The Doberman Pinscher
The "Dobie"

descriptive testDog breed info
Doberman Pinscher "Dobie"
Weight: 65 — 90 lbs
Height: 24” — 28”
AKC Rank 2008 #18
Lifespan: 10—12 yrs
Group: Working
Origin: Germany

Dog Breed Info - Doberman Pinscher

A profile of my Dobie, "Max"
descriptive text

Breed Overview

Original function, guard dog. Today, police, military, guard dog and Companion.

In the late 1800’s, Herr Doberman had a need to produce a guard dog for his use. This came, most likely, by crossing the German Sheppard and German Pinscher with the Black and Tan Manchester Terrier, Greyhound and Weimaraners.

By 1899, the first breed club was formed. The breed continued to attract attention and the first Doberman arrived in American in 1908. This combination was used throughout Europe and America as a police and guard dog and later as a war dog.

The breed eventually came to be the second most popular breed in American in 1977.


Be careful adopting Doberman Pinscher's. If the individual dog was not socialized and handled properly as a small puppy (by the breeder) it could be aggressive and quite nasty to deal with. I know. I trained one.

Very trainable. The Doberman is smart and loves training. Be sure he knows who’s boss and use a strong voice with this dog because he is tough. Never let him think he is top dog or you’ll be in trouble. Definitely use clicker training with this dog. You'll be glad you did. It not only works well, but the dog likes the method too.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Doberman Pinscher puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Most Doberman Pinschers and puppies are somewhat easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

There is no excuse to ever
put chains around any dog's neck!

descriptive text


The Doberman Pinscher is an intelligent, capable guardian, always on the alert and ready to protect it’s family and home. It is also a loyal and adventurous companion. This dog is sensitive and very responsive to it’s owners wishes, although some can be quite domineering. The Doberman is usually wary of strangers. They can be aggressive with strange dogs. Some Doberman Pinscher's may suffer separation anxiety if left alone all day but they can be trained out of it.

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

No. Speaking from experience, will pick a few dog friends but never put your Doberman in a dog park or loose on the sidewalk! They can be aggressive with dogs.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Maybe. Dogs of a breed are different. My Dobie got along with my cats and small dog just fine but it was a looong process getting there.

Friendly Toward Strangers

No. Be careful. The Doberman Pinscher is a highly protective, no-nonsense guard dog that is always looking for a threat. If a stranger comes in your door, assure your Dobie it’s all right.


The Doberman loves to play fetch with a ball or Frisbee, but not in the sense of running around the house playing chase. (They LOVE baseballs)


Moderately affectionate. Doberman Pinscher's are loyal protectors that like their tummies rubbed but they don’t curl up on the sofa with you. The Doberman does love the company of his human family and is a bit beside himself when left alone for long periods.

Who says the Doberman can't fly?
descriptive text

Good with children?

No. The Dobermans can be aggressive if provoked and will not tolerate much of the antics children dish out.

Good with Seniors over 65?

No. Not affectionate enough.

Living environment

House with medium to large fenced yard or farm. This dog loves games of fetch and a large fenced yard is ideal.

Apartment OK as long as the Doberman Pinscher can get outside two or three times a day for walks and exercise time WITHOUT GOING ON STAIRWAYS OR ELEVATORS!!!. (If you are on the ground floor, or basement apartment, okay, but if you have to pass other dogs and people in close quarters with your protective Dobie, buy a farm.)

Needs to be an indoor dog and spend time with his human “family.”

Energy level

Moderate to high energy.

Exercise needs, daily

The Doberman Pinscher is an active breed that needs mental and physical exercise. A good walk around the block twice a day and a game of fetch will work.

I have done this using a regulation size baseball and throwing it down a long alley! “Max” would chase that ball and bring it back for a half hour straight and still want more.

Without enough exercise, this dog can become quite destructive.


Yes. Born for this.

Guard dog

Yes. Excels. Will guard his family to the death.


