The doberman the original designer dog

In this day of designer shoes, bags and clothing, the newest trend is “designer dogs”. There are Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Pugles, Yorkipoos and many more. Did you know the Doberman was one of the first designer dogs?

The Doberman is a dog of German descent, developed by Karl Freidrich Louis Dobermann between 1864 and 1889. Herr Dobermann was a tax collector in Apolda, a German town in the state of Thuringia. He was also in charge of keeping local strays off the street and in the dog pound. Louis Dobermann carried money with him on his tax collecting rounds, and wanted a dog for protection.

Louis Dobermann had an idea for medium sized dog that would appear intimidating. His idea was to base his dog on a terrier since they were, and still are known for speed, coordination and tenacity. Herr Dobermann wanted a dog that was intelligent, easy to train and required little grooming. His position of dog catcher gave him easy access to stray dogs of many breeds. Unfortunately, he did not keep records of what he bred. It is generally thought based on the look and temperament that the Doberman (the spelling changed when the breed came to the states) was based on a combination of several different breeds of dogs.

The following is a list of breeds thought to contribute to the Doberman we know today:

Beauceron- A French breed known as “King of Sheepdogs”, popular in Europe. This breed is elegant, powerful and has a fierce hunting instinct. It is also known as an intelligent dog.

Rottweiler- This breed was included for its size, stamina and tracking ability.

The Old German Pinscher- (now extinct) Known for alertness, aggressiveness, and its black and rust coat.

Weimaraner- This breed is good a tracking, pointing and retrieving. Weimaraners have a stable, protective and affectionate temperament. Well bred Dobermans of today have similar temperaments.

Manchester Terrier- This breed was included for its coat, head shape and rust markings. Manchester Terriers are keenly observant, devoted and loving, but also determined and fearless.

English Greyhound- The Greyhound would have contributed height, stamina and speed.

After Louis Dobermann died, Otto Goeller took over development of the breed. He is credited with refining the Doberman and used the kennel name Thuringen. He also helped determine the standard for the breed in Germany. In 1889 he established the first Doberman Pinscher Club. Herr Goeller and another Doberman breeder, Herr Gorswin of the Groenland Kennel produced several of the most important Dobermans in the breeds history and are the ancestors of modern Dobermans.

The first Dobermans were brought to the United States in approximately 1908. After 1921, the Doberman became more well known as more dogs were brought over from Germany. Because of their loyalty, devotion, confidence and fearlessness, the United States Marine Corps used Dobermans during World War 2. When the United States Marines landed in the South Pacific in 1943, it was the first time the military used dogs in combat. The Doberman was the official war dog of the United States Marines. 2and courageously served in the jungles of the South Pacific alongside the troops. They warned the soldiers of the enemy waiting in ambush or hiding in caves. The Dobermans guarded troops while they slept in foxholes at night saving many lives. These dogs gave their lives protecting the Marines.

In 1993, Dr. William Putney contacted Ray Carlisle, of the United Doberman Club to discuss a War Memorial for the War Dog Cemetery in Guam. They worked together to raise money and commissioned a statue by Susan Bahary. It was erected as a tribute to the working heritage of the Doberman. The statue is a bronze life size replica of a Doberman with the words “Always Faithful” inscribed on the front along with the names of the dogs buried there.

Originally, the Doberman was bred for its aggressiveness as it was used almost exclusively as a working dog, for guarding and protection. Over time, more consideration was given to temperament as Dobermans became more popular as show dogs and family pets. Today the Doberman is frequently used in Search and Rescue and as therapy dogs. Although still true to their breeding as protection dogs, Dobermans are known by their people as “Velcro” dogs because of their desire to be as physically close as possible to family members. A properly trained and well bred Doberman puppy will grow up to be a loyal, loving family member with the ability to protect your family to the point of laying down their lives.