- AKC recognized in 1908
- Lifespan: 10-11 years
- Size: Large
- Energy: High
- Recommended Crate Size: 48” dog crate*
Return to the main Dog Crate Sizes Breed Chart.
Table of contents
The Doberman Pinscher is one the most intelligent and fast learning among dog breeds. They are able to learn new commands very fast and often considered the easiest dog to train.
When you decide to have a Doberman, you have to commit to providing them with sufficient exercise, attention, care, and training since the Doberman is a very energetic dog. With this in mind, the Doberman is not for everyone.
The Doberman was named after its first breeder, Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann around 1890 and was originally bred as a guard dog.
The American Kennel Club formally recognized the Doberman Pinscher over a century ago, in 1908. These highly energetic dogs have a natural protective instinct with the characteristics of being obedient, fearless, watchful, and extremely loyal. They also have a high-alarming sense which adds to their guarding qualifications.
The Doberman is descended from various dog breeds such the Greyhound, Great Dane, Rottweiler, and German Short-haired Pointer. They adapt quickly and can be very loving. Extremely intelligent, if they are properly trained, they can be a good companion and protector for children as well.
The Doberman sports a unique noble appearance. He is a medium to large size dog who commonly weighs between 75-90 pounds for males and between 65 and 75 pounds for females. Males typically stand 26-28 inches tall and females, are generally between 24 and 26 inches in height.
Dobermans sport a short, sleek coat and handsome square build. His body is compact as well as athletic. His carriage is proud and he has a graceful gait. The purebred Dobies usually have markings on their paws, chest, muzzle, above its eyes and tail. Their colors are always blue and tan, red and tan, or black and tan.
Dobies have a long and narrow head with a long muzzle as well which gives them an extremely strong bite and great sniffing ability.
The ears of a Doberman are shaped like an almond. Often times, owners dock their ears but more and more it is becoming common to leave them untouched.
As a puppy, your Dobie may seem to never get full. He may gobble his food down and eat so much he gets sick. You can remedy that problem by feeding him smaller meals throughout the day. This is typical behavior for large breed dogs. Do keep in mind that puppies and young Dobermans are very active and require more calories.
Suppose your Dobie weighs in at around 70 pounds. If he is getting a lot of exercise on a regular basis, he most likely would require about 1,800 calories or a tad more. In addition, he needs some extra calories to support his growth. If, however, your dog is not very active, he’ll need fewer calories or he will become overweight. Dobermans are a breed that certainly should never be overweight as they are built to be solid and athletic.
A good balance where protein and fat are concerned is important for Dobies. They also require essential fatty acids. More active Dobermans need higher levels of protein and fat than many other breeds too. Around 2-5 cups of high-quality dog food per day are about right for most adult Dobermans.
Even though their coat is short and seemingly maintenance-free, to keep a Dobie’s coat healthy, clean, and shiny, it’s important to brush them regularly. Don’t get me wrong, they are low maintenance, but for his health and bonding purposes, it’s important to do a little at least.
Be sure to brush him once a week so you keep his hair loosened up and for his circulation. You can use a soft bristled brush and hound gloves. Dobies shed in a relatively minimal amount but they do so year-round. Plus, they will also enjoy occasional grooming sessions as they can spend time with their beloved owners which is something they adore doing.
Many Dobie owners only bathe their dogs 3-4 times per year. Of course, if he gets sprayed by a skunk or smells a bit gamey, that’s a whole different story. One thing for sure if you don’t want to over-bathe them and cause their skin to dry out. Dobies are prone to develop dandruff so you don’t want to encourage that by drying his skin out.
Surprisingly, the Doberman tends to be afraid of rain, which can make it quite a challenge when it comes to shower/hose time. Giving him much love and assurance will help comfort him during bath time.
Doberman’s nails are fast growing and require regular trimming with a nail clipper to avoid cracking and overgrowth. You’ll need to clip them at least once a month unless he tends to wear them down outdoors. If his nails are especially difficult to trim, take him to a groomer or to the vet. You risk injury and infection if you don’t.
