The Doberman Pinscher is a tall, sleek and muscular dog that is best-known for its role as a guard dog. This often gives people the impression that they are an aggressive breed. However, there is so much more to this beautiful and intelligent animal and they have many traits that may surprise you. While most people are aware of the physical characteristics of these dogs, there are plenty of things that people do not know about this canine breed. Here are 20 cool facts that you probably didn’t know about Doberman Pinschers.
1. They Are a Relatively New Breed and Were First Bred by a German Tax Collector
Compared to many other dog breeds, Doberman Pinschers are a relatively new breed of dog. They were first bred by a tax collector called Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann in Apolda, Germany, in 1890 after the Franco-Prussian War. In addition to his role as a tax collector, Doberman ran the local dog pound. He wanted to breed a dog that would protect him while he was collecting taxes. He had access to many dogs through his work at the dog pound and recognized that they had many different traits. He wanted his new breed to have strength, endurance, speed, intelligence, ferocity, and loyalty. The breed he created was the Doberman Pinscher and this breed was later further developed by Phillip Greunig and Otto Goeller to become the breed as we know it today. Initially, the dog was simply called the Dobermann, after the man who created them. After Dobermann’s death, they became known as the Dobermann Pinscher. The Pinscher part of the name was later dropped in most countries and they are now most commonly called a Dobermann. However, in the United States and Canada, the Pinscher part of the name has been retained but the second ‘N’ at the end of the word Dobermann has been dropped. Therefore, this breed is known as the Doberman Pinscher in these two countries.
2. They Are Classed as a Medium-Large Dog
Dogs are classified in accordance with their size and the Doberman Pinscher is classified as a medium-large breed of dog. A healthy, adult male dog stands at between 27 and 28 inches tall and will weigh between 88 and 99 pounds. Adult females who are healthy are usually between 25 and 27 inches tall and will weigh in the region of 71 to 77 pounds. According to The Kennel Club in the UK, the ideal height for a male Doberman Pinscher is 27 inches while the ideal height for a female is 26 inches. According to the FCI, the ideal dog should have a sufficient size to provide the optimal combination of agility, endurance, and strength. Another interesting statistic relating to the Doberman Pinscher is that they have a lifespan of between 9 and 12 years.
3. They Were Originally Bred as a Protection Dog
Karl Friedrich Louis Doberman originally bred the Doberman Pinscher as a protection dog and this is still a role which many Doberman Pinschers still work today. They are one of the most common breeds of dogs working in security roles and this can involve both the protection of people or working as a guard dog of business premises or privately-owned properties. As Doberman Pinschers are considered an aggressive dog, potential intruders fear them so the dogs act as a deterrent. As soon as an intruder sees a Doberman Pinscher on the premises, it reduces the risk of a crime actually taking place as they are unlikely to want to take the risk of taking on this breed.
4. Doberman Pinschers Are a Mix of Other Breeds
To create his ideal dog with the perfect combination of traits, Karl Frederick Louis Dobermann had to breed many other breeds of dog to achieve his idea of perfection. He wanted a dog that could protect him but that would also be a loyal companion. The Doberman Pinscher has been described as a cocktail of other breeds and it is not officially known exactly which dogs were used during the breeding process to create the Doberman Pinscher. However, some studies have shown that the breeds that were most likely used to create the original Doberman Pinscher are the German Pinscher, the Weimaraner, the Beauceron, and the Rottweiler. Another study has shown that the German Shepherd Dog gene pool is dominant in Doberman Pinschers. When the breed was further developed, The American Kennel Club has stated that additional breeds were used. These include the Black and Tan Terrier, and the Old Shorthaired Shepherd. Other breeds that were potentially included in the breeding process are Great Danes, Greyhounds, and Pointers. Despite much research into the subject, how Dobermann first created this breed and what developments have taken place since is still unknown.
5. They Often Have Docked Ears and Tails
Naturally, a Doberman Pinscher has floppy ears and a long tail. However, many Doberman Pinschers you will see have pointed ears and short tails. This is because docking has become a common practice with this breed. This is not done just for aesthetic purposes as the docking process was intended to improve their performance in their roles as protectors. The long tail was considered a hindrance and cropping their ears made them more alert to the sound of oncoming potential threats. However, the docking process is considered cruel and unnecessary in many cultures and it is now banned in many countries across the globe. Therefore, more Doberman Pinschers are now seen in their natural form. In international dog shows, there is often a combination of dogs who have been docked and ones that have not, depending on which country they are from. Some organizations require a certificate from a veterinary specialist to prove that the docking has been done professionally and legally.
6. There is a Movie About Doberman Pinschers
Doberman Pinschers have even starred in their own movie called ‘The Doberman Gang’. This 1972 film is about an animal trainer who uses a pack of six Doberman Pinschers to commit a bank robbery. The film was directed by Byron Chudnow and co-written by Louis Garfinkle and Frank Rey Perilli. The six dogs were named after famous bank robbers. Alan Silvestri composed the score for this film and it helped to launch his career. He later went on to write the soundtracks for ‘Forrest Gump’ and the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy. Starring in this film were Byron Mabe, Hal Reed, Julie Parrish, Simmy Bow, JoJo D’Amore, John Tull, and Jay Paxton. The film was a success and spawned three sequels. Dobermans have also appeared in many other movies, both in live action and in animated films.
