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.
- Category size: Large
- Grooming requirements: Less than once a week
- Shedding: Moderate
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Vocal
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Working
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Low
- Stability as a guard: High
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.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information