Doberman Pinscher Care

The Doberman Pinscher (often shortened to Doberman or simply "Dobie") is a large-sized, athletic, muscular breed that has long been a favorite guard dog to owners around the world. Overall Doberman care and maintenance will take a moderate amount of work, and will consist of plenty of daily exercise and a good bit of training and socialization, especially when these dogs are young.

Below you'll find plenty of details on raising a Doberman: puppy care and development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more are all covered here. For answers to your questions about how to raise a Doberman, keep reading!

Doberman Pinscher Exercise Needs

The Doberman is muscular, athletic, and energetic, so Doberman exercise requirements are extensive. These dogs will need a wide variety of physical activities that condition their breathing and circulation (walking, fetch), work out those considerable Doberman muscles (weight pulling), and stimulate them mentally (games, canine sports). They make excellent jogging and bicycling companions as well. Overall, a big part of the Doberman exercise routine should include running in a large, fenced yard.

Specifically how much exercise does a Doberman need? The typical adult Dobie, depending on its age and overall activity level, will need about 90 minutes of proper exercise per day--which you can accomplish with a couple of long walks, jogs, or bike rides and a dedicated period of play. You can start exercising your Dobie puppy when it's three months old by taking it on short (5- to 7-minute) walks, then you can increase the walks' length and frequency as the puppy grows. And these early walks are a good opportunity to start teaching your young Dobie obedience, through leash training: have the puppy walk beside or behind you on the leash instead of being allowed to lead or "tug" on it. This, in the puppy's mind, establishes you as the leader, and should make training easier as the dog matures.

A few precautions to consider with Doberman Pinscher exercise: first, puppies younger than nine months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running on hard surfaces, or navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. Regardless of age, putting your Dobie on a leash when in public is an absolute must. While not instinctively aggressive, these dogs are bold, confident, and protective, and won't hesitate to defend their humans from unknown people or animals--especially if they perceive a potential threat. A leash will help you control your Dobie in these situations. Even when exercising in your own yard (which is hopefully large!), the area will need to be securely fenced to keep the dog from running away or from confronting unknown passersby. Also, deep-chested breeds like the Doberman are prone to suffering gastric torsion (bloat), an often-fatal digestive issue that occurs when a dog "wolfs" its food and its stomach fills with air; the condition often appears when a dog exercises just before or after eating. It's best, therefore, not to exercise your Dobie for an hour before or two hours after eating. And finally: Dobermans are definitely "family dogs," so they'll respond much better to exercises they do along with their people rather than exercising alone.

Safeguard aside, it's important to exercise your Dobie every single day. These dogs are lively and enthusiastic, and without consistent activity they'll become frustrated, destructive, and at the worst, aggressive. Regular exercise will be great for both the dog's and your own peace of mind! A few exercise ideas:

  • Walking/Jogging/Bicycling: Two 30-minute walks (or 20-minute jogs or bike rides) per day is a good target
  • Fetch/Frisbee: These dogs will chase a ball, stick, or Frisbee for hours
  • Weight Pulling: Attach a rope to a heavy object like a spare tire, and the other end to a harness for the dog
  • Tug-of-War: Good indoor, rainy-day activity; use a rope or old towel
  • Dog Park: If properly socialized, Dobermans enjoy the company of other dogs; be sure to use a leash
  • Canine Sports: Dobies are fantastic competitors in obedience and agility trials, flyball, and other events
  • Hiking: Excellent bonding activity; bonus if you can find a remote area where the dog can be off-leash

When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Doberman access to one or more balls or toys that will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also recommended that you establish a regular Doberman exercise routine, such as walks, jogs, or bike rides in the morning and evening and a play period in the afternoon.

Doberman Pinscher Maintenance

In terms of Doberman shedding and drooling, this breed needs moderate to frequent care. Doberman Pinscher shedding is fair to heavy (and year-round), while drooling is somewhat of an issue.

Dobies have short, smooth coats that shed pretty regularly all year long. Specifically how much does a Doberman shed? It's constant, but not super-heavy. Owners will only need to brush their Dobies once or twice a week with a rubber curry brush, though, to minimize the amount of shed hairs. Cleanup--vacuuming the floors and lint rollers on clothes and furniture--will be required fairly consistently for breed owners.

And a Doberman may drool in anticipation of food, after drinking water, or when particularly excited or nervous--but the drooling won't be excessive like that of a Saint Bernard or Bloodhound. Even so, owners will want to keep spare rags in rooms where the Dobie spends time (especially near its food dish) to use for cleaning up drool.

Doberman Pinscher Diet

As much as any other breed, the Doberman diet will need to include plenty of animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. This means the best Doberman dog food is premium dry kibble, particularly the kind formulated for active breeds, as it will be infinitely better in maintaining your Dobie's health in the long term.

And specifically how much should a Doberman eat each day? An adult Dobie, depending on its age, size, and activity level, will need about 3½ cups of premium dry food per day, divided into two meals. Doberman puppy food portions are a bit less: again depending on age, about 2¾ cups per day, divided into three meals (not two) until six months of age. For more info on how much to feed a Doberman from puppy age through maturity, use this handy Doberman food chart:

Doberman Pinscher Feeding Chart
Dog AgeDog WeightFood TypeAmountFrequency2 Months15 lbsDry (Puppy formula)0.5 cups3x/day3 Months25 lbsDry0.75 cups3x/day6 Months50 lbsDry1 cup3x/day9 Months65 lbsDry* (Puppy/Adult)1.6 cups2x/day12 Months+80 lbsDry (Adult formula)1.75 cups2x/day

*--Around this time, transition to adult food by first mixing in a bit of adult formula with the puppy formula. Over the course of a week, with each meal add a little more adult formula to the mixture, until the dog is eating it entirely.

If possible, try and stick to the above-listed portions. Though not especially known for obesity, if constantly overfed and under-exercised these dogs certainly can become overweight--and a fat Doberman will have joint, breathing, and digestive issues, not to mention a potentially shortened lifespan. You can help control your Dobie's weight by having consistent feeding and exercise schedules, by not feeding the dog table scraps, and by not leaving food in its bowl all the time. It's better to put your Dobie's bowl down only at mealtimes, then pick it up as soon as the dog is finished eating.

If you're worried your Doberman is overweight, give the dog this simple test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time. Reduce the dog's daily food consumption by one-fourth, and add an extra walk, jog, bike ride, or play period to its daily exercise schedule.

Living Environment

Technically, these are both inside and outside dogs. Dobermans will need to live inside with their human family members--but they'll also require a lot of daily outdoor exercise. A Doberman in an apartment is okay, just be sure the dog gets plenty of physical activity!

When it comes to climate, Dobermans do better in warm weather. These dogs get cold very easily--so owners will need to stock up on Doberman coats in winter.

Temperature Range

Dobermans are primarily indoor dogs since they enjoy having companions and a family/owner to protect. They will do fine outside, however, as long as the temperatures are not extreme (extremely hot or extremely cold).

Doberman Pinscher Grooming

Read the grooming requirements for Doberman Pinschers including coat care and other maintenance.

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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:January 22, 2019