Doberman Pinscher

  • Overview

    This breed gets a bad rap because some unethical breeders have bred them for aggression. Really, these muscular dogs are natural guardians who tend to bond closely to one family member, whom they will go to great lengths to protect. Dobermans are large dogs. They stand over 2 feet tall and clock in between 60 and 80 pounds, which gives them a lean, athletic build.

    Dobermans are elegant, muscular dogs who were built to be fast and sturdy. They retain training very well, which makes them work well as functioning guard and police dogs. With constant, positive training and plenty of affectionate playtime, Dobermans will develop into devoted family companions.

  • Personality

    Doberman Pinschers are loyal, active dogs. They are naturally protective, but they are also stoic and energetic with their owners. Dobermans develop a strong feeling of trust toward their owners, who they will constantly work to guard and protect. They need lots of high-energy activity to refrain from resorting to mischief. These dogs are playful, but they aren't particularly silly. Dobermans will not take well to teasing or provoking behaviors, especially not from children or strangers. Dobermans need training to develop into the diligent, loyal pet their enthusiasts know and love. Because some dogs have been bred for aggression, their aloofness can translate into threatening behavior if they are not consistently trained. Dobermans are very smart and they like to work for their owners, but they rely on a pack hierarchy, so you will have to establish yourself as the head of the household immediately. If not, your Doberman will attempt to become dominant. These smart dogs will soon be able to determine friend from foe, but they might never completely get used to unwanted visitors or other dogs. Still, when raised in a loving, positive environment, Dobermans should always be assertive, vigilant, and brave but never vicious. They will respond, but they should never provoke.

  • Coat Care

    The Doberman's coat is usually mainly black or blue through the body with red or tan markings around the ears, legs and muzzle. Some dogs are a fawn color called "Isabella." Their short coat is smooth and hard to the touch. Doberman's tails are often cropped, and their ears are either cropped to be upright or left natural as drop ears.

Brushing

Luckily, Dobermans don't need much grooming, so you can spend the extra time training your new pup. They will appreciate being brushed down with a rubber brush or grooming mitt occasionally to reduce shedding and help their coat retain its natural sheen.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

Smooth coated breeds adhere to the general rule of dog bathing: about once every three months. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Wipe wrinkled breeds with a soft cloth and make sure they are totally dry after bathing.

Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Dogs with smooth coats generally only require trims and tidying up in areas of excessive hair growth using a trimmer or blunt scissors. It's always wise to take a dog for a short walk or exercise to calm them down before trimming. Remember to brush the coat first to remove any tangles and mats. Don't forget to trim around the paws, pads, tail, chest and sanitary areas, as needed. The coat should lay flat and smooth against the body when finished.

Nails

Dobermans need to have their nails trimmed routinely, so begin helping your dog become accustomed to nail trims when he is a puppy.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Some smooth-coated dogs, like Basenjis and Boxers, and dogs with large ears, like Weimaraners and Great Danes, have sensitive ears that should be checked  weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. If you have a small dog, like an Italian Greyhound, take special care to  clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes to make sure they are comfortable. Dogs with facial wrinkles, like French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, should have their faces wiped down at least weekly to prevent infection.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.