As a dog catcher and “skinner” (one hopes not of dogs), Friedrich Louis Dobermann had access to a lot of dogs, but he had only one type of character in mind for the breed he envisioned creating: A dog with unsurpassed loyalty, intelligence, and fearlessness. Surprisingly, the breed he created acquired physical uniformity in an amazingly short time. These dogs called “Dobermann’s Hunde,” early on were built on two foundation dogs known as “Schnupp” and “Bisart.” We know only that “Schnupp” was clever and fearless, and even less about “Bisart.” After that, history can only make educated guesses as to which breeds were used, to what extent, and the ratio of their use, because Dobermann didn’t keep records, or at least, not any that have been found.
Dobermann introduced his dogs to the Apolda Dog Market in 1863, an important annual festival that took place on the eighth day after Pentecost. Dogs classiﬁed Guard dogs, butchers dogs, lap dogs, and so on were bought and sold, but it was also a place to promote breeding. Dobermann’s dogs were, not surprisingly, instantly popular.
In 1904, the German cynologist, Richard Strebel, wrote about the Doberman Pinscher:
If it is correct to situate the Doberman Pinschers between the other
pinschers is very questionable; maybe it was better to put him to
the shepherd dogs. He is the result of a cross between pinschers
(the Old smooth-haired German Pinseher) and shepherd dogs, and
if also other dogs were involved cannot clearly be said. Of the
shepherd dogs the Old Thuringia Sheepdog was available, which
possibly got help from the Black and Tan Terriers, and that would
bring him closer to the Pinschers.
The first record of the Doberman being entered into a dog show came 34 years later in Erfurt.