The Doberman Pinscher, unlike some other large dog breeds is not an ancient breed at all. In fact they did not exist as a formal breed until the 1870s, bred in Germany as guard dogs. The story behind their creation is actually a very interesting one. A German tax collector called Louis Dobermann was in need of a guard dog who could travel with him as he collected tax monies to keep him safe from thieves. Already a fan of canines, to create his 'tax guard' he cross bred Rottweilers, black and tan terriers, short haired sheep dogs and German Pinschers. The result, within some two decades, was the sleek and elegant Doberman we are familiar with today.
Although some people think of them as rather imposing and even scary dogs Dobermans are actually very loving and loyal. They are good at the job they were bred for if called upon to act as guard dogs but fit in well as a part of a family, and, if raised with children is usually very good with them.
As they are large dogs Dobermans do need plenty of good nutrition to keep their slim frames in shape. But what is the best dog food for Dobermans? We took a look at some of the most popular options to try to answer that question for you and this is what we discovered.
Last Updated — March 7th, 2019
Here are detailed reviews of our top picks for the most nutritious foods to feed your Doberman Pinscher.
First Five Ingredients: Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Sweet Potato, Peas, Canola Oil.
The fact that we are recommending Victor Yukon River Salmon & Sweet Potato as a best dog food for Dobermans even though its primary ingredient is salmon may come as a surprise to some as many people assume that a larger dog like the Doberman needs lots of red meat in order to get all the nutrients they need. That, however is not always the case. Salmon not only provides protein but is also an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, a substance that is essential for healthy muscle and brain development as well as for promoting a healthy coat. In addition to salmon, which is naturally sourced, sweet potatoes and carrots, along with flaxseed and kelp are included in the formula and provide even more essential vitamins in just the right quantities. A lower calorie count is a bonus in the eyes of some pet parents as well. It has only 398 kcal/cup.
This very popular grain-free kibble is recommended by a large number of pet parents for several reasons. The first is that pups seem to love Victor's Yukon River Canine taste and that it is well tolerated even by pups known to suffer from food allergies. It is also praised for the fact that many pet parents feel that their dog’s skin and coat condition has visibly improved since they began consuming the food.
First Five Ingredients: Duck, Duck Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Pea Flour.
Although the Doberman itself is a relatively new breed its ancestry includes breeds whose lineage is much older. Many of them, especially the Rottweilers, terriers and sheep dogs were hunters and their diet would have consisted of meats that could be easily sourced from their working environments, and that would certainly have included the duck that is the primary ingredient of this grain free dog food.
In addition to providing a balanced amount of both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids along with many other essential vitamins and minerals AvoDerm Natural Grain-Free L.I.D. Revolving Menu Duck Recipe rather unusually contains avocado, which is believed to help improve the condition of the coat and claws of a Doberman pup. The food is also gluten free, as garbanzo beans replace the potato that is found in many dog foods so it's a great choice for Dobermans who are sensitive to grains or gluten. It has 446 kcal/cup. Duck replaces the usual protein (i.e. chicken) than can trigger a food allergy.
Fans of this food praise it for its apparently enjoyable taste (based on their furkids reactions), the fact that even dogs with sensitive stomachs tolerate it well and many of the reviewers feel that it makes a visible and positive difference to the condition of their pup's coat and skin.
First Five Ingredients: USDA Rabbit, Chickpeas, Flax, Carrots, Celery.
Freeze dried food may take a little longer to prepare but an increasing number of Doberman pet parents feel that the effort is well worth it in order to be able to offer their pup a diet that is a little closer to the raw food that some veterinarians now recommend. The 'Grandma Lucy' franchise is known for their commitment to sourcing high quality ingredients and this food, when reconstituted, contains large 'chunks' of rabbit meat and offers a nice texture for pups to get their teeth around.
The second ingredient listed in this Grandma Lucy's Grain Free Pureformance recipe after rabbit is chickpeas - a superior source of fiber with an extremely low glycemic index. These are included in the place of grains or potatoes and, as a part of the legume family offer both protein and soluble fiber and flaxseed is included to offer Omega 3 fatty acids. A 10 lb bag makes 46 lbs of fresh food so it's fairly economical and goes a long way. It has 36% crude protein (high quality protein %) and 15% crude fat, with 523 kcal per cup. It is all life stages formula so it can be fed to a growing puppy or an active dog.
Fans of this all natural, grain-free freeze-dried dog food report that the food is very well tolerated by their pups and they seem to enjoy the flavor a great deal. Again, it is also well reviewed in terms of the improvements pet parents notice in the condition of their pet’s coat and skin. Grandma Lucy has several other grain free formulas in this same freeze-dried product line such as Chicken, Lamb or Goat.
First Five Ingredients: Venison, Broth, Peas, Suncured Alfalfa Meal, Chickpeas.
Many pet parents do prefer to feed their furkids a combination of dry and wet dog foods and this popular choice seems to fit the perfectly. Once again harking back to the idea of making use of a main protein that the Doberman’s ancestors would have consumed venison is rich in both protein and essential vitamins and minerals. The venison found in this Zignature Venison Limited Ingredient Grain-Free formula is from New Zealand. Real venison is hypoallergenic replacing the usually common yet troublesome protein - chicken. Other ingredients included in this meat-first, chunky, iron rich formula include chickpeas, peas, flaxseed and alfalfa meal. It's a limited ingredient choice that is designed to be gentle on the stomach, something that many pet parents feel it certainly is. It has only 381 kcal per can, with 11 percent crude protein and 7.5 percent crude fat. Fans of this pate-textured formula report that their pups love the taste, it's easy to digest and it certainly seems to improve the condition of their coat and their energy levels!
