Thinking about buying a Doberman Pinscher for a family pet? If you have never owned a dog before, there is much to learn and understand about the breed.
Doberman Pinscher Background
Colors: Red with rust (tan) markings, black with rust (tan) markings, or, less commonly, black, fawn, chocolate, grey, white, or blue
Lifespan: 10 – 13 years
Weight: 70 – 90 pounds
Height: 26 – 28 inches
Activity Level: High
Character Traits: Protective, Guarded, Intelligent, Purposeful
American Kennel Club (AKC) designation: Part of the Working Group of breeds
Black Doberman Pinschers are typical with Red Doberman Pinscher being quite common as well. Blue Dobermans are less common followed by fawn and white.
Registered breeders often discourage the white colors, since that color trait is “untraditional”. Reports indicate that health problems often occur with the white colored Doberman Pinschers, which is something breeders attempt to avoid in their lineages.
Things to Know about Doberman Pinschers
1. Dobermans are known to be protective dogs; they often called “Guard Dogs”.
Dobermans are versatile dogs and even make good house pets with proper care and understanding. We grew up with a female Doberman Pinscher, “Jayne” in our household as little children. We’ve never had a better household pet.
2. Germans originally bred Doberman Pinschers to protect their homes, businesses, and livestock.
The breed has a reputation as protectors, which is well-founded. Dobermans have an instinct to protect their family and territory (i.e., home, yard, kennel, etc.)
When keeping the breed as family pets, pay close attention around small livestock, cats, smaller dogs, rabbits, etc. If untrained and unsupervised their curiosity sometimes gets themselves into trouble.
3. Doberman Pinschers are extremely strong, intelligent, and loyal dogs.
We’ve never had a more loyal dog. As children who grew up on a farm and spent hours each day playing outdoors in the yard. Our Doberman followed us everywhere. Jayne was always with us and wanted to be in the middle of the action.
Our dog discovered a snake in the yard and promptly killed it. She sensed danger for us kids and decided to prevent the snake getting any closer to where we played.
4. They have unique physical characteristics, including big heads, thin legs, and broad chests. Dobermans are also known for being muscular.
Dobermans are large dogs, although smaller than a St. Bernard, Great Pyrenees, or Newfoundland for comparison. They have thin legs, strong and muscular bodies.
5. Their heads are square with a slight stop (which indicates their intelligence), and they have a characteristic deep chest and long-ish nose.
The breed has an inquisitive temperament indicating their intelligence and ability to perceive and analyze danger.
6. When un-trained and un-socialized they tend to be aggressive toward strangers, especially if they feel threatened, which makes them “misunderstood” in certain circles.
Our dog, Jayne, alerted us to strangers who entered our driveway or approached our house. Living in the country, engaging in family farm, and gardening activities, this welcome characteristic quickly alerted us to visitors.
7. Well-adjusted Doberman Pinschers are affectionate and good-natured, however, if they become agitated or defensive, they can turn vicious.
Before bringing to a Doberman Pinscher into your living space, ensure you understand the responsibility you are assuming. Don’t buy a Doberman if you don’t have time to provide proper training, supervision, guidance (sometimes strong guidance), and a willingness to continue doing so the entire time you own your dog.
This advice should apply to most all breeds of dogs, in my experience, but especially applies to dogs with the protective instincts, like Doberman Pinschers.
8. They can perform tasks unexpected from a dog of their size, including agility competitions.
Dock jumping, agility courses, taking a ramble through the woods, a short run, a hike, or long walks are well within the Doberman Pinscher’s comfort level.
9. A Doberman Pinscher would be best suited for a family that requires a loyal family dog with protective character.
The Doberman does well in a family with lots of energy. Classified as a working dog by the AKC, they perform best when they have a job to do.
If your family spends most of their time indoors, playing video games, or watching television please reconsider whether you have the proper commitment to provide a good environment for the breed. There are other breeds that excel as house dogs, such as the “toy” breeds like Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Pugs, Shih Tzus, Maltese, or even the Miniature Pinscher.
For someone drawn to full sized Doberman Pinscher, the Miniature Pinscher would make a nice alternative for families that can’t provide the activity levels the larger breed requires.
