Welcome to DogTime.com

DOGTIME LOGIN or SIGN UP

Doberman Pinscher

Noble and athletic, the Doberman Pinscher is a courageous guardian.

Doberman Pinscher Breed Photo

Vital Stats

Dog Breed Group
Working Dogs
Height
Weight
Life Span
10 to 13 years

Breed Characteristics

  • Details

    Adaptability

    based on 6 ratings
  • Details

    Trainability

    based on 6 ratings
  • Details

    Health & Grooming

    based on 6 ratings
  • Details

    All-around friendliness

    based on 4 ratings
  • Details

    Exercise needs

    based on 4 ratings
  • See All Characteristic Ratings


Summary

The Doberman Pinscher was developed in Germany during the late 19th century, primarily as a guard dog. His exact ancestry is unknown, but he's believed to be a mixture of many dog breeds, including the Rottweiler, Black and Tan Terrier, and German Pinscher. With his sleek coat, athletic build, and characteristic cropped ears and docked tail, the Doberman Pinscher looks like an aristocrat. He is a highly energetic and intelligent dog, suited for police and military work, canine sports, and as a family guardian and companion.

Additional articles you will be interested in:

Adoption
Doberman Pinscher Names
More Dog Names
Bringing Home Your Dog
Help with Training Puppies
Housetraining Puppies
Feeding a Puppy
Dog games
Teaching your dog tricks
How to take pictures of your dog

  • Overview

    Because the Doberman Pinscher (spelled Dobermann in some countries) came into existence at the end of the 19th century, he is, in the world of dogs, the new kid on the block. This hasn't stopped the Dobie, as he is affectionately called, from becoming one of the most popular and recognized breeds in the United States.

    His look is elegant and his style is athletic; the Dobie is also intelligent, alert, and loyal. He is a courageous guard dog as well as a beloved family companion.

    The Dobie's fierce reputation precedes him. He is feared by those who don't know him, stereotyped as highly aggressive and vicious. True, he is a formidable guardian, but he is usually a gentle, watchful, and loving dog. He does not go looking for trouble, but he is fearless and will defend his family and turf if he perceives danger.

    The Doberman Pinscher enjoys being part of a family. He likes to be close to those he loves and, when this love is present, he is a natural protector. He is trustworthy with his family's children, friends, and guests as long as he is treated kindly.

    In spite of his positive qualities, the Dobie isn't the right breed for everyone. He's large, at 60 to 80 pounds, and he's extremely active, both physically and mentally. He needs a lot of exercise.

    He also needs plenty of mental challenges to keep him from becoming bored. He needs a strong owner/pack leader who can take time to properly socialize and train him, and who will keep him busy every day. This may be too much to handle for people who lead a more laid-back lifestyle.

    The current look of the Dobie is slimmer and sleeker than that of past years. His temperament has also changed somewhat, say breed enthusiasts, softening a bit from his early days in Germany, though he is still an excellent guard dog.

    Originally, Dobies' ears were cropped to increase their ability to locate sounds, and tail docking gave the breed a more streamlined look. North American breeders usually dock the tails and crop the ears of Doberman puppies, though it's not mandatory. Docking and ear cropping is illegal in some countries.

    Those who know him say that a well-bred and properly socialized Dobie is an excellent pet and companion, suitable for families with other dogs, gentle with young children, and overall a loyal and devoted family member.

  • Highlights

    • The Doberman has a great deal of energy and needs a lot of exercise.
    • This breed can be protective, so don't be surprised when he assumes the role of household guardian.
    • The Dobie will assume the alpha role in your household if you're not a strong leader. Early, consistent training is critical to establish your role as pack leader.
    • The Dobie is sensitive to cold weather and needs adequate shelter in winter (he likes to be in the house next to the fireplace).
    • The Doberman Pinscher is a family dog and shouldn't be left alone. He thrives when he's included in family activities.
    • The Doberman has gained a reputation as being vicious. Even though your Doberman may have a sweet personality, neighbors and strangers may be afraid of him.
    • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
  • History

    Once upon a time, in the late 19th century, there was a tax collector named Louis Dobermann, who lived in the town of Apolda, in the Thuringia district of Germany. His job of collecting money was dangerous because there were bandits in the area who might attack him as he made his rounds.

