This is a moderately large, powerful, yet elegant animal. The coat is smooth, short and can come in brown, black, blue or fawn (also known as Isabella) with rust markings. The body carriage should be proud and each dog can be likened to a thoroughbred horse. Adult males measure around 69cm and adult females 65cm. The adult weighs around 32-45kg.
Using various breeds, a German night watchman, dog catcher and tax collector called Herr Louis Dobermann needed the ultimate protection dog to accompany him on his rounds. So he created this breed in the late 19th century. It is said that he used Rottweilers and Great Danes for their size and strength, Greyhounds for their speed, and Manchester Terriers for the sleek coat and graceful outline, as well as the terrier tenacity. Other breeds that may have been used include Schnauzers, German Pinschers, German Shepherds, German Shorthaired Pointers and Weimaraners. The first Dobermann dog breed (or 'Dobie') was registered in the German studbook in 1893.
Dobermann dogs need mental and physical activity. They must be properly trained, as a bored dog will develop behaviour problems. Socialised early with other dogs, pets and children, the Dobermann can make a lovely family pet. He is loyal and affectionate and will certainly protect the home. He does tend to be a 'one man dog' though and will not tolerate teasing, so children must be taught how to behave around the dog. It is up to the owner to be responsible for their dog's behaviour. If you cannot put in the time, or are inexperienced with dogs, this is not the breed for you.
The most common health problems encountered in Dobermanns are heart disease, a problem with the vertebrae in the neck (Wobbler's syndrome) and von Willebrand's disease (a disorder of blood clotting). As with many breeds, they can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
Until the dog is 12 months old, exercise should consist of short but frequent sessions. Over-exercising the dog can lead to joint problems. This is an active breed that will enjoy running off the lead. Two-plus hours of daily exercise is recommended for a fit adult Doberman, along with ongoing training.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. Dobermanns are prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
Dobermanns take very little grooming. A good rub down with a rubber grooming mitt will remove any dead or loose hair.