|Other names||Doberman Pinscher, Doberman|
|Common nicknames||Dobie, Dobynm|
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Dobermann to most of the world (German pronunciation: [ˈdoːbɐman ˈpɪnʃɐ]), or Doberman Pinscher as it is known in the United States and Canada, is a medium-large breed of domestic dog originally developed around 1890 by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a tax collector from Germany. The Dobermann has a long muzzle and stands on its toes (not the pads) and is not usually heavy-footed. Ideally, they have an even and graceful gait. Traditionally, the ears are cropped and posted and the tail is docked. However, in some countries it is illegal to do so. Dobermanns have markings on the chest, paws/legs, muzzle, above the eyes, and underneath the tail.
Dobermanns are well known as intelligent, alert and tenaciously loyal companions and guard dogs. Personality varies a great deal between each individual, but if taken care of and trained properly they tend to be loving and devoted companions. The Dobermann is driven, strong and sometimes stubborn. Owning one requires commitment and care, but if trained well, they can be wonderful family dogs. With a consistent approach they can be easy to train and will learn very quickly. As with all dogs, if properly trained, they can be excellent with children.
World Breed standards are published by the FEDERATION CYNOLOGIQUE INTERNATIONALE or FCI (World Canine Organisation) on the advice of the IDC (International Dobermann Club) which is the Dobermann breeds governing council and has 36 countries in its member list. To become a world champion, dogs are judged to FCI standards. The AKC has its own standards as do some other countries although most adopt FCI standards as their own. The standard describes that the Dobermann is of medium size, strong and muscularly built. Through the elegant lines of its body, its proud stature, and its expression of determination, it conforms to the ideal dog. The body of the Dobermann should appear to be almost square, particularly in males Despite his substance he shall be elegant and noble, which will be evident in his bodyline. He must be exceptionally suitable as a companion, protection and working dog and also as a family dog
The Dobermann should have a proud, watchful, determined and obedient temperament. The dog was originally intended as a guard dog, so males should have a masculine, muscular, noble appearance. Females are thinner, but should not be spindly. It should also be noted that the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard differs from the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standards and the US dogs have not evolved in the manner of the European dogs to an often larger and heavier dog leading many to argue that Dobermanns and Doberman Pinschers should eventually be considered and evaluated differently. The Doberman Pinscher temperament is also often considered to be milder and less focused than the Dobermann. This has in turn led to a demand in the US and Canada for imported dogs from European breeders.
Size and proportions
Although the breed standards vary among kennel and breed clubs, most take guidance from the FCI who describe that the dog typically stands between 68 to 72 centimetres (27 to 28 in), and The Kennel Club in the UK quote 69 centimetres (27 in) as being ideal; the female is typically somewhere between 63 to 68 centimetres (25 to 27 in), 65 centimetres (26 in) being ideal. The Dobermann has a square frame: its length should equal its height to the withers, and the length of its head, neck and legs should be in proportion to its body.
The standards for the weight of the Dobermann are described by the FCI. The ideal dog must have sufficient size for an optimal combination of strength, endurance and agility. The male generally weighs between 40–45 kilograms (88–99 lb) and the female between 32–35 kilograms (71–77 lb).
Two different color genes exist in the Dobermann, one for black (B) and one for color dilution (D). There are nine possible combinations of these alleles (BBDD, BBDd, BbDD, BbDd, BBdd, Bbdd, bbDD, bbDd, bbdd), which result in four different color phenotypes: black, blue, red and fawn (a.k.a. Isabella). The traditional and most common color occurs when both the color and dilution genes have at least one dominant allele (i.e., BBDD, BBDd, BbDD or BbDd), and is commonly referred to as black or black and rust (also called black and tan). The red, red rust or brown coloration occurs when the black gene has two recessive alleles but the dilution gene has at least one dominant allele (i.e., bbDD, bbDd). "Blue" and "fawn" are controlled by the color dilution gene. The blue Doberman has the color gene with at least one dominant allele and the dilution gene with both recessive alleles (i.e., BBdd or Bbdd). The fawn (a.k.a. Isabella) coloration is the least common, occurring only when both the color and dilution genes have two recessive alleles (i.e., bbdd). Thus, the blue color is a diluted black, and the fawn color is a diluted red.
