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Doberman: disposition, care and predisposition to diseases


Dobermans are elegant and athletic dogs, with a noble figure, which we can see in various types of films - often as villains ?

Excellent defenders, trackers, family dogs, and war heroes.

Doberman is a dog breed that combines several contradictions.

It used to be at the forefront of the most popular breeds in the world, especially in the USA, today a little less popular, but still lovers can be found around the globe.

They belong to Group 2 FCI, section 1 (Pinschers and Schnauzers).

  • History of the breed
  • Doberman breed description
  • Doberman disposition
  • Doberman care
  • Doberman feeding
  • Doberman disease
    • Dilated cardiomyopathy
    • Von Willebrand disease
    • Hip dysplasia
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Urethral sphincter failure
    • Unsteadiness syndrome
    • Chronic hepatitis
    • Hypersensitivity to sulfonamides
    • Leafy pemphigus
    • Albinism
    • Primary seborrhea
    • Acne
    • Heterotopic osteochondrofibrosis
    • Doberman Dancing Team
    • Less common diseases that occur in Dobermans:
  • Is it worth choosing a Doberman?

History of the breed

A breed created in the 19th century in Germany.

The creator who gave them their name was Louis Doberman, most likely a tax collector and hycel (there are conflicting reports about the work that Mr. Doberman did).

He wanted to create an incorruptible and very courageous dog that he could rely on and protect.

And this is how the prototype of today's Doberman was created, which combines many breeds (it is not sure which ones), including:

  • german shepherd,
  • rottweiler,
  • pinscher,
  • greyhound,
  • Manchester Terrier,
  • beauceron.

After the death of Louis Doberman, the breed began to be refined and refined.

Doberman's defense and tracking skills were appreciated, these dogs were often police dogs in Germany.

Their popularity grew, and it was decided to use their strength, cunning and endurance in the army.

Dobermans took an active part in both World War I and II.

The US Marines used these dogs during the invasion of the Pacific Islands.

It was a scout dog, warning of the enemy, able to find a camouflaged sniper, warned of mines.

Many American soldiers were saved in this way, and many dogs were killed in doing so.

Their courage was appreciated and after the war a monument commemorating these wonderful dogs was erected.

Wehrmacht soldiers also used Dobermans as military dogs, they were trained there to be very aggressive dogs, hence maybe their notoriety began.

After World War II, dobermans were practically extinct. They were recreated by Werner Jung, and today's Dobermans are the descendants of the few that Werner chose.

Until a few years ago, Dobermans were unfairly created to be aggressive, sharp, slightly scary dogs. It was because of the movies they played in.

One thing is for sure:

in the wrong hands these wonderful dogs can be really dangerous.

Doberman breed description


Doberman is a dog with a silhouette inscribed in a square, well but not overly muscular, medium size, with a proud attitude.

The size for a dog is 68-72 cm at the withers, with an average weight of 40-45 kg, and for a bitches 65-68 cm at the withers, with an average weight of 32-35 kg.

Doberman is a companion, protective and working dog.

Doberman exterior appearance:

  • the head is strong, in proportion to the body, with a marked frontal furrow and a slightly marked foot,
  • muzzle strong and deep, wide nostrils, dry (not pendulous), lips close fitting,
  • scissor bite,
  • eyes dark, oval in shape,
  • ears set high, half-broken, were once copied, nowadays this procedure is forbidden in Poland,
  • neck dry, long, well-muscled,
  • Deep chest with well sprung ribs, well defined forechest,
  • back is short, well-muscled,
  • loins broad, well-muscled,
  • rounded, muscular croup,
  • tucked up belly,
  • forelimbs - straight, strong,
  • HINDQUARTERS - Strong, parallel, with well-developed muscles of the thighs and rump,
  • paws with clearly arched (cat's) toes,
  • tail - set high, once copied to the 2nd caudal vertebra, now long.

The Doberman moves elegantly, freely and flexibly.

Dobermann robe


  • the hair is very short, tight, dense and hard,
  • there is no undercoat.

FCI recognized ointments:

  • black,
  • chocolate.

Both with a chestnut, clearly demarcated fire, present:

  • on the muzzle,
  • single spots on the cheeks,
  • above the eyes,
  • on the underside of the neck,
  • on chest,
  • on the wrists, pasterns and metatarsus,
  • on the inside of the thighs and shoulders,
  • on the underside of the tail.

