The Doberman Pinscher is a medium-large dog breed with a powerful build and a sleek appearance. Doberman Pinschers have a broad chest and short, rough-textured fur. The Doberman Pinscher has traditionally been used as a guard dog, but today they are mostly kept as loyal and protective pets.
The short, or docked, tail and pricked, or cropped, ears are both very distinctive features of the elegantly sleek look of the Doberman Pinscher. However, as these features aren't natural and must be surgically done, tail docking and ear cropping are illegal in a few countries. Ear cropping is done between seven and nine weeks of age and tail docking must be done soon after the Doberman Pinscher's birth. Those in favor of these surgical procedures argue that they are necessary in order to keep the distinctive look of the breed.
Coat colors of Doberman Pinschers vary. Black and tan or black and rust are the most common Doberman colors, but red, fawn and blue Doberman Pinschers also exist. However, fawn and blue aren't usually recognized as acceptable colors for the breed and are usually discouraged by many breeders. This is because a high percentage of blue and fawn Doberman Pinschers are likely to get color dilution alopecia.
Color dilution alopecia is an inherited disorder in which hair loss is associated with coat color. Although other breeds of dogs with fawn or blue coats are susceptible to the disorder, the Doberman Pinscher is by far the most likely breed to have it. In color dilution alopecia, hair follicles break easily due to inconsistencies and skin infections are likely to occur as well.
Dobermans are said to be high energy dogs that are both protective and gentle by nature. Many Doberman Pinschers tolerate cats and other dogs and this breed is often considered a good choice for families with young children. It can't be stressed enough that the Doberman Pinscher is highly energetic and needs a great deal of exercise. This is not the kind of dog that makes a good pet for those who live a sedentary lifestyle.