Doberman dogs have a unique blend of traits to make them the perfect guarding and protection dog. They are strong, smart, athletic, powerful, brave, energetic, and dedicated.
A Doberman is a tireless worker with reserves far beyond that of the average human counterpart.
This means that the answer to whether it is safe to own a Doberman is up to you.
Are Dobermans Aggressive Or Dangerous Dogs
Are Doberman dogs dangerous? The answer is that yes, they can be. Are Doberman dogs dangerous? Again, the answer is that yes, they can be.
A Doberman dog requires careful, consistent, positive socialization and training to learn how to tell the difference between friends and threats and respond appropriately. This will be your responsibility as a Doberman Pinscher owner.
Learn About Doberman Dangers From a K-9 Expert
This YouTube video introduces you to the primary reasons why Doberman dogs can be dangerous and/or aggressive.
These dogs were bred deliberately to have the exact qualities that can also make them aggressive or dangerous without proper training.
How Strong Is the Doberman Dog Bite
The Doberman Pinscher has the fifth strongest dog bite in the world of domestic dogs. Their actual bite strength is 305psi.
Doberman dogs bite with a scissor motion and they will bite quickly and repeatedly when provoked or when they feel it is appropriate. This allows the Doberman to cause great harm very quickly and immobilize or neutralize the threat.
Doberman Pinschers rank 11th in the DogsBite dog breed list of dogs most likely to cause fatal injuries.
The Pitbull (which is really a descriptive term for various dog breeds who share some common traits) is in the number one slot.
The Rottweiler, German Shepherd, American Bulldog, Bull Mastiff, and other mastiffs, the Siberian Husky, the Labrador Retriever (the most popular dog breed in America!), and the Boxer all rank higher on the list than the Doberman.
Doberman Pinschers can also jump as high as six feet – an impressive feat considering they can weigh up to 100 pounds!
According to Highland Canine Dog Trainers, Dobermans can also run 32 miles per hour. This puts them in the category of the top 15 fastest dog breeds.
How did Doberman Pinschers wind up with such a uniquely dangerous (and sometimes deadly) set of traits? To answer this question, we need to learn more about the Doberman dog breed history.
Meet the Doberman Pinscher Dog Breed Founder
The Doberman Rescue League explains how the Doberman dog breed got its start when a German tax collector named Louis Dobermann (yes, with double n’s) decided to breed a dog to protect him in his dangerous work.
The origin of the Doberman Pinscher is not crystal clear, but since the word “Pinscher” translates to mean “terrier” in German, modern breeders believe the original Doberman dogs were developed by cross-breeding shepherd dogs, cattle dogs, and terrier breeds.
The Doberman also has Greyhound in the breed bloodline, which accounts for the tremendous speed these dogs can achieve.
The combination of shepherd dogs, cattle dogs, terrier dogs, and the Greyhound delivered a canine with unstoppable bravery, tenacity, power, intelligence, and athleticism. The Doberman is a dog that can do just about anything with the right handler to train them.
In fact, the dog Louis Dobermann created soon outgrew its humble beginnings as a personal protection dog and became sought-after for all kinds of roles.
Dobermans today excel in K-9 roles, as seeing-eye and service dogs, for security and protection work, and as military soldier dogs and therapy dogs.
But what kind of dog training does a Doberman require to be a great guard dog without putting any people or animals in danger? That is what we will discuss in the next section.
Training and Socializing a Doberman Pinscher
Training and socializing a Doberman Pinscher dog needs to begin in early puppyhood and continue throughout the dog’s life.
Socialization and training are all that stand between you and the potential for your powerful, strong, smart dog to misread a situation and possibly cause harm to you, another person, or another animal.
In order to provide the proper amount and type of training and socialization for your Doberman, it is vital to understand two facts.
1. Dobermans were not developed to be family pets
There is a reason that Dobermans are often described as “velcro dogs.” The breed was developed to do the specific job of guarding and protecting people. If your dog is not with you, you may be in danger.
So your Doberman is going to want to be with you all the time.
This means your Doberman needs to be able to cope with having visitors to your house, going out in public where there are other people and other animals, riding in the car, and all the things you do on a daily basis.
Your dog needs to learn when to be calm and when to take action. Your Doberman must learn how to tell the difference between a friendly person, a neutral interaction and a true threat.
Without this training, there is a very significant chance that your dog will misinterpret something and react inappropriately.
2. Dobermans are very active and energetic dogs
If you want to get a Doberman, you need to know that these dogs were bred to work at demanding jobs without breaks. They have a very high energy level and sometimes seem to lack an “off” switch.
A bored or lonely Doberman can quickly become a serious problem for you and your neighbors and the community. Dobermans are so tall and big and strong that they can cause injury without even meaning to just by trying to work off steam.
So it will be your responsibility to give your dog enough daily exercise and activity, including socialization and training time, to keep a rambunctious and strong young Doberman from causing harm just by being themselves.