We’ve spent time with Miniature Pinschers and attest to their willingness to chill and relax on the couch for hours sitting faithfully next to their family peeps. Or you may wish to consider sporting breeds like the cocker spaniel.
10. Dobermans can make excellent pets due to their loyalty, love, and companionship.
These magnificent and royal looking dogs provide a huge pride of ownership. They develop strong bonds with their family and families return that love three-fold (or more).
11. Training a Doberman takes time and patience as they learn how to properly respond to commands.
Doberman Pinschers respond well to obedience training, which is highly recommended. You can watch videos online and provide the basic training yourself, or you may prefer to hire a professional dog trainer to assist you to ensure your relationship starts off on the right track.
We easily training our dog to sit, heal, walk on a lead, lay down and other commands long before the Internet existed.
12. Dobermans require consistent training and exercise, even in adulthood.
Make sure you take your dog outside for a few hours each day. Long walks, robust games of fetch, or other sporting games are great. A short walk around the block three times daily is not enough for a Doberman to remain fit and properly worked. Always remember, as working dogs, Dobermans need to feel work. They are constantly looking for a job to perform to please their owners.
13. If you decide to own a Doberman Pinscher, remember that they are territorial animals who need regular access to both mentally stimulating and physically challenging activities.
As working dogs, Doberman breeders developed the dogs to guard their territory. This brings additional responsibility for owners. Young children need supervision when playing around a Doberman Pinscher. Strangers sometimes underestimate the Dobermans and are either too aggressive toward them or too timid to feel comfortable around one they are unfamiliar with.
Be prepared for distant families, guests at your house, or even neighbors to make comments about your dog that you may not appreciate. Part of your responsibility as a Doberman owner is to help dispel these fears and myths by socializing, training, and supervising your dog so that the dog understands when they should relax because you are accepting of guests, family members, and neighbors.
Introduce your dog to people that will be around your home to ensure the dog understands you have “ok’d” these people. Within a brief time, our dog understood to automatically accept certain people.
Once your Doberman Pinscher perceives you are comfortable, they will be comfortable too.
14. One of the biggest challenges in owning a Doberman Pinscher is the fact that they need lots of exercise.
Never underestimate the Doberman Pinscher’s need for exercise and mental stimulation. They can’t get this in the house. Take them outside. Take them on long walks, on runs, on short bike rides. Assimilate the dogs into your household as a family member and both dog and family with benefit from the relationship. If this isn’t possible in your family, please consider choosing a different dog breed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Doberman Pinschers
Do Doberman Pinschers shed?
Yes. They have short hair, so shedding is not usually a significant problem.
Are Doberman Pinschers banned in certain communities?
Some communities restrict ownership of specific dog breeds. It’s best to thoroughly research regulations pertaining to dog ownership in your own community for purchasing or rescuing a new dog.
What do Doberman Pinscher dogs’ cost?
Costs range from $1,000 up to $4,000 or more. Registered breeders have spent decades refining their lineages, with time, money, and commitment involved to provide buyers with healthy, adjusted Doberman Pinschers with correct color markers, traits, character, and obedience tendencies. To recoup those costs, breeders command significant prices.
On top of the purchase price, please consider whether you have the financial commitment and ability to properly care for the dog. Significant annual costs include food, veterinarian care, toys, etc. and if you don’t have a fenced in back yard, or access to one close-by, please factor that cost in as well, which could be quite significant.
Where can I find Doberman Pinscher adoption information?
Doberman Pinschers have active rescue and adoption organizations. Each state or region has prominent rescue and adoption organizations that care for abandoned, unwanted, or neglected Dobermans.
A quick online search will reveal Doberman Pinscher rescue options for your consideration. Doberman Pinscher Club of America provides valuable information as well as a listing of rescues sorted by state throughout the United States.
Are there any Doberman Pinscher breeders near me?
DPCA.org provides a nice listing of nearby Doberman Pinscher breeders to get you started. Finding a Doberman Pinscher for sale is not difficult, but please make sure you spend considerable time researching this breed before deciding to buy, rescue, or adopt a new Doberman Pinscher puppy or grown adult.