The Doberman Temperament – Intelligent, Energetic and Loyal
Here's a short story on how the Doberman came to be: In the late 1800's in Germany, Karl Dobermann developed the Doberman Pinscher temperament for a very specific purpose. He needed a dog that would accompany him in his work as a tax collector, and would protect him from robbers and bandits.
Because he also ran the local dog pound, he had the opportunity to combine several breeds to produce the type of dog he wanted. For example, the strong and confident Doberman Pinscher shares these traits with the Rottweiler, which is thought to have contributed to their genetic makeup.
The Doberman is a great breed for the right person who is prepared to meet their specific need for training and exercise, but I can't recommend them for all families. They need quite a lot of of time and effort invested in them to keep them happy.
Fearless and Protective
Initially, the Doberman was bred to be aggressive; after all, they were needed to defend their master. Another important part of the dog’s temperament was trainability, so they only attacked when commanded to do so. These characteristics were ideal for a protection dog, but are totally unsuitable for a household pet.
Modern breeding practices have produced dogs that are much less aggressive, but are still loyal and obedient. In spite of this, studies have shown that this breed is still more likely than others to show aggression towards people they don't know and also other dogs. This means that they need to be well trained to avoid causing harm to others, because of both their tendency towards aggression and their sheer size and strength.
A Breed with a Big Brain
This breed has consistently scored highly in obedience and intelligence tests, indicating that of all the dog temperaments, that of the Doberman is one of the smartest. This means that they are happiest when they have a job to do. Dog sports such as obedience, agility and schutzhund will give your Doberman something to do with his mind, and avoid boredom. Clever dogs with nothing to do will make their own fun, and you may not like what they do.
The Doberman is still a working dog. This dog's temperament is very well suited to working alongside a security guard or police officer, or in the military.
The Effect of Socialization on your Dog's Temperament
An important influence on the Doberman Pinscher temperament is breeding. Some lines tend to be shy, while others are more aggressive. In both cases, early socialization can make a big difference to your Doberman's personality, giving them the opportunity to get used to other dogs and people. It makes life easier if you choose your dog's breeder carefully and make sure you buy a pup that came from even tempered parents.
The Doberman is instinctively protective of their home and family, but they can do this job a bit too well if they aren't trained properly. It's a good idea to continue your dog's obedience training beyond puppy pre-school so that you can control his behavior when you invite friends and family to your home.
Separation Anxiety and the Doberman Pinscher Temperament
It's easy to understand why a dog that was bred to work alongside their owner doesn't like being on their own. Separation anxiety can be a real problem with this breed, and they are happiest when living in close proximity with their family. If they are left alone all day while you are at work, you can expect your belongings to be chewed and your neighbors to complain about the barking.
This separation anxiety is made worse if your Doberman doesn't get enough physical exercise or mental stimulation. These athletic and intelligent dogs need a job to do, whether it be dog sports or protection work. Don't think you can leave your dog to their own devices in the back yard, and have a happy pet.
In spite of their fearsome appearance and their aggressive reputation, the Doberman Pinscher temperament is usually soft, affectionate and people loving. However, think carefully before you welcome this breed into your family, as they can be hard work to raise properly and to live with. They really are best suited to a committed owner who is well aware of what needs to be done to bring out the best in the Doberman.
Other Working Dogs
The Doberman Pinscher as already mentioned is working dog and falls in the dog group known as the Working Group. Dogs in this group are strong, large, and excel at tasks such as rescue, pulling, and gauarding. It should come as no suprise to you that they are typically smart, resourceful, fast learners and make great companions. To decide if another breed might be a better fit for you, check out the temperaments of other dogs that fall in the Working Group:
- Alaskan Malamute temperament
- Bullmastiff temperament
- Boxer temperament
- Akita temperament
- Great Dane temperament
- Great Pyrenees temperament
- Bernese Mountain dog temperament