Yes, some.


Brush the Dobie once a week. He’ll like the attention and you’ll get rid of dead hair.


Suggested Reading For The Doberman Pinscher

  • The 3rd book from the left is "How To Train Your Doberman Pinscher," a hard book to find.

  • The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners.

Doberman Pinscher Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Doberman Pinscher puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that REALLY know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training.
Doberman Pinscher Breeders with puppies for sale.

Doberman Pinscher Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of a Dobie and are looking for a Doberman Pinscher rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Doberman Pinscher Rescue - (Nationwide) If you find one to adopt, try to locate any dog health records and keep them for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site that may give you some ideas. Also check your local dog pound or SPCA kennel if you have one, and look for Doberman Pinscher Rescue Groups or foster care folks.

Dog Health Issues For Doberman Pinschers
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Doberman Pinscher by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Lick granuloma - (Acral)_A skin condition caused by the dog licking excessively on the same spot. Cause not certain, but possibly separation anxiety, boredom, allergy, and so on. The lesion is licked almost to the bone and can not heal. Anti-anxiety drugs have been tried. A cast over the lesion does not work because the dog starts a NEW location. Vets are now trying laser surgery for healing. Talk to you vet to learn if any new ideas have come up regarding stopping the licking itself.The Doberman Pinscher is prone to this problem and needs to be kept busy.

  • Cervical Vertebral Instability—A narrowing of the cervical vertebrae, also known as Wobblers Syndrome and found in large dogs such as the Doberman Pinscher is linked to heredity and possibly nutrition. The dog will have trouble standing, as the rear legs will be affected first with lack of coordination and will have neck pain. Then the front legs will weaken, spread a bit and the dog’s walk will be “wobbly.” The disease is noticed at about 3 to 5 years of age in the Dobie. Treatment comes by medicine and as a last resort for severe cases, specialized surgery.

  • Intervertebral disc disease—Biochemical changes in a young dog of certain breeds such as the Doberman Pinscher can cause at least one diseased or mineralized disc in the spine of a dog. A disc that is not functioning properly will cause pain, problems walking, stumbling, severe neck pain and even paralysis. Treatments can go from non-invasive doses of anti-inflammatory steroids, muscle relaxants and bed-rest to surgery. Pain meds are also given as needed. Mess with the spine and you have a serious situation and it’s tough on the dog!

  • Von Willebrand"s Disease—A deficiency in clotting factor in the blood. The affected dog does not properly utilize the blood-platelets for blood-clotting. Thus, the dog is prone to excessive bleeding if in an accident or surgery.

  • Demodicosis—A skin disease known as “Red Mange.” Loss of hair, itching, reddening of skin and areas can become crusty. Sometimes cured with topical creams. May spread. Treatment is in the form of medications.

  • Osteosarcoma—A leg bone cancer in large breed dogs of any age but usually in large, older dogs like the Doberman Pinscher. Osteosarcoma in the limbs is “appendicular osteosarcoma.” The dog will be in great pain as the disease destroys the bone from the inside out. The dog’s inability to walk will progress over only about 3 months time as the bone is destroyed by the tumor. Unfortunately, surgery to remove the leg is the only way to give your dog the only total relief needed.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Dog Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief overview of the problem: Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness and difficulty walking for the Doberman Ponscher. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy—A serious heart disease. The muscle of the heart loses it’s ability to pump blood properly causing a backup of blood, an enlarged heart, and an improperly functioning heart. Prognosis is generally 4 weeks to 2 years, depending on the dog and how advanced the problem is. The vet may try medications to alter the heart function, but this one is a killer.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the Doberman Pinscher’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • Chronic hepatitis - is a chronic and progressive inflammation of the liver of dogs that leads eventually to the replacement of normal liver tissue with scar tissue.

