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Are Dobermans Good Guard Dogs? What You Need to Know!

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

Young doberman female posing

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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We’ve all heard amazing stories of dogs saving young children or protecting their families in a time of crisis. Knowing that the relationship between a family and their dog can be so strong leaves many people wanting this in their own lives. Having a guard dog that loves and protects your family is a way of ensuring you have a backup if things go awry.

When talking about dog breeds that are family-oriented and determined to protect their owners, one that always enters the conversation is the Doberman. Are Dobermans good guard dogs? Yes! In fact, this dog breed was created for protection and loyalty to its owners. Let’s take a look at the Doberman, an amazing breed in the dog world, and learn everything you need to know before bringing one of these fearsome, yet loving dogs into your home.

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The Doberman’s History

The Doberman’s story is relatively simple. It all started toward the end of the 19th century when collecting taxes was considered a dangerous job. Could you imagine what it was like going door to door, collecting money, then having to make it through your day without getting robbed or attacked by someone who didn’t want to pay?

That was the kind of life Louis Dobermann was living. He was a tax collector that also dipped his hand into dog catching and breeding. Instead of dealing with the dangers of his job alone, he decided it was time to breed a dog that would make people think twice before giving him any issues.

When Dobermann developed this breed it’s believed he used the German Shepherd, the Greyhound, and the German Pinscher, which helped lead to the name Doberman Pinscher. There are other breeds sprinkled in such as the Rottweiler,  Weimaraner, and Manchester Terrier. The wide variety of traits found in each of these dog breeds led to the Doberman being great at tracking, endurance, speed, and guarding. Possibly the most impressive trait, however, is their intelligence.

adult doberman running
Photo Credit: Viola Polikarpova, Shutterstock

The Popularizing of the Breed

Dobies, an affectionate name given to the Doberman, was first shown in Germany in 1876. At this point, they weren’t even named. It wasn’t until after Louis Dobermann’s death that the breed became known as the Doberman. In Germany, the popularity of the breed soared. Many loved their working dog traits and used selective breeding to promote the traits they perceived as the best. Unfortunately, this made many Dobermans too aggressive, leaving them as only guard dogs and not as pets.

When the breed made its way to the United States during the 1900s, people wanted a guard dog, but a family-friendly one. Using the same breeding tactics, US breeders were able to produce a Doberman that had all its original traits but was more sociable and affectionate. They were even officially recognized by the AKC in 1908.

Life as the family pet wasn’t their only job, however, thanks to World War II. Dobermans became the official war dogs of the United States Marine Corps and were often referred to as Devil Dogs. They tracked enemies and showed what the traits they were bred with could do. When the wars ended, breed numbers in Germany were low, and this could have been the cause for the breed dying out. Luckily, numbers in the US only continued to increase, and nowadays the Doberman is the 14th most popular breed in the United States.

The Doberman as a Guard Dog

Dobermans are known for bonding well with their owners. While most days will be spent playing in the backyard or going on runs with these lovable dogs, on occasions, Dobermans are needed for their intended purpose of guarding and protecting their families. No matter how much of a lap dog they become, this behavior is part of them. While Dobermans aren’t overly vocal, they are great at alerting the family when something isn’t right. Strangers, noises, and other issues that may pop up in the neighborhood will be on their radar. Once there, they will ensure you are aware of what’s going on.

Another reason Dobermans are considered great guard dogs is their appearance. These aren’t small dogs. Dobermans can weigh between 80 and 100 pounds making them a fearsome opponent for someone or something trying to harm their family. They are also quite agile, fast, and brave. Add all this to their extreme love and loyalty to their families and it’s clear why they are considered one of the best guard dogs around.

Intelligence and Training

As we’ve already mentioned, Dobermans are a highly intelligent dog breed. Often, they are ranked 5th in the world among dog breeds when it comes to intelligence. This makes them relatively easy to train. The key to successfully training a Doberman is to show them you are in charge. This can be done without the need for harsh words, which can be damaging to these sensitive dogs.

Dog training, brown Doberman sits in the park and looks at the owner
Photo Credit: Derkachev Artem, Shutterstock

Once your Doberman understands you are the boss, they can be easily housebroken and taught to follow commands. These dogs do so well with training, they are even considered great dogs for new owners who aren’t well-versed in training. However, in these situations, obedience classes are always an option and can make life easier for both you and your Doberman.

Due to their protective nature, it’s important to use early socialization when training your Doberman. They need to meet the family, be taught how to interact with the kids, and even be made familiar with other pets in the house. When it comes to meeting strangers later in life, you should expect some reluctance. Dobermans protect their pack and will need you, or a member of the family, to introduce them to new people or pets to show they are not a threat. Once that is done, your Doberman will welcome them in and make them part of the fun.

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Summing Up Dobermans as Guard Dogs

One look at a Doberman can explain why they are considered great guard dogs. They are fearsome and can easily dominate in many situations. If you’re looking for a guard dog for your family, this breed is one of the best choices. They are fearless and fearsome while being highly intelligent, loyal, and most of all, loving. You and your family will have a best friend who runs a tight ship and keeps everyone safe. What more could you ask for in a best friend?

Important considerations: Please keep in mind that guard dogs are considered working dogs and therefore need to undergo specialized training. A Doberman can also be trained to be a great protection dog to alert you if a stranger has trespassed on your property, but we recommend avoiding training a family pet as an attack dog.

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Featured Photo Credit: JELIZAVETA KARAKAJA, Shutterstock

Melissa Gunter

Authored by

Melissa was born and raised in the mountains of East Tennessee where she spent her time writing in an old notebook and playing outside with her pets. As an avid animal lover, she has brought many into her home over the years. Currently, she is the mom of 5 fur babies. Her 2 cats, Princess and Pepper are total opposites who demand attention. Her dogs Jazzy, Whitey, and Demon are full of spunk and keep the entire family on ...Read more

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