OF THE DOBERMANN
was created by Herr Louis Frederic Dobermann around a hundred years
ago around the Thuringen
area. Herr Dobermann was a tax collector, and an official dog catcher.
To protect him in his tax collecting duties, he bred using some
of the stray dog population to create a guard dog with a strong
mouth, courage, highly protective nature and hardness. Regrettably,
there are no clear records to confirm the true basis of the breed,
but it is highly likely it includes a black and tan Butcher's dog,
a Pinscher of some type and probably local sheepdogs.
Otto Goeller, owner of the famous v. Thuringen Kennels and founder
of the Dobermann Pinscher Club Apolda (which later became the National
Dobermann Pinscher Club of German), is credited with being the architect
of the breed, and he believed the Dane, the German Shepherd dog,
a shorthaired gundog and the German Pinscher were important parts
in the origins of the breed. Latterly, Herr Phillip Gruenig felt
it unlikely that the shoulder height would have been able to have
been raised from 40cm to 70cm within 30 years, and therefore he
did not feel the Pinscher could have been part of the breed's early
origins. The Greyhound seems to have featured very strongly in the
breeds development, but, one of the strongest indications of a definite
predecessor is the Beauceron of France. In both breeds there are
specimens who are brown & rust, blue/fawn & rust, both breeds
have the same hereditary genetics in which black is dominant over
the other colours. However the breed originated, we are blessed
with the noble Dobermann of today who still contains many of the
attributes of its' antecedents, but who are able to live in our
homes and be part of our families.
Do they need
much exercise? Yes, at least 90 minutes daily, free running
and road walking, but more than that, they require mental stimulation
- such as obedience, agility and thinking games. Dobermanns are
a working breed, and if you took a Collie from
a farm and expected it to be housebound 24/7, it won't be happy.
An excellent book is Think Dog by John Fisher; ideal for the new
Dobermann owner for ideas on how to keep this highly intelligent
breed amused. No dog is suitable to be left alone all day whilst
its' owners go out to work, but with intelligent breeds like the
Dobermann for example, it is a recipe for disaster. Left alone with
nothing to do, rather like leaving a 5 yr old child to its' own
devices, breeds like this can become destructive and highly frustrated.
One of the most frequent problems is that once the novelty of the
puppy has worn off, the dog can become as disregarded as the old
couch in the corner. We all lead busy lives, but some people forget
that the dog, especially the young dog, needs a lot of individual
attention and time. You wouldn't (hopefully) ignore your child all
the time, so why do the same with the dog. When we're asked 'how
do I stop my dog misbehaving in the house/nipping clothes/ankles/being
destructive/crazy when the kids come home from school etc' I ask
the owner - 'what is this dogs' purpose in life?' 'What is his job?'
If you treat him like he's nothing, and ignore him for much of the
day, don't be suprised if he directs his frustration to bad behaviour'.
This is such a smart breed. Don't buy a Dobe unless you have time
and mental energy to devote to teaching the dog to do more than
Is there any
difference between English bred and European bred dogs in character? No
more than one could categorise a breed's general character from
one country to another, or one person from their sister or brother's
character, can one can determine a dogs' character on where it was bred
- we are all different. Many breeders and exhibitors in the UK are
sadly divided over this question as there is a minority view that
European dogs are hard work and troublesome. However, apart from the usual Dobermann character traits, European bred Dobermanns
are usually higher driven than their UK counterparts,
as dogs throughout Europe are worked/trained, whereas the UK have a general culture
of not doing any mental stimulation with dogs in this country and making
breeding selection only on looks, not character or working/trainability.
If you ask any of
the 'pro English' if they have ever actually lived with a full European
Dobermann, they would say no. This misconception is
usually from the less educated and those with a
little Britain mentality! (One kennel who proclaims full English lines are based in their third generation on a Belgian import from a very strong working kennel). European
Dobermanns are not generally considered for breeding (except by lower quality breeders) unless they have passed a fit for breeding test - ZTP. This encompasses
character (crowd pressure behaviour/attitude to other dogs), conformation
standards (head measurements, height measurement), health tests
(heart, eyes, hips) and working (obedience/protection) ability,
and only on achieving a high pass grade and certificate can a dog
be registered. Dogs of inferior character or conformation
may not be bred from. The European Dobermann must therefore demonstrate
an ability to work in line with what it was originally bred for. No
more than one can take a working Collie from a farm and expect it
to do nothing all day, neither should a Dobermann have to do so. That is going to send any intelligent animal
mad, which is why when they start to behave with boredom and frustration,
people can't cope with it because they don't know how to guide or
train a dog. They then try to dominate the dogs by 'showing them who's
boss', creating defensive behaviour n them, which when leads to
potential aggression- not something that works well with any breed.
At Aritaur we have
full English, full European, and half and half with some American
bloodlines. Our European import Ken-Ti's Babalouba bitch is high
driven with a huge requirement to work but not the strongest character - possibly more due to an eye condition making her naturally defensive.
