The Daring Doberman

Dog owners since 1986, Bob and Angie Messina of Santa Clarita have rescued many breeds of animals over the years, most recently Doberman pinschers.

The Messinas rescued the brown Doberman pictured, “Maezee,” last fall at a PetSmart adoption event in Stevenson Ranch. “She had been a breeding dog, with three litters, then abandoned in the desert,” Bob said. “She was very timid until we got ‘Bruno.’”

Bruno is the black Doberman, also pictured, who caused excessive damage to the Messina’s home on several occasions while they were away. For that reason, they had to return him. Unfortunately, Maezee became shy again when Bruno left, but in May the Messinas adopted a new Doberman named “Leo.”

Some of the Messinas’ four-legged family members were mixed breeds and the last two sets were purebred – first Labradors, and now the two Dobermans.

“We’re not partial,” Bob said. “When we look for dogs, we look for those we feel fit our lifestyle of being away for extended hours on occasion. Bruno did not fit that. He was great with us, but when we were away, a terror in tearing up the house and outside.”

For families looking to adopt, there are many possible sources, including rescue groups on the pages of Pet Me! Magazine. Bob Messina also suggests the Pet Adoption Fund in Canoga Park and a Doberman Rescue west of Fillmore, California.

Doberman Did You Know?

They are a fairly new breed.
The Doberman was first bred by a German tax collector/cop/sometime dog catcher Herr Karl Louis Dobermann in the late 19th century. It’s unclear which dogs went into their breeding. Dobermans are possibly a mix containing Rottweiler, Terrier, Great Dane, Greyhound, German shepherd and/or Weimaraner.

Says the Doberman Pinscher Club of America: “Outwardly simple, but inwardly complex, it is a mixture of many breeds, combining the fire and lightning reactions of the terrier with the power and intelligence of the guard and herding breeds. The Doberman was tailored for use in police and military work, and to be a medium sized protector-companion in the home.”

They are multi-talented.
Intelligent and athletic, Dobermans can do the work of police, search and rescue, and they sometimes serve as therapy or guide dogs. One of their talents is less widely known: They are freestyle dancers. They do choreographed musical programs with handlers, demonstrating their artistry, teamwork and style. Some of the organizations involved in these kinds of programs are the Canine Freestyle Federation and Musical Dog Sports Association.

They are heroic.
During WWII, “Kurt” was a casualty in the Battle of Guam in 1944. There are 25 war dogs buried in the USMC War Dog Cemetery on the island, where they erected a memorial statue by sculptor Susan Bahary called “Always Faithful.” It was commissioned by the United Doberman Club to honor Doberman heroes that gave their lives to America and the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.

They have better temperaments than they used to.
The breeding process through the years has filed down some of the sharper aspects of the Doberman’s qualities. You shouldn’t assume they all have the same temperament, and because they are smart, the DPCA suggests “intelligent handling.” They are a fiercely loyal breed, as well as energetic and protective, which is why they make good guard dogs. It is wise to get to know a Doberman before purchase, and get them socialized to be ideal for families.

Source: Doberman Pinscher Club of America; visit