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Doberman opinions

October 21st, 2006, 03:57 PM
Me and my b/f are eventually going to get another dog (within the next couple of years if not sooner), and right now we're thinking maybe a doberman, so I was wondering what everyones experience is with them.

(Keep in mind - I realize dogs are individuals but I'm guessing dobermans in general have many similar attributes)

What is their personality like? Does it vary greatly from dog to dog or is their a similarity to each other like in some other breeds?

Trainability - How persistent must you be? Some breeds are fairly easy to train and like to obey just to get praise, whereas some breeds need constant reinforcement and very consistent leadership and training (like Walnut :evil: , We love Walnut more than anything but would prefer NOT to have another Wallydog). I'm fairly persistent and know a fair bit about training, but my b/f is gone half the month for work and hasn't had as much time to read a lot of info or work with our dogs. On the other hand he's owned many dogs, so he's fine with a dog that has a normal personality (not dominant/headstrong/submissve, just average.)

How sturdy are they? We like to take our dogs for walks in the woods and to the river to swim, and running. Are dobermans prone to injury? Do they not do well on certain terrain? Do they get cold easily?

Are they a flight risk? Nowhere we take our dogs off leash will put them in danger of going into traffic or anything like that, but they're often offleash when we hike in the woods or when we swim at the river. Our dogs like to stay fairly close to us and don't run off after scents or small animals. I know much of that is training, but I know breeds like greyhounds can run after a small animal and get lost, and dogs like beagles will go after a scent and end up several miles away.

There's a lot more I could ask, but those are the basics. If anyone has anything else to add I would appreciate it :) .
Also if anyone has any breeds that fit the descriptions listed above, I would greatly appreciate the suggestion, I would just prefer not to get another longhair dog. It's a lot easier to wash mud off of short fur, lol.

October 21st, 2006, 06:27 PM
I'm not a dobie expert, but this is what I have to say from my experience growing up with dobies...

What is their personality like? Does it vary greatly from dog to dog or is their a similarity to each other like in some other breeds?They are all drastically different. With labs, you see similarities sometimes (mostly with activity level, apetite, and other really basic genetic things that are so "lab"), but not so much with dobies. One dobie I had was sweet, obedient and an adventurer, and the other was protective, velcroey, so intuitive and a total couch potato.

Trainability - How persistent must you be?My dobies were VERY obedient and easy to train, however you have to train everything. Some things just didn't occur to my dobies until you really showed them. They tend to follow your intentions too. So if you have a dobie for the wrong reasons (i.e. because you want a status symbol) it's likely your dobie will embody that in a bad way. A good owner makes a good dobie.

How sturdy are they? Are dobermans prone to injury? Do they not do well on certain terrain? Do they get cold easily? Sturdy, not too prone to injury, as far as I know. They do get cold though. They have short fur... And there are a TON of genetic diseases that affect dobies. When I was growing up, they were expected to live to 7 years... Now it's 10ish, but a well-bred dobie can live past that. One of mine lived till 13.

Are they a flight risk?Hmm... Depends on the training, I think. The female I had was a homebody and never wandered far. The male, who was chained up outside for a lot of his life before we got him, bolted whenever he was free. And I mean BOLTED. Full speed. We never could get him to stop, because he always knew when he was tied, even with a really long, thin rope. :shrug: But I think that's rare...:o They say neutering early helps that too.

That all said, my best friend soul mate doggy was my dobie. He took care of me and made sure I was always ok and protected. I love dobies.:)

October 21st, 2006, 06:35 PM
I've never had one, but in addition to I also hang out at a lot and quite a few people there have them, so I've picked up a bit of information. :)

Male dobermans usually don't get along with other males. A lot of them have high prey drive when it comes to small animals (including cats), but not all. They are very "sharp" and suspicious when it comes to strangers and need MASSIVE amounts of socializing to make sure they grow into well-rounded dogs. Spayed females are generally tolerant of other females BUT some of them do have issues.

They're great family dogs and very protective of their family. They're also "velcro dogs" who will always be on your heels.

My understanding is that they're very sturdy, very active, and enjoy roughhousing. Playing rough is natural to them.

Their main health issues are cancer, cardio (DCM), CVI (Wobblers), and CAH (canine active hepatitis).

They definitely fall into the headstrong/stubborn category when it comes to training. They will often make a bid for dominance, so you have to be consistant and firm with them.

Overall, I'd say a doberman is probably not the dog for you. How about a smooth-coated collie? They're just like the "Lassie" collies, but with a short coat. :)

October 21st, 2006, 06:44 PM
I already have a collie. The big problem is that smooth coated collies are pretty rare in the u.s, I've never even seen one in person.
Rough collies aren't even common around here and I've yet to see another one, though that's the type we have.

