Is A Doberman The Right Breed For You?
by Cheryl Gates
Doberman owners need to have fairly well developed leadership and training skills. These are incredibly intelligent, sensitive animals - they'll pick up on fear or uncertainty in the blink of an eye and run with it as far as they can. They can manipulate and control situations and owners in unique ways people never dream of - a lot of them will dominate their owner by being whirling dervishes. They just whirl and spin and generate so much energy they overwhelm their owner - they physically outmaneuver them.
It's very easy to teach them something, more difficult to perfect it. They like to add their own signature or touch to things ... just to see how far they can push the envelope.
All of these factors add up to one thing - you teach a Doberman something
every time you interact with it and that isn't always a good thing. You could be teaching them just how inconsistent YOU are or how easily you'll back down or give up.
Dobermans should have good judgment and respond to the things that happen in life in an appropriate manner. Some are more outgoing than others. There's nothing wrong with a Doberman being aloof with strangers. There's also nothing wrong with a Doberman who trots up and says hi to everyone they encounter.
They're high energy but there's a difference between high energy and hyper. They need quite a bit of exercise but shouldn't be a perpetual motion machine. It's not a good or correct thing for a Doberman to be unable to settle.
They don't tolerate NOT being involved with their family on a constant
basis. Dobermans are highly people oriented. Bored, lonely Dobermans get themselves into trouble, their owners don't enjoy how their dog copes with the boredom and the loneliness. A friend of mine describes them as
requiring a higher level of owner commitment than many other breeds and I think that sums it up pretty well. There has to be a commitment to training, to exercising, to being a leader ... and a strong commitment to the idea of never going to the bathroom by yourself ever again.
Size SHOULD NOT be a matter of personal preference. The Doberman standard has guidelines for height in both sexes with an ideal height listed for each gender. Weight can vary based on the amount of bone the dog has; some are more fine boned then they should be, some have so much bone and substance they're coarse looking. They should be medium sized dogs that are elegant and moderate in appearance.
Older dogs are certainly capable of bonding with new owners - rescue wouldn't be a viable option if the dogs were unable to transfer the bond to new owners. Rescue dogs also have the bonus of having been evaluated by long term Doberman people who are quite good at matching people up with the right dog for them.
Dogs who are best suited for the show ring or performance work will usually be placed in show or performance homes by the breeder. The pet quality puppies from these litters are just that - good pets for people who want a dog for companion purposes only. It's not like they're defective or anything.
Only you can decide if you'd be a good home for a Doberman. I'd hang out
with some for awhile-they might strike that chord within you, they might
drive you right up a wall. There are breeds that appeal to a larger
percentage of the population just as there are breeds who can succeed in a greater number of homes.
We like Dobermans. Lots of people don't. You're definitely going about it in the right way by finding out what the breed is like before you attempt to get one.