Friday, March 16, 2012

In Love with a Bully

Beautiful Jasmine loves soccer!
Guest Post
In Love with a “Bully”: My First Doberman
Guest Post by Catherine Madera

Until recently, my opinion of the Doberman Pincher was shaped by Hollywood. In films such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua they are predictably typecast… as the bully.

Last November I purchased my first purebred Doberman, a female we named Sweet Country Jasmine. Since then, I have become a huge fan of this dog and continue to be surprised by traits that make them wonderful family pets.  Here are some common myths about this often misunderstood breed. 

Myth: Dobermans are victims of a strange condition where their skulls stop growing but their brains do not. Your sweet Doberman may one day “snap” and become aggressive.

Truth: Not only is that myth physiologically impossible, Dobermans rank # 5 on the list of ten most intelligent breeds. The genetically/temperamentally sound (reputable breeders are always key) Doberman is known for its emotional stability under pressure, something that makes them excellent police and military dogs.

Myth: Dobermans are mean attack dogs.

Jasmine is looking at you!
Truth: Dobermans are a working breed with a keenly honed guarding instinct. This is what they were bred for. However, they are also affectionate and sensitive dogs that can have their spirits damaged easily. A protective instinct, married with undying devotion, make them very good family dogs.

Dobermans are not for everyone. Because of high intelligence they need a lot of mental stimulation. If left to their own devices they can be destructive. They enjoy working, are easy to train, and thrive in obedience. The guarding instinct in a Doberman is strong and well-defined. They are reserved, even aloof, with strangers, the opposite of happy-go-lucky breeds such as the Labrador or Golden Retriever. Jasmine demonstrated obvious protective instinct at only 8 weeks. Because of this, Dobermans should be well socialized. They can be dog aggressive, especially males. This trait is actually part of the breed standard in the AKC.  They need a confidant human partner to give boundaries and training.

 Dobermans have a fairly high exercise requirement and, though a large breed, need to live in the house because of their sensitivity to the cold. Despite their reputation as a guard dog, they are not a breed to be left outside, looking after the property. They crave attention. Jasmine’s favorite place to be is on my lap or sitting on my feet as if she wants to know my whereabouts at all times.

Now nearly 6 months old, Jasmine loves to go for walks and play soccer, something we do every day. She is a very savvy player and watches my feet rather than the ball to figure out which direction I will kick it. Jasmine also loves her special wool blanket. She sits with it and sucks it—literally!—in the morning upon waking and at night before going to bed. We call it her “blankie,” and it’s hilarious. Some mean guard dog!

Fun Breed Fact
Many Dobermans fought, and lost their lives, during World War II where they were used in the South Pacific. Some 40 purple hearts were awarded to various dogs for acts of bravery. There is a life-size statue of a Doberman in Guam with the Marine Corp motto, Semper Fidelis—“Always Faithful.”


Thank you Catherine for sharing about your experience and giving us some insight into this wonderful breed.
Catherine Madera and Eli
 **Guest Post by Catherine Madera, author of YA novel Rodeo Dreams and editor of Northwest Horse Source magazine. She also shares her home with her family, several horses and a min pin named Chloe.

If you have any comments, or questions for Catherine about dobermans, please leave them here and she will respond. Thanks!

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