October 21st, 2006, 06:53 PM
My friend's mom accidentally got a smooth collie from a rescue a couple of years ago. He turned out to be the sweetest doggy ever and takes such good care of her.:)

October 21st, 2006, 06:56 PM
Oh yeah, I can eliminate a few dogs though, my b/f has decided against these breeds and types:

Labs (had many as a kid, too energetic, etc.)
Absolutely no Poodles (not his type of dog)

Long fur (too much upkeep, medium is ok)
Small dogs (need something 60 lbs+, don't want our large active dogs injuring them)

Other than that we're pretty open.

October 21st, 2006, 06:57 PM
What is their personality like? Does it vary greatly from dog to dog or is their a similarity to each other like in some other breeds?

I've owned many Dobermans over the past 25 years, and currently own 7.

While they have different personalities, there are many common traits. Like the Doberman lean - they love to lean on their people. Many of them are smilers - that tends to run in particular lines. Many of them must greet their people with something in their mouth. Many of them sit on your feet. Many of them back their butt up and sit on the stairs or a couch like a person. Overall, they are extremely attached to their owners. The saying in Dobermans is that once you acquire a Doberman, you never go to the bathroom alone again. This neediness for their owners sometimes manifests in bad behaviours like separation anxiety and destructiveness when left alone and bored.

[/QUOTE] Trainability - How persistent must you be? [/QUOTE]
In general, Dobermans are very easy to train. They are intelligent, they are eager to please. But because they are so smart, they really need smart owners. They don't respond well to drilling routines over and over and over. They are not blindly obedient. They are thinkers. Some will challenge an owner. They definitely need consistent leadership. If there is a vacuum at the top, they will try to take over.

[/QUOTE]How sturdy are they? We like to take our dogs for walks in the woods and to the river to swim, and running. Are dobermans prone to injury? Do they not do well on certain terrain? Do they get cold easily? [/QUOTE]

I've known a fair number of Dobermans to have cruciate injuries. But they do like rough play with other dogs. They do like to run. Many of them do not like swimming. Most of them sink like a rock. They need to be taught to swim. They are not natural about it at all.

They have a single coat. They do get cold easily. Their ears will frostbite so they need special winter attention.

[/QUOTE]Are they a flight risk? [/QUOTE]
Yes and no. Some are very prey driven and can not resist a squirrel or a bicycle or a skateboarder, etc. However, the Doberman being very devoted to its owners usually will stay close but training is so important.

[/QUOTE]There's a lot more I could ask, but those are the basics. If anyone has anything else to add I would appreciate it :) . [/QUOTE]

Anyone considering a Doberman should spend a lot of time on this resource
They definitely have a lot of health issues to be aware of when choosing a breeder.

October 21st, 2006, 07:03 PM
Collies are definately sweet. Royce is a playful goofy sweet dog, he's just not real bright,.

My b/f is just set on a doberman right now, or a similar type dog. The problem is a lot of working dogs are dominant type dogs and need consistant training. I can give consistant training, but then you can imagine when my b/f gets home from work he's not near as consistent as me, lol.

We were thinking about rescuing a greyhound, but 1. you can't really let them off leash 2. There'd be a HUGE chance for injury in the places we walk and hike. 3. We have 2 other large dogs who are rough and active, and many of the adoption places specifically listed that as a bad thing.

October 21st, 2006, 07:09 PM
I'm not an expert, but we had a dobie when I was a teenager and I definitely recoginize what everyone is saying! She was a protector and a clown, a thinker and a plotter, and was fine being subordinate to firm leadership-but exerted her dominance over the wishy-washy.

She used to go on hours-long treks with me, loved to run and play fetch but was content to be a couch potato in the house. She was, however a patroller at night and always wanted the family all together in one place in the house-otherwise, she checked in on everyone once an hour. :D

She was smart as a whip and loved to learn new things but got easily bored of routines. She taught herself how to lift the lid off the candy dish without making any noise and how to open doorknobs (luckily only the cut-glass kind;she couldn't open the smooth types) and the latch on the screen door.

My sister got another dobie female from the pound after she moved out, though, that was very different in personality-much more stubborn and unwilling to be trained.

October 21st, 2006, 07:10 PM
Thank you SO much MaryAndDobes, that was extremely helpful!

October 21st, 2006, 07:19 PM
Hmmm, so I'm thinking the weak link here as far as getting a doberman may be my b/f.
The fact that my b/f leaves for a week at a time might bother the dog, since they're apparently really clingy. Also the fact that the week he's home, all he wants to do is cuddle with the dogs, and reinforcement is extremely lacking during that time.

