Breeds

Doberman Pinscher Breed Information Guide: Photos, Traits, & Care

Written by: Samantha Erb

May 31, 2022

Like a sports car speeding through the night, the sleek and stunning Doberman is half pup, half lightning bolt. Bred as a working dog and loyal through and through, the Doberman is as devoted a best friend as one could ask for.

Tan-and-black German Pinscher sitting on a river bank background

These vigilant canines haven’t lost sight of their legendary work ethic, either—their career opportunities are as versatile as the pups themselves. Dobermans make outstanding companions, whether they’re helping communities as service dogs, winning dog shows, or curling up sleepily on your porch (always with one eye open).

Breed Overview

  • Height: 24–28 inches
  • Weight: 60–100 lbs
  • Lifespan: 10–12 years
  • Breed Size: Large
  • Colors: Black, white, fawn, black & rust, and other combinations
  • Good With: Kids
  • Temperament: Loyal, alert, intelligent

Dobermans Are Also Known As…

Dobermann pinscher (note the double “N”). Doberman pinscher dog. Dobe. Dobie. Dobi Wan Kenobi. Batman in canine form. “Who is that handsome dog down the road?”

What Is The History Of The Doberman?

Unlike many dog breeds, the history of the Doberman is surprisingly well-documented—perhaps due to its relatively recent unfolding.

In the 19th century, a German tax collector named Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann sought a cool-under-the-collar canine to stick loyally by his side as he approached his constituents. After some experimental breeding, he eventually landed on the majestic form we now know as the Doberman pinscher. Sadly, Mr. Louis Dobermann didn’t live to see his name bestowed upon this graceful canine—the name was adopted after his passing—but his legacy lives on in every Dobie worldwide.

Although he was probably a diligent taxman, record-keeping wasn’t one of his strong suits. To this day, there’s no definitive proof of the Doberman’s ancestry. Educated guesses name two breeds as the Doberman’s likely forefathers: the German pinscher and the old German shepherd.

Regardless of how the Doberman came to be, one thing is for certain: the dog breed is still a fan favorite here in the U.S.

How Big Do Dobermans Get?

A Doberman puppy grows to a full-sized adult dog in 2 years. However, male Dobermans and female Dobermans can vary in adult size. Generally, male Dobermans are bulkier and larger than their female counterparts. The average Doberman ranges from:

Height: 24–28 inches 

Weight: 60–100 pounds

How Long Do Dobermans (Generally) Live?

The typical lifespan for this powerful pup is 10 to 12 years.

Black doberman puppy on the green grass

What Is A Doberman’s Temperament & Personality Like?

As with people, a Doberman pinscher dog’s personality varies from dog to dog. These are complex creatures, after all. However, to generalize a little, most Dobermans are intelligent, kind-hearted cuddlers hiding behind a fearless facade.

That rough ‘n’ ready countenance isn’t just for show. Dobermans are fiercely loyal to the ones they love, acting as protectors of their kingdom. They won’t hesitate to go after perceived intruders when they’re trained as guard dogs. When raised as a family pet, however, the main thing Dobies will protect you from is boredom.

Are Dobermans Good With Kids? Cats? Dogs?

Most Dobermans are hopeless romantics—they’re lovey-dovey with humans of all shapes and sizes, including the youngest of the bunch. Although they’re all muscle, Dobies can be surprisingly gentle with kids, as long as they’re exposed to wee ones as a puppy (unaccustomed Dobermans may be too fond of horseplay to play well with kids). Still, even strangers are likely to receive some Doberman devotion, provided they aren’t trying to enter the backyard unannounced.

Felines are less likely to feel the love. Adult Dobermans who don’t grow up around cats will likely see the neighbor’s kitten as a mobile chew toy, not a pal. With that said, Dobies and tabbies can get along swimmingly if they grow up together. In other words, there’s no need to lock your kitty away when you bring home a new Doberman pinscher puppy.

Well-trained Dobermans are generally good with neighborhood mutts, as long as they’re also well-behaved. If your Doberman or their new friend starts to act a little aggressive, you may be better off distracting your Dobie with a stimulating game or a visit to the park.

Are Dobermans High Energy?

In a word: Yes. In three words: Oh heck yes. Dobermans are furry firecrackers, combining the speed of a Greyhound with the strength of a Rottweiler.

By the way, did we mention that Dobermans are playful? They’ll gladly expend all of their energy with anyone willing to walk, run, swim, or throw a ball. The Doberman pinscher’s fitness level is one of the many reasons for the breed’s success in agility competitions.

Are Dobermans Hard to Train?

Unlike traditionally stubborn breeds (like the Shiba Inu dog), Dobermans are known for their trainability. These loyal pups crave praise, so they’ll gladly put their well-developed brains to the test for you. No challenge is too much for these four-legged Einsteins.

However, the Dobermans’ genius-level intelligence is a double-edged sword. Sometimes, your Dobie might think they know better than you, and instead of heeding your requests, they may choose to forge their own fearless path.

To bring these noble dogs to heel—and teach them impressive tricks—be firm, stay patient, and start early. As with all dogs, these pups are easiest to train when they’re young. If you start practicing commands with your puppy, you’ll have an obedient adult at the end of your leash.

