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Dobermann - Breed Profile

Dobermanns also called "Dobes" or "Dobies" are incredibly noble and athletic dogs. They are also fearless, loyal and highly intelligent. These traits have made them ideal police, war and guard dogs, but they also make outstanding companion dogs.


Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann (on the left)
The Dobermann emerged as a breed in Germany around the turn of the 20th century. A tax collector named Louis Dobermann, after whom the breed was named, developed the breed out of the desire for a medium-sized companion and guard dog. 

It is believed that the Doberman originates from breeds such as the Rottweiler, Black and Tan Terrier, German Pinscher and possibly the Greyhound.

The Dobermann has been treasured for its great intelligence, loyalty and athletic abilities. Over the years, the bred has diligently worked as a war dog and police dog, but has also remained a faithful companion to many.


The Dobermann is a medium to large, deep-chested dog breed with a sleek and sturdy appearance. The breed is muscular and athletic, possessing great strength and endurance.

Dobermanns have traditionally had their tails docked (removed) soon after birth and, later, their ears cropped (trimmed surgically in order to make them stand erect). Much controversy has surrounded the practice of ear cropping and tail docking in dogs and Australia has thankfully outlawed both practices. 
Yet, 95% of images we found on the Internet proudly depict Dobermans that have been "mutilated" so clearly there's a long way to go before this is no longer considered a desirable look by owners especially in the show ring.

Dobermanns come in four colours, black, brown, blue and fawn all with rust tan markings (sometimes small patches of white are seen).

Weight: Males 40-45kg; Females 32-65kg

Height: Males 68-72cm; Females 63-68cm

For the full breed standard, please visit the ANKC website.


The Dobermnan is known to be energetic, watchful, fearless and obedient. Although 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 only do so on command. These traits served the dog well in its role as a personal defense 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. 
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 (as documented in his book The Intelligence of Dogs).


One of the most negative characteristics of the Dobermann is their short life span rarely living past 10 years. This can sometimes make them unsuitable for those who find losing a pet extremely traumatic.

There are several genetic problems which can be clearly identified at an early age through mandatory health testing requirements and detection. 

1. Von Willebrands factor – a form of haemophilia that can be detected by a DNA test
2. Hip Dysplasia – this can lay dormant in some dogs and X-rays must be presented and cleared
3. Eye problems – Ectopic and Entopic problems must not be detected by a animal opthamologist

Although the National Dobermann Council has standard temperament tests, the Qld club makes these tests compulsory for their members. The tests are conducted by the club to weed out shy and nervous dogs who do not respond well to unfamiliar stimuli. Any aggression, shyness, or “stand offishness” is seen as incorrect behaviour for a companion breed. Dogs who fail the temperament tests may be deemed unsuitable for breeding.

The following Dobermann problems are not clearly detectable until symptoms present themselves, at which stage the dog is struck from the breeding register.

4. “Wobblers” – a skeletal problem in which vertebrae fuse, the symptoms mimic hip dysplasia
5. Hypothyroidism – thinning of the hair along the flanks and sluggish personality
6. Diluted Alopecia – a recessive gene occurs in colour variations of blue and fawn and causes hair to fall out permanently

7. Heart Problems – recommended to have regularly heart checks and ultrasounds and an ECG once every two years.


The Dobermann has a short, smooth hair coat that requires very little grooming.


Most Dobermanns have a moderate energy level and require routine exercise to stay healthy. Because of their natural athleticism, a few brisk walks or runs every day will help keep a Dobermann in tip-top shape.


Although this breed is low maintenance in terms of grooming they are not low maintenance in regards to lifestyle. They are very active dogs that need attention and interaction with owners as well as exercise. These dogs are smart and need to be occupied. Only people who like active boisterous dogs should consider Dobermanns. They are not suitable for first time dog owners and small children may not mix well with adult dogs.

However, the breed is usually quite gentle and not aggressive by nature. That being said, proper training is absolutely essential for this breed to ensure good behaviour. Well trained Dobermanns often do very well with children and in various social situations - they can also make great therapy dogs.

For more information on this breed or to re-home a Dobermann, please visit

The Dobermann Club of NSW
The Dobermann Club of Victoria
The Dobermann Club of WA Inc.
Dobermann Club of Queensland Inc.

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