Type of Doberman
Nowadays, the overwhelming majority of Dobermans are now solely companions/pets. Even if someone adopts a Doberman with the purpose of showing it, breeding it, or having it serving specific functions as a working dog, chances are the Doberman will also end up being someone’s companion by default. Here is a brief overview of each type, and what they entail:
Also referred to as “Family Doberman” or “Pet Doberman,” the companion Doberman is exactly that: a Doberman that will be a perfect, loyal, friendly and loving companion pet to your family. The Doberman is an incredibly intelligent and sensitive breed that gets attached to humans like no other. It would be fairly difficult to find a family that had a companion Doberman before, and then decided to get another breed.
If you have already done some basic research, you should be well aware by now that the Doberman breed is not for every person or family. It is a relatively high-maintenance breed that requires constant attention from its owner(s) and is very emotionally dependant. If not trained properly, behaviour problems can multiply and amplify over time, and even become a liability.
The Doberman is one of the five most intelligent dog breeds. This can be a benefit as much as a hindrance. If the Doberman is well trained and understands you are in charge, you are in for a positive and rewarding experience. However, when major, average, or even small behaviour occurrences go unchecked, the Doberman will interpret it as an opening to be taken advantage of and will constantly “test” you, for better and for worse.
When getting a companion Doberman, the rule of thumb is you will be required to sign a non-breeding contract with the breeder. This entails the Doberman will be spayed or neutered as soon as medically safe and appropriate, allowing for full development. Depending on several factors, this should happen somewhere between 12-18 months of age.
Because of the “human factor” surrounding dog shows, some people think they are shallow and feel sorry for the dogs. Although this can be true depending on the owner’s priorities, one should keep in mind a simple fact: the purpose of shows is not to give out ribbons and take pictures, but rather to “certify” a dog’s worthiness to be bred.
By no means is this a scientific certification, but when a Doberman has accumulated enough points to win its Championship, it does mean that many different judges have approved, at different level, of its structural qualities and gait in the show ring. In other words, short of having performed appropriate health clearances, it means a Doberman with a Championship preliminarily possesses the structure and gait to be bred.
This may enlighten you as to why most breeders tell you right off the bat that “all of the puppy’s parents and grandparents are Canadian/U.S. Champions” since from a breeder’s perspective, it demonstrates that several neutral parties have acknowledged that the Doberman possesses “breedable” qualities.
This means very little to the untrained buyer, besides thinking the breeder is just bragging and has a ribbon to show for it. Championships are – and should be – a point of pride for breeders, but they are a mean to an end, and should not become the end itself.
Keep in mind that the ultimate objective of winning a Championship is to breed the Doberman in question with the breed standard in mind. As such, show dogs must be “intact”. Consequently, if you are offered – or are interested in – this option, do consider the responsibilities of having an intact Doberman.
You may be interested to become a breeder, in which case you have no doubt done more research than you care to admit - hopefully. The research and the reality associated with breeding the Doberman may have even made you give up on the idea altogether.
If you are still interested to proceed after doing any research at all, you probably know you will need the support and mentorship of an experienced, responsible and ethical breeder, whom you trust and get along with very well. This will not only be to buy a breeding Dam or Sire, but also to learn about the intricacies of a breeding program as well as the time, energy and financial investments it represents.
Short of a breeding Doberman, a co-breeding ownership agreement may be a much more viable option, should you be lucky, organized and prepared enough for an established breeder to seriously consider working with you.
You may also accept to not spay/neuter your “Family Doberman” and have it bred at the appropriate time by the breeder, in which case all “breeding matters” and litters will be taken care of by the breeder until placement of the puppies. Some breeders like this formula as it allows them to keep show-quality prospects without having to keep a dozen Dobermans on their property. Some other breeders will do this on a very small scale, for practical purposes, but also because the home is interested in keeping future puppies from their own Doberman.
If you are offered – or are interested in – this option, do consider the responsibilities associated with having an intact Doberman.
A working dog is usually referred to as one that learns and performs tasks to assist humans. Examples would include service, therapy, search & rescue, herding, hunting, guard, tracking and police dogs, to name a few.
Although highly capable of learning and performing most of these tasks because of its top-level intelligence, strength and athleticism – and historically linked to the more physical jobs known to working dogs – the Doberman is no-longer typically bred to be a working dog.
Originally “engineered” around intelligence, strength and athleticism and bred to “scare & protect” 125 year ago, the overwhelming majority of Doberman breeders have grown to predominantly model their breeding program since World War II around health as well as positive temperament and behavior. Of course, you may still see some Dobermans acting as the odd police and guard dog, but this is becoming less common.
Today’s Doberman is clearly more of a loving and loyal household companion than the million-dollar home guard dog it is sometimes portrayed to be by Hollywood. As such, it may very well be possible to find a responsible and ethical breeder who is willing and able to sell you a working Doberman bred for that purpose, but it will be the exception, rather than the rule.