The widely misunderstood Doberman dog breed

This breed is just 150 years old

Some dogs have been around since ancient times, Dobermans however are a newcomer. Breeding began in Germany in early 1880s, when Karl Louis Doberman wanted a guard dog for his job.

Mr. Doberman had a variety of jobs — all of which could benefit from an additional pair of eyes and ears to protect him. He was tax collector for his everyday job, but also served as a police officer, night guard and dog catcher from time to time. So Doberman found himself often traveling through the “not-that-safe” section of town with a lot of money. Who wouldn’t tend to feel a bit uneasy, when in that position?

As a dog catcher, he had access to the dog pound and therefore decided to breed his own bodyguard. And he didn’t make mistakes. His new breed should be medium sized, refined, but intimidating enough to keep him — and his money — safe.

Dobermans are a mix breed, from around 10 other varieties of dog

The resulting dog, the Doberman,  is muscular and lean, with dark fur and brown markings.

Although Mr. Doberman didn’t take notes on what he was breeding, it is believed that the Dobermans originated in a mix of: German Shorthaired Pointer, Manchester Terrier, Rottweiler, Weimaraner, Black and Tan Terrier, Greyhound and Great Dane. All of them went into the making of the Doberman pincher, probably.

Tail and ear docking was done on purpose

Because Dobermans were intended to be bodyguards, they might often have to engage in fights. But having weak points in a fight is not of advantage, so some owners would remove these. Ears and tails could especially be weak points and easily injured, so these features were bred away over generations.

Nowadays, most Dobermans are family dogs, they aren’t used primarily as fighting or guard dogs anymore, however their breeding has brought some health concern to consider before purchasing one. Their thin tails are very sensitive and will break a lot easier than these of other dogs. Floppy ears on the other hand, will prevent air from flowing into the ear canals , which might cause infections or be injured in a tussle.

To avoid future injuries, some owners simply dock these appendages, but this may be seen as cruelty. Accordingly Australia and the UK has already banned this practice.

Dobermans can achieve great things, at least in dog terms

Dobermans were bred to be athletic and intelligent, so no task is too big for them. They are used for a broad variety of jobs, including scent tracking, search and rescue, police work,  diving, and service dogs for the blind.

They can also be perfect lap dogs, believe it or not.

Dobermans also served in different wars and some became heroes. A Doberman called Kurt was the first dog casualty in WW2. His jobs was to go ahead of the troops, warning them of approaching enemy soldiers. Before he was killed by a hostile grenade he saved many lives from suffering the same fate.

At the United States Marine Corps War Dog Cemetery on Guam, a bronze statue of Kurt was created to honor him and the other 24 war dogs serving in the US army. Their names are engraved at the baseof the statue. Although it’s a war memorial it’s a piece of love, said the artist Susan Bahary.

Dobermans are smart and can be trained and bred to be more gentle

It is said that Dobermans are the fifth smartest dog breed and could easily trained. But just as Border Collies, the more intelligent the dog, the more frequently they will become bored. Some Dobermans are known for outsmarting even their trainers.

Since these dogs are no longer guard dogs, and have become more and more loving companions, many of them are moving away from aggressive qualities. Although some still have a reputation to be tough and bad tempered, their behavior depends extensively on proper training.

When they are correctly trained and socialized, these dogs can be great with families and kids of all sizes.

(h/t mentalfloss.com)