FINDING BREED TYPE IN THE DOBERMAN
Harold Spiro’s book Canine Terminology limits his definition towards temperament, and defines character as: “Dogs mentally equipped to perform those functions for which they were originally designed are referred to as being “true in character” for that particular breed.” The Doberman is a regal breed with the distinc- tive combination of being elegant while still main- taining strong substance. It should be a compact, athletic, confident dog that presents himself as aware of his surroundings and in total control. The standard has descriptive phrases: “Elegant in appearance, of proud carriage, reflecting great nobility and temperament. Energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient.” They all are important. Since the Doberman was bred as a personal pro- tection dog, he should exhibit the traits of an ani- mal that can perform those duties... quick, power- ful, determined, confident, and controllable. A docked tail is clearly defined in the standard. There should be no other acceptable tail. A dog with uncropped ears deviates from the standard in three specific instances: It is not cropped. The ears are not carried erect. The standard states that the Doberman look is “determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient.” Natural ears on this breed have a much softer and less daunting look than the erect ears of a cropped Doberman. A soft look is counter to the appearance desired in our breed. This is a third and important deviation. One should be able to identify a breed solely by its silhouette. The Doberman sil- houette cannot be identified as having cor- rect breed type if it has natural ears and an undocked tail. THOUGHTS ABOUT CROP AND DOCK
The athleticism, stature, and presence of a con- fident Doberman draws attention from everyone, irrespective of their breed of choice. Observe a good Doberman returning from moving, and hit- ting that perfect stack with the look of “I’m here, and I’m in command.” Could that be one of the reasons that Dobermans are so successful in Group competition? If you have watched a number of strong Work- ing Groups, you’ve seen it. When you see it, you will know “that’s a Doberman!” CONCLUSION If you thoroughly learn the first four elements of breed type and have those mental images in your mind, you will be able to choose the physically cor- rect Doberman. The final (and arguably the most important) factor that you will evaluate is breed character. Choose carefully, breeders and judges. You control the future of the breed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Robert Vandiver has been involved in Dobermans since 1970, having bred many champions, including Top Ten competitors. He is approved by AKC to judge all Work- ing, Sporting, Non-Sporting, and Herd- ing breeds. He is a former Chairman and is now a member of the DPCA Judges Educa- tion Committee and was Chairman of the Doberman Pinscher Illustrated Standard.
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