Check his ears regularly to avoid debris and wax which can lead to infection. Never, ever use a swab in his ear because he may jump or move which could cause serious injury to him.
Don’t forget to brush his teeth so you help him prevent building up tartar and developing cavities. It will also freshen his breath.
High-intensity exercise for Dobermans is a must. They were bred as working dogs and are bounding with energy. The Doberman should have sufficient opportunities to vent their excess energy because his energy simply has to be constructively channeled. Owners will need to commit to providing them with regular, daily exercise. Activities can include a brisk morning and evening walk or jog.
As a human, it’s impossible to match his high energy level so be sure to give him the opportunity to burn his up such as a spot to run at top speed. If you have another high-energy dog for him to race and play with, he is even more likely to get the excessive exercise he needs. If you aren’t able to exercise him enough on your own or are lacking in open space, it’s not unheard of to teach him to walk on a treadmill. Exercising your Dob is that important!
Engaging mentally is vital for this breed. Flyball and fun agility activities are ideal for Dobies. They also love to fetch Frisbees or balls or anything else they can go after at top speed. Brain games for dogs are also great for Dobies. Whatever you can do to give his mind and body a workout is fantastic, especially if you find he’s getting into mischief or becoming easily agitated.
Pet Crate Size
Pet Crates Direct recommends 48" dog crates* for most adult Doberman Pinschers.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.
The Daring, Yet Dashing, Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher is one the most intelligent, watchful, and fast learning among dog breeds. They are able to learn new commands very fast and are often considered the easiest dogs to train. There’s a catch though. When you decide to bring a Doberman into your life, you have to commit to providing him with sufficient exercise, attention, care, and training since the Dobie is a very energetic dog.
Dobermans were originally bred to be guard dogs. Protecting what he loves is in his blood and it runs deep. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more loyal guardian for yourself, your loved ones, and your domain. Left unsupervised, however, a Doberman can easily become out of control. It’s not because he’s not loving. On the contrary, he may be too loving. It is up to you, the owner, to keep him balanced and in check. Needless to say, the Doberman is not for everyone. But if you are a good fit for one, you are in for a real treat.
Heritage of the Doberman
As with many other breeds, the history of the Doberman Pinscher is one of controversy. It is generally agreed upon, though, that the Doberman was named after its first breeder, Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann who first bred a Doberman Apolda, Thuringia in Germany. What isn’t always agreed on is the intention of the breed creation.
Mr. Dobermann ran the dog pound in Apolda and therefore was in contact with a myriad of types of dogs so access was never a problem. He was said to have been a man of many hats such as a night watchman, a tax collector, a rent collector, and a number of other services he performed. In addition, the required services from a good number of other individuals. Being around so many different people at all hours of the day and night were risky in those times. It is believed that he, having access to most all imaginable breeds, set out to breed a dog who had great stamina, intelligence, and strength who could protect him from harm.
It was five years after Karl Dobermann’s death that his friend, breeder Otto Goeller, begat the Doberman Pinscher Club. He continued Dobermann’s task of perfecting and refining the breed.
It was after Karl’s death in 1894 that the Doberman was officially named after Karl. Originally, the name of the breed was Dobermann Pinscher (‘pinscher’ being German for ‘terrier’) but the pinscher part was dropped off since it was no longer deemed appropriate although in the United States and Canada, ’Doberman Pinscher’ is still in the formal name used. An ‘n’ was dropped from ‘Dobermann’ on down the line.
The Doberman has deep German roots, without a doubt. Ironically, the United States Marines incorporated the service of Dobermans during World War ll against the Germans and other enemies such as the Japanese after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The canines were appropriately called “War Dogs” and bravely lived up to their name.
