This article also relates to: Doberman Pinscher
Recognising the demand for fearless and versatile watchdogs in 19th century Germany following the Franco-Prussian War, Herr Louis Dobermann began selective breeding dogs fit for purpose, although which breeds were originally used remains unknown. After 60 years of experimental canine interbreeding, Herr Louis Dobermann achieved success and the Dobermann, or 'Devil Dog,' as it was commonly known by the American Marines during WWII, came into popularity. Sent onshore to effectively flush out the enemy, the Dobermann established a reputation as an aggressive, unpredictable breed, primarily used for guarding and policing. The modern Dobermann, however, boasts far gentler traits and is subsequently a highly sought domestic dog.
Originally bred as guard dogs, the Dobermann has an athletic, lean build and is of medium size. Characteristic traits include a long tail, however, in numerous countries where 'docking' is legalised, the tail may have been significantly reduced. Similarly, it is common practice in some countries to crop the natural ears of canines bred for guard duty, as a functionality measure. The neck, head and legs are proportionate to the body and the breed is commonly recognised in colours of black, brown, fawn, or black and tan.
Whilst the temperament of the Dobermann is up for conjecture, bearing in mind the breed was selectively created for the purposes of guarding and protecting, the modern Dobermann is noted for its loyal and affectionate temperament, being gentle with children and active in play. The Dobermann is both vigilant and intelligent, and is able to perceive potential threat, acting fearlessly to protect its family when necessary. The average Dobermann will weigh between 30-40 kg, depending on its gender, and has a life expectancy of 12-14 years, when shown appropriate care.
Whilst the Dobermann is a resilient breed in many respects, various studies have shown that the Dobermann is particularly susceptible to prostatic diseases, including bacterial infections and prostatic cysts; it is possible to avoid such complaints by neutering your dog. Besides this, more serious common health complaints include von Willebrand's disease - a bleeding disorder, cervical vertabral instability (CVI), heart complaints and dilated cardiomyopathy. There is evidence to suggest that the causes of these diseases stem from inherited, familial disease prevalent in the breed.