Expression of the color dilution gene is a disorder called Color Dilution Alopecia. Although not life-threatening, these dogs can develop skin problems.
In 1976, a "white" Doberman Pinscher was whelped and was subsequently bred to her son, who was also bred to his litter sisters. This tight inbreeding continued for some time to allow the breeders to "fix" the mutation. White Dobermanns are a cream color with pure white markings and icy blue eyes. Although this is consistent with albinism, the proper characterization of the mutation is currently unknown. The animals are commonly known as tyrosinase-positive albinoids, lacking melanin in oculocutaneous structures. This condition is caused by a partial deletion in gene SLC45A2.
The Dobermann's natural tail is fairly long, but individual dogs often have a short tail as a result of docking, a procedure in which the majority of the tail is surgically removed shortly after birth.
The practice of docking has been around for centuries, and is older than the Dobermann as a breed. The putative reason for docking is to ensure that the tail does not get in the way of the dog's work. Docking has always been controversial.Docking and Cropping has been written out of the Breed Standard by FCI and IDC and dogs born 2016 onwards will not be allowed to participate in IDC world titles without a full tail and natural ears. This is mirrored in most EU and Commonwealth countries. In the UK, Cropped dogs have been banned from show for a number of years and the practice is illegal for UK born dogs, this now also applies to docking. Veterinary Certificates are required as proof to avoid prosecution on imported animals. The American Kennel Club standard for Doberman Pinschers includes a tail docked near the 2nd vertebra. Docking is a common practice in the United States, Russia and Japan (as well as a number of other countries with Dobermann populations), where it is legal. In many European countries and Australia, docking has been made illegal.
Dobermanns often have their ears cropped, as do many other breeds, a procedure that is functionally related to breed type for both the traditional guard duty and effective sound localization. According to the Doberman Pinscher Club of America, ears are "normally cropped and carried erect". Like tail docking, ear cropping is illegal in some countries.
Canine intelligence is an umbrella term that encompasses the faculties involved in a wide range of mental tasks, such as learning, problem-solving, and communication. The Doberman Pinscher has ranked amongst the most intelligent of dog breeds in experimental studies and expert evaluations. For instance, psychologist Stanley Coren ranks the Dobermann as the 5th most intelligent dog in the category of obedience command training, based on the selective surveys he performed of some trainers (as documented in his book The Intelligence of Dogs). Additionally, in two studies, Hart and Hart (1985) ranked the Doberman Pinscher first in this category. and Tortora (1980) gave the Dobermann the highest rank in trainability. Although the methods of evaluation differ, these studies consistently show that the Doberman Pinscher, along with the Border Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Standard Poodle and Rottweiler, is one of the most trainable breeds of dog.
Although they are considered to be working dogs, Dobermanns are often stereotyped as being ferocious and aggressive. As a personal protection dog, the Dobermann was originally bred for these traits: it had to be large and intimidating, fearless, and willing to defend its owner, but sufficiently obedient and restrained to do so only on command. These traits served the dog well in its role as a personal defence dog, police dog, or war dog, but were not ideally adapted to a companionship role. The Dobermann's aggression has been toned down by modern breeders over the years, and today's Dobermanns are known for a much more even and good-natured temperament, extreme loyalty, high intelligence and great trainability. In fact, the Dobermann's size, short coat and intelligence have made it a desirable house dog. The Dobermann is known to be energetic, watchful, fearless and obedient.
They can easily learn to 'Respect and Protect' their owners and are therefore considered to be excellent guard dogs that protect their loved ones. They are generally sociable toward humans and can be with other dogs. However, Dobermanns rank among the more-likely breeds to show aggressive behaviour toward strangers and other dogs, but not among the most likely to do so. They are very unlikely to show aggressive behaviour toward their owners.