What Kinds of Activities Are Good for Dobermans
You might be wondering what types of activities and exercises are good for Dobermans. The Doberman Pinscher Club of America has a long list of activities that Doberman dogs excel at.
Here are some ideas to help your Doberman learn valuable new skills, gain great socialization opportunities, receive extensive training, and burn off all that extra energy!
One safety tip: be sure your veterinarian has verified via X-ray that your dog’s long leg bones have stopped growing before allowing your Doberman to engage in strenuous activities.
Agility for Dobermans
Agility is just another name for obstacle courses. Running, jumping, climbing, and navigating obstacles combine with teamwork to create exceptional canine athletes.
Barn hunting for Dobermans
Barn hunting is another type of canine sport that teaches your Doberman how to use their instincts to identify different types of scenarios and respond accordingly.
In a barn hunt, dogs hunt for rodents (that are safely contained so the dogs can get them). The dogs must navigate obstacles, tell the difference between an actual rodent and something with rodent scent on it, and teamwork with a human handler.
Carting (drafting) for Dobermans
Carting or drafting is another fabulous activity Dobermans excel at. This activity harnesses your Doberman’s strength and hauling abilities.
Dobermans must learn to wear a harness, pull heavy loads (even humans!), work with other dogs and humans, respond to various commands, and more.
Dock diving for Dobermans
As the name suggests, dock diving is a sport where dogs jump off a dock into a water body to compete in categories like highest jump, longest jump, fastest retrieval, and more.
Flyball for Dobermans
Flyball is a great canine sport to help your Doberman learn how to work in a team with other dogs and other people besides you. Each team has four dogs who must work together to win an event.
Flyball makes use of a Doberman’s ability to focus even in intensely crowded or noisy situations. Once your Doberman knows what their job is, that will kick in and help them stay on point no matter what is happening around them.
Freestyle dance for Dobermans
Yes, we did just say dance! Dobermans and their handlers perform together to music in a choreographed dance routine.
Freestyle dance helps Dobermans master non-traditional and advanced commands and stretch their athletic abilities.
Herding for Dobermans
Dobermans have cattle dogs and herding dogs in their bloodline. So even though people don’t generally think of the Doberman dog breed as a herding breed, these dogs can be trained to be excellent herding and livestock guarding dogs.
Lure coursing for Dobermans
If herding isn’t something Dobermans are known for, lure coursing certainly is! Dobermans learn to chase an artificial lure as it moves along a course.
Lure coursing taps into the Doberman’s powerful hunt and prey instincts, honing these skills and also increasing athletic stamina and focus.
Nosework for Dobermans
Dobermans, like all dog breeds, have incredibly sensitive noses. All dogs can excel at scent work, or nose work as it is sometimes called, but Dobermans have a particular aptitude because of their strong hunt/prey/chase drive.
A Doberman on the ascent is a hard dog to distract. Nosework makes great use of a Doberman’s ability to focus and follow a scent independently of the handler.
Nosework can also overlap with search and rescue and tracking, two more canine sports that Dobermans are a great match with.
Service and therapy work for Dobermans
Dobermans make excellent service and therapy dogs. They are intelligent, sensitive dogs that can learn to use their keen senses to perceive exactly what is needed in each moment.
Doberman dogs also love being with their people, which is what makes them particularly great at 24/7 service and therapy dog roles.
K-9, police, and military work for Dobermans
As we mentioned earlier in this article, Doberman Pinschers make amazing K-9 workers, police dogs, and military/soldier dogs.
Schutzhund for Dobermans
The German word “Schutzhund” translates to mean “protection dog.” So it doesn’t require much explanation to see how Schutzhund competitions could be a perfect match with the perfect working dog breed, the Doberman.
Is Owning a Doberman Dog Legal
Property Casualty 360 explains that in some areas, there are bans on owning certain dog breeds that are considered to be a dangerous dogs.
In other places, if you own certain dog breeds, you may pay a premium on your homeowner’s insurance. You may even struggle to find a provider willing to insure you if you own a dog like a Doberman.
Unfortunately, the Doberman dog breed is one that dangerous dog laws and legislation will target. It is worth doing some advanced research to find out if owning a Doberman is permitted where you live.
You should also check with your insurer to find out if your choice to own a Doberman means there will be extra charges or a policy cancellation in your future.
The more you can do to prove that your Doberman has been properly socialized and trained, the more likely you are to be allowed to own a Doberman without having to move or pay more for insurance premiums.
Is It Safe to Own a Doberman
If you provide appropriate socialization and training plus mental and physical enrichment, your Doberman will only be dangerous when a true threat is present.
When you go to pick out your Doberman puppy or rescue dog, be sure you choose a responsible breeder that places dog health first. You also want to be sure the breeder or charity can attest to the Doberman’s sound temperament.
When you make sure your Doberman gets all the things your dog needs to adjust to family and community life, your dog is unlikely to be a threat.