7. Doberman Pinschers Have Many Working Roles
Although they are generally associated with working as guard dogs, this is not the only role undertaken by Doberman Pinschers in a working capacity. Another role for which they are now well-known is supporting the work of police in search and rescue missions. They are ideal for these roles because of their intelligence and as they are so good to train. Doberman Pinschers are now often used in therapy work to support people through difficult times as they are known for being loyal to their owners. Doberman Pinschers are also amazing family pets as not all dogs of this breed have a working life.
8. These Dogs Were Used in World War II
Despite having a bad reputation, Doberman Pinschers have played some amazing roles throughout history. One historic period in which they played an important role was World War II. These dogs were used in a variety of capacities to support the Armed Forces throughout the war. On Doberman Pinscher called Kurt was killed by grenade as he warned soldiers of an impending attack. Although he lost his life, he saved the lives of many others. Another Doberman Pinscher, Cappy, saved the lives of 250 Marines from the United States. He alerted the soldiers to an approach by the Japanese Army. He was the first dog to be buried in what later became a cemetery dedicated to war dogs. There is even a bronze statue of Cappy sitting on top of the World War II War Dog Memorial. Alongside the name of Cappy are the names of 24 other Doberman Pinschers who served in the war and died protecting US Marines from the Japanese forces. This shows how during the war, Doberman Pinschers truly were man’s best friend.
9. American Doberman Pinschers Are Less Aggressive
Doberman Pinschers were originally bred to be an aggressive dog due to the roles for which they were intended. However, they have gradually become less aggressive over the years. According to research, American Doberman Pinschers are less aggressive than their European counterparts. This is due to the breeding processes used in the United States. Doberman Pinscher breeders have deliberately tried to eliminate some of the breeds more aggressive traits and have focused on strengthening the other traits associated with this breed, such as their intelligence and their loyalty. As for which breed is better for an owner, that’s completely up to the owner!
10. They Are Highly Intelligent
One of the best traits of a Doberman Pinscher is its intelligence. In fact, it is ranked as the fifth most intelligent breed of dog overall. The other top four breeds are Border Collies, Poodles, German Shepherd Dogs and Golden Retrievers. When intelligence is divided into different categories, the Doberman Pinscher consistently ranks as first in the list of the most trainable dogs. They also rank highly in terms of communication and problem-solving. Various methods have been used in studies by different specialists in this area, but the Doberman Pinscher remains in the top five regardless of the methods of study used. This intelligence is one of the traits of the Doberman Pinscher that makes them ideal for a variety of working roles.
11. They Are Less Aggressive Than You Might Think
Sadly, Doberman Pinschers have earned themselves a reputation of being an aggressive dog breed. In fact, their aggression is often the first trait people think of when describing this breed. However, they are probably not as aggressive as you think they are. There have been many studies into the aggression levels of different breeds of dog and the results relating to Doberman Pinschers may surprise you. In terms of attacks on humans, the Doberman Pinscher shows less aggression than many breeds that do not have a bad reputation for aggressive behaviour. This includes Great Danes, Cocker Spaniels, and Dalmatians. A study conducted in 2008 divided aggression into four categories; aggression towards strangers, aggression towards owners, aggression towards strange dogs, and rivalry amongst household dogs. Although the Doberman Pinscher ranked relatively high in the category of aggression towards strangers, it ranked very ow in aggression towards owners. In the categories of aggression towards other dogs and rivalry with household dogs, it ranked as average in comparison to other breeds. The same study showed that contemporary Doberman Pinschers are now less aggressive than the original variety of this breed and that, overall, they are no longer an aggressive breed. Therefore, they have the potential to make great family pets. However, you must teach them how to behave around children and in different social situations while they are still pups.
12. There Are a Number of Other Health Conditions to Which This Breed is Prone
Heart conditions are not the only health problems to which Doberman Pinschers are prone as their genetics also make them susceptible to several other conditions. One of the most common of these is von Willebrand’s disease. This is a serious bleeding disorder. It is so common amongst Doberman Pinschers that a genetic test for the condition has been available since 2000. This test is used by breeders to test both parents before breeding from them. They can tell whether the parents are carriers of the gene. By not breeding from dogs who are carriers, it is possible for breeders to prevent future litters from inheriting the disease. Another condition that is common in Doberman Pinschers is cervical vertebral instability, abbreviated to CVI. Less common conditions associated with this breed include hip dysplasia, canine compulsive disorder, hypothyroidism, and prostatic diseases.
