Where and when the Doberman was originated is certain, not like many other breeds where their beginnings are mainly conjecture. In a town in central Germany called Apolda a man named Karl Friedrick Louis Dobermann was born on January 2, 1834. Karl lived in Apolda for 60 years until his death in 1894. He had many occupations, the unpopular job of tax and rent collector, night watchman, night police officer and official dogcatcher. He needed a dog to take on his nightly rounds. He came in contact with many at the dog pound and selected one he wanted. He wanted to breed a type of dog that would be a good guard dog and a type that would reproduce itself with the same qualities. In 1880 he moved from his rented house to a place with some land and began breeding. One of his first females was called Bisart. She had a sharp temperament, which he admired. Bred to males with similar characteristics, she whelped puppies with a short black and tan coat and some gray wool. Many had white markings on the chest and feet. Because of their impressive type and spirit they were easy to sell to people who wanted a dog for protection. These dogs were also used for pulling carts and herding sheep. In those days breeding dogs was only a way of making money, breeding for hobby was unknown. People in Apolda feared the dogs bred by Karl Dobermann. They began referring to them as "Dobermann's Pinschers" and this was generally accepted as the official name.
With little means of transportation during those times, we can assume that the various breeds of dogs, purebred or otherwise in and around Apolda interbred with each other. It is a known fact that the large and now extinct Thuringian Pinscher and Thuringian Shepherd had many similarities such as smooth black coat and yellow to red markings. For many years their influence in the Dobermann carried on, until it was permanently dominated by the strong influence of the Manchester terrier. The Rottweiler, a very old breed from Southern Germany, was used to drive cattle from Switzerland into Germany and many remained in Apolda. They had the identical coat, color and markings as the Dobermann and were the same size except they were built heavier in the body and the forehead. The French Beauceron, known for his trainability and working characteristics was thought to have been brought into Germany by the people traveling with Napoleon's Army for several years, with some being left behind in the early 1800's to mate with the native dogs. The Beauceron has a head shape, which resembles that of the Dobermann more than any other breed as well as existing in four different colors, all with the tan pattern. Prior to 1870 purebred dogs were rare in Germany, still many believe that the Great Dane, Beauceron or Weimaraner were responsible for the blue and fawn color in the Dobermann. This mixture of breeds purebred or otherwise transmitted certain characteristics so dominantly that very quickly a new breed of dogs appeared. The ancestors of the German Dobermann gave their best qualities of body and spirit because the Dobermann excels as a runner and a jumper. Both his size and short hair are a great advantage. At Germany's first dog shows in 1897, 1899 and 1900 dog fanciers were surprised at the uniformity of type and the new breed was readily accepted.
Out of respect for all the work done by Herr Dobermann the name Dobermann has been connected with the breed forever. Dobermanns of today breed true to type. Improvement in type has been tremendously progressive since 1900 and according to the great German breeder, judge and author, Philip Gruenig: "The Dobermann was not created, he is in the process of becoming." Today, the breed is found in almost every country in the world. The Dobermann came to America about 1907 or not long afterwards. The first was registered in 1908. A comparatively small number were imported before World War I. No really outstanding Dobermann was imported until after 1920. Outstanding German and Dutch winners were imported and shown widely beginning about 1921. This same year the Doberman Pinscher Club of America was founded. The first American Breed Standard was adopted in 1922 and except for a few minor amendments, remained virtually unchanged until 1969 when the fawn color was added as an acceptable coat color along with the blacks, red, (called "Browns" in other countries) and the blues. Sooner or later right up to the Second World War, just about every top winner from Germany and Holland was brought to America to be shown and used for breeding. Breed popularity increased rapidly as American breeders gained experience and knowledge. Building upon the stock available, and through their dedication and skill, they raised the Doberman to a peak unequalled anywhere in the world.
The first Doberman to go Best-in-Show at Westminster was the German import, Ch. Ferry von Rauhfelsen in 1939. Exactly 13 years to the day after that, Ferry's grandson Ch. Rancho Dobe's Storm went Best-in-Show at Westminster in 1952. Interestingly enough, he had come from a litter of 13 and was the 13th homebred champion for his breeders. He was the 13th Doberman finished by his handler Peter Knoop and his catalog number was 13 and it was the 13th time he had ever been shown. Although he was born on the 13th, the date was registered as the 12th so as not to jinx the litter. Storm was again Best-in-Show at Westminster the following year in 1953.
