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Doberman Breed Guide

Two dobermans lay in a grass field

Amber LaRock Author of Doberman Breed Guide

Dobermans are an intelligent breed with a zest for life. With their striking appearance and fierce work ethic, the Doberman has quickly become one of the most well-known breeds in the country. Whether you want a Doberman as a family pet or are looking for a working canine, we’ll dive into a detailed breed guide to help you better understand the breed going forward.

In this article, we’ll discuss the breed’s history, physical description, police dog attributes, and more. Let’s get started!

Doberman Breed History

The Doberman originated in 19th century Germany where they were originally kept as guard dogs. While the breed did experience a drastic decline during World War 1 due to people being unable to afford the breed, they were survived by the military and police as working dogs.

While some Dobermans remained in Germany up until World War 2, many believe the breed only survived due to so many dogs being brought over to America. As the breed began to trickle away in Germany, the Doberman breed boomed in the states.

To this day, the Doberman is still a well-known working dog in many prestigious positions. While the Doberman does have a reputation for being fierce, breeders have made progress in creating a family dog temperament as well.

Doberman Physical Description

The Doberman’s physical description is one of the main reasons this breed has gained so much popularity over the years. Their muscular build and intimidating appearance have led to a long history in guard dog positions, as well as prestigious roles in police enforcement.

Dobermans can stand up to 28 inches in height and can weigh anywhere from 60-90 pounds. Their sleek frame and muscular build offers a powerful appearance, and their smooth coat adds even more to their beauty.

A Doberman’s fur is short and slick and lies close to their body. Though their fur is always short, their coat colors range from black, brown, red, blue, and fawn. Doberman’s also have the signature “eye brow” markings above their eyes, and often have a different colored mask than the rest of their coat.

Dobermans are extremely athletic and are often filled with energy. Their athleticism and excess energy are what makes them so sought after in the working K9 realm, and leads to them becoming such impressive police dogs. With a lifespan of 10-12 years, a Doberman has years of dedication to offer!


Doberman’s are an extremely intelligent breed with a fierce loyalty to their loved ones. They are always ready for playtime, and enjoy spending every second with those they love most. With having such a high energy drive and being extremely intelligent, the Doberman does require plenty of mental and physical stimulation. When their needs are well met, Dobies can be an incredible family dog.

Due to their loyalty and ingrained need to protect their loved ones, it is extremely important to socialize your Doberman from the moment they enter your home. Exposure to other people and animals can help your Doberman shy away from undesirable habits, and help them be the social and outgoing pup you want in your family. As long as your Dobie is properly socialized, they can easily become a well-rounded member of your family.


As we mentioned above, Dobermans do require quite a bit of physical and mental stimulation. With being such an active breed, this pup thrives on daily exercise to help them become the well-rounded dog they can be. On average, a Doberman requires a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise.

This can include long walks, playing fetch in the yard, playing tug of war, a mentally stimulating game, and any other form of exercise. While this is the average amount of daily exercise you should set aside, some Dobermans require even more.  

Dobermans As Police Dogs

Dobermans have a long history of filling prestigious roles in the working canine world. So why are Dobermans a good choice for a police dog anyway?

Why is a Doberman a Good Choice for a Police Dog? 

Dobermans have been used as police dogs and military dogs for quite some time. Not only is their athleticism perfect for the job, but they are extremely eager to please. With being so intelligent, Dobies can fulfill challenging tasks with ease. Not only is their knowledge impressive, but they are extremely loyal to their loved ones. Because of this, Dobies are wonderful partners in police work.

Why Are They Now Less Common as a Police Dog?

Though Dobermans have been used in police work for years, there is an issue that Doberman’s possess. Due to their short coats and lack of insulation against the elements, Dobermans are not the best option in harsh environments. They are known to overheat with prolonged exercise in warm climates, as well as become too cold in the ladder. While they have the ability to be wonderful working companions, this has resulted in a decline in their use.

Possible Health Problems In Dobermans

While Dobermans can live a generally healthy life of up to 13 years, there are a few health complications that they are prone to. Some of these health problems include:

  • GDV (Bloat)
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Wobblers syndrome
  • Albinism
  • Von Willebrand's Disease
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Chronic Active Hepatitis
  • Hypothyroidism

Though not every Doberman will fall victim to these conditions, it’s best to be aware of the possibility when bringing a Doberman into your life.


Dobermans thrive on a well-rounded diet that sets them up for a healthy future. Diets filled with high-quality protein are essential to achieve lean muscle, as well as added fruits and veggies that offer beneficial vitamins and antioxidants. Not only do the ingredients matter, but so does the targeted age range of the diet in question.

Since Doberman requires different sets of nutrients and calories for each age range, it’s important to offer an age-appropriate diet. For example, if you have a Doberman under the age of 1, they will require a puppy diet for large breed dogs. This will offer them the nutrition they need to thrive, as well as ward off any complications with growth as they age.

Once your Doberman has reached 1 year of age, it’s best to always offer a diet made for large breed dogs. This will cater to dogs with metabolisms similar to Dobies, as well as offer added joint support as they age.

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Since Dobermans have short and sleek fur, they only require minimal grooming. While daily grooming can certainly increase shine and reduce shedding around your home, a quick brushing a few times a week will suffice. Not only do they require minimal brushing, but they should be bathed no more than once a month. Dobermans are relatively clean and odor-free, meaning they should stay fresh for extended periods of time. In terms of grooming, Dobermans are easy to manage.

Is A Doberman The Right Dog For You?

So is a Doberman the right dog for you? To help you make an informed decision, let’s dive into the facts one more time.

  • Dobermans have a high energy level and require a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise
  • Dobermans are extremely intelligent, meaning they require daily mental stimulation
  • Dobermans can be extremely protective, and require socialization from a young age
  • Dobermans need high quality and age-appropriate diet for every life stage
  • Dobermans may not do well in harsh climates (extremely hot or cold)
  • Dobermans are a large breed, meaning they need a home that suits their size

If you are aware of the above qualities and know you can meet each need, then a Doberman can be a wonderful addition to your family. Just be sure to do your research on ethical breeders and rescues in your area when it’s time to find your new furry family member.

Adopting A Doberman 

Dobermans are loyal companions that can be a wonderful addition to any home. Be sure to review the information we discussed above, and you can be better educated on the breed going forward.

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Meet The Author 

Amber LaRock Author of Doberman Breed Guide

Amber LaRock

Vet Tech & Trainer

Amber is a Licensed Vet Tech with a degree in Veterinary Technology. Recently she has specialized in veterinary and animal-related content creation and social media management. When she is not working she loves spending time with her furry friends exploring the outdoors.

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Shana Schank DVM


Shana is a veterinarian, writer and mother of 3. She graduated from Iowa State University, School of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. Dr. Schank has a diverse background including Equine Medicine, Shelter Medicine, and Private Small Animal Practice. Dr. Schank prides herself on being adaptable and able to jump into any situation and work with anyone.

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