There is evidence that Doberman Pinschers in North America have a calmer and more even temperament than their European counterparts because of the breeding strategies employed by American breeders. Because of these differences in breeding strategies, different lines of Doberman Pinschers have developed different traits. Although many contemporary Doberman Pinschers in North America are gentle and friendly to strangers, some lines are bred more true to the original personality standard.
Although the aggressiveness stereotype is less true today, the personality of the Doberman Pinscher is unique. There is a great deal of scientific evidence that Doberman Pinschers have a number of stable psychological traits, such as certain personality factors and intelligence. As early as 1965, studies have shown that there are several broad behavioral traits that significantly predict behavior and are genetically determined. Subsequently, there have been numerous scientific attempts to quantify canine personality or temperament by using statistical techniques for assessing personality traits in humans. These studies often vary in terms of the personality factors they focus on and in terms of ranking breeds differently along these dimensions. One such study found that Doberman Pinschers, compared to other breeds, rank high in playfulness, average in curiosity/fearlessness, low on aggressiveness and low on sociability. Another such study ranked Doberman Pinschers low on reactivity/surgence and high on aggression/disagreeableness and openness/trainability.
In addition to the studies of canine personality, there has been some research to determine whether there are breed differences in aggression. In a study published in 2008, aggression was divided into four categories: aggression directed at strangers, owner and strange dogs and rivalry with other household dogs. This study found that the Doberman Pinscher ranked relatively high on stranger-directed aggression, but extremely low on owner-directed aggression. The Doberman Pinscher ranked as average on dog-directed aggression and dog rivalry. Looking only at bites and attempted bites, Doberman Pinschers rank as far less aggressive towards humans and show less aggression than many breeds without a reputation (e.g., Cocker Spaniel, Dalmatian, and Great Dane). This study concluded that aggression has a genetic basis, that the Dobermann shows a distinctive pattern of aggression depending on the situation and that contemporary Doberman Pinschers are not an aggressive breed overall. In regards to Dobermanns attacking owners, it is rare and usually in the case of over discipline. Dobermanns accept physical punishment to an extent. However, when they consider it to no longer be punishment, but an attack on themselves, they will defend themselves.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1979 and 1998, the Doberman Pinscher was involved in attacks on humans resulting in fatalities less frequently than several other dog breeds such as German Shepherd Dogs, Rottweilers, Husky-type dogs, wolf-dog hybrids and Alaskan Malamutes. According to this Center for Disease Control and Prevention study, one of the most important factors contributing to dog bites is the level of responsibility exercised by dog owners.
The Dobermann's lifespan is about 10–11 years, on average. They may suffer from a number of health concerns. Common serious health problems include dilated cardiomyopathy, cervical vertebral instability (CVI), von Willebrand's disease (a bleeding disorder for which genetic testing has been available since 2000; the test enables both parents of a prospective litter to be tested for the carrier gene, thus preventing inheritance of the disease), and prostatic disease. Less serious common health concerns include hypothyroidism and hip dysplasia. Canine compulsive disorder is also common. Studies have shown that the Doberman Pinscher suffers from prostatic diseases, (such as bacterial prostatiti, prostatic cysts, prostatic adenocarcinoma, and benign hyperplasia) more than any other breed. Neutering can significantly reduce these risks (see Dog for information).
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a major cause of death in Dobermanns. This disease affects Dobermanns more than any other breed. Nearly 40% of DCM diagnoses are for Doberman Pinschers, followed by German Shepherds at 13%. Research has shown that the breed is affected by an attenuated wavy fiber type of DCM that affects many other breeds, as well as an additional, fatty infiltration-degenerative type that appears to be specific to Doberman Pinscher and Boxer breeds. This serious disease is likely to be fatal in most Dobermanns affected.