Character traits of the Doberman are:
Uncanny intelligence, loyalty to, plus willingness and desire to please his master, ability to discern between friends and someone or something posing a threat, fearlessness and the ability to master emergencies. He is dignified yet affectionate, energetic, playful and alert to all that is going on around him. He loves his family and needs their love and companionship. He is not a dog to be left in the backyard with little attention. His temperament will suffer greatly for it. He has appropriately been called "The dog with the human brain."
To view the Breed Standard as set forth by the Doberman Pinscher Club of America, please CLICK HERE.
The American Kennel Club official Standard for the Doberman does an excellent job at describing the temperament of this ultimate guard dog. The ideal Doberman temperament is: Energetic, Watchful, Determined, Alert, Fearless, Loyal and Obedient.
The ideal Doberman is a stable, confident and fearless dog or bitch. Correct temperament is so important in the Doberman that it is emphasized in the Standard by a directive to judges. "The judge must dismiss from the ring any animal that is shy or vicious."
The Doberman temperament is the "essence and persona" of what the Doberman is and what sets it apart from other breeds and even other breeds of Working dogs. It is the Doberman appearance and temperament that makes the breed distinctive among all in the dog realm. Energetic:
This trait is NOT an exaggeration! The Doberman is on the go. He is an active and involved dog, making himself a central part of the family and family activities. He requires intense and close contact with people of his family and has a very high activity level, requiring lots of exercise. Because of this need to be on the go, it makes this breed vulnerable to running and extreme bursts of speed, which can be dangerous if not in a fenced yard or confined perimeter. Thus it is imperative that the yard and property be fenced securely.
The Doberman is extremely obedient, however commands given to COME can be inadvertently missed by the Doberman when actively running and can lead to tragic consequences by running into a road or highway, only to be struck or even killed in his exuberance to stretch his legs. A young Doberman is into everything and requires the family to keep an eye on him and puppy/dog proof the house and yard until he is trained and understands what he can and cannot do.
They are very much like a curious toddler, interested in anything that is new and searching to investigate everything. And the fact that they are so high energy, coupled with their natural curiosity and investigative tendencies, makes it necessary to scrutinize the Dobermans activities so he doesn't get into trouble.
The Doberman is aware and on guard. It's part of his ongoing personality. He doesn't miss a thing! This is a very important trait in an effective guard and watch dog. He MUST be aware of his environment at all times. His hearing and sense of smell is astonishing. These two senses are the primary tools that the Doberman uses to evaluate his world at all times.
Sight is important, but secondary. Sight is effective to guard dogs, however "hidden" foes or danger can only be picked up by smell or sound. The Doberman will investigate any and all possible intruders, sometimes to the annoyance of their owners, as they will be up and in the check it out frame of mind. This is NOT a quiet dog, content to ignore his environment and stay curled up and snoozing. He is up and on the go at any possible noise, smell or sight of a possible threat.
This trait can be appreciated in the Doberman when they are relentless in pursuing a threat to their family. They are not easily deterred from their "job" of guard and protection, and take the threat on the family totally seriously, and will not give up the protest until assured that "it's all right, now". This "determined" attitude also makes it a challenge to train a Doberman at times, as he definitely has his opinion about everything.
But with patience, kindness and proper discipline, you will prevail in conveying your will and wishes on the Doberman. The result will be a well-trained and incredibly responsive companion that will gladly come between a threat and his loving family. The key to success with the Doberman is to be MORE determined in pursuing your training of him, than he is determined to resist.
The Doberman needs something to do with his time and is a willing partner in family activities, and will develop into a perfect gentleman and good citizen.
The Doberman is always aware of his surroundings. He is on guard and on duty at all times. He doesn't miss a thing and is responsive and will check out anything that alerts him to possible danger to his family.'
The Doberman standing alertly---staring at the danger---ears held totally up and eyes focused on the threat. Woe to the foolish man who doesn't think the Doberman will stand his ground and dare the intruder to go through him. It is this stance, attitude and lightning-fast reflexes and responses that, coupled with the Dobermans totally fearless and confident attitude, that make him the absolute PREMIER protection and guard dog, as well as cherished pet and family companion and comrade. He is unflappable when danger is present.
LOYAL AND OBEDIENT:
These qualities make the Doberman more than simply a weapon for guard and protection. Only total devotion to family is what the Doberman's job is every day. He is focused on his family and wants to please and do exactly what they want him to do. He will bond and attach himself to the family and execute his role as companion and protector like no other breed can.
All of these wonderful traits blend and combine in the Doberman temperament to produce the end result of a devoted, loving and protective dog that is unique and truly admired in the dog world. ****************************************************
in animals have come under attack recently with critics blaming adverse reactions and long-term health disorders on their wide-spread and frequent use.
