Let’s get in the mood for this post with a little Beatles tune:
Today is April 15th, and it seems fitting to talk a little about one of the few breeds named after a single person who also once served as a tax collector. Most people associate this breed with police work and the US Marine Corp., but the Doberman Pinscher is so much more.
“Boss von Donautal” was a qualified wilderness Search and Rescue dog. He earned a UDC Versatility Companion (VC) Title.
“Saber” was the first and only cadaver dog for the Allegheny County coroner’s office, a job he held for four years. A low growl, followed by a bark would let a deputy coroner know where they should search. Because of Saber, closure was brought to the friends and family of those found submerged in rivers or trapped in charred houses.
Cadaver work is far from being an oddity for the breed. “Swift Run’s Warrior,” also known as “Porter,” was a certified Cadaver and Obedience, NAPWDA dog working in the Rocky Mountains. He held a Canine Good Citizen title, Doberman Pinscher Club of America Working Aptitude Certificate, an AKC Rally Advanced title, and in Schutzhund, was proficient in Scent Article Discrimination 1 (Stoberprufung 1). Also working in Colorado was “Swift Run’s Hell Hath No Fury,” or “Tavi” who was also United Doberman Club’s Service Dog of the Year in 2017.
Using Doberman Pinschers as guide dogs for the blind was the brainchild of Glenn S. Staines after his Pit Bull, “Jiggs” drowned in 1922. Heartsick, Staines wrote to a friend about his loss, and in response, his friend sent him a Doberman bitch named, “Judy of Detroit” who was the start of Pontchartrain Kennels. In 1936, Staines was introduced to T.W.Pritchett, a blind man from Indiana, who’d been turned down by a guide dog school as being too old to use a guide dog. Long story short, Pritchett was paired with a trained Doberman Pinscher, and they were a successful team for the next nine years.
Joanna Walker’s Pilot Dogs program continues to train Dobermans to guide the visually impaired.
Dobermans excel as therapy dogs, and Mobility Assistance Dogs; they detect narcotics, act as Seizure Alert/Response Dogs, and can be trained to assist a person with autism. They assist deaf people, and some programs, like Paws With A Cause, have started training Dobes for people with multiple disabilities.
But wait, there’s more.
Doberman Pinschers have a natural aptitude for Lure Coursing, possibly because their ancestry may include the Greyhound. They participate in carting, and (wait for it) can herd sheep! The clarity isn’t great, but the video below gives you the idea:
Dobermans dock dive. Just ask “Kyra,” whose full name takes up two lines: Am Ch, UDC Ch, UGrCh, Int’l/Nat’l Ch, UAGI, URO1, CA, USJCh Fayek Pitch Black V Firefly RN, BN, CA, MX, MXJ, NF, DJ, RATI, RATN, CGC, RL1, RL2, ROM.
The breed had their own drill team in the 70s. The Doberman Pinscher Drill Team of Los Altos Hills California was founded by Rosalie Alvarez and performed throughout the US and Canada.
Today is tax day, no one’s favorite day of the year, but we salute the remarkable breed created by Karl Frederich Louis Dobermann – tax man.