Originating in Germany in the late 1800’s and gaining ofﬁ cial recognition in 1900, the Dobermann is known as a faithful and loyal guardian. His medium size and clean cut silhouette exuding elegance and style, can be deceptive as to his true weight, hiding a power packed dog that is all sinewy nimbleness.
However what you see is what you get with this breed. He is a truly honest dog in every sense of the word. He is not froo frooed up with artiﬁ ce and contrivance as many dogs can be and his musculature, keen awareness, agility and temperamental “ﬁ re” are there for all to see.
His coat is required to be presented as smooth, short, hard, thick and close lying without the hair forming ridges at back of neck or along the spine. His colour range is black, brown, blue or fawn (Isabella) with rust/red markings and those markings to be sharply deﬁ ned in the designated places according to the standard.
The quest when presenting this dog for conformation shows is to ensure you enhance the qualities of the dog as speciﬁ ed within the standard to the best of the dog’s and your ability. His coat must do all that is stated and it must have great healthy vigour to the ﬁ nish. I often see Dobermanns with scurfy, sometimes fine flakey bits throughout the coat or a dull incorrect texture.
The Dobermann is an energetic outdoors working dog and as such is exposed to the elements. How to hydrate, moisturise and protect this coat without resorting to conventional means such as a conditioner as conditioners will certainly ﬂ atten but they also soften and will tend to make the coat generally ﬂ uffy and not smooth lying as required? You must resort to other means and Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil is a Godsend to the Dobermann exhibitor as it allows you to maintain healthy vigour to coat and skin without all the negatives of conditioners. Seabreeze Oil is primarily Evening Primrose Oil and Calendula Oils of the ﬁ nest quality and efﬁ cacy. Use this in your ﬁ nal rinse at the rate of 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4 lt water and saturate through the coat either in a hydrobath or with a bucket and large sponge, working well into the coat and skin. Leave in and do not rinse. You will be addicted to this product once you see the amazing results it gives not only short term but more importantly, long term to your dogs’ coats.
Start your routine with the focus on outcome for your shampoo selection. Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo which is a wonderful naturally sourced shampoo formulated to give maximum shine, is applied diluted at least 5:1 i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo and the ﬁ rst choice for most situations or coat colours. Follow with the Seabreeze Oil. For coats that are dehydrated and faded, you need to add back the cool tonal qualities lost in the colour pigment from sun bleaching, or coat ageing. Use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo at the same dilution ratio as this shampoo is in fact not a lightening shampoo but a toning shampoo adding those same cool tones lost in transition!!! Continue using this shampoo until either the new coat comes through or the coat has gained enough hydration through treatment to gain reﬂ ecting qualities once more. Follow each time with the Seabreeze Oil. Thus, a black coat will gain more depth and a red or brown coat will reduce it’s orange overtones, again gaining depth to the colour and reﬂ ection for a more brownish hue than the faded orange tone of a dried out coat.
For really dire situations with severe coat damage and fading on a black coat, use Plush Puppy Black Opal Shampoo which is a strongly cool toned shampoo. Apply lightly diluted i.e. 50/50 and leave on for as long as the dog will stay still and then rinse. Follow with Seabreeze Oil as above. You could stretch this to use on a brown colour but dilute much further i.e. 5:1. Note however that it is recommended only for black coats. It works much the same as the Whitening shampoo but has stronger cool tonal qualities so don’t go overboard. The more you use this, the stronger the tonal qualities. Keep this only onto the darker areas of the coat and not the areas of lighter markings.
I am an advocate of coat renewal. I believe it is is important to the overall result and outcome, to blow dry this coat weekly. Yes, I know, most people view the short coated breeds as easy no blow dry dogs but, if you can discipline yourself to doing this as a regular routine, shampoo, oil and blow dry, you will never go through those moth eaten stages of coat shedding. The coat will surely shed but never the same as before, always now shedding smoothly and without affecting the overall show presentation of the coat. Use a cool strong turbo type dryer to get those dead hairs out - no amount of zoom or glove grooming will ever get out what a good turbo can do. This old hairdresser knows that you will improve the overall appearance within a matter of days and within weeks, will see a dramatic difference to the clean even and beautiful gleam to the coats. If I only ever impart one rule to everyone, then it is to shampoo, oil and blow dry - every week!
For in between shows, your job is to maintain the healthy vigour and texture to this coat. If the coat dehydrates, then the coat will start to bunch and ﬂ uff up and not stay close lying as is required and desired. You need to almost get a waterproof sheen to this hair and that is obtained by regular oiling throughout the week by diluting 1 tbspn to the bucket of water once more and liberally sloshing it through the coat and leaving it in - do not rinse. Use Plush Puppy Coat Rescue which is a naturally sourced treatment with a vast array of coat moisturising ingredients that are designed to soak into the coat and help to repair by ﬁ lling up the open areas within each hair. Apply liberally along the topline and head at a dilution rate of 1/4 cup to 1 cup water. Leave on and don’t rinse for as long as you can. Let the dog run around outside with this on for a few hours or, if you cannot wait, then minimum of 10 - 15 minutes and rinse. Do this once a week or fortnight and follow with Seabreeze Oil once more. Remember, we need to hydrate not soften and all these products will do just what is required.
For every day outdoor living, apply Plush Puppy Sunshade used either as a lotion pump applied direct to hands and spread over topline and head, or, as a spray and sprayed onto those same areas and wiped over with your hand. To spray or pump depends on how far you depress the lotion pump/spray on the bottle. Sunshade will give sun protection to the coat. You can also use Plush Puppy Revivacoat which is a leave in moisturiser, onto the body of the coat and legs. This is good for instant quick hydration without softening. It does not substitute for the Seabreeze Oil but is a good addition and especially if you have been tardy with your Seabreeze Oil routine.
So, show day has arrived and your Dobermann is gleaming with vitality, his square body and well chiselled silhouette emphasised by his perfectly ﬂ at lying coat. You have cleaned up with the thinning shears if necessary, those stray tufty bits that can sometimes sprout around the rear end and tail. For those countries where a tail is required these days, then make sure the underneath is clean and smooth and the end hairs have been clenched together with a light twist and then trimmed off as close to the end as possible. No need to have a tail any longer than necessary!!!
Keep on hand Plush Puppy Wonder Wash to instantly clean up disasters which always occur within 5 minutes of ring time. Don’t they just? Spray, lather up with your hands and wipe clean with a towel. For absolute pristine freshness whenever travelling or just to add that nice to be near overtone without being artiﬁ cial or too ﬂ oral, use Plush Puppy Odour Muncher which is a deodoriser and has a light pleasant fragrance. Judges judge with all senses don’t they?
Give the coat a light spray with Plush Puppy Shine & Comb to the topline, head and rear for a ﬁ ne, natural sheen that exhibits those hairs of the coat to their utmost. Spray from about 12 - 18 inches away (30 - 45cms) away and allow the mist to fall, and then run your hand over the coat to blend.
I am minded of the story I was told of the permanent bronze monument/statue of a Dobermann in the Guam war cemetery, marked as “Always Faithful”. This touched my heart. Your dog whilst he is fearless and alert, is loyal and devoted. He has an air of an aristocrat and gaits with a free, balanced and vigorous action with that strong rear action drive. Though ostensibly a guard dog, with his excellent nose for hunting plus his keen intelligence, is it any wonder this dog has a huge fan club? He truly is a working dog devoted to the service of mankind. Make sure you are devoted to showing him to his best.
- Cheryl Le Court