Doberman Pinscher. Dog on a brown background. Dog lies on the leather sofa. Domestic animal

Do Dobermans Have Health Issues?

When you look at a Doberman pinscher, you probably see an A-one athlete, a perfect specimen, a jock among jesters. And indeed, Dobies are usually some of the healthiest dogs out there. Even so, the Doberman can be susceptible to certain breed-related health issues.

The following conditions have been known to impact Dobermans and are identifiable via testing:

  • Hip dysplasia – A pain in the hip joint that can lead to arthritis. (This is also a common condition for Bernese mountain dogs).
  • Hypothyroidism – An affliction that causes the thyroid to produce a limited amount of metabolism-maintaining hormones.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) – A condition that impacts vision and can eventually cause blindness.
  • Von Willebrand’s disease – An inherited blood disorder that triggers prolonged bleeding.

Additionally, Dobermans can experience cardiomyopathy (a heart disease that makes it difficult to pump blood, causing strain on the heart muscle and can lead to heart failure) and Wobbler syndrome (a spinal cord condition that causes a “wobbly” gait). These afflictions are harder to test for, but they’re often manageable with the right medications and procedures.

To ensure your Dobie doesn’t experience heart failure, regularly bring your fur baby to the vet for health screenings and preventive care. Dog health can change at any moment, so it’s best to catch signs early on by a professional.

Do Dobermans Need To Be Groomed?

Dobermans are certified shedders, so don’t anticipate taking your pup in for a haircut. Instead, consider investing in lint roller stocks.

Remember that “grooming” your dog means more than just trimming their hair. In that sense, Dobies definitely need to be groomed. Your at-home responsibilities as a Doberman owner include:

  • A monthly nail clipping
  • A weekly ear cleaning
  • A tooth scrub every few weeks
  • Near-daily brushings with a short-bristled brush
Doberman puppy with tongue sticking out

How Much Does it Cost to Care for a Doberman?

Despite its elegant looks, the Doberman is a low-maintenance canine. Still, you’ll need to open your wallet from time to time to keep your best friend feeling their best.

To adequately care for a Doberman pinscher, you should set aside ~$1,800+ per year. Here’s where all of that cash will go:

How Much Dog Food Does a Doberman Need?

Even the smallest Dobermans need hearty meals to keep their muscular bodies running. The typical adult Doberman pinscher will eat somewhere between 4 and 7 cups of food each day. All that kibble can wind up costing you $50–90 every month.

Did you know that BARK Eats makes food just for Dobermans? For the best bang for your buck, sign up for a BARK Eats meal plan. Every month, you’ll receive a big bag of high-quality dog food in the mail. With nutritional add-ons available for every dietary need, your Dobie will be begging for more. Get 50% off your first month!

Routine Vet Care (Healthy Dog)

Whether your Doberman is a picture of perfect health or an aging animal, regular vet visits are essential. By stopping by once or twice a year, you can keep your pet in tip-top shape—plus, you’ll save money in the long run by catching any conditions early.

Aside from one-time vet costs like spaying/neutering ($150–400) and microchipping (~$60), other expenses include:

  • Vet fees ($50–60)
  • Vaccines ($20–30 per dose)
  • Heartworm tests ($45)

Preventative Medications For Dobermans

These protective pups deserve protection, too. When you take a proactive approach to care for your pooch, you can stave off costly vet bills later on. Plus, your pup will thank you with countless cuddles.

Standard preventative medicine costs for Dobermans are:

  • Flea and tick medications ($120/year)
  • Glucosamine chondroitin treats ($100/year)
  • Heartworm preventatives (~$120/year)
two doberman pincher dogs

Doberman Grooming

While your Dobie won’t need a cut and color from the groomer, they can still benefit from the occasional visit—especially if you struggle with clipping your canine’s claws. A bath will probably run you $40–50, while full-on grooming (nails, ears, etc.) will likely cost $80–100.

As mentioned, Dobermans are fairly low maintenance, so you shouldn’t need to hit up the groomer more than a few times a year.

Toys, Treats, Beds, & Accessories

Ah, the two Ts of dog ownership: toys and treats. Does anything else really matter to a spoiled pooch? To keep spoiling Spot, you’ll want to earmark $50–100 for toys and a similar amount for treats.

Is your Dobie getting bored of the same old snacks and playthings? Spice up their life with a monthly BarkBox subscription. The $23/month tier gives you access to 2 bags of treats, 2 plush toys, and a meaty chew every four weeks. Step it up to $29/month, and you’ll receive the Super Chewer box—2 bags of treats, 2 Doberman-proof chew toys, and 2 whole meaty chews. DOUBLE YOUR FIRST BOX FOR FREE!

Don’t forget to set aside some pocket change for other necessities like:

  • Dog beds ($50–100) 
  • Leash and collar (~$30)
  • Dog brush ($8) 
  • Nail clippers ($12)

Sources:

AKC. Doberman Pinscher History: The Surprising Past Behind the Breed. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/Doberman-pinscher-history-surprising-past-behind-breed/

Doberman Pinscher Club of America. Breed History. https://dpca.org/breed/breed-history/

Doberman Pinscher Club of America. Health. https://dpca.org/breed/health/

PetMd. Doberman Pinscher. https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/c_dg_Doberman_pinscher

Written by: Samantha Erb

May 31, 2022