    Since Dobermann was also the town dogcatcher, he often took along a dog for protection. Dobermann began breeding dogs with the idea of a loyal companion and protector in mind. The result of his breeding experiments was the early Doberman Pinscher.

    There are no records about what dogs Dobermann used to create the breed, but it is speculated that the Rottweiler, German Pinscher, and Black and Tan Terrier are part of the mix. The Dobie was first shown in 1876, where he was met with great enthusiasm.

    When Dobermann died in 1894, the true knowledge of the breeds that were combined to make the Dobie went with him to his grave. Because of his contributions in developing the breed, however, it was named in his honor.

    At the end of the 19th century, German breeders who continued Dobermann's work were primarily concerned with function rather than appearance. They wanted to develop the Doberman to be a "super dog." At first, they bred only the bravest, smartest, quickest, and toughest dogs. They succeeded almost too well — the breed became known for being headstrong and aggressive.

    A breeder named Otto Goeller is credited with shaping the Doberman into a more usable dog and, in 1900, the German Kennel Club recognized the Dobermann Pinscher as a breed.

    Around 1908, the Dobie was brought to the United States. Legend says one of the first Dobies brought to Amercia was shown in conformation and won "Best in Show" honors at three consecutive shows before any judge dared to open the dog's mouth to check his teeth.

    The Dobermann Pinscher Club of America was formed in 1921. A year later, it adopted the breed standard that had been written in Germany.

    The next 15 years were critical in the development of the Dobie. During World War I, the number of Dobies in Europe declined severely, because people who were starving couldn't afford to keep large dogs. Dobies who survived were owned by the military, police, and very wealthy people. Breeding was a luxury; only the very best were bred.

    After 1921, nearly all the top German sire and progeny were brought to the United States. Then came World War II, and the Doberman Pinscher was again in peril in Germany. Many think that if Americans hadn't previously brought so many dogs to the United States, the breed would be extinct.

    In the mid 1900s, the Germans dropped the word Pinscher from the name, and the British dropped it a few years later.

    Over the years, breeders have worked diligently to take the edge off the original Dobie's sharp personality — with good results. Although the Doberman is protective of his family and home, he is known as an affectionate and loyal companion.

  • Size

    Males stand 26 to 28 inches tall; females stand 24 to 26 inches tall. Males and females weigh 60 to 80 pounds; males are slightly larger than females.

  • Personality

    A super-intelligent and super-active dog — that's what you get when you get a Doberman Pinscher. You also get an extremely loyal, trustworthy dog who's playful and fun-loving with his family. He's a natural protector who won't hesitate to act when he thinks his family is under threat, but he is not aggressive without reason.

    The Dobie likes to be busy, physically and mentally. He learns quickly, and training him is easy. Because he learns so fast, it's challenging to keep lessons fresh and interesting. He can have his own ideas about things, though typically he's not overly stubborn or willful with an owner who provides consistent, kind leadership.

    The Dobie takes a while to grow up. He remains puppyish until he is three to four years old.

    Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who's beating up his littermates or the one who's hiding in the corner.

    Always meet at least one of the parents — usually the mother is the one who's available — to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you're comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up.

    Like every dog, the Dobie needs early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your Dobie puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.

    Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.

  • Health

    Dobies are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Dobies will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.

    If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.

    In Dobies, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).

