DOBERMAN PINSCHERS ARE THE WATCH DOG FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
– [Narrator] Dogumentary TV producing
the best breed documentaries on YouTube.
– The Doberman Pinscher is an elegant,
loyal, devoted, extremely alert dog
who sticks to you like Velcro.
Linda Calamia and I’m the
owner of Adlercrest Dobermanns.
I got my first Doberman in 1971.
My husband worked nights, and I was home
with two little kids, and I wanted
a family dog but a dog,
a protector, one that
I could count on that would
be good with kids and that
I would feel safe no one
was gonna break in at night.
In the late 1800s around 1880,
in the town of Apolda which
is in the region of Thuringia
in Germany, there was
a man, Louis Dobermann.
He was the town dog
catcher and he was also
the town tax collector.
He wanted a dog to take
with him on his rounds
and protect him from any would-be robbers.
He had plenty of dogs to choose from
since he also ran the dog pound.
He did not keep records but people
surmise from the dogs that
were popular in the area
since people didn’t travel
a lot, different regions had
different dogs that developed into breeds.
In this area there was the butcher’s dog
which would be the
ancestor to the Rottweiler.
It was a black and tan dog.
There was also the old German shepherd,
not the modern variety we see now.
There was a German Pinscher,
which pinscher means terrier in German.
Black and tan terrier,
and they’re very feisty,
and not afraid of anything.
So they figure he probably was in the mix.
Then people say there could be a little
Weimaraner which were also in the area.
At a later date it’s known that
they introduced the
Greyhound into the mix.
So it’s really a Heinz
57 in the beginning.
But with selective breeding,
in a very short time
they were breeding true to type.
Yeah the standard of the
breed is very specific.
They describe the ideal Doberman,
male, as between 26 and
28 inches at the withers,
and weigh usually around
80 to 90, 95 pounds.
A female is 24 to 26 inches,
weigh usually around 60 to 70 pounds.
Little variances but it seems lately that
like with a lot of
things, bigger is better,
more is better, and some people
try to push the standard.
But the Doberman is really supposed
to be a quick, agile, medium size breed.
If you start gettin’ into Great Dane size,
that’s a different dog.
Well if you look in some of the books,
the original Doberman looks
like a kind of a poor cousin.
It’s a lot rougher, it’s
not as smooth and elegant.
They cropped and docked ’em
though from the beginning.
So they’ve always had the
cropped ears and the docked tail.
It was a little smaller,
just not as elegant
as they are now because there would
still be, from these
different breeds that went
into the makeup, there’d still be a little
bit of a throwback occasionally.
So there would be a little
of this and a little of that.
But in a very short
time they got ’em going.
Well I know there’s a
lot of stink from some
people you shouldn’t crop
and dock, and it’s wrong.
They talk about oh, the dogs
should have natural ears.
What I say is in nature a
natural ear is an erect ear.
You will never see a fox, a coyote,
a wolf, a dingo with floppy ears.
So the floppy ears is a manmade
aberration in the first place.
Certain breeds with floppy ears
like Cockers, et cetera,
are notorious for getting
ear infections ’cause they
don’t have the circulation.
It’s also much easier
to read the intentions
of a erect ear dog because the ears
are very, dogs use a lot of body language.
That ear set forward, laid back, you know,
that tells you what the dog is thinking.
So when you have a cute
little dog with floppy ears,
he doesn’t telegraph his
intentions quite as easily.
So I will always have cropped ears.
Now in certain areas,
especially in the EU now,
they’ve forbidden cropping and docking.
The animal rights people
have gotten involved.
The biggest problem, as
far with the Doberman,
is that some of your other breeds
that don’t dock, for
instance a Rottweiler.
They have a very heavy tail
and it’s a lower set tail.
The Doberman has a high set tail
and it’s very thin and
whip-like, like a Greyhound.
When you have this high that’s sticking
out in the air, and wagging furiously,
and it’s a house dog, there’s a lot
more chance of injury to the tail.
We once sold a dog to a lady in Sweden
and she had the long ear,
long tail variety previously.
Her poor dog by the time he was a year
and a half old had broken
his tail five times.
The last time it was so bad that
the vet said, “We’re
gonna have to amputate.”
Well amputating a tail at a
year and a half, it’s part
of the spine, there’s nerve
endings, there’s phantom pain.
When you do a puppy, like you normally do
when you dock them, it’s done at three
to five days old before the dog
has the full nerve
costume and the feeling.
So they don’t even need to use anesthesia.
But if you do it after
about 10 days of old,
then the nerves are fully developed,
and then you would need anesthesia.
So to me it’s much easier to take
it off when they’re a few days old
and avoid any chance of injury
because of that high tail
set, that thin tail set,
than to have problems later on.
Okay well the Doberman was bred
as a personal protection dog.
Other working breeds, the Rottweiler
was a drover dog with
cattle, or pulling carts.
The Shepherd started
out as a herding breed.
Any of your working breeds have always
been working with people so they’re very
good at taking direction, you know,
training, things like that
because they’ve always
had a close association
working with humans.
The Doberman was bred as a personal
protection dog, and he feels his
job in life is to stick like glue to you,
and no one’s gonna be out to get you.
