THE ORIGIN OF THE DOBERMAN PINSCHER
Where and when the Doberman was originated is certain, not like many other breeds where their beginnings are mainly conjecture. In a town in central Germany called Apolda a man named Karl Friedrick Louis Dobermann was born on January 2, 1834. Karl lived in Apolda for 60 years until his death in 1894. He had many occupations, the unpopular job of tax and rent collector, night watchman, night police officer and official dogcatcher. He needed a dog to take on his nightly rounds. He came in contact with many at the dog pound and selected one he wanted. He wanted to breed a type of dog that would be a good guard dog and a type that would reproduce itself with the same qualities. In 1880 he moved from his rented house to a place with some land and began breeding. One of his first females was called Bisart. She had a sharp temperament, which he admired. Bred to males with similar characteristics, she whelped puppies with a short black and tan coat and some gray wool. Many had white markings on the chest and feet. Because of their impressive type and spirit they were easy to sell to people who wanted a dog for protection. These dogs were also used for pulling carts and herding sheep. In those days breeding dogs was only a way of making money, breeding for hobby was unknown. People in Apolda feared the dogs bred by Karl Dobermann. They began referring to them as "Dobermann's Pinschers" and this was generally accepted as the official name. With little means of transportation during those times, we can assume that the various breeds of dogs, purebred or otherwise in and around Apolda interbred with each other. It is a known fact that the large and now extinct Thuringian Pinscher and Thuringian Shepherd had many similarities such as smooth black coat and yellow to red markings. For many years their influence in the Dobermann carried on, until it was permanently dominated by the strong influence of the Manchester terrier. The Rottweiler, a very old breed from Southern Germany, was used to drive cattle from Switzerland into Germany and many remained in Apolda. They had the identical coat, color and markings as the Dobermann and were the same size except they were built heavier in the body and the forehead. The French Beauceron, known for his trainability and working characteristics was thought to have been brought into Germany by the people traveling with Napoleon's Army for several years, with some being left behind in the early 1800's to mate with the native dogs. The Beauceron has a head shape, which resembles that of the Dobermann more than any other breed as well as existing in four different colors, all with the tan pattern. Prior to 1870 purebred dogs were rare in Germany, still many believe that the Great Dane, Beauceron or Weimaraner were responsible for the blue and fawn color in the Dobermann. This mixture of breeds purebred or otherwise transmitted certain characteristics so dominantly that very quickly a new breed of dogs appeared. The ancestors of the German Dobermann gave their best qualities of body and spirit because the Dobermann excels as a runner and a jumper. Both his size and short hair are a great advantage. At Germany's first dog shows in 1897, 1899 and 1900 dog fanciers were surprised at the uniformity of type and the new breed was readily accepted. Out of respect for all the work done by Herr Dobermann the name Dobermann has been connected with the breed forever. Dobermanns of today breed true to type. Improvement in type has been tremendously progressive since 1900 and according to the great German breeder, judge and author, Philip Gruenig: "The Dobermann was not created, he is in the process of becoming." Today, the breed is found in almost every country in the world. The Dobermann came to America about 1907 or not long afterwards. The first was registered in 1908. A comparatively small number were imported before World War I. No really outstanding Dobermann was imported until after 1920. Outstanding German and Dutch winners were imported and shown widely beginning about 1921. This same year the Doberman Pinscher Club of America was founded. The first American Breed Standard was adopted in 1922 and except for a few minor amendments, remained virtually unchanged until 1969 when the fawn color was added as an acceptable coat color along with the blacks, red, (called "Browns" in other countries) and the blues. Sooner or later right up to the Second World War, just about every top winner from Germany and Holland was brought to America to be shown and used for breeding. Breed popularity increased rapidly as American breeders gained experience and knowledge. Building upon the stock available, and through their dedication and skill, they raised the Doberman to a peak unequalled anywhere in the world. The first Doberman to go Best-in-Show at Westminster was the German import, Ch. Ferry von Rauhfelsen in 1939. Exactly 13 years to the day after that, Ferry's grandson Ch. Rancho Dobe's Storm went Best-in-Show at Westminster in 1952. Interestingly enough, he had come from a litter of 13 and was the 13th homebred champion for his breeders. He was the 13th Doberman finished by his handler Peter Knoop and his catalog number was 13 and it was the 13th time he had ever been shown. Although he was born on the 13th, the date was registered as the 12th so as not to jinx the litter. Storm was again Best-in-Show at Westminster the following year in 1953. Character traits of the Doberman are: Uncanny intelligence, loyalty to, plus willingness and desire to please his master, ability to discern between friends and someone or something posing a threat, fearlessness and the ability to master emergencies. He is dignified yet affectionate, energetic, playful and alert to all that is going on around him. He loves his family and needs their love and companionship. He is not a dog to be left in the backyard with little attention. His temperament will suffer greatly for it. He has appropriately been called "The dog with the human brain."