    • Von Willebrand's Disease: An inherited blood disorder, this condition interferes with the blood's ability to clot. The main symptom is excessive bleeding after an injury or surgery. Other symptoms include nosebleeds, bleeding gums, or bleeding in the stomach or intestines. There is no cure, and a blood transfusion from the blood of normal dogs is currently the only treatment. Most dogs with von Willebrand's disease can lead normal lives, however. A vet can test your dog for the condition; dogs with this condition should not be bred.
    • Hip Dysplasia: This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don't display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred — so if you're buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.
    • Hypothyroidism: This is a disorder of the thyroid gland that's thought to cause conditions such as epilepsy, hair loss, obesity, lethargy, dark patches on the skin, and other skin conditions. It's treated with medication and diet.
    • Wobbler's Syndrome: Suspected to be an inherited condition in Dobermans, affected dogs suffer from spinal cord compression caused by cervical vertebral instability or from a malformed spinal canal. Extreme symptoms are neck pain and paralysis of the legs. Surgical therapy is hotly debated, because in some cases the condition can recur even after such treatment.
    • Cardiomyopathy: This is a disease of the heart muscle, which becomes thin and weak. It's characterized by an expansion or widening (dilatation) of the heart chambers, resulting in an abnormally large heart. This disease eventually results in heart failure, since the damaged heart muscle is too weak to efficiently pump blood to the rest of the body. Treatment varies but includes oxygen, fluid therapy, and medication that improves heart function.
    • Albinoism: Albinoism is a genetic condition that affects the Doberman Pinscher. An albino is not just a white dog but a dog with pink skin and nose, and blue or light eyes. Albinos are sensitive to sunlight and can suffer from a variety of health conditions, including cancer and eye problems. Albino dogs should not be bred.
    • Color Mutant Alopecia: This is a condition of the coat associated with blue or fawn coat colors. It affects blue and occasionally red Dobies. Most dogs who develop this condition are born with normal coats; symptoms generally start to show up at four months to three years of age. As the dog grows and matures, he develops brittle hair, followed by patchy hair loss. Only the blue portions of the coat are affected. Secondary infection and inflammation is common. The condition is incurable, although medicated shampoos may help reduce scaling and itching.
    • Narcolepsy: This is a neurological disorder caused by the brain's inability to regulate wake-sleep patterns. A dog with narcolepsy may suddenly become sleepy and in fact fall asleep. Research for treatment is underway.
    • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus: Also called bloat, this is a life-threatening condition that can affect large, deep-chested dogs such as Doberman Pinschers. This is especially true if they are fed one large meal a day, eat rapidly, drink large volumes of water after eating, and exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat is more common among older dogs. GDV occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists (torsion). The dog is unable to belch or vomit to rid himself of the excess air in the stomach, and the normal return of blood to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die. Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen and is salivating excessively and retching without throwing up. He also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak, with a rapid heart rate. It's important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you see these signs.
  • Care

    The Doberman Pinscher is best suited to a suburban or country home with room for him to romp. He needs a lot of exercise every day; this demand can be tiring to owners who aren't up to the job. He needs a home with a securely fenced yard, for his safety and for the safety of people and animals who inadvertently walk into his turf.

    He should not be left alone for long periods of time or relegated to the backyard as an outside dog. He should not be chained, either. The Dobie needs to be part of his family, participating in all family activities.

    The Dobie needs early socialization and training. Like any dog, he can become timid or quarrelsome if he isn't properly socialized when he's still young. Early socialization helps ensure that your Dobie puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.

    Tail docking is usually done when pups are very young. Ear cropping, however, is the owner's responsibility, not the breeder's, and it's done by a veterinarian when the puppy is a few months old. It requires surgery and several months of care afterward. If you like the look of cropped ears, consider the care and expense as well.

    The public reaction to the Dobie is often one of fear. It's wise to be sensitive to this, and keep your Dobie leashed in public places.

  • Feeding

    Recommended daily amount: 2.5 to 3.5 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.

    NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.

    Keep your Dobie in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test.

    First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise.

    For more on feeding your Dobie, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.

  • Coat, Color and Grooming

    The sleek, smooth Dobie coat is short and lies close to the skin. He may have a slight undercoat around the neck. His coat colors are black, red, blue, and fawn. He has rust markings above each eye; on his muzzle, throat, and chest; and on his legs and feet.

    The Dobie's sleek coat requires minimal grooming. He is a clean dog, with minimal doggie odor. Don't be fooled by his coat length — the short coat does shed. Weekly brushing with a grooming mitt or rubber curry is sufficient, however, as is a bath when the Dobie rolls in something that smells bad or plays in the mud. Frequent bathing, however, isn't necessary.

