Is the Doberman dangerous? The breed frequently gets a bad rap as many reports that he is prone to aggression.
The Dobermann is considered one of the most dangerous dogs, together with the Pit Bull Terrier and the Great Dane. However, does the Doberman deserve this title? Let’s dive in and find out.
Early Doberman Pinschers as Personal Protection Dogs
The Doberman breed was originally bred as a personal protection dog. Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann developed him in the late 1800s. He was a tax collector in Apolda, a town in Germany.
Because of his job, Louis was always in danger of getting robbed by malevolent men. To protect himself from such danger, he decided to create the Doberman. The man owned a local dog pound, and it gave him accessibility to get his hands on dogs of different breeds.
Through selective breeding, Louis was able to create the early Doberman Pinschers. There was no documentation of the breeds used to make the Doberman.
However, many theorise that the German Shepherd, Great Dane, and Rottweiler contributed to the breed’s development. Other dogs, including the Weimaraner, Beauceron, Greyhound, and the now-extinct Black and Tan Terrier, were believed to be used as well.
The early Dobermans were large and agile dogs. Highly trainable and loyal, they are intimidating enough to deter potential attackers. If provoked, Doberman Pinschers will attack to protect their owners.
Personal Protection Dogs Turned into Military Canines
Doberman Pinschers served the military when World War II erupted. Germans used them as concentration camp guards. These dogs were also tasked to pursue escapees and search for wounded soldiers.
The Dobermans were also skilled enough to be trained as canine sentries, scouts, and messengers by the United States Marines. In 1944, 25 Doberman Pinschers died during an invasion in Guam. The next year, another group of these dogs accompanied the Marines as they battled in Okinawa, Japan.
A unit of Dobermans is called “Devil Dogs.” The Doberman Pinscher’s service in the military may have started his reputation as a vicious and dangerous breed of dog.
Dobermans of Today
Dobermans may have had a rough time during their service as military dogs. Some developed undesirable traits because of this experience. However, modern, reputable Doberman breeders made sure that they have bred out aggressive traits from the Doberman Pinscher.
Today, the Doberman breed still retains its natural protectiveness. Even so, the dogs possess a more mellow disposition compared to their ancestors. Let’s take a look at the general temperament of the modern-day Doberman Pinscher:
The Doberman is amongst the top 5 smartest dog breeds. He has a knack for problem-solving and is sharp enough to grasp what’s expected of him.
Initially Aloof around Strangers
The Doberman is instinctively reserved around strangers. Whilst he may be wary and keeps his distance, he is never aggressive. After a Doberman Pinscher has assessed that someone isn’t a threat, he will slowly open up to them.
The Dobies are extremely affectionate family dogs. The dogs and their owners are inseparable. Hence, they are called ‘Velcro dogs.’ They are known to trail after their humans wherever they go.
Once a Doberman sees you as a part of the ‘pack,’ he is ready to protect you no matter what. For this reason, the Doberman Pinscher is one of the best guard dogs.
So, Is the Doberman Aggressive?
The Doberman Pinscher is a bold and alert dog, according to Kennel Club Standards. He should never be shy nor vicious. It is not in the breed to initiate a fight with a person or an animal.
However, a Doberman will not back down if he is provoked. After all, he was bred to defend himself or his family from imminent danger. But why are some Dobermans high-strung or aggressive? Three factors may have caused these behaviours.
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Acquiring a Doberman puppy from shady breeders.
Unscrupulous Doberman breeders often focus on money. It is never their top priority to produce a healthy and even-tempered litter of pups. If you plan to buy a Doberman Pinscher puppy, do your research.
Know the red flags that may indicate that you are about to buy from an irresponsible breeder. Needless to say, make sure to find credible breeders in your area.
Having abusive owners.
According to a study, dogs with owners who use punishments and negative reinforcement during training are twice as likely to be aggressive towards strangers. Moreover, they are 3 times as likely to lunge at family members.
Thus, Doberman Pinschers that receive rough treatment from their owners may develop undesirable behaviours. Their aggressiveness may be rooted in the constant fear of getting hurt. Thus, their instincts spur them to protect themselves from anybody who dares to approach them.
The late Roger Caras, a former ASPCA president, said, ‘There are no bad dogs, just bad owners.’
For this reason, never use physical and verbal violence during training. It is best to motivate Dobermans through positive reinforcement. Reward them with praises and treats every time they do a great job. Through this training method, Doberman Pinschers will develop an unshakable bond with their owners.
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Lack of proper socialisation and training.
Dobermans that do not receive proper socialisation and training can be suspicious of anyone. Some may become aggressive, whilst others are fearful of strangers.
Since the Doberman is naturally protective of its home, socialising a Doberman puppy at an early age is critical. He should be exposed to various friendly people and animals.
Doing so will help the Doberman identify the common behaviours of non-threatening people. This will easily help him recognise the difference when someone has an intention to hurt his loved ones. Early socialisation will also help him gain confidence and trust his instincts.
The Bottomline – Is the Doberman dangerous?
No, no dogs are born dangerous, and Yes, if they are in the wrong hands. Doberman Pinschers are naturally sweet and loving dogs. However, they must be taken in by the right owner.
It should be someone who fully understands their needs and is completely committed to caring and training for them.
Many young and old Dobermans are sent to Doberman rescue centers and shelters because people cannot handle them. Some abused Dobies end up in the news because of dog attacks and dog bite-related incidents.
However, these heartbreaking incidents could have been avoided. All it takes is your willingness to research and understand the Doberman breed. Learn about his specific needs and temperament.
Take time to visit obedience classes for Dobermans. Think about the breed’s constant necessity for training and socialisation. Ask yourself if you are prepared to put in the efforts and commitment before getting a Doberman Pinscher.