The doberman pinscher is a medium-sized dog with a lean, muscular body. Its coat is short and is most often black and tan, although colour variations of red, blue and fawn tints do occur. Many people recognize the breed by its pointed ears and stubby tail, although these are both the result of surgical alterations performed shortly after birth. The doberman’s natural tail is actually quite long, and its ears fold down and hang alongside the head. The technique of removing the dog’s tail, known as docking, is performed in order to prevent the tail from interfering with the work of a dog. Cropping the dog’s ears is done in an effort to improve the dog’s hearing. Cropping a dog’s ears and docking its tail has been in practise long before the doberman. However, some countries have made these procedures illegal, and many dog shows will not allow a cropped or docked doberman to participate. There has been some controversy over whether or not these procedures cause pain and discomfort to the dog, especially in the case of cropping its ears and taping them so that they grow upwards.
The doberman was originally bred in the late 1800′s as a guard dog and a personal protection dog. While some dobermans are still employed as guard dogs today, the majority are simply house pets. Although the breed is known for being both strong and intelligent, a number of factors have led to the decline of it’s use as a working dog. Notably, the breed commonly suffers from a number of health defects such as heart conditions, or weakness in the spine. Also, while the doberman takes well to training and was originally bred for protection work, the temperament of many is considered, by today’s standards, to be unsuitable for training as a protection or guard dog. The doberman’s temperament is often misunderstood to be excessively aggressive and intimidating. Originally, they were bred specifically to have these traits. However, to assume that a doberman today is naturally aggressive would be wrong. In fact, studies have shown that while the doberman may not be the most docile breed, it is predisposed to be substantially less aggressive than many other breeds that are not assumed to be aggressive. Most incidents of aggression in the doberman are the result of poor communication and false assumptions of threats against its owner.
Although the doberman is one of my favorite breeds, and I have personally owned many in my life, I feel that in today’s world the doberman doesn’t have the genetic nerves to do true protection work. From my experience, they don’t transfer easily from one handler to another. Also, unlike the German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd or Belgian Malinois, they can’t climate themselves from extreme heat or cold very well. This is only one of many reasons why we’ve chosen to sell only these three herding breeds instead of including the doberman.