But, bacteria, viruses and parasites are all organisms which constantly pose a threat to the canine body. Like all species of organisms, the canine body is equipped with an elaborate system of defense, known as the immune system, designed to protect it from these infectious enemies. Even in animals with normal immune function, invasion and damage can proceed at a rate faster than the immune system's ability to destroy the invader. The dog may succumb to the disease before the immune system can get rid of the infection, or in cases where the infection is eliminated, death may still occur as a result of damage to the body.
The immune system responds much more rapidly if it encounters an organism that it has already battled and defeated. The theory that introducing just enough antigen into the body to produce an immune response without causing disease would protect the body from contracting the disease at a later time gave rise to the procedure of vaccinating. Therefore, "vaccination," also known as "active immunization" refers to the procedure of administrating an antigen, resulting in protective immunity to the disease associated with that antigen.
Canine distemper is a disease that attacks the nervous system of a dog. It usually causes death and can affect dogs of all ages. Since puppies are the most common victims of this dreadful disease, the vaccination program every three weeks is designed to help prevent distemper. Distemper is a virus that can develop in to pneumonia as secondary bacterial infection takes over the body. The distemper virus attacks the brain within a few weeks and death or euthanasia is generally the outcome. Vaccinations are very effective in preventing this disease.
Canine Hepatitis is a viral disease which affects the liver. Fortunately, hepatitis is rarely seen today due to the effectiveness of vaccinations. Most all distemper vaccines are combined with hepatitis vaccine to control this disease.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that usually affects the kidneys and other organs of the body. If the kidneys are affected the puppy usually dies. Leptospirosis, like hepatitis, is not seen often. The bacteria is most often carried in the urine of rats. The disease was seen more often in farm dogs that could be exposed to rat urine. Distemper vaccine does not always have leptospirosis vaccine included. '
Parvovirus is an intestinal virus in dogs. The virus can remain in the area for months and can be transmitted on your shoes or other articles.
Your dog does not have to be around a sick puppy to get parvovirus. The symptoms include depression, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. The treatment is aggressive supportive care with I.V. fluids and medicines for vomiting. Without proper veterinary care this disease is most often fatal. Vaccinations are generally very effective in preventing the disease. Dogs over one year of age rarely will contract the disease, but vaccinations are recommended as an insurance that the disease will not strike your dog.
Rabies is a scary disease that is spread mainly through the wild animal population in an area. The signs are foaming at the mouth and behavior uncommon to the animal. However, rabies can be difficult to diagnose and any abnormal behavior in a dog should be viewed with suspicion. Vaccination for rabies is a state law in all states.
Intestinal worm checks are tests done on a dog's bowel movement to see if there are any worm eggs or parasites present in the dogs' body. A few common parasites are hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, coccidia, tapeworms, and giardia. Only two of the six worms can be seen without the aid of a microscope. Hookworms can be spread through a dog's feces or can penetrate the dog's skin, or travel through the milk to nursing puppies. They attach to a dog's intestines to feed on the blood. Hookworms can cause major blood loss which is sometimes fatal to puppies. The baby stage of hookworms are called sandworms. These baby worms can penetrate the skin of people and migrate under the skin causing a human health hazard.
Roundworms can be spread from mother to puppies or through soil that has eggs in it. They can cause bloated bellies and diarrhea and vomiting. Roundworms can be transmitted to people also and can cause some serious health problems relating to loss of sight.
Whipworms can cause diarrhea, weight loss and dehydration. They are very hard to detect and also to eliminate. Whipworms do not lays eggs very often so they can be overlooked during the worm checks performed by a veterinarian.
Coccidia are single celled organisms that infect the intestine. They are microscopic parasites detectable on routine fecal tests in the same way that worms are but coccidia are not worms and they are not visible to the naked eye. Coccidia infection causes a watery diarrhea which is sometimes bloody and can even be a life-threatening problem to an especially young or small pet.
Tapeworm lives in the small intestine of the dog or cat. It is hooked onto the intestinal wall by a structure called a rostellum which is sort of like a hat with hooks on it. The tapeworm also has six rows of teeth to grab on with. Most people are confused about the size of a tapeworm because they only see its segments which are small; the entire tapeworm is usually 6 inches or more. The tapeworm absorbs nutrients through its skin as the food being digested by the host flows past it. Older segments are pushed toward the tip of the tail as new segments are produced by the neckpiece. By the time a segment has reached the end of the tail, only the reproductive tract is left. When the segment drops off, it is basically just a sac of tapeworm eggs.
