Dobermann FAQ

Is the Dobermann a dog for me?

The Dobermann is a great breed and those that have them would never want another breed, they are definitely NOT for everyone. Dobermanns in need a person who can be their "pack leader", the person must be able to take charge when the need arises. Too many people jump into owning a Dobermann without thought as to what that "cute" puppy is going to be like when he reaches adulthood and is a 45 kilogram male.

How large is a Dobermann? How much do they weigh?

Height at the highest point of withers:
Dogs: 68 - 72 cm
Bitches: 63 - 68 cm

Dogs: about 40 - 45 kg
Bitches: about 32 - 35 kg

The appearance is that of a dog of medium size, with a body that is square. 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 picture of a dog.

How long do they live?

They generally live to an average of around 9 years. They can live longer but in general they are relatively healthy until around age 8 - 10.

What do they eat and about how much?

Because of their high energy level they should be fed a high quality, well balanced food. Adults will eat from 2-5 cups of food a day depending on the individual dog’s metabolism and how much activity they are getting. Good quality, balanced food will help to keep the coat healthy and reduce shedding.

Where should they live/sleep?

A Dobermann that gets a lot of exercise and interaction with family makes an excellent housedog but he must have a secure area to run and play in. He should be taken for a good walk/run at least every few days. A Dobermann that does not get sufficient exercise may be too active to enjoy in the house. Because of their curious nature and high activity level it is best for young dogs to sleep in a confined, secure place such as a crate. This assures that the dog does not “accidentally” get into trouble during the night when he wakes up and is unsupervised. Older, mature dogs that have proven themselves trustworthy housedogs can be allowed to sleep loose.

Dobermanns cannot be outside dogs and they can not be ignored. An ignored Dobermann will become bored very easily, barking, digging and general destruction both indoors and outdoors can result.

What are the grooming needs of a Dobermann and how often should they be done?

Maintenance of the Dobermann is minimal compared to many other breeds but there are still some areas that require attention.
Good dental health is also a must. You can clean his teeth or encourage him to chew on toys that are designed to clean teeth and stimulate gums.

Toenails should be kept short. It is best to do them once a week, if they are too long the dog will be walking on the nails, as opposed to walking on pads of the feet which can result in sore, splayed feet.

Yes, Dobermanns do shed; their dark hairs do get on clothing and furniture! Grooming with a rubber grooming glove will keep the skin stimulated and the hair healthy and will remove the dead hairs before they fall off on the furniture. A healthy, parasite free, clean Dobermann will shed the least possible.

How much exercise do they need; how frequently?

A Dobermann must have exercise every day, if you are not able to take him for a walk in the park, throwing a ball in your yard for him to fetch would be a good substitute. He should go for at least a couple of off lead runs a week. If you really can’t manage that, a brisk morning and evening walk or jog are essential. As stated above, if a Dobermann does not get enough attention and exercise he will become bored and destructive.

What toys and supplies do I need to buy?

Most Dobermanns like toys that they can fetch. It is a good idea to teach your dog early on to chew on toys that will result in good dental health. Cow hooves or raw (large) bones are good for helping reduce the tarter on their teeth. Some dog toys should be given to the dog only when supervised. These types of toys can be dangerous if the dog eats them rather than just chewing them - most Dobermanns are inclined to chew things up.

A crate is a must. It should be large enough for the dog to stretch out in, stand up and turn around but not so large that it does not provide the secure 'den' feeling that dogs enjoy. There are various types of crates, usually wire and plastic.

Collars with tags marked clearly with the address and contact numbers should be worn by dogs when they are outside.

Are they good with children?

Dobermanns are usually excellent with children when raised with children. They seem to understand that infants and very young ones need care and protection and tend to be tolerant of little ones’ play. This is not to say that an exuberant pup will not knock a toddler down in play or accidentally bite to grab a toy.