There are also other ointments, such as:

  • sky blue,
  • isabella,
  • white - albino.

These ointments are not recognized by the FCI because skin diseases such as e.g. alopecia with thinning of the dye.

Doberman disposition

Doberman disposition

The Doberman is an excellent defender, extremely courageous, but also a friendly dog, devoted to his family.

The character of a Doberman is influenced by the breeding he comes from, as well as our approach to the dog and its training. There are no dogs that are bad by nature.

What the dog will become depends to a large extent on us and we will lead such a dog on it.

Doberman is a very intelligent dog. He is prone to training, which is even a duty with this breed.

He is a dog very willing to work, he catches all commands in no time, but it does not mean that everyone can train him.

I need an experienced tutor. He is a physically strong dog, with a very sensitive psyche, it is very easy to make mistakes in his upbringing.

Dobermans should be trained from the first day of puppies in their new home.

Puppies are very impatient, so the guardian should show a double dose of patience.

Dobermans are bursting with energy, these dogs should have a lot of activities, both physical (agility, frisbee) and mental work (you can start playing with a puppy, e.g. with olfactory mat).

The worst that can happen to them is boredom.

Out of boredom, they can destroy the entire apartment.

Left alone for a long time, it can become a notorious fugitive.

Dobermans show limited trust towards strangers, but they do not react aggressively to them, they are just vigilant.

The family is everything to them and they know how to defend it when it needs to.

He's a single master's dog, the biggest tragedy for him is the change of owner.

Even a few days' breakup is a trauma for him, so you should think about giving your pet back, e.g. to the dog hotel.

They are social dogs, and they feel best when their family is together.

A well-run Doberman is a punishable dog, obedient, it can be said that it is perfect, but in the wrong hands it can become aggressive or overly fearful and therefore sometimes erratic.

Doberman care

Grooming causes no problems at all.

The coat of Dobermans is very short, there is no undercoat, so these dogs do not require bathing.

It is enough to brush it once a week with a rubber brush or a special glove.

This will certainly save us cleaning at home because Doberman hair is often quite difficult to remove from carpets and furniture upholstery.

Due to the lack of an undercoat, Dobermans get cold quickly, so it is worth buying a winter outfit for a Doberman.

Doberman feeding

Dobermans should receive a high-quality, high-energy feed.

The best idea is to buy a ready-made maintenance food because it is well-balanced, which is very important especially for puppies.

If we want to prepare dog food ourselves, we must consult a dog nutritionist, because this breed is sensitive to deficiencies. You may need to use supplements for dogs.

Doberman disease

Dobermans are a mix of different breeds and maybe that is why they are predisposed to a fairly large number of diseases.

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a very common genetic disease of Dobermans.

It consists in the weakening of the heart muscle, as well as its fibrosis.

Initially, the symptoms are very mild, unnoticeable by the owner, who may explain them by the dog's old age.

Typical symptoms appear late, when the disease is already in an advanced stage - that is why prophylactic measures are so important heart echo studies in dobermans.

There is often a sudden malaise and:

  • depression,
  • rapid breathing and shortness of breath, and in advanced cases, pulmonary edema,
  • cough,
  • enlargement of the outline of the abdomen due to the accumulation of fluid there,
  • exercise intolerance,
  • faint,
  • loss of appetite and emaciation.

The heart has a thin wall, the heart muscle has reduced contractility, the entire silhouette of the heart is enlarged, in the X-ray image the heart is round.

Often the disease is accompanied by an abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation).

Diagnosing the disease at a late stage is not difficult, often a stethoscope is enough for the doctor.

The diagnosis is confirmed by X-ray, ECG and the most important of these tests - the heart echo.

What is very important, early diagnosis of cardiomyopathy can be effectively treated and the onset of clinical symptoms can be significantly delayed, thus extending the dog's life a lot.

It is enough to perform prophylactic echocardiography once a year (in dogs at risk) or once every 2 years.

The treatment is mainly used:

  • diuretics (e.g. Furosemide or torasemide as well as spironolactone),
  • vasodilators (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors),
  • drugs that increase the contractility of the heart muscle (pimobendan),
  • antiarrhythmic drugs (digogsin, propranolol).

It is worth supplementing L-carnitine, which has a significant effect on the heart muscle as well unsaturated fatty acids.

The disease is treated for life.