Giardia are parasitic protozoans (single celled organisms) found in the intestines of many animals. Clinical signs range from mild recurring diarrhea consisting of soft, light-colored stools, to acute explosive diarrhea in severe cases. Other signs associated with giardiasis are weight loss, listlessness, mucus in the stool, and anorexia.
FLEAS AND TICKS
These tiny pests can hop onto your dog unobserved to feed on its blood and lay eggs, producing yet another generation.
Fleas can make life miserable for people and dogs alike, disrupting your household with a nasty cycle of biting and scratching and in some pets causing flea allergy dermatitis or anemia. The flea life cycle can be as short as a few weeks or can last several months - plenty of time to be mighty irritating to you and your dog. Dogs infested with fleas may become unusually nervous and agitated and will scratch excessively.
Ticks attach to dogs to feed. You might not even notice these minute pests on your dog until the ticks have fed so much that they've become engorged. Worse yet, ticks may transmit diseases that can cause potentially serious dog-health problems. Talk to your veterinarian about the best way to remove ticks you find on your dog. You'll also want to discuss how to protect your dog from ticks that may transmit potentially serious diseases.
HEARTWORM AND PREVENTION
Prevention of heartworm disease is very simple. Heartworm preventative for dogs is usually started between 2-3 months of age and the preventative is given once each month for life (a daily heartworm preventative is also available) Since heartworms are spread by mosquitoes which are prevalent in warm climates all year long, the preventative must be given all year in many southern climates. In some other areas of the United States the preventative only needs to be given 6-9 months of each year. Heartworms are the most life threatening parasite dogs can have.
The microfilia (baby heartworms) are deposited in the dog's body by a mosquito bite. These baby worms grow and move to the heart where the damage to your pet's health is done. Symptoms of heartworms do not show up sometimes for years. but early tests performed by your veterinarian will diagnose the disease before much damage is done. Your dog should be on the medication for life with once yearly testing to make sure the preventative is doing its job.
"No Matter What You Are Told, No Breeding Line is Free of Health Problems" If you are told a breeding line is free of health problems, do not believe it - it is idyllic and not at all true! Any person who tells you this is either not thorough enough in his/her research, has not been breeding long enough to learn about the pedigrees, or is just plain outright lying - so be overly cautious. (From statements by Peggy Adamson, renowned Doberman Judge and breeder)
One of the most critical things to consider when breeding a litter of Dobermans is health and longevity. These two things are not synonymous, nor are they mutually exclusive, so it is extremely important to consider both factors when making a breeding decision.
With the average life expectancy of Dobermans being under 10 years of age, it is becoming increasingly important for breeders to pay more attention to hereditary diseases. Some common diseases affecting Dobermans are cardiomyopathy, cancer, hypothyroidism, and Cervical Vestibular Instability (Wobbler's). Less serious are von Willebrand's Disease and eye diseases.
Cardiomyopathy is the big killer in Dobermans, being the #1 cause of death in males and the #3 cause in females. It is a disease which affects the heart, and once diagnosed a dog can only expect to live for about 3 to 6 months. There are some screens in place to diagnose this disease, but due to its complexity there is no definitive (i.e. DNA) test.
Researchers are working on identifying a DNA marker to accurately diagnose this disease. The most reliable test we have right now is the holter monitor. This device is strapped onto the dog., and it monitors and records the beating of the heart over a 24 hour period. The data is recorded on a cassette tape and sent to the researchers to study. This test should be done annually.
Cancer is the #1 cause of death in female Dobermans, with the most common being mammary. The spay procedure can reduce the probability of cancer by up to 90%. Therefore, it is recommended that all non-breeding stock be spayed to reduce the likelihood of cancer. As in humans, there is no genetic test to determine if a dog will develop cancer, so we must rely on pedigree research. Vets and other animal specialists are investigating the links between cancer and nutrition and over vaccinating.
Cervical Vestibular Instability (CVI or Wobbler's) is a disease affecting the spine and neck of a dog. It is a disease primarily found in Dobermans and Great Danes as well as some breeds of horses. Most often, Dobermans will be affected with this disease between the ages of 4 and 5. Although it is the neck area or the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae that are affected, an affected dog will initially lose movement in its rear and will actually "wobble"; when trying to maintain its balance.
As the disease progresses, the dog will become more limited in its movement and is often in extensive pain. The pain can be controlled with steroids, and the dog can maintain a moderate quality of life if precautions are taken. Exercise should be limited, stairs should be avoided and no pressure should EVER be placed on the neck (so no collars should be used). For this reason, not a lot of research has been conducted on CVI.