When you get up to go to the bathroom,
he follows you right in there,
he won’t leave you alone.
Well the white Doberman is an aberration,
it’s a genetic mistake.
Back in I believe the early 70s
or thereabouts, back in the Midwest,
there were two normal colored Dobermans.
I believe they were black and rust.
Obviously they had a mutated gene
and when they were bred,
and that gene combined,
there were a couple
white puppies produced.
Well these people thought wow,
what a neat thing, a rare
dog unheard of before.
We’re gonna do a bunch of tight
inbreeding and reproduce the phenomenon.
So it’s a genetic aberration caused
by an albino gene and just like
in the human population, albino really
isn’t somethin’ we wanna
reproduce and make real popular.
There are skin problems
because of no pigment,
skin cancers, things like that.
They have generally light blue eyes
so they’re very photosensitive
to bright light.
Yeah, some people think it’s
wonderful because they’re rare.
But it is a genetic
mutation and I’m trying
to breed healthy dogs, not mutated dogs.
So American bred Dobermans in general
have a lot of the protective instincts,
the courage and the
hardness, bred out of them.
So they’re gonna be a lot mellower
and, I don’t know, maybe easier to handle,
kind of like a Labrador in a
Doberman suit kind of thing.
Now your Western European bred
dogs, part of the breeding
program is to keep the
essence of the breed.
In other words, the
reason for the Doberman
being is a personal protection dog.
So when they breed dogs, for instance
in Germany, they must follow a certain
standard as far as the beauty goes.
They must do a temperament test
which includes social
things, being around people,
things like that, crowds, but also
having a simulated attack
and the dog must defend you.
If the dog fails any of these tests,
you’re not allowed to breed ’em.
So they kept a more well rounded dog
rather than just the pretty dog
which was the main focus
of the American breeders.
For instance, the American Dobermans
in the show ring, they’re selected,
it’s a beauty contest
and so they’re selected
for their potential to
win in the show ring.
It’s very competitive and
most Dobermans, when they get
ready to go for the big time,
they go out with a handler.
The handler has motor home,
and eight, 10 dogs with him,
and they hit all these
shows for weeks in a row.
They get the dog out of the
crate, he stands in the ring,
and looks beautiful, and
he trots around the ring.
Then he’s back in the motor home,
and the next dog comes out.
Now sometimes in the ring, the handler
might have an Irish Setter that’s supposed
to be in ring six, and
the Doberman in ring 10,
and they both can’t go
in at the same time.
So they trade off and guy throws
the buddy the keys to the motor home.
Hey Joe, get the Doberman
and show him for me.
They trade off and help each other out.
So Joe goes in the motor home,
opens the crate, gets out the Doberman,
puts the leash on, and the dog
trots away with him,
and is happy as a clam.
If you had a dog, actually I had one,
his name was Arman, and my
focus is with working dogs
but I wanted to prove a point that
just because a dog had brains,
and smarts, and could
work, he was also pretty.
So I put him in the show ring
and I warned the handler.
I said you can give Arman to another
person to show but someone the dog knows,
you, or your wife, or the kennel girl
must get him out of the crate,
put the line on him, and then
they can hand him to Joe,
and say, “Here Joe, this is
Arman,” and Arman will be fine.
However, if you throw Joe your keys,
and he walks into your motor home,
and you’re not there, that
dog’s instinct is on protection.
There is a stranger in
my boss’ motor home.
I said don’t do that.
I said he’ll get bit.
The guy thought I was kidding.
I said no, I’m not kidding,
this is a protection dog.
When you’re not there, strangers
do not come in your house.
So for the American showdog it makes
it a lot easier if you can just throw
the keys to Joe, and he can
walk in, and show the dog.
Judges can go over him, and poke and prod.
The dog will just stand there
and be a perfect little gentleman.
If you have a working dog with
the protection instincts, they are fine.
They’re stable, they’re a good family dog.
But you do have to understand
how the dog thinks.
For example, Uncle Joe who
hasn’t seen you in five years
comes to visit, and he sneaks up
behind you, and grabs you in a bear hug,
and your dog is there,
probably not a good idea.
The dog sees someone attacking his master.
He’s gonna come to your defense.
Or comin’ up and slappin’
someone on the back.
So you have to understand if you have
a dog that’s very protective of you,
you have to understand how he thinks,
and not put him in a situation
that’s gonna get him in trouble
’cause it’s not his fault that
he’s trying to protect you.
So your American dogs
are a little more docile.
They have some of that
courage, and hardness,
and protective instinct
bred down to a lower level.
The European dogs, you can’t lump
it all in one basket because
Europe is a bunch of countries
and each country can have
their own regulations.
In general, the countries
in Western Europe,
the EU countries, for years have had
rules and regulations on breeding.
They have certain breed tests that
your dog must pass before
it’s allowed to be bred.
As I was saying earlier, they
must pass for confirmation.
For beauty they must be
graded very good or excellent.
For the temperament, again,
very good or excellent,
and certain health tests done.
Now the former East Bloc countries
have no rules and regulations.
Countries like Serbia,
Croatia, places like that.