In 1943, fourteen Dobermans were donated to the Marines and the first Marine War Dog Training School was founded. In an old warehouse, the dogs learned from the best, a Boxer named Fritz who was the first dog to ever be sworn into the honorable Marine Corp. In training, the dogs were taught to transport messages, scout, and warn the troops of any danger. When they went off to war, they did exactly what they were trained to do, is the outstandingly obedient breed that they are.
What Is The Best Dog Food for a Doberman Pinscher?
Doberman Pinschers are highly respected today as watchdogs and military K9s. Loyal, energetic, and fearless, they make excellent guard dogs and wonderful companions. They are often rated as one of the most intelligent breeds and, in the hands of a good trainer, can excel in many activities. They are particularly well-suited to obedience, search and rescue, agility, work as a service dog, and Schutzhund. They are not the breed for everyone, however. Dobermans are very athletic dogs and they require regular daily exercise and mental challenges in order to be happy.
Doberman Pinschers typically weigh between 70 and 100 pounds, depending on whether they are male or female and other factors. They usually stand between 25 and 28 inches tall at the withers (top of the shoulder blades). As you can imagine, this means they are large dogs. But they are also lean, powerful, and athletic, as well as graceful and quick. Females are usually a little smaller than males and will look more feminine while the males look masculine. The dog has a square frame and they are well-proportioned.
By weight, the National Research Council of the National Academies recommends an average daily caloric intake of about 2100 calories for an active adult Doberman weighing 90 pounds. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered, or that are older, may need fewer calories. Some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. Growing puppies, for example, consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young adult Doberman weighing about 70 pounds, for example, and getting lots of exercise would need about 1,876 calories per day (and more as he grows and gains weight). However, if your Doberman tends to lie around the house all day with little opportunity to exercise, he would need fewer calories.
Young puppies and growing Dobies should intake about 22 percent protein at the least. Adults need around 18 percent protein. Protein is a source of energy and Dobermans are very energetic so it is imperative they get the amount they require.
Dobermans live an average life of about 10-12 years. As a pet parent, you can do your part to help your Dobie live well and live as long as possible by being aware of the health issues that most commonly affect them. Cancer, bloat, cervical vertebral instability, chronic active hepatitis, alopecia, color dilution, alopecia, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand disease, and cardiomyopathy are among the top culprits.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a real concern in Dobies. In fact, around 40 percent of all canines who are diagnosed with the condition are Dobermans. The issue exists when the heart loses its ability to pump blood due to the left ventricle being weakened and enlarged.
Hypopigmentation, congestive heart failure, congenital portosystemic shunt, cherry eye cataracts, deafness, and nasal depigmentation are other conditions that may inflict them. Dobies often have a sensitivity to sulphonamide drugs so be cautious of that.
Although it may seem that Dobermans are prone to a good number of physical issues (and...they are), you, as the pet parent, can greatly diminish the chances your beloved furry one will get sick by giving him ample exercise, keeping his grooming needs up, and providing him with a well-balanced diet.
Dobermans excel in many areas. They are fearless, extremely smart, and loyal beyond measure. For these reasons, they make wonderful service dogs. Many Dobies have served in military active duty and others have been employed as police dogs and even FBI assistants.
They are able to sniff even more effectively than many other breeds due to their long snouts so they are valuable for sniffing out drugs, tracking people, and many other scent-related duties. Dobies are also pros at search and rescue missions due to their sniffing abilities and because they can successfully handle most any type of terrain or weather conditions.
Quirks and Qualms
If there’s one major characteristic that stands out in the Doberman breed, it’s that they were bred to work. The Dobie must have a job. When given a duty, the Dobe shines. If not, he is sure to let you know about it.
Denying a Doberman a sense of purpose, exercise and leadership is asking for trouble. If you cannot provide those things for him, do him a favor and don’t bring him into your life. If you can give him those things, however, you won’t have much trouble at all.
Doberman’s are very protective and territorial. This can be a good trait...or not. He is leery of strangers so caution should be taken when new people come to your home or in his presence. Assure him that they are not a threat because his nature as a guard dog has him on edge when he doesn’t know someone. With the proper attention given, he’ll do fine.
