for competition. The breed has a very short, coarse-haired coat. It is generally single layered, but small areas of gray undercoat do sometimes occur.
The Doberman is a high-energy breed that forms strong bonds with its owner and family. The high intelligence of the breed means that it learns quickly and is easy to train. Firm training and socialization from a young age help to make the dog a calm and stable animal. It is not an aggressive breed by nature but can become overly dominant if its owner does not establish himself as the pack leader.