October 21st, 2006, 07:22 PM
Jemma is REALLY clingy, but over time, we she learned that her daddy travels, and I tell her the day before, and she really does get ready for it. Then I tell her he's coming home the day before and she gets all antsy. She'd rather him be here, but does ok when he isn't and cuddles the crap out of him when he's home.:shrug:

I think especially if you get a male (IMO they bond better with female humans), you should be ok.:shrug:

October 21st, 2006, 07:26 PM
Walnut is like that, but yeah, she knows when he's leaving and when he's coming back. She acts up a bit the first couple of days, but I think that has more to do with the fact that she basically gets free time when he's home and has to get used to me being in charge again.

The thing is though, that currently Walnut already takes a lot of work, she's dominant, and bringing another dominant-type dog in that needs lots of reinforcement may be a really bad idea.
Doesn't help that when my b/f should be reinforcing commands with her he goes "but she's so cute!"

October 21st, 2006, 07:28 PM
Sounds like you need some fish.:D

October 21st, 2006, 07:29 PM
Fish? Like the aquarium kind?
Got those, lol.

October 21st, 2006, 10:18 PM
like you say... it really depends on bloodlines, good breeders, genetics, and individual temperaments.... both my dobies came from the same breeder, unrelated bloodlines, and it showed. we always joked that our male didn't know he was a dobie, he thought he was a lab... loved everybody and everything, couldn't guard anything to save his life, he was a clown and a lover, bonded more with my (ex)hubby than me, even if i was the one who trained & groomed & fed him more, he was an excellent swimmer and loved the water, and despite tearing his cruciate at age 8 months and limping all his life, he was still the ultimate athlete. he was very easy to train and quite obedient, but we had our disputes along the way. he was beautiful and showed like a dream, he loved kids and parties, but he was never my soulmate.

my female came from working bloodlines and guarding her "property" came naturally to her. she was aloof with strangers but a velcro once she adopted someone, she was very obedient and had only one master, me... she was my girl, my best friend, my soulmate. her death at age 2.5 from hepatitis devastated me, i'm still not over it 11 years later :sad: Her obsession was chasing tennis balls, she wanted to swim but had to learn with a life-vest (sank like a stone, poor thing), and she was "skittish" like a young colt and didn't like kids, preferred to be around quiet people.

smiling... my boy grinned and smiled on command, my girl only a few times in her life... yes as mary said they always followed me to the bathroom - they figured out how to open the door - she would put her head on my lap, and he would put his bum on me, very weird! no privacy! LOL they both loved to sit on the couch like humans, and in the winter they had to wear hats because of their cropped ears, not to get frostbite in really cold weather. yep they needed coats for those cold wet days, too. ;

so... both dobies, but different as night and day, really... but both incredible dogs and i still miss them like hell. :o :rip:

October 21st, 2006, 10:43 PM
Well then, maybe we'll be able to find an adult dobie that fits our lifestyle.

We'll probably end up adopting a dog anyway, and several of the dobermans I saw online said good with cats/children/other dogs etc., I just wasn't sure what a lot of the breed attributes were.
Even if I adopt a dog that appears to be great, I like to know what pros/cons are associated with the breed, and what troubles we could run into.

October 22nd, 2006, 12:57 AM
her death at age 2.5 from hepatitis devastated me, i'm still not over it 11 years later That's so sad.:sad: I still miss my soulmate dobie too. He died in 1998. Every time I see a red one, I remember him. He was crazy big and very well built. He had a strong head, not a narrow greyhoundish head like I see often these days. Great doggy. :cloud9: :sad:

Good luck in your search MyBirdIsEvil.:)

October 22nd, 2006, 09:52 AM
I have a little experience with dobies, I was forced ownership on one in college, he was a good pup.

He did well with me being gone to school for several hours, and we had befriended the neighbour across the hall so she would come and let him out.

he did get himself into trubble in the apt though. He dug a hole in my couch and had the craziest quirck ever, every time I would leave for school he would steal and hide the last thing I touched and hide it in the closet. Weather it was the remote, money, coffee cup ect...

Other than that I really liked that dog and wish i could have kept him.:sad: but I was a college student and not prepared financially to care for a dog. ( side note, I found him a wonderful home on a farm where he is still enjoying his life as an old boy now;) )

He was a high energy dog too and really liked his daily runs in an old public ice rink and his daily hour long walks along the board walk.

I think a dobie would be a great pick for you two.

October 22nd, 2006, 02:29 PM
Thanks erykah, that definately helps with my decision.

It seems from everyone's posts that dobermans have a pretty big variance in their personalities, so I think we'll definately go with adopting an adult dog for now, rather than a puppy.
I don't think I'd look foward to raising a puppy anyway, Walnut turns a year old on the 24th and I think my b/f must have completely blocked out from his memory the first 6 months we had her, lol.