Unfortunately, often in the course of dilated cardiomyopathy, the so-called. sudden cardiac death as a result of arrhythmias.

Von Willebrand disease

Although this disease occurs in many breeds, it is the most common in Dobermans.

It is a blood clotting disorder due to a deficiency of one of the blood coagulation factors - von Willebrand factor.

In Dobermans it is type I - i.e. low concentration of the correct von Willebrand factor (in type II this factor is abnormal, and in III it is completely absent).

A genetic disease.

Symptoms most often appear accidentally, e.g. during surgeries, injections, during heat or tooth replacement.

The bleeding tendency is then increased, from the skin or mucous membranes, as well as, in advanced cases, by bleeding into the gastrointestinal tract.

Minor bleeding usually does not adversely affect the body, while heavy bleeding may result in severe anemia, which sometimes requires blood transfusions.

The bleeding time is prolonged and the prothrombin time is normal.

The disease is diagnosed on the basis of clinical symptoms, as well as the determination of clotting factors, including von Willebrand factor.

There is no standard treatment and dogs diagnosed with the disease are treated prior to surgery, e.g. Desmopressin, be fresh frozen plasma.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia, i.e. its defective shape.

A disease affected by a genetic predisposition, as well as:

  • nutrition,
  • lifestyle,
  • physical activity,
  • speed of growth.

Symptoms depend on the degree of changes in the hip joint.

From slight changes in gait, to typical reluctance to move, to the so-called. rabbit walk.

Importantly, the degree of dysplasia affects the age at which clinical symptoms appear, in advanced cases already in puppies, in milder cases, much later even at 5 - 6 years.

Treatment can be conservative - that is, a change in lifestyle and nutrition, and surgical - and here also, depending on the degree and age of the dog, the appropriate method is selected.


That is, a reduction in the production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland.

The symptoms are non-specific, most often they are skin changes (alopecia, seborrhea, frequent otitis), as well as general symptoms, such as:

  • lethargy,
  • reluctance to move,
  • behavior change.

While Dobermans are inherently thermophilic, this may be more pronounced in hypothyroidism.

Appetite may decrease, and yet the animal may gain weight, often bradycardia, i.e. slow heart rate, and joint and muscle weakness.

The disease is diagnosed on the basis of laboratory tests - a study of the level of thyroid hormones.

Treatment consists of administering synthetic thyroid hormones and periodically controlling their levels.

Urethral sphincter failure

It occurs mainly in sterilized females.

It manifests itself in urinary incontinence, most often due to a deficiency of sex hormones.

It manifests as uncontrolled leakage of urine, usually when the dog is relaxed or asleep.

Treatment is by administration phenylpropalamines, or / and hormone therapy with estrogens in females and testosterone in males.

Unsteadiness syndrome

It occurs in middle-aged Dobermans.

The cause is the compression of the spine in the final section of the cervical spine, due to an overgrowth of ligaments or articular capsules of the intervertebral joints.

This can lead to vertebral disc herniation.

Symptoms are initially slight problems with standing up, the dog begins to walk unsteadily, it may position its hind limbs more widely.

In advanced cases, there is paresis of all limbs and inability to move.

The disease is diagnosed by symptoms, neurological examination and x-ray, as well as myelography and magnetic resonance imaging.

Surgical treatment should be the treatment of choice. Sometimes a dog's condition can be improved by using skeletal muscle relaxants as well as glucocorticosteroids to reduce tissue swelling and thus pressure on the spinal cord.

Chronic hepatitis

Middle-aged dogs, mainly bitches, suffer from chronic hepatitis.

This disease leads to cirrhosis of the liver.

The symptoms are:

  • increased water intake and urination,
  • lack of appetite,
  • losing weight,
  • often chronic mild diarrhea,
  • enlargement of the outline of the abdomen due to ascites,
  • petechiae as a result of blood clotting disorders,
  • jaundice.

The final symptom is hepatic encephalopathy, that is, the state of intoxication of the body with metabolites that the failed liver is unable to cleanse.

It is a disorder that manifests itself in neurological changes such as:

  • distorted appetite (eating inedible things, e.g. stones),
  • rapid breathing,
  • apathy,
  • pushing your head against obstacles,
  • seizures - epilepsy-like seizures.

Diagnosis is made on the basis of blood tests (elevated levels of ALT and ALP transaminases, and sometimes bilirubin, decreased albumin), as well as ultrasound of the liver and abdominal cavity (reduced and altered liver, often accompanied by an enlarged spleen).