They have no rules and regulations,
and in fact they have some rather
large puppy mills in
some of these countries
that send thousands of dogs
to the US and other countries.
People say, “Oh, they’re European.”
But you have to differentiate what
country in Europe are they from.
Do they have rules and
regulations or is it puppy mills?
The Eastern Bloc countries are doin’
a pretty good business, especially now,
because the EU passed rules a few
years ago which outlawed
cropping and docking.
So that means if you wanna import
a puppy from say Germany,
when it arrives here
it’s gonna have long ears and long tail.
Unfortunately the new USDA regulations
prohibit importers from importing
a dog under four months old because they
want it to have the rabies shot.
So at four months old, it’s too old
when it gets here for
you to crop and dock it.
So it’s gonna remain sort of a black
and tan Coonhound, long
ears and long tail.
However, Eastern Block countries
like Serbia, they’re
still allowed to crop.
So they’re capitalizing on that.
To produce type, in the past there
has been some line
breeding and inbreeding.
So every breed has certain
things you wanna look out for.
A reputable breeder of Dobermans
should test eyes, hips,
thyroid, Von Willebrands, and cardio.
Now we’re lucking out
on the Von Willebrands
because they found the gene responsible.
So you can do this little
cheek swab in your dog
and find out if it’s
affected, a carrier, or clear.
By having that knowledge, in a couple
generations you can breed the dogs clear.
Von Willebrands is a type
of bleeding disorder,
not as serious as hemophilia,
but there’s a clotting problem.
So you don’t wanna have a
dog with a bleeding disorder.
But the genetic testing we can do now
is really gonna alleviate that problem.
They’re currently doing a lot of research
and trying to find
genes that cause cardio.
So far they found two but it
doesn’t seem to be the answer
yet because dogs that are clear
are still having a problem.
So it’s gotta be multifaceted and maybe
even an environmental
influence but they don’t know.
So what breeders do now is they test
their breeding stock with echocardiograms
or Holters which is like an EKG machine
which finds if they’re throwing
any ventricular extra beats or whatever.
They’re testing these
two gens and hopefully
one day they’ll have a handle on that.
There is a sport, it used
to be called Schutzhund,
now it’s called IPO,
it’s like a triathlon.
The Doberman is a very active dog,
and he has a very active
mind, and he loves training.
You really need to do this with your dog.
Just like a young child, you can’t just
let ’em run amok, and then when
they’re 16, try to instill
some sense of right and wrong.
You have to teach ’em when
they’re young and they love it.
They love the physical activity
and they love, again, being with you,
and working with you, and
gettin’ that good dog, good boy.
As a breeder, what I like doing
is by working your dog, you understand
the parts that were harder for them
to learn, and pick up, and the things
you gotta work harder on,
and what came easy for ’em.
This is part of their temperament.
Just like you would, if your dog
had flat feet, you wouldn’t breed
to another dog with flat feet.
You’d breed to a dog with nice tight feet
because that’s one of the
characteristics of the Doberman.
You wanna improve your dog.
So by the same token, you
wanna improve the temperament.
You want strength where
your dog has weakness
to produce eventually the perfect dog.
Schutzhund started out
as a temperament test
and it’s involved into a sport.
It’s now called IPO but it tests
all the major drives of the dog.
The dog has to track a human.
This tests his concentration,
his sense of smell,
his sense of obedience
to follow the track,
and just going on, and on,
and sticking with the job.
The obedience portion tests his agility,
his ability to follow command,
his rapport with the owner,
working from a distance
under command, et cetera.
The protection aspect
tests the dog’s courage,
and hardness, willingness to
take on the bad guy even if it
means putting himself in harm’s
way to protect his owner.
Also him being under control of the owner
and willing to follow command.
Even when he really wants to get
that bad guy and you tell him, “Out,”
he must out because he’s
gotta be under command.
So it tests all the
major drives of the dog.
Breeders, way back when in the early 1900s
figured this was a really good test
to again find good breeding partners.
Of course with all this work, they got
little competitions going.
The interesting fact about it is if you
talk to a German Shepherd dog person,
they will say that
Schutzhund was developed
as a breeding test for
the German Shepherd dog.
But what they don’t know,
and it was, the German Shepherd Club
was the first club that
said, “Wow, this is great,
“let’s incorporate this
into our breeding program.”
But Schutzhund was developed
by a German gentlemen
called Konrad Most and
he was Doberman breeder.
One thing I’m really worried about
with not just Dobermans but all breeds
is everywhere they’re moving to everything
political correct, everything dumbed down.
Animal rights people are trying to take
basically all our rights to own animals.
They chip away at it, they don’t just
out and out say no more animal ownership.
Although that’s the end result.
They chip away at the little things
and just make it more and more difficult,
more and more regulations, and insurance
companies are cracking down on
what breed you can own, et cetera.
Yeah, I really worry about the future
of man’s best friend because I think
it’d be a horrible world
with no pets in it.
This is Linda Calamia and I’m the owner
of Adlercrest Dobermanns
in Riverside, California.
I’m gettin’ up there in age
but I’m gonna keep doin’
this as long as I can.