When visiting a litter you may find the dam aggressive and protective of her brood and should respect that for what it is. You also may encounter a Dobermann alarmed at the antics of small children which should be explainable by asking if the dog has ever been exposed to youngsters.

Are they easy to train?

Yes, very. Dobermanns are very intelligent and eager to please. They will work hard for positive reinforcement. They pick up new exercises very quickly. Due to their high intelligence level, the biggest challenge is to keep them focused, and not let them get away with 'inventing' variations to the exercise being taught. Because of the breed's extreme sensitivity to people the trainer must always be watchful of their own body language and reactions to issues that come up during a training exercise. A calm demeanor, rewarding desired behaviour quickly and clearly, while ignoring or, if necessary giving a simple verbal correction for undesired behaviour will ensure an enthusiastic and talented working partner.

Should I crate train my Dobermann?

ABSOLUTELY!! If introduced properly and in a positive manner, it becomes a safe haven and a secure 'den' for any breed of dog. This way the dog has a place to go when things get too hectic and he needs a break. When he has to travel, his 'home' can come with him and he is not unsettled by the situation. He is protected from himself when there is no one to supervise him. It is very unfair to leave a young, unsupervised Dobermann alone in the house and expect him to be good! When you come home and he has done something wrong, nobody is happy! When he is safely in his crate and you come home you know that you can enjoy your dog and he can enjoy you without the trauma of a big, unexpected mess. Last, but certainly not least, if your dog is ever ill and is required to stay in a crate, either at home or at the vet, it will help his recovery if he is comfortable resting in his 'den' rather than feeling like he is trapped in a cage he is not used to.

General Advice

If you are thinking of rehoming or purchasing a Dobermann please source as much information as possible about the breed, even if you have had one before. There is a wealth of up-to-date information on the internet and many good books available which make interesting and informative reading.

Telephone one of the rescue/rehoming co-ordinators, they will be more than happy to give you advice if you are considering bringing a Dobermann into your home.

Dobes require a great deal of time, love, understanding and exercise especially when adjusting to a new environment, however, your new companion will reward you a hundred fold.

Many of the following points may seem obvious, but sadly they are the reason that so many dogs need rehoming, not only Dobermanns.

Some Points to Consider

Never buy a Dobe for your child. If you do buy a puppy and have children, please make sure that you teach them how to behave with and respect the dog as well as training your Dobermann. A puppy is not a toy.

Before you bring a Dobe into the family, make sure that it’s wanted by ALL members in particular the person who will be the main carer. For example a father may buy a puppy expecting his wife to care for and train the dog. His wife may have no experience with animals, never mind time for training a puppy whilst looking after the family. This situation can result in the dog being unwanted and ending up in a rescue kennel. Disaster for all.

Ensure you have a secure garden with a fence of a reasonable height. Dobes are excellent jumpers!

Generally flats are not a suitable environment for a Dobermann and your home will need its own secure garden.

If you don't have time to exercise a dog, then you should not consider having a Dobermann. Puppy’s require restricted exercise, but soon enough they will need a good long daily walk, or at least a few times a week.

Dobes are very sensitive to atmosphere so if there is conflict or tension within your family a Dobermann is not for you. The actions of an owner may affect a dog's behaviour.

Dobermanns need to live in a stable environment so if you are considering a move, are unsure about future work patterns or planning a holiday within the next few months rather wait until all is settled before you get your puppy.

Young Dobermanns' require training, socialisation and education in their formative years and are therefore not suitable for owners where they will be left on their own for the majority of the day. Dobes enjoy home comforts and being part of the family unit.

Dobermanns need company and want to be part of the family. Isolation and exclusion could trigger anxiety and behavioural problems which can be difficult to correct.

Before you decide to have a Dobermann please consider the needs of the dog and whether your circumstances are compatible with the requirements of this breed.

Break the rules and you will surely be one of the many who have brought the breed into disrepute and cause the Dobermann you selected untold misery.