For those who take the time to nurture the needs of a Doberman and really get to know their beloved dog, a Dobie is one of the best types of dogs you can own. He is very versatile and sensitive. He is obedient and is also one of the smartest breeds in existence. The Doberman has been misunderstood in the past.
Like the Pitt Bull and Rottweiler breeds and countless others, he has gotten a bad reputation by some and the stereotyping still exists, just not as harshly. Through proper training and meeting his needs of working off his energy, giving him a job to do, and tending to his need for authority, you’ll find a Doberman is one of the most even-tempered dogs you can own.
Dobermans are loved by many. It seems, like with some other very distinctive breeds, you either love them or...not. Doberman Pinschers’ popularity has been on a steady rise in the past decade. They are ranked as the 12th most popular breed at present.
Way back in 1946, the Dobie breed graced the big screen in the movie “It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dog”. Two Dobermans had roles in the James Bond movie, “Moonraker” that premiered in 1979. “The lads”, Zeus and Apollo, were on the hit TV series, Magnum PI, and were owned by Higgins.
Then there was the infamous Cerberus the zombie Dobie from the 2002 movie, “Resident Evil” and Tripoli who played in “Eyes of an Angel” alongside John Travolta in 1991.
Who can forget “The Doberman Gang” where six Dobies were named after well-known bank robbers like Bonnie, Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Dillinger, Ma Barker, and Pretty Boy Floyd? The movie was so popular, there were two sequels that followed.
“Beverly Hills Chihuahua” starred a Doberman as did “UP”, “Hugo”, and Jackie Chan’s “Chinese Zodiac”.
There is a myriad of celebrities who love Dobermans. American writer, Hunter S. Thompson even included them in some of his books like “Where the Buffalo Roam”. “Golden Girls” star, Beatrice Arthur, had three Dobies - Emma, Albert, and Jennifer.
What Doberman wouldn’t want to have a chef as a pet parent? French celebrity chef, Jean-Christophe Novell, loves the breed so dearly, he has had 21 at one time. No doubt he feeds them well.
Dracula even has a thing for Dobes. Bela Lugosi, the actor who placed Dracula, had a Doberman who he named Hector. Now, that’s something to take a bite out of!
Priscilla Presley, the late singer, Elvis Pressley’s daughter, had a Doberman named Willie. Tanya Roberts who played Sheena in “Charlies Angels” has three Dobes. Raquel Welch, Victoria Principal, Rudolph Valentino, William Shatner, and Mariah Carey are all known for being Dobie owners too. Actor Nicholas Cage owns a rare white Doberman.
Doberman’s can be quite stately, obviously. John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, had a beloved Doberman he called “Moe”.
Not everyone loves Dobermans but those who do, love them dearly.
Training Your Dobie
Can you train a Doberman? Absolutely! Although they are a headstrong breed, they are very intelligent and obedient when taught the right way. It’s important to start as early as you can though.
When your Dobie is 10-12 weeks of age, you’ll want to lovingly begin the process. They are like sponges when it comes to receiving new information so your training requests will most likely be met with complete cooperation although it is not unusual to first run into a few snags, like his bounding energy level. Taking him out for a walk or for some exercise before training class begins is ideal.
It’s imperative to nip any bad behaviors in the bud when your Dobe is a puppy or he will try to carry them over to adulthood. A puppy who jumps up on you is one thing, but a full grown Doberman is quite another. For his sake, and for yours, don’t let him get by with unruly behavior.
One area he may give you some trouble in is the chewing department. Dobes love to chew. Let him know that chewing on shoes, sofas, and people is not ok. Give him appropriate chew treats and toys to detour him from destructive chewing.
Communication is key with Dobermans, be it a puppy or a full grown dog. Don’t underestimate what he can understand. Eye contact is vital and your tone of voice should be assertive and calm.
