History of Dobermann

In the village of Apolda, in the state of Thuringen, in the southern part of Germany lived Louis Dobermann (1823 – 1894). Louis Dobermann was employed as a tax collector, a “dog catcher”, a night watchman, and as a supervisor for local slaughter houses. As a night watchman, Herr Dobermann found his need for a suitable dog to accompany him on his rounds. It is also not beyond imagining a protection dog would be desirable while working as a tax collector carrying large amounts of money.

Old records tell of a “dog market” that had been held in Thuringen since 1863. Its purpose was to improve the strains and to educate owners as to the advantages of pure breed dogs. The dogs were divided into various classes (perhaps one of the first dogs shows), and we are told “all of the twelve guard-dogs were rubbish except a Pinscher.”

Herr Dobermann also had a great interest in breeding dogs and was certainly exposed, through his various occupations and by attending the “dog market,” to a variety of dogs. That enabled him, along with his two friends, Herr Rebel and Herr Stegmann, to produce within a few generations dogs that quickly became renowned as a fearless protection dog. These dogs could also be used as a gun-dog, for eradicating vermin, and for herding sheep. They were said to be very intelligent, to have great stamina, and were highly trainable.

The first official records of the Dobermann appear in the stud books of the Dobermannpinscher Verein stud book of 1890 in Germany.The dog’s name is first recorded in England in 1917 in the Policeman’s Monthly.

The Dobermann is one of the few breeds that has been named after a person. There is also record of an heirloom photograph of Herr Dobermann, given for a prize at one of the dog shows, which indicates that Herr Dobermann was acknowledged as a respected breeder and his dogs were held in high regard.

Otto Goeller, who became very interested in the breed and used the kennel name of Thuringen, is credited with further refining and stabilizing the breed. In 1889, Herr Goeller established the first “Dobermann Pinscher Club.” .

Herr Goeller, along with a fellow townsman Herr Gorswin who bred Dobermanns bearing the kennel name of Groenland, produced several of the most important Dobermanns in the breed’s history. These dogs can be found in the ancestry of the modern Dobermann.

Even though the Dobermann was originally bred as a guardian and personal protector, the Dobermann has an excellent nose for tracking and has been used for capturing felons. For many years the Dobermann has been chosen to become an outstanding member of Search and Rescue Teams. A few owners have been surprised by the pointing and retrieving instincts of the Dobe and have made excellent hunting companions out of their pets. Dobes can also be found herding sheep (one such Dobe even has a Herding Dog Certificate) and bringing the cows in at milking time. The Dobermanns loyalty, devotion, confidence and high degree of trainability (in the right hands) made the Dobermann the dog of choice by the USMC during WWII; giving his life for his country. In contrast, this same breed has been and is still being used as a guide dog as well as an outstanding therapy dog.


Accordingly to one of the Dobermann´s earliest breeders Philipp Gronig should the following dogs be contained, but at the same time – to get a total focus of our race origin – Phillip Groning goes all the way back to the origin of the first tame dog. We will here try to delineate how the race arose. It all started with Wolf (Canis Lupus) from here to Canis Familiaris Decumanus. Then we make a big jump ahead in time, to the cross-breed, which made the foundation of our race. The Butcher dog – this cross-breed was constructed from:

  • Rottweiler
  • German Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • German Rottweiler
  • Mastiff
  • Hound

A really mixed-cocktail, which have been elevated up through time. Beginning with:

  • Manchester Terrier aprox. 1897
  • Gordon Setter aprox.1902
  • Grey Hound aprox.1903

Time passes by, where the breeders experiments with the following breeds:

  • Beauceron
  • Weimeraner

Whereupon the breeders elevates with:

  • Manchester Terrier aprox. 1910
  • Grey Hound

The latter after 1910 and more than twice.

Why were these breeds used as elevators to the race we to-day know as the Dobermann?

Manchester Terrier
Head shape (wedge shaped/dark eyes/short rough-hard coat and dark markings, temperament and hunting abilities)

Gordon Setter
Improvements of colors – though with less success and a tendency to longer/smoother fur

Grey Hound
Head shape (longer/slender/minor brow/weak under jaws and round eyes, but parallel shape of the head/ narrow chest and straight front angulations and flat body sides) Hunting-abilities/prey and elegance. Improvement on character and temperament.



Blue Dobermann syndrome/hunting ability

Rottweiler/Mastiff /Hound

Coarse head with large nictitating membrane, larger breast cavity and walls of the ribs

German Shepherd

Blue Dobermann syndrome, white spots/hair.

German Pincher


Notice, that the above mentioned breeds have contributed our race with more (dis)advantages than have been mentioned here. These are merely mentioned because of their inheritance.

