Seeing the sleek, strong image of today’s Dobermans, it is clear why the breed has become the quintessential personal protection dogs. The first Dobermans however, did not resemble their modern counterparts.
Exactly when and how the Doberman came to be is not clear. It is thought that they were the first breed in Germany in the late 1880s. Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann is credited with creating the breed in the town of Apolda. Here he combined the attributes of many breeds to arrive at the Doberman. It is thought that the final list contained a diverse group, giving the Doberman a unique look and skill set:
- German Pinscher, giving a quick reaction time
- Rottweiller, contributing to the Doberman’s legendary bravery and guarding.
- Weimaraner, a dog known for a keen sense of smell, retrieving ability, and skill as a hunter
- Old German Shephard. Extinct now, the breed passed along intelligence and rugged physique.
- Black and tan Manchester Terrier, providing the Doberman’s unique coloring
- Black English Greyhound also contributed to the breed’s appearance
- Beaucerons and other early herding dogs may also have been incorporated
Herr Dobermann had been inspired to create a line of personal protection dogs due to his work. He worked as a rent collector, policeman, caretaker for the local watchdogs, and night watchman. Unsurprisingly, Dobermann desired a protection dog that could protect him, that was intelligent and possessed a powerful nose. The final product would become one of the most popular modern breeds.
Doberman’s have carried many names: “Thuringian pinschers”, “Dobermann’s Hunde”, Dobermann’s dogs, and “Soldatenhunds” (soldier dogs). Upon Dobermann’s death in 1894, the name Dobermann pinscher was given to the breed (later “pinscher” and the second “n” were dropped). These early protection dogs looked very different from the breed today. It would be Goswin Tischler and Otto Goeller, two German breeders, that would refine the breed. In 1890 the German Kennel Club approved the description of the breed. Goeller was so enthusiastic about Dobermans that in 1899 he founded the National Dobermann Pinscher Club.
Quickly the breed spread throughout Europe, Russia, and America. Tragically, many Dobermans suffered during WWI, either lost in battle or to food shortages and the breed was almost lost in Germany. Breeders sold their dogs to numerous enthusiasts outside of Germany, including the US. This served to save the lives of many dogs. This tragedy had a silver lining; Dobermans spread in the US. Personal protection dogs for sale in the US would rapidly find homes and owners eager to expand Doberman’s presence stateside.
At the turn of the century, Americans were captivated by the diverse breeds of dogs. Breeders and owners alike flocked to kennel clubs, picking their favorite breeds. Many saw the protection dog they chose as an extension of themselves. Dogs were carefully bred to maintain the look and behavior traits that set them apart.
By 1921 The Doberman Pincher Club of America had been founded. In 1939, Sieger Ferry von Rauhfelsen (owned by Mrs. Hartley Dodge of Giralda Farms) became the first Doberman to win the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. This would prove to be the first in a long line of Doberman winners. During the following decades, The Westminster Kennel Club would time and again honor a Doberman as Best in Show.
Dobermans became loyal companions to American soldiers in WWII, where their bravery made them ideal guards and messengers. The dogs that served with the troops proved so valuable that a statue was commissioned by The Doberman Pincher Club of America in Guam, where it still stands.
After WWII, Dobermans proved to be extremely popular. The breed accumulated awards at record-setting numbers. They also remained true to their purpose, often stepping in to serve as search and rescue dogs during a disaster. Dobermans can be found on almost every police force in the country; their keen alertness and natural bravery are instrumental to law enforcement.
The mix of breeds that were used to create the Doberman has imparted them with a versatility few breeds posse. They can be found in almost every niche of modern-day dogs, from diligent guard dogs to foot-warming family pets. Breeders continue to maintain the breed’s high standards, breeding dogs that carry forward the Doberman’s powerful appearance and sought-after behavior. They also have turned their attention to making sure the Doberman breed remains healthy and long-lived. New owners can be confident when dealing with experienced breeders that their protection dog carries forward the best in the Doberman line.
Today, many Dobermans are no longer breed for aggression, instead favoring a more even-natured temper. This has not diminished their skill as guard dogs, however, and Dobermans are still “top dogs” when anyone sets out looking for personal protection dogs for sale.