Dobermans have a reputation for being aggressive and potentially dangerous, and when you come face to face with one, it may be easy to understand why. They were initially bred to protect and guard, and any dog whose primary role is to protect their owner will do what it takes. A well-bred defender can inflict significant damage on his opponents.
Dobermans today are bred differently and are more affectionate and loving; however, due to their protective nature and muscular builds, they require extra care and training and must be properly trained when they are still puppies.
If you are looking for a good family protector and have a Doberman in mind, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll discuss their natural temperament, what can make a dog aggressive, and compare the noble breed to other dogs and their instincts to protect.
Are Dobermans Naturally Aggressive?
Dobermans were initially bred to be protectors and make excellent guard dogs. They are loyal, brave, and responsive, with an instinct to protect their owners and territory from harm. While they have a reputation for being naturally aggressive, fear is usually the root cause of any aggressive or vicious behavior they display.
Over time, their hostile personalities have evolved into sweeter and more loving ones. Correct training from a young age is imperative to prevent any aggressive tendencies. With that being said, research suggests that Dobermans can still be more aggressive than some breeds1.
Aggression in Dogs
Aggression in a dog is characterized by hostile and harmful behavior toward another person or animal. It is not necessarily just the act of biting but can also be growling and barking. It can be caused by the need to safeguard a loved one or property, high prey drive, frustration, and pain, but it can also be caused by fear. Fear can cause a dog to quickly shift from reactive and protective to aggressive and is the most common cause of aggression.
A dog that feels scared and threatened will choose to run, but if it can’t, it may fight to protect itself. Our behavior towards dogs may be perceived as a threat without us even realizing it. A lack of socialization may also cause fear in dogs as they are unfamiliar with different types of sounds, people, and places, and socializing them from a young age can help them grow up more confident and secure in new settings.
A dog’s aggression tendencies can be tested through temperament testing, where they are given various stimuli to see how they react in different situations. Although the tests aren’t entirely accurate, they can provide us with some idea of how aggressive a breed may be.
What Are the Most Aggressive Dog Breeds?
In 2021, a census of dog attacks by breed from previous years was conducted. The top five dog breeds in the United States with the most bite attacks are:
According to statistics, Pit Bulls have the highest number of dog attacks. Pit Bulls have the highest attack rate in the United States because they’re often used as guard dogs, even when they’re not properly trained or socialized.
We understand the difference in the aggression of certain breeds based on reports on bites, behavior clinic caseloads, and expert opinions. In a recent study, the owners of more than 30 breeds of dogs were surveyed using the Canine Behavioural Assessment and Research Questionnaire. Two data sets were compared, and the breeds that ranked similarly for aggression toward strangers, dogs, and owners were:
In general, the most aggressive acts were directed toward other dogs and strangers.
How to Control an Aggressive Doberman and Keep It Safe
Aggression can also be provoked by protectiveness, irritation, guarding, and sickness. Early socialization and training of your Doberman can curb aggressive behaviors and minimize the chances of causing harm to another dog or human. Here is how you can keep your Doberman safe.
1. Early Socialization
Early socialization is a common training technique and is imperative with Dobermans. Socialization training can include exposing your dog to as many environments, people, and circumstances as possible, making them less inclined to experience fear in unfamiliar surroundings.
2. Obedience training
Obedience training is a must. You can obedience train your puppy at home or enroll it in classes. A well-trained and obedient dog is much easier to manage as they age. If your dog finds itself in an uncomfortable situation, basic commands can help it feel in control, focused, and confident. Training will provide trust and structure in your dog’s life and increase the chances of your dog staying safe.
3. Spay or Neuter
It is said that dogs that have been fixed are less aggressive, but it is not guaranteed. In most dog breeds, females are more aggressive than males, contrary to popular belief, and the same is said for Dobermans.
4. Never Make Assumptions
Always be on guard and cautious, and never make assumptions because any dog can bite in the right conditions.
While Dobermans have a reputation for being aggressive, they are bred to be gentler and more loving. Early socialization, obedience training, and a loving home are paramount in curbing aggressive tendencies. According to studies and statistics based on bite reports, temperament tests, and expert knowledge, several breeds are more aggressive than Dobermans. A Doberman will make a great pet and can easily be trained.
Featured Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock