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Doberman Pinscher basic information

The Dobermann (alternatively spelled Doberman in North America) or Doberman Pinscher is a breed of domestic dog. Dobermanns are commonly used as guard dogs, watch dogs, or police dogs. Dobermanns are in many countries one of the most recognizable breeds, in part because of their actual roles in society, and in part because of media stereotyping (see Temperament).

According to the AKC breed standard, a Dobermann bitch's shoulder height is between 24 to 26 inches, and weight is between 65 to 75 pounds, whereas the male stands between 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 75 to 85 pounds. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard is slightly different and is followed by most countries. A male Dobermann should stand 26.5 to 28 inches (68 to 72 cm) and weigh between 89 to 100 pounds (40 to 45 kg). A bitch should stand 24.5 inches to 27 inches (63 to 68 cm) and weigh between 71 to 78 pounds (32 to 35 kg).

Dobermanns typically have a deep, broad chest, and a powerful, muscular body of medium size. However, in recent years some breeders have primarily bred, shown, and sold a slimmer or more slender-looking Dobermann. This has become a popular body type among many owners, especially those who want to show their Dobes competitively. The traditional body type is still more desirable to many casual owners and to those who want the dog for protection. Furthermore, despite the "ideal" standards, it is impossible to have complete control over the size and weight of dogs. Generally speaking, show animals must fall within the ideal range of both size and weight (for that country's breed standard), but it is not unusual to find male Dobies weighing over 100 pounds or females that are also larger than called for by the breed standards. Larger sizes might lead to additional health problems, although those who are looking for a Dobermann to provide personal protection or for use in police agencies or the military generally seek out the larger examples and some breeders create specific breeding pairs in the hope of getting a litter of large dogs.

Color
Most people picture a Dobermann's color as the typical black with rust markings. However, the existence of two different color genes in the Dobermann provides four different phenotypes in Dobermann color. The traditional color, produced when one or both genes have the dominant allele, is commonly referred to as black or black and rust (also called black and tan), while the most common variation, due to both genes having the recessive allele, produces what is called a red or red and rust Dobermann in America and a "brown" Dobermann in the rest of the world, which is primarily deep reddish-brown with rust markings.

The other gene having the recessive allele, while the first one retains the dominant, produces the blue (grey) Dobermann, whereas the least likely combination of both color genes having recessive alleles produces fawn, which is a light tan color, often called Isabella.

In the 1970s a "white" Dobermann was born, and she was subsequently bred to her son who was also bred to his litter sisters. This tight inbreeding went on for some time so certain breeders could "fix" the mutation, which has been widely marketed. Dobermanns of this color possess a genetic mutation, which prevents its pigment proteins from being manufactured, regardless of the genotypes of either of the two color genes; that is, it is an albino. Though many potential Dobermann owners find the color beautiful, albino Dobermanns, like albinos of other species, face increased risk of cancer and other diseases and should avoid sun exposure as much as possible. The popularity of the "white" Dobermann has died down dramatically as the risks have become known, with many people even calling for an end to the breeding and marketing of the white Dobermann, because they perceive it as cruelty to the animal. Some countries have made the purposeful breeding of the white Dobermann illegal, but breeders who care and take note of the ancestors can avoid breeding albinos as they are all descended from the original bitch.


Tails
Although the Dobermann is most commonly seen with its traditional short tail, it is actually born with a tail that is longer than many breeds. Typically, a Dobermann Pinscher undergoes docking, a procedure in which the majority of its tail is cut off or removed in other ways within days after its birth. The rationale being that it completes the sleek "look" that the dog is supposed to have, since it was the way Louis Dobermann had originally envisioned the dog.

Aside from these reasons that many view as inhumane, one practical reason for docking the tail is that it removes what would be a convenient "handle" for a criminal or attacker to grab when the Dobermann is performing its guard or police work. Another reason is that dogs with the thin, whip-like tail of the Dobermann have a very common occurrence of "broken tail". Broken tail may range from the actual tail bones being broken to the more common skin injuries that are very difficult to heal because of the difficulty of bandaging or protecting the tail. Broken tail is often a self inflicted injury caused by the Dobermann enthusiastically wagging its long tail, regardless of the objects it is hitting with it.

Regardless of people's beliefs on this matter, few potential owners have a choice on the length of their Dobermann's tail; docking must be done soon after the dog's birth, which means that the breeder nearly always makes the decision, before their dogs are even put on the market.


Ears

This is not true, however, of Dobermann ear cropping, which should be done between 7 and 9 weeks. It is something that should be taken care of while still in the breeder's care, before the puppy goes home with its new owners. Cropping done after 12 weeks has a high rate of failure in getting the ears to stand. Some Dobermann owners prefer not to have their pet's ears cropped because they believe the procedure may be painful for the animal. The process involves trimming off part of the animal's ears and then propping them up with posts and tape bandages, which allows the cartilage to develop into an upright position as the puppy grows. The puppy will still have the ability to lay the ears back or down. The process of posting the ears generally takes about a month, but longer show crops can take several months.

While there have been no studies that involved looking at cropped vs non-cropped Dobermanns, it is believed that cropping dramatically reduces the occurrence of ear infections and hematomas (blood blisters caused by damage to the ear tips, commonly from hard shaking of the head).

Although the acts of cropping and docking seem inhumane to some, the traditional Dobermann has always been the one that has had both procedures. In some countries, docking and cropping are now illegal, but in some breed shows Dobermanns are allowed to compete only if they have the traditional look.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Doberman_Pinscher".
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