Housetraining isn’t usually too difficult with a Doberman. Communicate where he is to do his business and be consistent. Generally, they pick up on it with ease.
Crate training is usually well received with a Doberman. He likes a spot to call his own where he can feel safe and secure. Incorporating his safe spot into his training routine can be a natural flow. Do make sure the crate is large enough for him to be comfortable in and that it gives him room to grow. Once he is potty trained, you can set comfortable bedding and even some of his favorite toys in his crate to make him feel more at home.
Crates are perfect for training him how to behave when you are away. Since Dobes love to chew, crating in your absence is usually recommended until they master the art of not chewing inappropriate items. You may also want to crate him when company comes until you have properly socialized him.
Early on, you will want to teach him social skills. That goes for humans and other dogs and animals. He may never master the task of being overly friendly with a neighbor cat or your friend’s dog, but be sure he is taught not to go after them or be aggressive. If you have other animals in the house, be sure he knows they are equals. You will need to have him socialized with humans to the point he can be trusted with newcomers to the house by you simply giving him the assurance they are not intruders.
Consistency is a must with all dogs in training but especially one as smart as a Doberman. You can’t slip up and let him get by with something he usually gets in trouble for. He will notice that right away.
Dobies are prime candidates for respect training. When you establish your role as his leader, his nature is to follow. But if you don’t, you are in for some real trouble. Be firm and assertive and he will be the best student ever.
Biting should never be allowed. If you think puppy teeth are sharp, you should feel adult Doberman teeth. Biting, excessive barking, jumping, and chewing will most likely be the extent of his bad behaviors but those are easily remedied when you communicate, remain consistent, and assert your position as his leader. Remember, the earlier, the better.
Obedience training is usually pretty simple with Dobes. With this type of training, you can rid him of the bad behaviors and instill good and positive ones. Past that, you can teach him fun tricks. Dobermans catch on to tricks fairly easy because they are so intelligent. When you are properly and tightly bonded with your Dobe, the sky is the limit.
Teaching your Pinscher tricks that he likes is important. While some dogs like to sing or dance, others don’t. Yours might love to fetch or to roll over and play dead. Take note of his personality and let him do the trick picking. That is when he will really shine!
Reward training is certainly possible with a Doberman. But, it is usually just icing on the cake and isn’t really necessary. If you do choose to treat train as reward training, do watch how many calories he takes in. As a pup, he can burn off plenty but once he settles down a notch or two and is used to being rewarded with treats that is different entirely.
It is imperative to leash train your Doberman. He will need all the walking and running time you can give him but he has to be trained to be on a leash, especially when he gets bigger and stronger. Make sure you are the one leading or you are in for big problems.
Dobermans are dominant by nature and can be headstrong. That helps make them so effective as guard dogs and for other roles they may play such as search and rescue dogs, etc. You must establish your leadership when training him and that cannot be stressed enough.
Spending quality bonding time is the best training tool there is with Dobermans. They don’t require that much in the way of training because they are smart enough to pick up on what you want or don’t want them to do. What is important is that you establish yourself as the leader and develop his trust and respect. Past that, it’s all smooth sailing.
Is a Doberman a Good Fit for You and Your Family?
The fate of how life will be when you add a Doberman to your family is muchly determined by what you are willing to put into it. A Doberman is not a self-kept dog. He requires ample exercise, purpose (such as a job to do), and leadership.
It is important that if there are others in the household, they be willing to take part in your Dobie’s life as well. A Doberman needs the sense of security that he is loved and is an important member of the family.
While there are a number of people who are fearful of having a Doberman around children, afraid it is dangerous, quite the opposite is true when the environment is right. Dobermans are among the best breeds when it comes to protecting a family, especially the children. You wouldn’t want to mess with kids who are guarded by this dog.
A Doberman is an excellent addition to any household when given the things he requires. He will live his life giving back to you, and you’ll reap a hundredfold of what you put into him.