13. Ch. Borong the Warlock is the Most Successful Doberman Pinscher in Shows
Doberman Pinschers are one of the breeds that take part in various events and dog shows around the globe. They have enjoyed various degrees of success in these events. One of the most successful Doberman Pinschers of all-time was a dog called Ch. Borong the Warlock. This Doberman Pinscher won the championship title in three countries. He also won the Doberman Pinscher Club of America National Specialty Show on three occasions and was the only dog to achieve this. Other titles he won include 230 Best of Breed, 66 Working Groups, 30 Best in Specialty Shows, and six all-breed Best in Shows. In 1961, Ch. Borong the Warlock was judged top in the breed by five Doberman Pinscher specialists at a Top Ten competition event. Another dog that is famous for doing well in competition is Ch. Rancho Dobe’s Storm. He won the Westminster Best in Show in 1952 and 1953.
14. They Are Sometimes Performers
Due to their high intelligence and because they are one of the easiest dogs to train, there are many examples of Doberman Pinschers being used as performance dogs. They have the ability to perform choreography and are used in groups called ‘Doberman drill teams’. Their performances involve a range of complex movements and difficult routines. The aim of the Doberman drill teams is to showcase the agility and intelligence of this dog breed. These performances take place at a variety of events across the globe. Despite their size, their performances are graceful and amazing to watch.
15. There Are Four Official Colors of Doberman Pinscher
When thinking of Doberman Pinschers, an image of a brown and black dog is what will likely come to mind. However, according to the American Kennel Club, there are four official color variations of this breed. The official color categories are balck and rust, fawn and rust, blue and rust, and red and rust. However, the color of a Doberman Pinscher depends on just two color genes. One is the black gene and the other is a color dilution gene. There are eleven possible variations from combining these genes and each will produce a different color. It depends on which of the genes is dominant. The fawn and blue colorings are created by expressing the color dilation gene and are actually considered a disorder called Color Dilution Alopecia. These dogs are often more prone to skin disorders.
16. A White Variation of a Doberman Pinscher Has Been Bred
There is actually a white variation of the Doberman Pinscher, although this isn’t officially recognized by The American Kennel Club. This white variation was first created in 1976 and is actually a cream color with white markings. This dog was then bred to her son and he, in turn, was bred to his younger sisters. The white Doberman Pinschers also have bright blue eyes which is consistent with Albinism. The reason this color is not officially recognized is that it is caused by a mutated gene that causes a lack of melanin in oculocutaneous structures. These dogs are called tyrosinase-positive albinoids.
17. They Are Sensitive to the Cold
Although Doberman Pinschers are usually considered as tough creatures, they are actually more sensitive than you think. One of their weaknesses is sensitivity to the cold. It is though that they are so sensitive to the colder weather due to their lack of body fat as they are slender and muscular animals. This may seem strange that this breed has a sensitivity to the cold as many perform working roles that involve being outside in all weathers. This means that they are not necessarily well-suited to working in outdoor roles in countries with a colder climate. Just remember during the winter season to take precautions to keep your Pinscher extra insulated.
18. Heart Conditions Are a Common Health Problem Amongst Doberman Pinschers
Like all breeds, there are certain health conditions to which they are more prone. One of the most common type of health problem that Doberman Pinschers experience is heart conditions. One of these is dilated cardiomyopathy. This is a potentially fatal heart condition that causes a range of health problems. Dilated cardiomyopathy is one of the leading causes of deaths amongst Doberman Pinschers and affects this breed more than any other breed of dog. Another serious heart condition to which Doberman Pinschers are prone is congestive heart failure.
19. Many Celebrities Have Owned Doberman Pinschers
As the Doberman Pinscher is now a much less aggressive dog, they make great family pets and this is something that many celebrities have recognized as they have chosen to own one of these dogs. Mariah Carey is an example of a celebrity who owns Doberman Pinschers and her dogs are called Princess and Duke. Nicolas Cage owns a white Doberman Pinscher and actor Forest Whitaker is also a Doberman Pinscher owner. Other celebrities who have famously owned Doberman Pinschers include John F. Kennedy, Raquel Welch, Priscilla Presley, and Rudolph Valentino. One of the biggest fans of Doberman Pinschers is William Shatner. The dogs he has owned are called Bella, China, Royale, Starbuck, Kirk, Morgan, Heidi, Sterling, Charity, Paris, and Martika.
20. Doberman Pinschers Sometimes Take Part in Schutzhund
The intelligence and agility of Doberman Pinschers makes them ideal creatures to take part in a variety of sports. One sport in which they participate is Schutzhund. Originally, this sport was created for German Shepherd Dogs. The sport was designed to test the various traits of this breed and discover weaker German Shepherds. Other than German Shepherds, there are very few breeds that take part in this sport as it is such a difficult test. It requires strength, speed, agility, endurance and a high-level of intelligence. The Doberman Pinscher is one of the few breeds that has the capacity to compete at Schutzhund. 300 points is a perfect score in this sport and a dog called Bingo von Ellendonk was the first Doberman Pinscher to achieve a full score of 300 in Schutzhund.