Hypothyroidism in Dobermans is much the same as in humans. Affecting the thyroid gland, it can have devastating effects on an affected dog. Symptoms include shedding, poor coat, and in extreme cases fainting. The disease rarely results in death in Dobermans, but is something to consider when breeding, as daily supplementation can be required for an affected dog. This can be both expensive and a nuisance over time.
An annual complete thyroid panel (checking the levels of TSH, T4, T3, Free T3, Free T4 and Thyroxin) should be conducted on dogs to ensure proper maintenance and control of the thyroid. This disease is believed to be genetic, and some bloodlines are heavily affected with it while others remain relatively clear. An interesting bit of information is that red Dobermans are more often affected than black Dobermans.
The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) is an organization that certifies dogs that have tested clear for genetically transmitted eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma. Exams should be done annually and submitted to CERF for current registration. Dobermans are much less prone to eye diseases than other breeds.
Hip dysplasia affects many breeds of purebred dogs. Hip x-rays can be taken at any age. X-rays should be taken by a qualified vet/radiologist and then sent to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) to receive a registration number and a rating. If the dog is less than 24 months of age, a preliminary result will be issued, but for the result to be considered final, the dog must be more than 24 months of age when the x-rays are taken. To get a rating, three qualified radiologists from the OFA read the x-ray (2 for a preliminary result).
Possible ratings are: excellent, good, fair, borderline and dysplastic (levels I, II, III). Once a dog receives an OFA number, this result is considered the dog's final evaluation. OFA houses the largest animal health database in the world. They have a public registry for hip and elbow dysplasia, VWD, Thyroid, CERF and cardiomyopathy. However, only dogs that have passed these tests are recorded in the database.
It is the responsibility of the owners to submit their dogs' results to OFA and to authorize OFA to make this information public. However, it is still an excellent source of information.
Von Willebrand's Disease (VWD) is a bleeding disorder affecting mainly Dobermans, Shelties, Scottish Terriers, Manchester Terriers, Corgis and Poodles. Some of these breeds suffer from Type 3 VWD, which is an extremely serious form of the condition where dogs can spontaneously bleed. It can be a death sentence for a dog. Luckily, Dobermans are not in this category.
Dobermans suffer from Type 1 VWD where they may be genetically affected with the disease but rarely exhibit signs of bleeding. They will never bleed spontaneously because they still have von willebrand's factor circulating through their systems, and most bleeding can be easily and safely controlled.
There is a DNA test for vWd. The disease is a simple recessive disorder, which has made a DNA test much easier to identify. Every dog has two genes for VWD. Each of these genes may be a clear gene or an affected gene. Dogs who carry two copies of the clear gene are considered CLEAR, dogs with two copies of the affected gene are considered AFFECTED and dogs with one copy of each gene are considered CARRIERS. Please note that affected dogs RARELY exhibit clinical signs of the disease. Also note that carriers do not actually carry the disease, but rather carry one copy of the gene. They will not exhibit ANY clinical signs of the disease.
Breeding two clear dogs is optimal, however this should not be the only criteria for selecting a breeding pair. Temperament, longevity and conformation as well as pedigrees MUST be considered too.
There is yet another complexity to making a breeding decision: longevity. This is a CRITICAL factor to consider since some dogs may test clear for all diseases and yet come from a pedigree where the average life span is 7 years of age. Conversely, a dog may test positive for hypothyroidism yet come from a line of 13 and 14 year old relatives.
When talking about cardio, cancer or CVI ("The Big Three"), a dog who tests positive and/or dies of one of these genetic diseases has often contributed to the gene pool prior to the diagnosis or death. By the time the diagnosis is made, 3 or more generations of progeny can be alive and well. At this stage, it is unrealistic for a breeder to toss out all of the dogs in his/her breeding program and start again with new dogs who may have the same health problems or even more! It is for these reasons that the entire dog and pedigree must be considered prior to making a breeding decision.
Given all of the information presented above, it is important to consider both the health results of a given dog as well as the overall longevity represented in the pedigree. For certain tests there are definitive results: vwd and hip dysplasia. For most, however, there is no surefire way of knowing if a dog will ever develop the disease.
Cardio, cancer, CVI, eye disease and hypothyroidism all qualify here. The best we can do is to ensure that these tests have been passed at the time of breeding and that there are minimal occurrences of these diseases in the bloodline and pedigree.
OFA houses the largest animal health database in the world. They have a public registry for hip and elbow dysplasia, VWD, Thyroid, CERF and cardiomyopathy. However, only dogs who have passed these tests are recorded in the database.
It is the responsibility of the owners to submit their dogs' results to OFA and to authorize OFA to make this information public. However, it is still an excellent source of information.