Her cousin Asia (Dominatrix) half UK, quarter American and quarter Dutch,
wouldn't get out of bed for less than a full cooked breakfast! She
has no drive to work and her sire was particularly laid back. She is, however, the Alpha female and everyone naturally defers to her withouit her having to ever lift a lip. One of our full
English bitches is always up on her toes, never sitting still for
one moment, always up for games or walks, her brother is a steady
well balanced, easy going dog. There is no hard and fast rule -
they are all different, and anyone who makes generalisations about
Euro v UK temperaments perhaps think they know more about the Dobermann than they do. We have used Volhard character testing for many years to identify
individual character traits compatible with new owners' requirements.
We are proud not to breed Dobermanns, not Labra-Dobermanns.
How much does
a Dobermann puppy cost? Around £850-£950, maybe
more depending on the bloodlines of the litter. You should be supplied
with 6 weeks free insurance as standard, a complete puppy pack including
food guide, worming having already been done. Do not always expect
vaccinations to be done - these are usually done at 8 weeks, although
Aritaur puppies are vaccinated pre-sale. KC Reg papers should always be available
by the time your puppy is ready, although sometimes paperwork errors
can occur causing delays. If in any doubt about the breeder, call
the Kennel Club on 0844 770 5235 to ensure pups are registered and
that the breeder holds a kennel name. I gather some people (who are
never seen at shows or working) are charging £1000 for puppies.
Without full health tests and no more than any usual stud fee, this
is a rip off. That said, if you come across someone charging under
£500, they are unlikely to be health testing
and may not be breeding with the more quality dog or bitch.
What health tests
should the parents have done? As much as is feasible. For more information about health in our
breed, click HERE. Some breeders
don't bother to have any tests done on parents. Very few do all tests. We test for Von Willebrands, Heart (DCM), Eyes (PHPV),Thyroid
and Hips. You are making a substantial investment both financially
and emotionally. Would you buy a car without any checks? There are
no guarantees, but breeders should at least do the best they can. In 2009, around 4% of annually registered Dobermanns were hip scored and less than 0.1% were heart tested. You decide.
How many litters
should a breeder have? If a breeder has more than three litters
at one time, they would in many people's opinions, be breeding commercially.
Not all breeders keep puppies from each litter, and three-four
litters per year is generally acceptable for the show/working communities. If a breeder says 'we always have puppies', they are breeding commercially.
If there have
been no health tests, we would not recommend them.
Should I see
both parents? You should always expect to see the Dam, but not
often the Sire. Most quality breeders do not use their own dogs
on their bitches although there can be occasions when this is done,
for example if someone has brought in a dog for that purpose. If
you can't see the Dam, do not buy from the breeder.
What should I
look for when buying a puppy? Happy, confident puppies who readily
come forward to meet newcomers. Any litter hiding at the back of
the box should be left alone - do NOT feel sorry for litters
or puppies displaying lack of confidence or fear - you might manage
it when they are young, but when you have an adult terrified of
everything, you will end up with fear aggressors - virtually impossible
to cure. Puppies should have shiny coats, be clean - not left in
litter pens with faeces and urine everywhere. Additionally, you
might not want the puppy who launches him/herself at you, tugging
your sleeves etc, unless you particularly want a worker. This puppy
might be a little too much to cope with for the owner just wanting
a steady companion. A good breeder who knows their puppies characters,
should be able to point out the best puppy for you rather than let you have the choice on looks alone.
should my puppy have? This is up to the individual breeder,
however, no-one can guarantee future health of a dog any more than
we can guarantee our own health. Look on our puppy page for details
of what we offer.
puppies from puppy farms? These sad little
dogs and their poor Mothers are purely money making machines. They
are raised without love, the Mothers are usually mated as soon as
they come back into season, and puppies are literally raised in
outdoor pens and sold en masse to dealers such as PupsRUs in Manchester. They have no toys to play with or any emotional stimulus;
their Mothers can't teach them anything as they've never benefitted
from living with humans themselves. Their living conditions are barren, they
learn no human interaction which is so vital in order for them to
become integrated in our homes. Good breeders are in with those puppies every
day, playing with them, loving them and teaching them how to behave
with us. Puppies from such places know no love or human contact
in these vitally important formative stages. Incredibly, the Welsh
Assembly had actually given financial grants to some farmers to
help them diversify their farming! A recent demonstration in Cardiff
showed the depth of feeling from caring dog owners to this shameful
decision and the Welsh Assembly have now backed away from those decisions. If you buy a puppy from dealers - it will have come from
a farm in Wales or one of the puppy factories in Ireland. However, not all Welsh or Irish breeders are puppy farmers,
and if you visit their homes, you will be reassured. No farmer would
have you come direct to them - no-one would buy if they saw these
rows upon rows of miserable dogs in barren kennels. They either
sell via dealers or deliver. NEVER accept a delivered
puppy however cheap. Don't always be fooled by price. We heard of
one breeder recently, selling their puppies for £1000, - no
health checks, and they are raised outside by a breeder having had
9 litters last year. No breeder having that many litters can devote
those puppies the time and attention they need.