Before welcoming a new animal into the home, it is important to do as much research as possible on the breed or species to make sure they will be a good fit.
Though some breeds may be trendier or cooler looking, not all breeds work well with certain lifestyles. Sadly, it is common for families to bring puppies home and the breed is not a good match for the family's lifestyle, so they end up in a shelter somewhere. Learning about breed-specific behavioral characteristics as well as exercise and grooming needs helps inform as to whether or not that breed will be a match for people and their living conditions, schedules, and family arrangements. The following is some basic information on the breed-specific needs as well as common behavioral traits of the Doberman as well as information on how to purchase or adopt a Doberman or a Doberman puppy.
Basic Information about Doberman Dogs
In the 1800's Dobermans were originally bred by a German tax collector named Louis Doberman to be guard dogs. It is believed that they were bred from a mixture of breeds such as the Rottweiler, Great Dane, German Pinscher, German Shepherd and others. On average, Dobermans live ten to twelve years and weigh between sixty and seventy pounds. The Doberman is a medium to large dog breed with a low tendency to drool. They are working-class dogs that can serve as guard dogs, therapy dogs and police or military dogs. Dobermans often bond quickly and strongly. They are fiercely loyal to their owners. If properly trained and socialized, they are people-centered and are friendly, social animals. If raised with them, Dobermans can do very well with children. It is important to start obedience training at a young age and it is recommended that Doberman owners avoid additional guard training to avoid aggressive behaviors and over guarding. Dobermans are also extremely active and need a high level of exercise. They can adjust well to apartment-life if these needs are met but can become destructive and even aggressive if they cannot get some of their energy out.
Specific Care for a Doberman
- Feeding: Like other big dogs with deep chests, Dobermans are easily prone to bloating. This causes a dog's stomach to twist and cut off the blood supply and can be deadly without emergency surgery. The best way to avoid this is to feed them smaller quantities multiple times a day and to withhold water for a while after feeding.
- Training: Dobermans are smart and easily trainable, however, they are highly sensitive, meaning they respond best to positive reinforcement rather than yelling and punishment.
- Exercise: As mentioned before, Dobermans require at least forty minutes of exercise daily.
- Grooming and Vet Visits: As a short haired breed, Dobermans don't have extensive grooming needs. As with other breeds, Dobermans need annual checkups. However, cardiomyopathy is a common heart condition in Dobermans and, though there is no cure, veterinarians can prescribe treatment to prolong the life of the dog.
Buying and Adopting a Doberman Puppy
If interested in adopting a Doberman, the first step would be to research breeders to prevent adopting a puppy mill puppy and to ensure the puppy is healthy. For further information, the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Continental Kennel Club (CKC) have lists and guides to finding well-known, quality breeders in all fifty states and in some areas outside the United States. Additionally, it is important to understand the cost of a puppy. This will include the initial adoption fee, the cost of supplies (leash, collar, food, toys, etc.), vet fees for examinations, shots and any treatment the dog requires. Costs also include spaying or neutering procedures.
The following is a list of breeders and websites that may be useful in the search for a puppy and may also be useful in providing further information about the breed: