Dog breed suggestions / Doberman experience?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by ChickenWisperer, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2008
    KY
    Hello everyone.

    Just recently I lost my chow/lab/border "pup" at 12 years old. I am considering bringing another dog into my life and with all the research I've done, I think Dobies would be a good fit. Here are my wants/needs in a pup -

    Very affectionate to me and good with other family members (not necessarily to strangers)
    Velcro (though not to the point of separation anxiety)
    Ability and drive to protect me only if necessary. He/she will not be trained for guarding or protections specifically.
    Intelligent dog that is people-oriented and wants to please.
    Extremely loyal dog.
    Decent with other dogs (I know this is a case-by case basis but still)
    Low prey drive. No going after chickens, cats, or hedgehogs.
    Medium-large dog preferred.
    Healthy-er dog breed that is known to last at least 12 years.
    A breed that is not known to have prevelant, bad skin/allergy problems.
    Nothing hyperactive.
    Nothing that barks at everything that moves.

    Other family members want:
    Nothing with really long hair/excessive shedder.
    No labs or GSD.


    My searching pointed me to Dobies or Vizlsas mainly, as well as aussies, goldens, labs, heelers, etc. I have also deeply considered a pitty but I have yet to see/meet one that isn't a cat/chicken chaser or killer. My research shows that Viz' aren't exactly the most intelligent breed and tend to be hyperactive. I am wanting to adopt, not buy - thanks in advance for everyones suggestions and experience!
     
  2. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,734
    84
    203
    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    I was looking at Dobies too, but they are definitely NOT a healthy breed. They are prone to hip and joint problems, bloat, and genetic disorders. Most Dobermans have Von Willdebrand's disease, a bleeding disorder that will require care and extra vet costs. A well-bred dog is going to run you around $1000, and anything less is going to come with more hereditary diseases and allergies on top of the nearly unavoidable ones.

    Dobermans are also extremely intelligent and will test you and get into trouble if they get the opportunity. They are also a high energy breed, especially as a young dog. I also would not trust a Doberman with chickens, but socialization as a young puppy could help with any possible issues.

    Those are just some things to add to your view of the Doberman. They do fit a lot of your criteria, but honestly the vast majority of your criteria are going to depend on the individual dog...not the breed.

    The only way I would trust a pit with chickens would be if you are an extremely experienced dog trainer and can get a pup young enough to properly socialize it to livestock and other small animals.

    Vizlas are an intriguing breed too. And again, if you get a young pup you can properly socialize it and train it to chickens and small animals. Intelligence is relative, and one really nice thing about them is that they don't smell like dog at all. I would also look into weimeraners. Both breeds are higher energy, but proper exercise and researching puppies before buying one could find you a more laid back dog if your breeder really gets to know their puppies.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  3. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,953
    118
    213
    Apr 15, 2011
    You just described my cattle dog (she is from working lines...I'm finding a lot of ACDs now that bark their heads off...the ones I'm used to and my own girl are the only dogs in a group not barking! Silence was a desired trait from the dingo bred into them, and one I value highly). That said, ACDs are definitely not a good breed for everyone. I used to dislike the breed very strongly, because they can be quite aggressive to people that aren't their owner, and I was not their owner. These were ranch dogs who were not socialized with strangers. They can be quick to bite compared to other breeds. They tend to bond strongly with one person, so my husband and I did absolutely everything together with our girl to ensure she bonded and listened to us both, especially because we adopted her as an adult. It worked. A childhood friend was bitten very badly by the family ACD as he had bonded just with the father and thought their playing fighting was aggression. Really can't stress socializing enough for this breed.

    She is motherly to everything from our rabbits to our cats. It is not just our animals either. She stopped dead in a walk one time and absolutely refused to move. We looked down and at her feet was a baby bird that had fallen from the nest. She did not budge again until we had it safely scooped up. I have of course heard of people with ACDs that have such a strong prey drive they tear apart doors to get to pet rabbits, etc.

    The breed tends to have incredible stamina. They require not just a ton of physical exercise, but lots of mental stimulation as well. I have found that people who are harder with their dogs find ACDs to be stubborn, while people who work on trust bonds find ACDs willing to please. They have a tendency to go 'deaf' if being commanded by a stranger or someone they don't trust. Most seem to not do tricks without having a good reason. Ours is not at all food motivated, so a treat is not a good reason. ;) If you aren't watchful, a sit will become a "hover my butt a couple inches off the ground". I've never known a breed who understood home boundaries so well though. The fence can blow down, but she will sit by the front door patiently for hours. Found that out by accident. Many ACD owners report is being the case. They generally do not seem to like being tossed outside and enjoy being with their people. They are one of the breeds commonly bestowed the name Velcro dog. They can have separation anxiety. Our girl used to form a giant nest out of our clothes among other things. She is so much better now, I forget she used to do that.

