Doberman Pros and Cons
Dexter the Doberman (Photo: @doseofdex / Instagram)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on October 04, 2019
Fact Checked

Dobermans are a breed that sometimes get an unfair reputation as aggressive dogs.

While these German dogs are natural-born protectors and make great guard dogs, they can also be loving family pets.

As with any type of dog, Dobermans require consistent and persistent training from a young age.

These intelligent dogs are quick to learn basic obedience, while some members of the breed work with the military and police.

Dobermans might not be a good fit for everyone, depending on your living situation or work schedule.

However, in the right home with the right training, Dobermans can make outstanding pets.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at Doberman pros and cons to give you a clear insight into the breed.

We’ll also get some insights from Dexter the Doberman (@doseofdex).

With the introduction over, let’s examine some of the breed’s plus points.

Pros

Dexter the Doberman (Photo: @doseofdex / Instagram)
Dexter the Doberman (Photo: @doseofdex / Instagram)

Beauty and Brains

There’s no question that the Doberman breed are stunning to look at. These medium-to-large sized dogs have an impeccable, athletic physique. Dobermans are sleek and powerful, growing to a height of 28 inches and weighing as much as 100 pounds. Their coat colors include black, blue, red or fawn with rust markings. Dobermans look elegant but are imposing enough to act as natural deterrents. These German dogs are the sixth most intelligent breed. Dobermans are quick to learn new commands and follow instructions. Therefore, Dobermans are often used as working dogs in the military and police, while they can also act as service animals.

Let’s here from Dexter (@doseofdex):

They are a gorgeous dog (totally not biased) and you will get a lot of attention while out and about with one. On top of that they are very smart and not afraid to use their brains to get what they want.

Versatile

Dobermans can serve a number of different functions within society, proving their amazing versatility. As we mentioned above, the Doberman breed work alongside the military and police due to their athleticism and intelligence. However, they can also work as blind eye dogs or service animals for the members of society who need help in their day-to-day lives. Alternatively, they’re natural guardians so they’ll protect your home as guard dogs. If you want a dog that can excel at agility, look no further than Dobermans. The sporty breed are supreme specimens.

Loyalty and Protection

Dobermans are muscular, fast and powerful. They make the perfect protectors. The American Kennel Club outline in their Doberman breed standard that these dogs should be watchful, determined, alert, fearless and obedient. They become bonded to their dog owner and family members within the home. Dobermans are a breed that will lay down their life to protect their pet parents. Fortunately, these guardians usually do a sufficient job warning off would-be intruders thanks to their well-conditioned appearance alone.

Here’s Dexter (@doseofdex) again:

Their family is their life. Very devoted and very much want to be in the thick of the action.

High Energy

If you’ve got an active lifestyle that involves regular walks, daily runs, or weekly hikes, the Doberman breed should effortlessly slot into your fitness regime. They’re a high energy breed that like to exercise with their pet owners. Their versatility means they can adapt to a wide range of physical activities. If you’re considering a Doberman as a pet, you’ll need to ensure you can give your Dobie the chance to get sufficient excercise and mental stimulation.

Dexter (@doseofdex) adds:

They do tend to mellow out a little as they age, but still have energy to go go go. Mental and physical exercise are important outlets for their energy.

Low Maintenance

Dobermans have a coat that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. The American Kennel Club describes these dogs as a “wash and wear” breed. It’s suggested that a short-bristled brush or a grooming mitt can be used to give a quick, daily brushing. In doing so, you can keep their coat in good shape. Dobermans don’t need regular baths.

Cons

Red Doberman (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Red Doberman (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Health Problems

Dobermans are susceptible to a number of different health problems – so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got your pet insurance in order if you get a Dobie pup. They can suffer from a life-threatening digestive condition called bloat. Hip Dysplasia is another health problem that Doberman owners will need to be aware of. They can struggle with a genetic health condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) and von Willebrand’s disease (a clotting disorder). You’ll want to contact a Doberman breeder who is doing regular health checks and screening on their dogs and puppies.

This is what Dexter (@doseofdex) has to say:

They are not the healthiest breed. Very prone to DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy), with about 57% of the breed getting it. at some point. Any Doberman, no matter if it came from the best and most ethical breeder or the crappiest living situations ever can still get it. vWD, Wobblers, hypothyroidism, albinism…it is important that if someone is looking for a breeder, instead of a rescue, that they find an ethical and responsible breeder that fully health tests their dogs before breeding. Some of these issues can be avoided if you buy responsibly.

Stigma

Most Doberman owners will attest to the fact that they’re dogs have at some point being unfairly stereotyped as “aggressive” or “dangerous”. This is a misconception that Dobie lovers are trying to fight. The breed standard outlines that a Doberman shouldn’t be vicious, especially if the dog is being shown in the ring. On the contrary, Dobermans can be affectionate and loving with their families.

On this issue, Dexter (@doseofdex) writes:

Dobermans are seen as scary dogs, can’t fault people for that, but because of that you can have people ask ridiculous questions (myth about their brain growing too big for skull and attacking owner), or will actively avoid you and your dog on the street. Having a well trained Doberman can help fight the stigma as well as be a good breed ambassador.

Separation Anxiety

Some Dobermans can suffer with separation anxiety. This a condition that comes to the surface when a dog is left at home alone. It can start before the dog owner even exits their residence. The symptoms of separation anxiety include excessive barking or howling, destructive chewing or digging, or defecating or urinating inside the home. Seeing your Doberman struggling with surging levels of anxiety can be an upsetting experience. You can check out our interview with a separation anxiety expert here. While being a velcro dog doesn’t necessarily lead to separation anxiety, Dobermans are usually very attached to their owners and will follow them around the home.

First Time Owners

So you’ve got your heart set on a Doberman but you’ve never owned a dog before. Are you a good fit for a Doberman? With the right preparation and research, you could start with a Dobie. Rather than a Doberman being a good fit for you, the more pertinent question is whether you’re a good for a Doberman. You could consider fostering a Doberman to get a taste of a breed before you decide to get one of these dogs on a permanent basis.

Dexter (@doseofdex) offers some advice on this:

I think as long as someone puts in the time to properly research the breed (temperament, health issues, training, etc) and understand the commitment that goes into owning one, they can be a breed for the first time dog owner. Does this breed fit into my lifestyle? Am I prepared to deal with the potential health issues that can come with a Dobe? Can I put in the time for training? Am I in a living situation that will allow Dobermans or be a good environment for a Doberman?

Same Sex Aggression

Dobermans are sometimes prone to same sex aggression. They can show aggression or try to be dominant towards other dogs of the same sex. Having said that, lots of large dog breeds can happily live in the same home together even if they’re the same sex. However, it’s something to consider if you’ve already got one Doberman and you plan to add another Doberman or dog of the same sex to your household.

Wrapping Up – Our Final Thoughts

Doberman running in the woods (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Doberman running in the woods (Photo: Adobe Stock)

So there you have it, we’ve gone through some of the pros and cons of Dobermans. Like any dog breed, they’ve got their positive and negatives.

If you want to learn more about these German dogs, you could always contact a Doberman owner on Instagram to find out more first hand about the breed.

You’ll also need to give serious consideration to whether you can dedicate sufficient time to train and socialise your Doberman.