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The Dobermann , or Doberman Pinscher 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. 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).[6] 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.


The Dobermann's lifespan is about 10–13 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.

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 Dobermann 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 Dobermann 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 Dobermann 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 Dobermann 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

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