The American Kennel Club official *Standard* for the Doberman does an excellent job at describing the temperament of this ultimate guard dog.
The *ideal* Doberman temperament is:
Loyal and Obedient
The IDEAL Doberman is a stable, confident and FEARLESS dog or bitch. Correct temperament is so important in the Doberman that it is emphasized in the Standard by a directive to judges.
“The judge MUST dismiss from the ring any animal that is SHY or VICIOUS.”
The Doberman temperament is the “essence and persona” of what the doberman is and what sets it apart from other breeds and even other breeds of Working dogs.
It is the APPEARANCE and TEMPERAMENT that make up what the Doberman breed is distinctive for among all of the dog realm.
ENERGETIC—this trait is NOT an exaggeration! The Doberman is on the go. He is an active and involved dog, making himself a central part of the family and family activities. He requires intense and close contact with people of his family and has a very high activity level, requiring lots of exercise. Because of this need to be on the go, it makes this breed vulnerable to running and extreme bursts of speed which can be dangerous if not in a fenced yard or confined perimeter. Thus it is imperative that the yard and property be fenced securely. The Doberman is extremely obedient, however commands given to COME can be inadvertently missed by the Doberman when actively running and can lead to tragic consequences by running into a road or highway, only to be struck or even killed in his exuberance to stretch his legs.
A young Doberman is into everything and requires the family to keep an eye on him and puppy/dog proof the house and yard until he is trained and understands what he can and cannot do. They are very much like a curious toddler, interested in anything that is new and searching to investigate everything. And the fact that they are so high energy, coupled with their natural curiosity and investigative tendencies, makes it necessary to scrutinize the Dobermans activities so he doesn’t get into trouble.
WATCHFUL—The Doberman is aware and on guard. It’s part of his ongoing personality. He doesn’t miss a thing! This is a very important trait in an effective guard and watch dog. He MUST be aware of his environment at all times. His hearing and sense of smell is astonishing. These two senses are the primary tools that the Doberman uses to evaluate his world at all times. Sight is important, but secondary. Sight is effective to guard dogs, however “hidden” foes or danger can only be picked up by smell or sound. The Doberman will investigate any and all possible intruders, sometimes to the annoyance of their owners, as they will be up and in the check it out frame of mind. This is NOT a quiet dog, content to ignore his environment and stay curled up and snoozing. He is up and on the go at any possible noise, smell or sight of a possible threat.
DETERMINED—This trait can be appreciated in the Doberman when they are relentless in pursuing a threat to their family. They are not easily deterred from their “job” of guard and protection, and take the threat on the family totally seriously, and will not give up the protest until assured that “it’s all right, now”. This “determined” attitude also makes it a challenge to train a Doberman at times, as he definitely has his opinion about everything. But with patience, kindness and proper discipline, you will prevail in conveying your will and wishes on the Doberman. The result will be a well trained and incredibly responsive companion that will gladly come between a threat and his loving family.
The key to success with the Doberman is to be MORE determined in pursuing your training of him, than he is determined to resist. The Doberman needs something to do with his time and is a willing partner in family activities, and will develop into a perfect gentleman and good citizen.
ALERT—The Doberman is always aware of his surroundings. He is on guard and on duty at all times. He doesn’t miss a thing and is responsive and will check out anything that alerts him to possible danger to his family.
FEARLESS—The Doberman standing alertly—staring at the danger—ears held totally up and eyes focused on the threat. Woe to the foolish man who doesn’t think the Doberman will stand his ground and dare the intruder to go through him. It is this stance and attitude and lightening fast
reflexes and responses that, coupled with the Dobermans totally fearless and confident attitude, that make him the absolute PREMIER protection and guard dog, as well as cherished pet and family companion and comrade. He is unflappable when danger is present.
LOYAL AND OBEDIENT—These qualities make the Doberman more than simply a weapon for guard and protection. Only total devotion to family is what the Doberman’s job is everyday. He is focused on his family and wants to please and do exactly what they want him to do. He will bond and attach himself to the family and execute his role as companion and protector like no other breed can.
All of these wonderful traits blend and combine in the Doberman temperament to produce the end result of a devoted, loving and protective dog that is unique and truly admired in the dog world.
DPCA Public Education Committee