Further more, the Dobermann is related to:

Boxer – Grand Danois – German short hair/rough hair hunting dog – exec. It´s not without reason, the Dobermann is called the largest cross-breed of the
Did you know, that until the middle of this century, there were Harlequin Dobermann This could explain the white spots/hairs.
Until the end of the 2. World War, it was common, that Dobermann were born with bob-tails. Meaning, dogs were born with very short tails, containing of 1 to 2 vertebra. This inheritance unfortunately has been reduced severely because of the 1. and 2. World Wars, during which, a large number of Dobermann´s were lost due to duty and hunger. Accordingly, the breeders could no longer use the bob-tail as a preference for the breed, instead they just cropped.

The Blue Dobermann Syndrome is usually connected to a Blue Grey Hound, which was used to elevate the race. If this is correct, we don´t know, but accordingly to Philipp Gronig, the syndrome should come from Mastiff and Weimeraner. This statement seems reasonable, because – before the Grey Hound was introduced as an elevator – there were blue and fawn Dobermann´s.
Dentition (missing premolars) goes far back in time and occurs in connections with the refinement of the length of the head, which does not seem realistic. The refinement gives more space for the requested amount of teeth. But, may bee a warning from mother nature, that a degeneration has begone. Mother nature tries to compensate for the human changes. Longer head, weaker jaws.
The above is repeated when we talk of Roman nose. This fault occurs as a compensator for the human changes in connections with elevation of the head.

We hope that the references from Phillip Groning have given you some knowledge about our Dobermann of to-day and why it´s so important to preserve this magnificent and beautiful human made race.



100 Years Ago

Early records tell us that the Dobermann in Germany was a dog used by men as a guard dog. A dog that was alert, fearless, aggressive, intelligent, and trainable. The dogs were described as being “sharp” and became very popular as a police and watch dog. This type of temperament may have been accepted and desired in the rural settings of the past, but certainly not a temperament or dog that could survive in the urban society of today.

The Dobermann of Today

During the past 100 years the committed Dobermann breeder has been able to produce a much milder/steadier disposition than the earlier dogs exhibited. Upon close examination the breed is found in a variety of working positions as well as being an excellent dog for competition performances, the conformation ring, and a devoted family dog/clown/couch potato.

Shyness and Aggression

Quoted below are the two issues of temperament discussed in the AKC Standard for the Dobermann. These areas are shyness and aggression. Either, if improperly displayed, will result in the Dobermann being disqualified or excused from the ring.
The judge shall dismiss from the ring any shy or vicious Dobermann.

Shyness – A dog shall be judged fundamentally shy if, refusing to stand for examination, it shrinks away from the judge; if it fears an approach from the rear; if it shies at sudden and unusual noises to a marked degree.
Viciousness – A dog that attacks or attempts to attack either the judge or its handler, is definitely vicious. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs shall not be deemed viciousness.”



The breed can trace its history back to the Dobermannpinshcerherverein stud book of 1890. In 1899 only one color was recognized, the black and rust. In 1901 two other colors were allowed, these additional colors were; the brown and rust, and blue and rust. With the fawn (Isabella) being recognized in 1969, this brought the total to four allowed colors for the Dobermann.

The fawn (Isabella) Dobermann is a known recessive gene (dilution) of the reds; while the blue Dobermann is a known recessive gene (dilution) of the black. This is a simple autosomal (either sex) recessive gene. Both parents have to “carry” this gene in order to produce the dilution, or depending on which genotype, all four colors a “rainbow” litter. The blue and fawn Dobermann are not rare (meaning they should not demand a higher price than a red or black); as you can readily see the mode of inheritance for the blue and fawn is a very well known simple genetic fact. Many within the Dobermann community do a considerable amount of research when planning a breeding and breed accordingly, often times this will eliminate producing blues and fawns.

Combining the four allowed colors (phenotype) with the 9 possible genotypes will result in 81 possible combinations of breedings. In order for the serious Dobermann breeder to understand the probability of the puppy phenotype, a color chart has been devised and each of the four colors (including their varied genotype expressions) have been assigned a number from 1 – 9.

White Dobermanns

In 1980’s the white Dobermann made it’s appearance and it has been found that the white gene is a separate gene, and is located at a different genetic site (locus) than the color (B) and dilution (D) that is the basis of the four allowed colors for the Dobermann. The white gene does not interfere with these four known colors of the Dobermann and does not need to be included in the color chart.

The white Dobermann is considered an incomplete or partial albino. The dogs have blue eyes and are cream colored with light tan markings. The dogs suffer from photo phobia (photosensitive). This means the dogs cannot tolerate light, often closing their eyes and bumping into objects when put in unfamiliar surroundings. Their temperaments range from being very shy to fear biters. These are not the attributes a responsible breeder or one that is familiar with the criteria of a working dog wish to produce or perpetuate.
WARNING: The white Dobermann is not considered to be of great value (charging more/more expensive) by Responsible Breeders. Responsible Breeders do notinclude the white Dobermann in their breeding stock/programs. The WHITE color is a DISQUALIFICATION and these dogs CANNOT COMPETE in the conformation ring.

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