Hard and short. Brush occasionally. Tail is docked; ears are usually cropped.
Black or red with rust marking above the eyes, on the muzzle, throat, chest, legs, feet and below the tail. Fawn or steel blue are also available with the same markings. A few white spot is allowed on the chest. Eyes are dark in black dogs, lighter in others.
Since the temperament between lines varies, buy only from a reputable breeder and ask to meet a puppy's parents.
Today's well-bred Doberman Pinschers are loyal and true, as playful as Herr Dobermann's dogs were intimidating. They are still extremely athletic and powerful, light-footed and aristocratic, intelligent and confident. Because ethical breeders have been selecting for levelheadedness and responsiveness instead of ferociousness, Dobies have become loving, loyal dogs. Versatility is still a noble characteristic of this breed. Because of the built-in "fear factor" with the Doberman, it's important to go to a good breeder and know the temperament of the parents before choosing a pup.
The Doberman doesn't make an ideal apartment dog unless his high-energy demands can be met. He should live inside the home with his family - he loves attention and will not do well left outside and alone for long periods. A well-bred Doberman will be protective of home and family but will use sound judgment. He is sensitive to loud noises and needs a stable, secure home. A fenced yard is a necessity. His short coat makes him susceptible to cold, but on the plus side, he doesn't shed much.
The Doberman is known to thrive on any number of obedience disciplines, including agility, flyball, canine freestyle, tracking and Schutzhund. A Doberman can master just about any task with the right amount of patience and practice.
The Doberman has a higher-than-average energy level and needs his fair share of exercise to stay in shape. Two 30-minute aerobic sessions a day will keep him fit. He makes a great jogging partner and is happy to work off excess energy playing a game of chase or hide-and-seek - or even going for training sessions on the end of a leash.
Dobies tend not to be too gluttonous when it comes to food. Feed a good-quality premium or maintenance diet twice a day.
The alert, responsive Doberman needs training. He is very intelligent and will learn quickly, but his independent nature means that his training must be consistent throughout his life. He needs a fair leader - one who will encourage his abilities while setting firm limits. He is surprisingly sensitive and does not do well with harsh training methods.
Doberman Pinschers are generally very good with children and make excellent family dogs, especially when raised in a family environment. They are aloof with strangers and may have difficulty with other dogs or small animals if not socialized to them from an early age.
The average life span of the Doberman is up to 13 years. Health problems associated with the breed include bloat; heart disease; hip dysplasia; von Willebrand disease; and Wobbler disease.
The sleek, shiny coat of the Doberman is easy to care for. Use a soft brush and hound glove a few times a week to keep him looking good.
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