IS THE DOBERMAN RIGHT FOR YOU? - By Cheryl Gates.
Doberman owners need to have fairly well developed leadership and training skills. These are incredibly intelligent, sensitive animals - they'll pick up on fear or uncertainty in the blink of an eye and run with it as far as they can. They can manipulate and control situations and owners in unique ways people never dream of - a lot of them will dominate their owner by being whirling dervishes. They just whirl and spin and generate so much energy they overwhelm their owner - they physically outmaneuver them.
It's very easy to teach them something, more difficult to perfect it. They like to add their own signature or touch to things ... just to see how far they can push the envelope.
All of these factors add up to one thing - you teach a Doberman something every time you interact with it and that isn't always a good thing. You could be teaching them just how inconsistent YOU are or how easily you'll back down or give up.
Dobermans should have good judgment and respond to the things that happen in life in an appropriate manner. Some are more outgoing than others. There's nothing wrong with a Doberman being aloof with strangers. There's also nothing wrong with a Doberman who trots up and says hi to everyone they encounter.
They're high energy but there's a difference between high energy and hyper. They need quite a bit of exercise but shouldn't be a perpetual motion machine. It's not a good or correct thing for a Doberman to be unable to settle.
They don't tolerate NOT being involved with their family on a constant basis. Dobermans are highly people oriented. Bored, lonely Dobermans get themselves into trouble, their owners don't enjoy how their dog copes with the boredom and the loneliness. A friend of mine describes them as
requiring a higher level of owner commitment than many other breeds and I think that sums it up pretty well. There has to be a commitment to training, to exercising, to being a leader ... and a strong commitment to the idea of never going to the bathroom by yourself ever again.
Size SHOULD NOT be a matter of personal preference. The Doberman standard has guidelines for height in both sexes with an ideal height listed for each gender. Weight can vary based on the amount of bone the dog has; some are more fine boned then they should be, some have so much bone and substance they're coarse looking. They should be medium sized dogs that are elegant and moderate in appearance.
Older dogs are certainly capable of bonding with new owners - rescue wouldn't be a viable option if the dogs were unable to transfer the bond to new owners. Rescue dogs also have the bonus of having been evaluated by long term Doberman people who are quite good at matching people up with the right dog for them. Everyone should consider a rescue.
Dogs who are best suited for the show ring or performance work will usually be placed in show or performance homes by the breeder. The pet quality puppies from these litters are just that - good pets for people who want a dog for companion purposes only. It's not like they're defective or have anything wrong with them. They have the same quality breeding behind them.
Only you can decide if you'd be a good home for a Doberman. I'd hang out with some for awhile-they might strike that chord within you, they might drive you right up a wall. There are breeds that appeal to a larger percentage of the population just as there are breeds who can succeed in a greater number of homes.
We like Dobermans. Lots of people don't. You may find the general public have a misconceived notion of the doberman. Somthing you'll have to get used to. You're definitely going about it in the right way by finding out what the breed is like before you attempt to get one.
Q: Are Dobermans trustworthy with small children?
A: If a doberman is raised with children, they should be able to be trusted with your children. OF course your children should be taught how to respect the dog as well. An older dog that has not been raised with children will have to be evaluated to be trusted with children. Also temperment of the individual dog should be taken into consideration.
Q: Are Dobermans good with other cats and dogs?
A: A young doberman brought into the house is likely to adapt to whatever animals you have, but other animals brought into a house with an existing doberman COULD be a problem, again this depends on the temperament of the individual dog. Males tend NOT to be good with other male dogs, no matter what the breed. A reputable breeder will only sell a male puppy to a home with an existing male dog under special circumstances. And typically the owner will be well skilled to handle that situation. Most of the time the two males will have to kept separate in a crate and rotate senario.
Q: How do I know if a Doberman is the breed for me?
A: The Doberman is a highly active dog that will need a lot of exercise and training time in order to be a good pet. Dobermans are very intelligent and need training to use it wisely. You should start classes for socialization and training as early as 12 weeks. A Doberman is often referred to as a "Velcro" dog, and most prefer to be with you at all times...even in the bathroom. It is important that you want a dog that is this much a part of your life. A Doberman should be raised as part of the family and not tied to a tree out back or left in the yard all day. Dobermans have short coats and do not do well in cold climates for long periods of time.
Q: I live in an apartment, does that mean a Doberman is not for me?
A: No this does not mean a Doberman is not for you, but it does mean much more of a commitment on your part to insure the dog gets the exercise he will need to be healthy and happy.
Q: Will Dobermans turn on their owners?
A: No, This is an urban legend that has been around for many years. I have talked to many breeders, even some that have been doing this as long as 40 years, not one of them has ever been bitten by one of their dogs because they suddently 'turned' on them.
Q: Do Doberman’s Brains Continue to Grow inside their Skull causing them to become mean?
A: Another urban legend. There are definitely diseases, such as encephalitis, that can cause the brain to swell, IN ANY BREED. However Dobermans are no more susceptible to this than are Collies or Black Labs. Imagine someone said. People from Boston have brains that continue to grow causing them to become mean. No one with any common sense would believe it. This is totally false and if anyone tells you otherwise, do your best to avoid laughing in their face.
Q: How long do I have to tape the ears before they stand?
A: Depending on the crop, it could take weeks or months. Some ears stand in 8 weeks and others take 12 months. The most important thing is NOT to give up. If you take the ears down and they fall, TAPE them up again!! Also, ears should be taken down, cleaned, aired, and put back up within a few hours unless there is a good chance the ears will stand. Taking ears down and leaving them floppy for a day or two at a time will get you no where.
Q: I have heard that red Dobermans are vicious and fawn Dobermans are more calm, Is this true??
A: Absolutely NOT!! Color has no bearing on the temperment, the main factor in temperment is the breeding behind a Doberman and by how a puppy is raised.
Q: How do I go about finding a "King" or "Warlock" Doberman?
A: Dobermans are bred as a medium size dog . Breeders who are advertising "King" or "Warlock" sized dobermans are not breeding true to the standard and clearly are not concerned about the preservation of our breed. Dobermans were bred as working dogs and have much agility, as you raise the size you lose both the agility and function of the dog. The Doberman standard states Dogs should be 26 to 28 inches tall, 27 1/2 being ideal-Bitches 24 to 26 inches tall 25 1/2 being ideal. If you would like a "A Large Or King" size dog, I suggest you go with one of the "larger" breeds.
Q: Where can I find more information on the "White Doberman"?
A: There are really no White dobermans, They are actually albino. There is a lot of information on the Web about white dobes...but a good page for information is The DPCA's . The DPCA is also running a "Operation White Out" campaign to try and reduce the terrible exploitation of these animals.
Q: Should I get a male or female?
A: This is an age-old question - and one that requires a lot of thought and input from both you and the breeder to determine which will suit your lifestyle the best. Some people will say that males are more "location" protective while females are more "pack" protective. Males are generally larger and more territorial, so unless training steps are consistent, problems could arise (Neutering may help alleviate some problems). Any dog not intended for a breeding program should be neutered or spayed.
Q: Where do I find breeders in my area?
A: The best advice I have for this is to contact the AKC /DPCA or CKC/DPCC and try to get information about local Dobermans clubs, they should be able to refer you to breeders....Do keep in mind that this does NOT insure a good breeder, you still have to ask questions and visit if you can...if you can not visit, ask for references.