Treatment consists of:

  • fluid therapy (intravenous drip),
  • administration of glucocorticosteroids in immunosuppressive doses,
  • administering choleretic preparations.

Due to the fact that the disease is chronic and does not manifest itself for a long time, blood tests should be performed periodically (preferably at least once every six months in dogs over 5 years of age).

Hypersensitivity to sulfonamides

Not all Dobermans exhibit this hypersensitivity.

After administration of drugs from this group, you can observe an allergic reaction, such as e.g.:

  • hives,
  • swelling of the mouth and paws,
  • sometimes a fever,
  • acute hepatitis.

In rare cases, shock may occur after administration of this class of drugs.

A dog that develops adverse symptoms after administration of these medications requires immediate treatment, mainly with anti-shock doses of glucocorticoids.

Drugs from the group of sulfonamides should be used very carefully in dobermans.

Leafy pemphigus

An autoimmune disease (i.e. when the body produces antibodies against its own cells - it fights itself) has a genetic basis.

It consists in the formation of skin lesions - blisters, and then scabs, on the muzzle, the edges of the ears and the pads.

The lesions are not itchy, they can be painful (in the case of lesions on the bulbs), if left untreated, they can become general and affect the lymph nodes, and cause general symptoms such as:

  • fever,
  • apathy,
  • lack of appetite,
  • reluctance to move.

The diagnosis is made on the basis of cytological examination, histopathological examination of the skin section (presence of acantholytic keratinocytes).

The treatment uses immunosuppressants (suppressing the body's immune response), such as glucocorticoids or azathioprine.

Treatment is life-long.


Vitiligo is a deficiency melanocytes, manifested by discoloration of the skin, mainly of the nose and lips.

It appears in dogs over a dozen months old.

There is no treatment, the disease can be treated as a cosmetic defect.

Primary seborrhea

Genetically determined, overgrowth of sebaceous glands and disturbance of epidermal keratinization.

The first symptoms appear in puppies, the peak of the disease is around 12 months of age.


  • excessive peeling of the skin,
  • unpleasant skin odor,
  • otitis (earwax-hypertrophic inflammation),
  • itchy skin,
  • secondary bacterial and fungal infections are also common.
There is no causal treatment, only symptoms and secondary infections can be relieved.


Acne occurs in young dogs.

The lesions are mainly located on the chin. There are spots and itching in this area.

The affected areas are balding and secondary infections occur.

Treatment consists of the use of dog shampoos with benzoyl peroxide, glucocorticoid ointments, and antibiotics for secondary infections.

Heterotopic osteochondrofibrosis

Heterotopic osteochondrofibrosis is a disease in which in the area of ​​the hip joint, as a result of even minor injuries, and thus minor bleeding, bone-cartilage-fibrous masses appear.

This disease is a complication or a result von Willebrand disease.

It leads to quite severe lameness, most often affecting young Dobermans.

The diagnosis is confirmed X-ray examination.

Treatment consists of surgical removal of the deposits.

Doberman Dancing Team

A disease involving uncontrolled contraction of the calf muscles.

The dog alternately raises its legs up, hence the name because it looks as if it is dancing.

There is no lameness or pain.

Diagnosis is based on clinical symptoms. There is no treatment, but the disease does not cause any discomfort to the dog.

Less common diseases that occur in Dobermans:

  • familial primary hyperlipidemia,
  • diabetes,
  • eosinophilic enteritis,
  • syndrome of acute gastric dilatation and torsion,
  • alopecia with thinning of the dye,
  • primary ciliary dyskinesia,
  • congenital deafness,
  • narcolepsy / catalepsy,
  • glomerulonephritis.

Is it worth choosing a Doberman?

Is it worth choosing a Doberman?

Dobermans are thermophilic dogs, they are suitable for apartment blocks and single-family houses, but due to their short hair and no undercoat, they cannot live outside.

They are not suitable for inactive people, they require a lot of exercise and mental activities. They take up quite a lot of time for the owner.

They need a strong character of a handler who has experience with dogs.

If it is going to be the first dog in the family, you should think carefully and it is best to get to know the breed and talk to the owners of Dobermans.

Dobermans are quite expensive to maintain, they need good karma, and training is quite expensive.

They can suffer from chronic heart disease, and treatment is also associated with constant expenses.

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