Like many dog breeds, especially those that were deliberately bred, as is the case for Dobermans, are genetically susceptible to developing certain health conditions. Here is a look at three of the most common.
Cardiomyopathy, which also affects humans, is a disorder of the heart that leads to an unnatural enlargement of the organ. It is considered to be a serious heart disease but with early detection and the right treatment - which includes medication and lifestyle and diet changes - it is not an immediately fatal condition in many cases although the pup will need to be monitored on a very regular basis. As heart disease can develop at any time making sure that a Doberman’s diet takes the propensity to develop into consideration is a must. It's for this reason that dog foods that are high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are recommended as studies conducted on both humans and canines have demonstrated that they may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Some Dobermans are also genetically predisposed to developing Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI), another condition that also affects humans. CVI is a malformation or degeneration of the vertebrae in the neck that can lead to hindquarter instability and eventually paralysis. It can be treated via lifestyle changes, medication or, in some cases surgery. Again, in terms of diet Omega 3 can be helpful as it helps strengthen bones and cartilage.
Von Willebrand disease is a lifelong bleeding disorder in which the affected dog's blood doesn't clot well. It is a genetic disease but is often very difficult to detect until later in life. Like humans who suffer from blood clotting disorders - including this one - the condition can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. Even though Dobermans are prone to developing these conditions it is not a given that they will do and responsible breeders are careful to not breed dogs who have been diagnosed with these genetic conditions to try to help reduce their incidence in future generations. Regular veterinary checkups and up to date canine vaccines can be very helpful too, especially when it comes to the early detection of heart disease.
Determining what kind of food to feed your Doberman can be hard, especially when there are an increasing number of choices available, both in bricks and mortar pet stores and online. That is not the only choice a pet parent has to make though. They also need to ensure that their precious pup is fed enough and at the right times at every stage of their life.
As a pet parent you already probably know that every dog food - wet, kibble or freeze dried - comes with a 'recommended amount' feeding table printed on the package, usually based on weight. This can be helpful but should be considered 'set in stone'.
That is because your pup's weight is not the only factor that should be taken into consideration to determine how much he should be fed. Age and energy levels are important as well. Growing puppies need more food than their adult counterparts and as Dobermans age they do tend to slow down to a certain extent and so may no longer need as many calories as they once did.
The best way to determine if the manufacturers feeding guidelines are right for your pup is to let him guide you. If he still seems hungry after being given his allotted rations it is okay to offer a little more, but do be careful to watch his weight. If you can't feel his ribs when petting him? He's a little too heavy and given a Doberman's genetic propensity to heart disease that can be a very bad thing indeed.
Most breeders and vets do recommend that pet parents feed their Doberman a specialist puppy food for the first year of their life. These foods are formulated with extra vitamins, minerals and other nutritional 'building blocks' that growing puppies need to develop to their full potential. However, after their first birthday your Dobie can - and should - be transitioned to an adult formula as they no longer need the additional calories that a puppy food also supplies.
As we mentioned, there is a lot to choose from when it comes to finding the best dog food for Dobermans. And, like humans, individual dogs do have different tastes and what one pup loves another may hate, or it may not suit his digestive system.
If you want to change your puppy's food you should do so slowly however, to avoid causing sudden stomach upsets. Experts recommend making use of the following schedule when introducing a new food:
Day 1 & 2 - 75% old food with 25% new food
Day 3 & 4 - A 50/50 balance of old and new foods
Day 5 & 6 - 25% old food with 75% new food
Day 7 - 100% new food
Taking this slow and steady approach will make the transition easier and more comfortable for your pup and also will allow you to determine if they even like the new food at all!
Ideally your pup should be fed twice a day. Although the timing may have to vary according to your personal schedule usually feeding half the daily allowance of food in the morning and the other half in the evening is the best balance for your dog.
There is a growing school of thought that feels that the best way to determine what to feed a Doberman should be based, in part, on what is termed their ancestral diet.
As we mentioned earlier the Doberman is not an ancient breed, it has only been around for a little over a century. However, as a created breed some of its ancestors are. For the most part those ancestors were working hunting and bird dogs, so their food would have been basically whatever their master choose to allow them to keep from the hunt and what they could easily source in the local environment.
In Germany, where the breed - and its ancestors originated - the dogs would have worked in dense forest where things like deer, salmon and wild duck and even wild boar were abundant. It's for this reason that the foods chosen for our list of best Dobermans dog foods feature these ingredients prominently as these ancestral foods do seem to provide Dobermans with more of the specific nutrients they need, especially when it comes to their beautiful silky coats.
Another trend at the moment in terms of canine nutrition is to have them follow what is known as a raw diet. This is a diet that emphasizes the feeding of raw meat, bones, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. It is a somewhat controversial practice and can also be a very expensive one.
Some feel that a raw diet is beneficial in terms of the quality of the proteins (meats) being fed and for the level of nutrients. There is a worry however that bacteria in raw meat could be illness causing for some Dobermans and a real concern about the safety of feeding bones as they can pose a safety hazard.
What do the experts say? According to a lengthy new study published in January 2018 clinical veterinary nutritionists at Tufts University conclude that there’s no hard, scientific evidence that raw meat–based diets (RMBDs) are any healthier than traditional dry or canned high quality dog foods like the ones we have included in our list.