What is the most vicious dog in the world? Several dogs have been given this label, and the Doberman Pinscher is not a stranger to it. In fact, the Doberman Pinscher is the most common breed found on “Beware of Dog” signs. There are several million dog bites reported each year, but people have to realize that there are millions of dogs in the world. Dobermans are not solely to blame. Like such breeds as the Pit Bull and Rottweiler, Dobermans have been labeled as being mean and vicious. Myths can come and go throughout history. For years, different breeds have been stereotyped, scrutinized, and rigorously publicized in the media. Dobermans have been depicted unfairly throughout the years in the media as dogs that will ultimately chase, hunt down, and viciously attack anyone in their paths. I will address the common myths about Doberman Pinschers, including some general facts about their temperament; the role the media has played in portraying those myths, and the effects the media has had on Doberman Pinscher owners.
First, what are the common myths about Doberman Pinschers? I have already stated the main myth: all Dobermans are mean. So, since all Dobermans are supposedly mean, another myth arises: eventually, all Dobermans will turn against their owners. So why would anyone want a Doberman? Protection is the first thing that comes to mind. This notion leads to another myth: people have to make Dobermans mean if they want their dogs to properly protect them. All of these are completely ridiculous. Granted, about thirty years ago, Dobermans were bred to be guard dogs. Their temperaments were sharper, and they were more aggressive, but times were different. People wanted Dobermans for the purpose of deterring crime around them. Now that the modern times are here, the temperaments of Dobermans have mellowed out. They are known to be extremely loyal and protective, and a loving and devoted pet.
Dobermans are actually very gentle and kind dogs, if they are properly trained and socialized. The people who breed and own a Doberman can contribute an unstable temperament. Obedience instructors and behavioral consultants are a must, because some people just don’t have the slightest clue how to breed or raise good-tempered dogs. Dobermans need constant interaction with their owners, other people, and other dogs. Dobermans naturally have protective instincts towards strangers, and need to be exposed to friendly people so they will see what normal behavior looks like. As the dog is exposed to this, it will then come to recognize the difference between normal and abnormal behavior in people. Without socialization, Dobermans will be suspicious of everyone, which in turn could lead to defensive biting. Dobermans are also extremely sensitive. If a Doberman receives an owner who is verbally abusive, loud, and impatient, this can cause a Doberman to become aggressive and mean. It is all up to the owner.
How has the media contributed to the portrayal of Doberman Pinschers as mean and vicious dogs? Myth is a system of communication and it conveys a message. The media is a powerful tool in today’s society. It is a huge source of societal information, but how reliable is that information? Myths have a way of distorting things. Media is biased, and can leak out false information. People should refrain from forming opinions based solely upon it, but unfortunately, the majority of people do not. The truth of it is that the media is a huge channel for myths to be formed along, and the general public tends to believe these falsities as fact. For example, to simply quote the number of attacks by Doberman Pinschers does not give an accurate representation of them overall. The media also has a tendency to zero in on extremely negative events that occur, without providing the circumstances surrounding these events. This misleads the public, and does not allow people to form their own educated opinions. Unfortunately, with all of the negative media attention Doberman Pinschers have received, drastic measures have been taken against them, and families with Dobermans are paying the consequences.
What have been some of the consequences of the media’s unfair portrayal of Doberman Pinschers? With the negative reports of Doberman Pinschers spreading quickly through the media, several city councils are now issuing bans on “dangerous” dogs. Animal control regulations are spreading quickly and ruthlessly. In July of 2007, Dublin city council members issued such a ban, with the purpose of ” protecting children from vicious breeds” (Griffith). This arose out of an incident involving the attack of a seven-year-old by two Rottweilers. There was no mention on the events surrounding the attack. So far, the Dublin City Council has banned the “American Pit Bull, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, English Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Mastiff, German Shepherd, and Doberman Pinscher” in addition to the Rottweiler (Griffith). Animal lovers are prepared to take them to court over the matter.
A myth is something that is not true. It is a falsehood. Everything and anything can be a myth. Doberman Pinschers have been suffering from myths for years. People are more likely to run away at the sight of a Doberman Pinscher as opposed to a Chihuahua. People are bound to think of them as mean, “death machines” rather than devoted and loving family pets. Many of these beliefs are forced into the minds of people by the media. People need to realize that any dog can be vicious, regardless of its shape and size. I personally find Chihuahuas and Pomeranians to be some of the most aggressive dogs I’ve ever come across, but that does not mean I categorize every Chihuahua and Pomeranian as being the same way as the ones I’ve known. I have addressed the common myths about Doberman Pinschers, the role the media has played in portraying those myths, and the effects the media has had on Doberman Pinscher owners. There are millions of dogs in the world, and each one is different, just like every person is different. Ultimately, no breed deserves to be labeled as vicious because of some black sheep in the family.
Source: Griffith, Sorcha. “Animal Lovers Try to Stop Ban.” Barking Mad.