Breed History

On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee sat at a table and signed the surrender of his Confederate troops to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appamadox. Half a world away, in the town Apolda, Germany, the local tax collector and dog catcher desired a medium-sized dog that could perform not only as guard but also as companion.

One of only a handful of breeds are named after the person who created them, the Doberman Pinscher originated around 1890, taking its name from tax collector and dog catcher, Louis Dobermann. Historical speculation says that Louis Dobermann, dreamed of a dog with a terrier's speed and agility, combined with the strength and courage of some of the Thueringian shepherd dogs of the time. These sheepherding dogs were well-known for their bravery and intelligence and Dobermann wanted to capture that combining it with the speed, agility and determination of a scrappy terrier. There is only speculation about the breeds utilized to develop the Doberman Pinscher but they may have included: the old shorthaired shepherd, Rottweiler, Black and Tan Terrier and the German Pinscher.

When his experimental breeding ended, Louis Dobermann was left with four dogs; Rambo, Lux, Landgraf and Schnupp. They had not yet earned the name Doberman Pinscher but were referred to simply as "Dobermann's dogs." Schnupp was bred and gave birth to a litter. Schnupp and her litter were described by one historian as being "deplorable to look at and very ferocious." Schnupp was later to be given the registration number one when the Doberman Pinscher Club of Germany was formed in 1912, although Schnupp did not resemble very much of the Dobermans of today.

The first Doberman Pinscher to be crowned Champion was described by judge Philip Grunenig as having a coarse heavy body, very long hair and a light eye. By this time, other breeders were trying to inject their ideas and concepts into what the breed should look like. But it was Otto Goeller - from the same town of Apolda - who, more than any other breeder, was responsible for the appearance of the Doberman Pinscher as we know it today. He founded the von Thuringen Kennels in 1901 and was the individual who was responsible for adding the name "Pinscher" to the breed.

Today's Doberman is a gentle, affectionate and extremely loyal pet. But because of his uncanny intelligence, working ability and strength, a Doberman Pinscher needs proper discipline, an abundance of love and, equally important, training! There is an awful lot of energy as well as intellect packed into the Doberman Pinscher and it needs to be channeled in the proper direction. Fanciers of the breed and those that truly know the Doberman Pinscher do not see ferocity and fire in his eyes. They see loyalty, devotion and intelligence that has no peer. The utilitarian ability of the breed is historical fact, for they have been used in every capacity in which dogs are known to excel. The Doberman Pinscher has been used to lead the blind as well as in the pursuit of fleeing criminals. He has been successful in search and rescue tracking and narcotics detection. He has excelled in his ability to work alone as a sentry dog. His instinct to protect and defend is unequaled.

The properly bred and trained Doberman has proven itself as friend and guardian. As it developed, its qualities of intelligence and ability to absorb and retain training brought it into demand as a police and war dog. In recognition of great contributions of the Doberman Pinscher on battlefields around the world, the statue "Always Faithful" sits atop the War Dog Cemetery on Guam.

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