Guide To The Doberman Pinscher: Care, Exercise, Feeding and More

Those that know the personality and behavior traits of a Doberman Pinscher are forever fawning over this loving, loyal, and athletic dog. Those that don’t know about the Doberman Pinscher are forever giving into unfair stereotypes that describe this dog as fierce, aggressive, and dangerous. The truth is that the Doberman Pinscher is a strong and athletic dog that can protect his loved ones. Still, given the right training and early socialization, the Doberman Pinscher can be a loving and quite a silly member of the family.  

I’ve been around dogs for over 30 years and the last 20 of those have been spent as a veterinarian. I’ve seen lots of Dobies over my career and am always impressed by their general intelligence and appearance.

How Big Can Doberman Pinschers Get?

The Doberman Pinscher is a large and powerful dog, defined by a slim body and defined muscles. This dog is a large breed dog with males typically larger than females.

Males26-28″ at the shoulder76-100 lbs
Females24-26″ at the shoulder60-90 lbs

What Do Doberman Pinscher Coat Colors Look Like?

This dog has extremely short and sleek fur with characteristic markings. The dog can come in a black, red, fawn, or blue coat and always features rust markings. The dog has a wedge-shaped head that lends itself to its athletic body, and the dog has large, sometimes cropped ears.  

What Is The Personality of a Doberman Pinscher?

Although this dog has a reputation for being fierce and aggressive, those who know and understand a Doberman Pinscher’s true personality realize there is much more to the Doberman than meets the eye. This dog is loving and loyal and just wants to be a part of your family. The dog likes to be included with every activity and is rightly offended if it is not invited for an adventure. The dog is extremely loyal to his herd, including children, and will be naturally wary and untrusting of strangers. Of course, with the right socialization and repeated visits, the Doberman is happy to invite new, trusted members into his protected flock.  

This dog is extremely active and intelligent and likes to stay busy. To the Doberman, staying busy means both physical as well as a mental exercise. This dog is happy to be a jogging partner, but also must find a way to stimulate his mind. The dog is incredibly smart, and willing to please, and learns new tricks and behaviors with ease. Remember, when training this dog, always keep training sessions fun and engaging. Because this dog is so smart, he will quickly lose interest and find another, usually destructive, behavior to engage with if he finds training monotonous or boring.

Do Doberman Pinschers Need Their Ears Cropped and Tails Docked?

No they don’t. There is not any valid reason why either or both need to be done. I’m not as opposed to docking tails on these dogs when they are a few days old at the same time dewclaws are removed.

However, ear cropping is done at a much older age (around 3 months or so). It’s a more painful cosmetic procedure at this point and is only done to achieve the classic “look” of a Dobie. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a veterinarian willing to crop ears and do it well nowadays.

Dobie With Ears and Tail Intact

What Are The Grooming Needs Of A Doberman Pinscher

Because the Doberman has sleek and short fur, it is a relatively easy breed for grooming maintenance. Some may even describe this dog’s coat as a “wash and wear” style, with simple grooming intended only to maintain the shine and minimize shedding. This dog only has minimal shedding, so a simple daily brush is all that is needed to keep his coat healthy. Use a grooming mitt or a short-bristled brush to go over the coat, pulling the healthy and natural oils throughout his fur.  

Keep a close eye on the nails and make sure they stay healthy and short. Because this dog has a high amount of energy, the nails are often naturally worn short simply by walking and exercising on rough pavement. If they are not, trimming the nails at least once a month will be needed.

How Much Exercise Does A Doberman Pinscher Need?

The Doberman Pinscher looks every part of a canine athlete, and it follows that he is extremely high energy. This breed of dog will need plenty of exercise to keep him healthy and happy. Regular exercise for this dog can take the form of long hikes or walks or having plenty of outdoor playtime so he can romp around and play with his toys. The Doberman Pinscher benefits from having a large fenced yard where he can safely exercise and burn off some energy.  

Because this dog learns incredibly quickly and eagerly tries to please his owner at every given moment, this dog performs very well in canine sport competitions. Dobermans who participate in tracking, agility, and obedience do very well and often win the competitions. Canine competitions are a great way to keep your dog both physically and mentally active and give you a chance to spend time bonding with your dog. This dog is also commonly used as a working dog and is regularly seen working alongside law enforcement or the military.  

Before adopting the Doberman Pinscher consider the big commitment to providing regular and interesting exercise for your dog. This dog is a breed of dog that responds well to innovative and exciting games and can get bored and upset when he is not engaging with his family. This strong dog can become pushy, negative, and destructive if he does not find the right outlet for his boundless energy.  

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For A Doberman Pinscher?

For Doberman Pinscher puppies, you will need to make sure you don’t feed them too much too fast. It’s easy because they are usually chow hounds, but you want to control their growth. Growing too fast can cause some early bone and joint problems that are easily avoided.

Best Puppy Food For Doberman Pinschers:

Best Adult Food For Doberman Pinschers:

Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.

How Long Does A Doberman Pinscher Live?

10-12 years

What Health Problems Can Doberman Pinschers Have?

Dobies can be subject to a number of health issues. In my 20 years as a veterinarian, the most common things I’ve seen in Dobermans include:

  • Obesity
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • ACL tears
  • Bloat/GDV

Where Can I Find a Doberman Pinscher?

Check with a local breed club to get their recommendations for local breeders

AKC Puppy Page

Breeder Referral List from the National Breed Club

Looking for a Rescue? Check out this list here from the DPCA

Where Can I Find Out More About The Doberman Pinscher?

Doberman Pinscher Club of America

AKC Breed Page

Fun Facts About The Doberman Pinscher

  • The appearance of the Doberman today is very different from how this dog initially looked. Current Dobermans are thinner and sleeker than their ancestors. When initially bred in Germany, this dog was also more aggressive and tough, whereas today, they have a softer and more loving personality.  
  • During WW2 the U.S. Marines trained Dobies in the Pacific theater to root out and attack the enemy hiding in deep foliage. 25 of these “Devil Dogs” were killed during the war but saved countless human lives.
  • Was accepted as an official breed of the AKC in 1908
  • Famous folks who have owned Dobermans include: John F. Kennedy, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Hart, Hunter S. Thompson, and even Bea Arthur!