I cannot stop gushing in awe at just how magnificent those dogs look. Here, I am not just talking about any old mutt. While there are those of you who love them to pieces, my girlfriend seems to think the cute old bulldog is rather ugly. Even more so in the case of the bull terrier, I suppose. The Alsatian remains popular for its handsome and shaggy features, and because they are a lot smaller and the perfect lapdogs, gosh, I almost typed laptop dog, Maltese Poodles are great, and often spoilt, house dogs for sedentary folks.

The magnificent dogs I am referring to, of course, are those Dobermans. I suppose it becomes a matter of human taste and aesthetics, but I personally prefer the regal and athletic features of the Doberman over and above the more stocky physical characteristics of some terriers. In essence, Dobermans are described as being medium to large sized dogs. Perhaps the medium sized version makes it suitable for the home. The dog’s coat is short, but tends to be shed on a regular basis. The original intention of the pioneering dog breeder was to produce a dog that was suitable for guard duties. To this end, the design was towards muscle and masculinity, but with the added bonus of having created a rather noble-looking creature.

To be perfectly proportioned, the Doberman’s square frame should be entirely in proportion to its body. The dog’s length should be equal to its height via its withers. The length of the head, neck and legs should all be in direct proportion with the rest of the body. The average and ideal length of the male Doberman is between sixty-eight to seventy-two centimetres. Needless to say, the girls are a little shorter and noticeably lithe. The same goes for the variations in weight between the male and female Dobermans, with the average male weight being forty to forty-five kilos.

Personally, I would much rather receive an animal in its natural state. In the case of a young Doberman entering my home for the first time, this sentiment is no different. My dog comes to me as a personal friend, about to be well-trained in order to ensure that both master and animal are inherently happy co-habitants. Also, it is very much in the animal’s best interest. The added bonus of taking good care of your growing dog is that, characteristic of the Doberman, it will be loyal and devoted, and will invariably go out of its way to guard and protect you, if necessary.

The procedure is called docking. In its natural state, the Doberman’s tail is fairly long, but after docking, needless to say, the tail is then considerably shortened. The object of the exercise behind doing this, along the sidelines of creating the supremely athletic beast, was so that the tail does not get in the way of the dog’s ‘work’. Surgically removing the dog’s tail shortly after birth is legal in many countries, but, surprisingly, it is banned in Australia and most European countries. The American Kennel Club recommends docking (of the Doberman) near the second vertebra.

In regard to the Doberman’s ears, to my mind, similar controversies arise. The motivation for doing it, however, is understandable and does make sense. It is directly related to dog breed, guard duties and the effective localisation of sound. The Doberman Pinscher Club of America describes the process and location of Dobermans’ ears very briefly as being ‘normally cropped and carried erect’.

Now, the colour of the Doberman turns out to be a complex issue which also influences the health of the dog. I know no other way to describe the colour characteristics other than to lean directly on the scientific narratives that I’ve used to compose this particular post. Strictly speaking, there are just two colour genes in the Doberman. One is for the familiar black hue, while the other is for colour ‘dilution’. These are known as alleles, and nine such combinations exist in the Doberman. From these combinations arise four different (colour) phenotypes; black, blue, red and fawn.

Black or black and rust are the most dominant allele. We will refer to it as black and/or black and tan. The tan colouration usually occurs when the original black gene has two recessive alleles. The appearance of blue and fawn is manipulated by the colour dilution gene. The fawn colouration is in a minority, occurring only when both colour and dilution genes have two recessive alleles. Expression of colour dilution genes is in actual fact a disorder known as colour dilution alopecia. While this disorder is not life-threatening it can contribute towards the dog developing skin problems.

But for me, the most attractive physical features of the Doberman, in my own words, remain its muscular yet slender physique, its focused gaze and rigid posture. Thanks to its pioneering breeders, such attractive features remain natural to the Dobermans, however, I do feel a need to stress the importance of proper care all round to ensure that the dog is in optimum condition to go along with its natural good looks. Dogs, including Dobermans, can and will droop if they are unhappy or stressed. Always be reminded that Dobermans are not solitary creatures and need the comfort of being in the locale of a family environment.