Updated 17 April 2024
Read time: 5 mins
article author
Written by Elle Padgham
Lead Copywriter
The Dobermann is an impressive specimen of a dog that has a reputation for being ‘hard’. The truth is, many are sloppy and affectionate and wouldn’t hurt a fly. Having said this, they are a powerful dog and are sometimes owned by the ‘wrong’ type of person as a status symbol or guard dog.

The Dobermann is known to suffer from a range of health issues so owners should make themselves aware of what medical conditions they may develop. It is important to source your Dobermann from a reputable breeder who performs screening tests on their breeding dogs. Health insurance is strongly advised.

Breed history

The Dobermann has a truly interesting and unique history. A man name Karl Dobermann can be credited with their existence. He was a tax collector who had an interest in breeding and developing dogs. As his job could be precarious, he needed a dog who would protect him while he worked. He developed what he thought was the ‘ideal’ companion by mixing breeds such as the Beauceron, Rottweiler and German Shepherd until he hit on what he believed to be the ‘perfect’ dog.

The first Dobermann was bred in the late 1800’s. Since then, they have been used by the police, army and other organisations who have admired their dedication and skills. As the Dobermann moved from his role as ‘worker’ to ‘pet’ many were bred to be more affectionate and sociable.

General appearance

Tall and striking to look at, the well-muscled Dobermann has a long muzzle and athletic frame. While some dogs may have their ears cropped or tails docked, this practice is largely falling out of favour and is deemed unethical and illegal in many parts of the world, including the UK.

Though most Dobermann dogs are black and tan, individuals can also be blue, red or fawn coloured. All dogs are bi-coloured and have beautiful and distinctive markings.


If only one word could be used to sum up the Dobermann, it would have to be ‘loyalty’. This is a dog that will truly dedicate itself to its owner. If asked, they will keenly guard both their owner and their territory. Alert and watchful, they make both an excellent watch dog and guard dog.

These dogs can be strong-willed and need a firm hand to point them in the right direction. Early, positive socialisation is key to avoid them being aggressive when new people enter your home.

Highly intelligent, this breed dislikes when they are left to their own devices for too long and needs to be given a task to keep them occupied. Without sufficient stimulation, they can become destructive and may bark excessively.

Health considerations 

Sadly, the Dobermann is known to suffer from quite a few medical issues so we need to ensure they are regularly checked over by their vet.

Wobbler’s syndrome. Compression on the spinal cord causes a wobbly gait and associated pain. Signs are usually seen in young or middle-aged dogs. As well as a wobbly walk, your dog may be stiff and experience neck pain. An MRI is a good way of diagnosing the orthopaedic disease. Surgery may be required to prevent things from worsening.

Von Willebrand’s Disease. This is a blood clotting disease that should be screened for before breeding a dog or before a Dobermann needs to undergo surgery. Those affected find it more difficult to clot their blood so are more prone to bleeding.

Osteosarcoma. A cancer of the bone, an osteosarcoma causes a severe lameness due to intense pain. The appearance of the lesion on an X-ray is said to be like a ‘sunburst’ as the bone is so unrecognisable, it looks to have ‘burst’ open like the rays coming from the sun. Usually, treatment includes leg amputation to prevent spread of this aggressive cancer.

Bloat. Larger dogs are prone to this condition whereby their stomach fills with gas and liquid and rotates on its axis. The stomach contents are then trapped inside and the stomach fills up like a balloon. Affected dogs will pant and pace and will have a visibly distended abdomen. Treatment is surgery to de-rotate the stomach and release its contents. At the same time, vets can perform a procedure called a ‘gastropexy’ to prevent bloat from reoccurring.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy. This heart disease causes the heart muscle to become thin and weak. Owners may notice lethargy, pale gums and fainting episodes.


The Dobermann is a pro when it comes to being trained to guard property and similar tasks. Protection is in their blood. Equally, their intelligence means that they can pick up on a wide range of other duties relatively quickly.

It is important that all family members participate in the training and that the Dobermann is clearly taught what is expected of them from day one. While it can be cute for a 3-month-old to jump up and slobber all over you, if your 2 year old Dobermann is doing this to strangers on the street, it’s not so cute! Start as you mean to go on and be firm but fair when it comes to the rules. Remember, dogs thrive on consistency and routine.


The short coat of the Dobermann is easy to maintain and they only need a quick brush each week. They should be allowed to wear their claws down on surfaces such as roads and pavements. For those not given enough opportunity to naturally wear their claws down, they will need regular trims.


Provide a good 1 to 2 hours of exercise each day to keep this breed happy. Try to vary it up with a mixture of hikes, scenting trails, agility courses and other activities. 

Feeding considerations

Dobermann puppies grow quickly and require specific puppy food to support their growing frame. Pooch & Mutt’s Puppy Superfood is a great choice to ensure optimal development. Ingredients such as lean protein sources and salmon oil are easy to digest and help to support a healthy skin and coat.

You'll find a handy feeding calculator on every product page here at Pooch & Mutt to help you identify how much of our health led recipes are right for the age, size and weight of your dog.

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