Breed History and Appearance
The Doberman is a German breed that traces its heritage back to some of the old German dogs such as the Rottweiler, the smooth haired German Pinscher and the Black and Tan Terrier of England. The word pinscher in German actually means terrier. Herr Louis Dobermann (note the original spelling) of Apolda, Germany, developed the breed in the 1890s to use as a guard dog and a watchdog. As it developed, its qualities of intelligence and ability to absorb and retain training brought it in demand as a police and war dog. In this service its agility and courage made it highly prized. An excellent nose adapted the dog to criminal tracking and also has led to its use as a hunting dog. The breed was officially recognized in 1908 by the American Kennel Club. The Doberman has been fortunate with the aid of selective breeding to have absorbed the good qualities of the breeds which have made a contribution to its heritage. From the beginning it has been a working dog devoted to the service of mankind. The Doberman is a medium sized dog of clean cut appearance with males reaching 26-28 inches tall at the withers and bitches 24-26 inches. Dogs not within this size range would not be considered correct according to the breed standard. Males usually weigh 70-75 pounds; bitches 60-65 pounds. The Doberman has a smooth, muscular body with a short, fine, close laying coat. Ears can be cropped and erect or natural. The tail is docked short. Permissible colors are black, red, blue and fawn (Isabella). White is not an allowed color. All colors have sharply defined rust markings above each eye, on the muzzle, throat, forechest, legs, feet and below the tail.
The Doberman, as described in the written standard for the breed, is energetic, watchful and determined. They are guarded with strangers, but excessive shyness or aggressiveness should not be tolerated. The Doberman is naturally protective and should never be trained to attack. A very intelligent breed, they can be a challenge to train as they require quick thinking on the part of their trainer to make progress. A superb family dog noted for its devotion to the family, the properly bred and trained Doberman has a sound mind and body, and the heart and spirit of a gentleman.
Care and exercise
The Doberman is an athletic breed and must have regular exercise to maintain its look, condition and agility. Many behavioral problems can surface due to boredom or lack of exercise. The Doberman is a "people" dog and does not do well with lengthy stints alone. The short coat requires little care but does not afford sufficient warmth to allow the dog to thrive housed outside in cold climates. Obedience training, even just the basics, is very important to make a Doberman a viable member of the family.
The Doberman is generally a healthy breed, although as with all breeds, there are some problems which occur more frequently in the breed than in the general dog population. There are tests to screen for many of the common problems, and the puppy buyer would do well to inquire whether the sire and dam were tested for the various problems, as well as the incidence of the problems in the specific lines.
A bleeding problem known as von Willebrand's disease (vWD) sometimes occurs in the Doberman. We now have a genetic test that will identify whether a Doberman is genetically clear, carrier or affected. It is important to note that many affected Dobermans never experience a bleeding problem, but when it occurs it can be serious. When considering some of the other health problems in the breed this disease is not the most serious problem but it is listed first because we now have a definitive test to screen for the problem and eliminate it in the offspring.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM or cardio) is a serious heart condition. It is thought to be inherited, and the genetics of the disease are currently being studied by the same researchers who developed the test for von Willebrand's disease. While we do not yet have a definitive test for DCM, there are some methods of testing that are recommended. Both sire and dam should be tested by a veterinarian or cardiologist within three months of the breeding. There are different testing methods available. DCM cannot be diagnosed by simply listening to the heart.
Breed History and Appearance
The Whippet is a medium-sized sighthound--a group of dogs which includes the Greyhound, Borzoi, Irish Wolfhound, Pharoah Hound, Afghan Hound, Saluki, and others. These dogs were bred to hunt by sight, coursing game in open areas at high speeds. Although one can find numerous representations of small Greyhound-like hounds in art dating back to Roman times, the modern whippet was created by working-class people of northern England by crossing Greyhounds with several other breeds, including the Italian Greyhound and a now-extinct long-legged terrier. These small coursing hounds were cheaper to feed and house than Greyhounds, but very handy at providing rabbits for the pot. They also were used to provide sport on non-working days as their owners enjoyed racing them against each other. The modern look of the breed was created by upper-class English dog fanciers, who bought the best-looking Whippets and bred them selectively to appear most similar to a "Greyhound in miniature". Because color is considered "immaterial" in judging Whippets, they come in the widest variety of color and marking patterns of any breed -- everything from solid black to solid white, with red, fawn, brindle, blue, cream. And all manner of spots and blazes and patches are seen--sometimes all in the same litter
Whippets are generally quiet and gentle dogs in the house, content to spend much of the day sleeping on the couch. They are not generally aggressive with other animals, and although especially attached to their owners, they are friendly to visitors. They are not prone to snapping, so they are good with young children. They may or may not bark when strangers arrive, and are not suited to be guard dogs due to their trusting and unsuspicious nature. Outside, however, particularly when they are racing or lure coursing, they demonstrate their superb athletic skills and will pursue their "quarry" (even when it is an artificial lure) with the heart of a lion. To see these dogs in full stride is breathtaking! Please note that many whippets do seem to suffer from "Excessive Greeting Disorder" characterized by wild displays of exuberance when their owners return from long absences of 10 minutes or more. This can be a problem with very young children in the house as they may easily be knocked over.
Care and exercise
Whippets, like other dogs, require a good quality kibble and plenty of fresh water. Grooming is minimal -- cut their nails regularly, bathe as needed, and keep them free of parasites. They are not well-adapted for living in a kennel or as outside dogs. Their coats do not provide the insulation for them to withstand prolonged periods of exposure to the cold. Their natural attachment to people makes them happiest when kept as house pets. They need soft bedding on which to sleep, regular exercise, and routine veterinary care. The most important thing you can do to care for your Whippet is to protect him from being hit by a car, or attacked by aggressive dogs. Whippets generally get the worst of any dog fight, so buried electric fences are not recommended. Protect your Whippet with a safely fenced yard, or by walking him on leash. Puppies can be chewers, so crating is recommended when you are not able to supervise their activities. Obedience training will make your Whippet a better canine citizen.
Given proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care, most Whippets live for 12 to 15 years. They are generally healthy, and are not prone to the frequent ear infections, skin allergies, or digestive problems that afflict other breeds. Genetic eye defects have been found in the breed, but are still very rare. Because of this threat, the American Whippet Club recommends that all breeders have the eyes checked clear on their breeding stock. Hip dysplasia is not a problem usually seen in Whippets.