  • Alopecia—Seasonal patchy hair loss mainly on the flanks of the Doberman Pinscher. Cause not determined. Hair loss and tender skin will occur from November to March and in a few months, re-grows. With some dogs, the loss can become permanent with age. Your vet will try to treat the condition.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Portosystemic shunt—Can be hereditary. Incorrect flow of blood from the gastrointestinal tract to the liver causing unclean blood toxins to bypass the liver and it’s cleansing function. Since the liver can not detoxify properly, the toxins cause health problems in the body. Most cases will show lethargy, disorientation, depression, weakness, throwing up, hyperactivity and maybe seizures, as well as diarrhea. Treatment can come in the form of medical, dietary or surgical, depending on the individual dog, age and severity of the case and finances.

  • Seborrhea—Hereditary. Skin disease. Itching and scratching. Usually dry, flaky coat with the familiar “dog” odor. Sebaceous glands will produce a waxy, oily substance in the armpits, in the ears, under the dog and around the elbow joints. Secondary ear and skin infections are common too. There are many, many causes and IF the vet can identify one and treat it, you’re lucky. It’s a tough disorder to pinpoint. Springer and Cocker Spaniels, Westies, Doberman Pinschers and Retrievers are among the most susceptible

  • Fibrosarcoma - Cancer in fibrous tissue often found where a needle has disturbed or traumatized the tissue. Surgery is the solution, even if a foot or other extremity has to be removed to reach all affected areas with fibrosarcoma tumors that have metastasized in the fibrous connective tissue. Radiation and Chemo are also used.

  • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy—Orthopedic bone disease in large dogs, 2 to 6 months old. Very painful and possibly caused by poor nutrition. There will be pain and swelling in the affected legs. Look for lameness or a desire not to move at all, and loss of appetite plus a high fever may also occur. Medication, bed rest and a special diet are usually given. The disease can be fatal.

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Nasal depigmentation - "Pink nose." Cause unknown. The nose and sometimes other areas like around the eyelids turn from normal black to a pinkish color. There are many theories but no answers. It can affect Siberian Huskies and Doberman Pinschers. Use protective sun screen cream on the nose and keep the dog out of the direct sun if you can.

  • Diabetes—The pancreas manufactures the hormone INSULIN. If the pancreas stops making, or makes less than the normal amount of insulin, or if the tissues in the body become resistant to the insulin, the result is called “diabetes.” The dog can NOT control her blood sugar without injections of insulin on a regular basis, but given the insulin, the Doberman Pinscher can live a normal life like a human can. If the dog does not receive the insulin injections at the same time each day of her life, the dog will go into a coma and she will die. Some causes of diabetes may be chronic pancreatitis, heredity, obesity or old age, but no one is sure. Symptoms are excess drinking and urination, dehydration, weight loss, increased appetite, weight gain, and cataracts may develop suddenly. Treatment is in the form of the insulin injections daily and a strict diet low in carbohydrates and sugars. Home cooking may be suggested in some cases. Frequent trips to the vet for blood monitoring will be needed but diabetes is not a death sentence.

  • Cardiomyopathy—Disease of the heart muscle causing the heart to enlarge and not function properly. Cause is unknown. Older, bigger dogs , 4 to 10 years are usually affected. The prognosis is generally about 6 months to 2 years for a dog with this form of heart failure and only a matter of weeks for some severe cases.

  • Cataracts - Hazy or cloudy vision and if not treated will lead to total blindness.

  • Atrial septal defect (ASD - Hereditary. A hole between the right and left of the atria, or separation, of two of the heart chambers. Obviously, not a good thing to have for the Doberman POinscher. Causes abnormal blood flow. A tiny hole will not affect the dog. A larger hole can lead to right-sided heart failure. Breathing problems, fainting, inability to tolerate exercise and even sudden death can follow. Treatment includes medication, diet and sometimes surgery.

Other health problems could occur in your Doberman Pinscher. If you notice anything unusual with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


Back To Dog Breeds

Return To Working Dog Breeds