Dog Breed profiles

Dobermann Breed Profile

Dobermann fact file

KC Group: Working
Size: Large
Height: 65 - 69cm
Weight: 32 - 45kg
Average lifespan: 12 years 
Good with children?: Seek breeder advice
Exercise requirement: Lots
Good guard dogs?: Yes
Moulting level: Low
Grooming: Little
Colours: Black, brown, blue, or fawn, with rust red markings. Markings are seen above each eye, on the muzzle, throat and chest, on all legs, feet, and below the tail. 
Jogging partner: Yes

Health

The breed is known to be susceptible to some genetic disorders, including:

  • Von Willebrand’s disease.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy.
  • Wobbler’s syndrome.
  • Hip and eye problems.

Von Willebrand’s disease is an inherited bleeding disorder; a lack of the von Willebrand factor in the blood, which is required for platelets to bind together, results in excessive bleeding.

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of the heart muscles which results in weaker contractions and poor pumping ability.

As the disease progresses the heart chambers become enlarged, one or more valves may leak, and signs of heart failure develop.

Wobbler’s syndrome is caused by a narrowing or malformation of the neck vertebrae which puts pressure on the spinal cord. This has anything from a mild to a severe effect on the dog’s gait and is characterised by poor coordination or clumsiness.

Health tests

The Dobermann is listed under the Kennel Club/British Veterinary Association hip dysplasia scheme. Parent dogs should be hip scored prior to breeding. The average hip score for the breed is 10 (each hip is scored individually and the two figures are added together to give the dog’s final hip score). Breeders are strongly advised to only breed from dogs with scores well below this figure.

Parent dogs should also have had a DNA test for von Willebrand’s disease. Breeders should be able to provide documentation that these tests have been done.

Although not compulsory, in addition to the above tests it is strongly recommended that dogs are eye tested under the Kennel Club/British Veterinary Association/International Sheepdog Society eye scheme.

Temperament

  • Bold and alert.
  • Loyal and affectionate.
  • Strong-willed and independent.
  • Strong guarding instinct — you must introduce your Dobermann to visitors.
  • Likes to act the clown.

Lifestyle

  • The Dobermann is best suited to a more experienced owner who will be capable of handling such a strong-willed and intelligent breed.
  • He is excellent with children if introduced at an early age — but as with all dogs, all contact must be under supervision.
  • He will get on well with other pets if introduced from a young age.
  • Remember that he is a working breed. He has energy by the bucket load and needs plenty of exercise — body and mind!
  • He thrives on human company — he won’t appreciate being left home alone or in a kennel.
  • He will excel at all doggy activities.

Trainability

  • This highly intelligent dog requires firm but gentle and consistent training right from day one — owners need to earn his respect.
  • Your Dobermann must be taught his place as a puppy. Never let him think that he has got the upper hand as this could lead to future issues.

General care

  • In terms of grooming he is relatively low maintenance — a weekly rub down with a chamois cloth will leave his coat gleaming — but be warned, his short hair gets everywhere.
  • He is a fast-growing breed. In the first 12 months, exercise must be limited and monitored very carefully to avoid damage to his growing bones.

Pros

  • Loyal.
  • Loves his human family.
  • Minimal grooming needs.

Cons

  • Best-suited to experienced owners.
  • Above average exercise needs.
  • Some health issues.

Did you know?

  • As a pup, a Dobermann’s feet can look too big for him — don’t worry, he will grow into them.
  • The Dobermann is named after German tax collector Louis Dobermann, who developed the breed in the 1860s.
  • The first Dobermann breed club was formed in Germany in 1899.