Across multiple studies, more than half of the Dobermanns studied develop the condition. Roughly a quarter of Doberman Pinschers who developed cardiomyopathy died suddenly from unknown causes, and an additional fifty percent died of congestive heart failure In addition to being more prevalent, this disease is also more serious in Doberman Pinschers. Following diagnosis, the average non-Dobermann has an expected survival time of 8 months; for Doberman Pinschers, the expected survival time is less than 2 months. Although the causes for the disease are largely unknown, there is evidence that it is a familial disease inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. Investigation into the genetic causes of canine DCM may lead to therapeutic and breeding practices to limit its impact
Dobermanns were first bred in the town of Apolda, in the German state of Thuringia around 1890, following the Franco-Prussian War by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. Dobermann served in the dangerous role of local tax collector and ran the Apolda dog pound. With access to dogs of many breeds, he aimed to create a breed that would be ideal for protecting him during his collections, which took him through many bandit-infested areas. He set out to breed a new type of dog that, in his opinion, would be the perfect combination of strength, speed, endurance, loyalty, intelligence and ferocity. Later, Otto Goeller and Philip Greunig continued to develop the breed to become the dog that is seen today.
The breed is believed to have been created from several different breeds of dogs that had the characteristics that Dobermann was looking for. The exact ratios of mixing, and even the exact breeds that were used, remain uncertain to this day, although many experts believe that the Dobermann Pinscher is a combination of several breeds including the Beauceron, German Pinscher, Rottweiler and Weimaraner. The single exception is the documented crossing with the Greyhound and Manchester Terrier. It is also widely believed that the old German Shepherd gene pool was the single largest contributor to the Dobermann breed. Philip Greunig's The Dobermann Pinscher (1939), is considered the foremost study of the development of the breed by one of its most ardent students. Greunig's study describes the breed's early development by Otto Goeller, whose hand allowed the Dobermann to become the dog we recognize today. The American Kennel Club believes the breeds utilized to develop the Dobermann Pinscher may have included the old shorthaired shepherd, Rottweiler, Black and Tan Terrier and the German Pinscher.
After Dobermann's death in 1894, the Germans named the breed Dobermann-pinscher in his honor, but a half century later dropped the word 'pinscher' on the grounds that this German word for 'terrier' was no longer appropriate. The British did the same a few years later; now the US and Canada are the only countries who continue to use Pinscher and have dropped an "n" from Dobermann's surname.
- Graf Belling v. Grönland: first registered Dobermann, in 1898.
- First Dobermann registered with the American Kennel Club, 1908
- Cappy, a Dobermann who saved the lives of 250 U.S. Marines when he alerted them to Japanese soldiers. Cappy became the first K-9 casualty, 23 July, when he was mortally wounded by a Japanese grenade. He was the first to be buried in what would become the war dog cemetery and he is the dog depicted in bronze sitting quiet but alert atop the World War II War Dog Memorial. Cappy, along with 24 other Dobermanns whose names are inscribed on the memorial, died fighting with the US Marine Corps against Japanese forces on Guam in 1944.
- Ch. Rancho Dobe's Storm: back to back Westminster Best in Show (1952, 1953).
- Bingo von Ellendonk: first Dobermann to score 300 points (perfect score) in Schutzhund.
- Ch. Borong the Warlock: won his championship title in three countries, including 230 Best of Breed, 30 Specialty Show "bests," six all-breed Best in Show, and 66 Working Groups. He was the only Dobermann ever to have won the Doberman Pinscher Club of America National Specialty Show three times, and in 1961 five Dobermann specialists judged him Top in the breed in an annual Top Ten competition event.
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Size: "Males, decidedly masculine, without coarseness. Females, decidedly feminine, without over-refinement."
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CCD is highly prevalent among Dobermans, with an estimated incidence of about 28% in a database including over 2300 dogs (personal communication, Andrew Borgman, Statistical Analyst, Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, MI)
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