Doberman Pinschers are a breed of dog that were first bred in a town called Apolda in the state of Thuringia, Germany, around 1890. This time period was right after the Franco-Prussian War. Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann ran the local dog pound and performed the dangerous role as the local tax collector. He decided to create a breed of dog that would be ideal for protecting him in his tax collecting duties and, with his access to many dogs through the pound, he set out to create that breed. Since he regularly had to walk through rough neighborhoods, his goal for the new breed wa a dog that would be, in his opinion, a great combination of loyalty, strength, speed, intelligence, endurance, and ferocity. Otto Goeller and Philip Greunig continued Dobermann’s work on the breed until it became the dog we see today.
No one is completely sure what all breeds Dobermann used to create his new dog. Many believe that, to get the characteristics he was looking for, though, the following dogs are likely: the Rottweiler, the German Pinscher, the Greyhound, the Great Dane, the Thuringian Sylvan Dog, the Weimaraner, the Manchester Terrier, the German Shorthaired Pointer, the Old German Shepherd Dog, and the Thuringian Shepherd Dog.
Of course the exact mixing ratios are unknown. Even the exact breeds used are a mystery. Experts believe, though, that the Doberman Pinscher is a mix of at least four of the breeds listed. It is believed that the Old German Shepherd gene pool was the largest contributor to the breed because of the traits in the dog. The American Kennel Club (AKC), a club formed to keep breed standards up to par, believe that the breeds used to develop the Doberman Pinscher likely included the Rottweiler, German Pinscher, the Old Shorthaired Shepherd, and the Black and Tan Terrier.
The Germans named the breed Dobermann-pinscher in honor of Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann after his death in 1894. Five decades later, they dropped the word “pinscher” from the name because the felt the German word for “terrier” was no longer appropriate. A few years later, the British followed suit.
The US Marine Corps adopted the Doberman Pinscher as it’s official war dog during World War II, though it wasn’t the only breed used in the role.
The breed was nearly lost after the war. No new litters were registered in West Germany in the years of 1949 to 1958. Once this was realized, Werner Jung went to work to save the breed single handedly. He searched throughout Germany on local farms to find typical Pinschers and used them alongside four oversized Miniature Pinschers he acquired. He was also able to find a black and red bitch in East Germany and risked his life to bring her back to West Germany with him. The majority of German Pinschers today are from the dogs he found and brought back.