    Brush your Dobie's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

    Trim nails once a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. So, if you're not experienced trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers.

    His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don't insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.

    Begin accustoming your Dobie to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.

    As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

  • Children and other pets

    The well-bred Doberman is a wonderful family dog. He is trustworthy and protective of the children in his family, as long as he's been socialized and trained appropriately. Children must be respectful and kind to the Dobie, and he will be just that in return.

    As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

    He's also friendly with other dogs and animals in his home, especially if he has been raised with them. He can be aggressive toward dogs outside his family if he considers them a threat to his loved ones.

  • Rescue Groups

    Dobies are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Dobies in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don't see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a Dobie rescue.

    Check out Road to Rescue's SPOTlight on Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus.

  • Breed Organizations

    Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about the Doberman.

  • All Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability

    Measures how well this breed potentially adapts to different environments

  • Trainability

    Measures the amount and difficulty of training potentially required for this breed

  • Health & Grooming

    Measures how much effort this breed potentially needs to keep a tidy hound and home

  • All-around friendliness

    Measures this breed's potential to get along with other dogs and humans

  • Exercise needs

    Measures this breed's potential to require lots of physical activity

  • Sometimes

    Adapt well to apartment living

    Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn't necessarily an apartment dog make -- plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents, are all good qualities in an apartment dog.

  • Extremely

    Affectionate with family

    Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they've been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

  • Less than average

    Amount of shedding

    If you're going to share your home with a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds: Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally -- produce a snowstorm of loose hair -- some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.

  • Sometimes

    Dog friendly

    Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs even if they're love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.

  • Low

    Drooling potential

    Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you're a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog that rates low in the drool department.

  • Extremely

    Easy to groom

    Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog that needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.

  • Extremely

    Easy to train

    Easy to train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word "sit"), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training. Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a "What's in it for me?" attitude, in which case you'll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.

  • Moderate

    Energy level

    High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they're more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells. Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you'll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.

  • Moderate

    Exercise needs

    Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.

  • Sometimes

    Friendly toward strangers

    Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with a wagging tail and a nuzzle; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult.

  • Not particularly good

    General health

    Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're buying a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in, so you can ask the breeder about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.

  • Sometimes

    Good for novice owners

    Some dogs are simply easier than others: they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They're also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies. Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time owner to manage. You'll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.

  • Very high

    Intelligence

    Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work -- usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

  • Moderate

    Intensity

    A vigorous dog may or may not be high-energy, but everything he does, he does with vigor: he strains on the leash (until you train him not to), tries to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who's elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.

  • Sometimes

    Kid friendly

    Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who's on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (aka pit bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren't so family-friendly.

    **All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.

  • High

    Potential for mouthiness

    Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.

  • Very high

    Potential for playfulness

    Some dogs are perpetual puppies -- always begging for a game -- while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.

  • Moderate

    Potential for weight gain

    Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that's prone to packing on pounds, you'll need to limit treats, make sure he gets enough exercise, and measure out his daily kibble in regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.

  • Very low

    Prey drive

    Dogs that were bred to hunt, such as terriers, have an inborn desire to chase and sometimes kill other animals. Anything whizzing by -- cats, squirrels, perhaps even cars -- can trigger that instinct. Dogs that like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase, but you'll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.

  • Very high

    Sensitivity level

    Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called "easygoing," "tolerant," "resilient," and even "thick-skinned," can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.

  • Large

    Size

    Dogs come in all sizes, from the world's smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if he is compatible with you and your living space.

  • Very high

    Tendency to bark or howl

    Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the dog vocalizes — with barks or howls — and how often. If you're considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you're considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious "strangers" put him on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby?

  • Poorly

    Tolerates being alone

    Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive, barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.

  • Very poorly

    Tolerates cold weather

    Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.

  • Quite well

    Tolerates hot weather

    Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, the dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you'll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.

  • Low

    Wanderlust potential

    Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they'll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses, or that bunny that just ran across the path, even if it means leaving you behind.

Wahl_300x90_grooming-center
Animal-header-dogtimeclose