    They tend to nip. Oh how they tend to nip. They can bruise you up and tear your clothing, and not see how that is the least bit painful. Many people mistake their nipping for aggression. Train them young on that. It took months to get our, at the time three year-old, ACD to stop leaping into the air and snapping up bits of us and our clothes when excited, and we still have to refresh her on that every few months or so. Best to never let it get ingrained.

    Also, they are really weird. Like, really weird dogs. I love their quirks, but many people do not. One of the funniest sights is passing an ACD owner on the trails, and they are carrying their dog that can face down raging bulls...because there is a teeny tiny puddle across the trail and that is terrifying indeed. X). The saddest day ever was taking our ACD and 'Texas Heeler' to the Great Salt Lake. As soon as the sand got a bit sinky, as in half an inch of sinking, both collapsed, whining and moaning, rolling as if in death throws. Pitifully crawling back towards us as if their legs were broken. Once they realized there were waves to chase they were fine, but we still refer to that as the 'Swamp of Sadness'. We won't discuss the ACDs first trip to a lake...
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  4. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2008
    KY
    Thanks both of you!

    Yes, Dobies aren't incredibly healthy but the hip/joint problems come with any large breed, and so does bloat with any breed that is deep-chested. Compared to breeds like boxers, they live a relatively long life so far as I've read, lol. I thought lacks and reds don't have allergy problems so much as the dilutes do?

    Punk, ACD was one that I was highly considering at first, until I found out that they tend to have severe allergy/skin issues. I dealt with that all of Muffins life (she was part chow, they are known for awful skin and allergy problems) and I just want to avoid that at all costs. Our girl did have separation anxiety, but not the "oh god my owners will never return, I need to destroy the house!!!" sort. She would pile her treats up in a corner, lay down in front of the door or driveway for hours and hours on end, and would almost never eat or drink until we come home. It really was a touching thing.
     
  5. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,734
    84
    203
    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    If you're willing to take on the challenges associated with a dobie, then by all means go for it! I love them and really want a red someday. They are such regal dogs. It's too bad their average lifespan is only 10 to 12 years.

    My biggest thing is to get it from a good and reputable breeder. As in one that shows winning dogs, breeds to better the breed, and does all the required DNA/hip/eye/hearing/vet checks required for the breed. I say this for every breed of dog because although the initial cost may be high, I can guarantee it will save you in the long run in vet visits. That and you're not supporting backyard breeders.

    Also, allergy and skin problems can also be attributed to poor breeding. Get to know your breeder and their dogs. Chances are very slim that a reputable breeder will have the problems seen in cheaper, poorly bred dogs. Genetics play a HUGE part when it comes to allergies and skin issues...along with diet.

    And again, your best chances for being good around small animals and especially livestock is to find a breeder with other animals in the house who socializes the pups to other animals at a very young age, or to begin training and socializing as soon as you bring the puppy home. An older dog is going to be MUCH more difficult to train around livestock just because a lot of the dogs you're going to see are going to have a prey drive of some sort.
     
  6. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,953
    118
    213
    Apr 15, 2011
    I have actually never had a problem with her and allergies or known an ACD with issues, though I have heard from many people who do have issues with their ACDs (not just allergies, but hips). The ones I personally know well are all from various working lines. Blindness or especially deafness do tend to be an issue, but other than that, the dogs I know are all very healthy and the ones that are now gone either lived long lives or were killed by livestock etc. It may depend very heavily on different lines, so I might ask around about that if interested in them. But, it may also be a prevalent condition in all lines. No idea!
     
  7. Redyre Rotties

    Redyre Rotties Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,542
    38
    188
    Jul 8, 2009
    North Carolina, USA
    The main issues in Dobes have nothing to do with hips allergies or bloat. They have to do with dilated cardiomyopathy. There are NO lines clear of this in Doberman Pinschers. Also a lot of wobblers disease, an inherited abnormality of the cervical vertebra.
     
  8. badkittyamy

    badkittyamy Out Of The Brooder

    43
    3
    24
    Oct 20, 2012
    Dobermans are pretty useless as protection dogs but please PLEASE don't assume because you get a guardian breed or one with a reputation that it will protect you without any training. It is the biggest fallacy a dog owner believe in. In most cases a dog without training will NOT protect you, it has no idea what to do in the given situation. If dogs that were loved and fed just protected us without training we wouldn't need the rigorous training protection dogs go through.


    I can show you a million and one videos of news casts and test where people had their dogs put to the test by someone faking a break in and their dogs ran away and hid. If you want a dog with decent workability, health etc go with a belgian malinois or a WORK line gsd

    Edit:
    Red why are you on a chicken forum, everywhere i go there you are =P
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  9. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,734
    84
    203
    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    Double post
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  10. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,734
    84
    203
    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by