Dobermans have an unfair reputation for being rather aggressive, so most people consider them completely incompatible with cats. But is that really true?
Are Dobermans good with cats? Read on to find out!
Are Dobermans Good With Cats?
Dobermans are quite amiable, and when socialized correctly, they can get along fairly well with a cat of a compatible personality. However, this is very much down to an individual dog’s personality.
You’ll have to evaluate your dog in its own temperament to determine whether they’re good with cats.
5 Ways To Tell If Your Doberman Will Be Good With Cats
1. Temperament Of The Doberman
Dobermans are often aloof, fiercely loyal, and notably intelligent. It’s not unusual for them to develop friendly relationships with cats.
But, at the same time, each member of the breed is a unique individual dog, too. Whether a Doberman will get along with a cat comes down to their temperament.
If your dog is very rowdy, it might be too rough for cats. Whereas if your pup is often very patient, they could get along with cats.
You know your dog well, so consider their personality before making this decision!
2. Temperament Of The Cat
When asking if a Doberman will be good with cats, remember that it’s not just the dog that determines this outcome.
Cats have distinct personalities and temperaments, too, and some of them may not be conducive to the presence of a dog.
Consider the temperament of the cat you want to introduce to your Doberman.
Does the cat value peace and quiet? Are they easily frightened? Does the cat hiss or scratch? Does the cat heavily dislike strangers? Or are they an easygoing cat who’s happy to exchange affection with anyone?
Make sure that your cat’s temperament is suitable for a Doberman before deciding to introduce them!
3. Previous Experiences With Cats
If a Doberman has had pleasant experiences with cats, they will likely be good with cats later in life. These experiences may be coexisting with cats peacefully or being in positive situations where a cat was present.
Similarly, a Doberman with bad experiences with cats is less likely to not get along well with them today.
Maybe they were scratched or hissed at by a cat when it was a puppy, or maybe it has been scolded harshly while in the presence of cats before.
Take your dog’s past into account when determining their suitability for cohabitation with cats!
4. Prey Drive Of The Doberman
Dobermans typically have a very high prey drive. They’ll take off like a shot after rodents, birds, and even cats.
As such, a Doberman with a high prey drive may not be suitable for life with a cat. Even a large cat is smaller than an adult Doberman, so it will still look like a prey animal to a Doberman with a high drive.
A Doberman with a lower prey drive or who has been exposed to many small animals successfully will likely get along safely with cats.
5. Age Of The Doberman
All dogs are most capable of learning and adapting to new situations at a young age. A Doberman in its first year of life will have the best shot of being successfully socialized with a cat.
If you have a young Doberman puppy, this is probably the best time to try introducing it to a cat or exposing it to cats.
At the same time, older Dobermans can also be good with cats.
Their lower energy levels mean they will likely be less overwhelming to the calmer, more laid-back nature of most cats.
But if the older Doberman isn’t already somewhat used to cats, it might be hard to get it to adapt to them.
3 Reasons Why Some Dobermans And Cats May Not Get Along
1. Clashing Energy Levels
It’s a bit of a stereotype, but cats and dogs tend to have different levels of energy.
Dobermans are rowdy, energetic, and active. Cats are usually loungers who like to relax and take things easy.
This disparity can mean that the two don’t always get along.
Cats will be exhausted by the excessive energy of a Doberman, while a Doberman will be confused and frustrated by a cat’s reluctance to play along.
Keep in mind that these are just generalizations. Once again, individual animals will have different personalities to take into account!
2. Past Negative Experiences
Dobermans and cats who have had poor past experiences with the other species will have a lot of trouble getting along.
Animals can carry trauma with them, just like human beings.
And, unlike humans, they can’t learn to manage trauma with therapy, so they often carry these anxious fears with them for their whole lives.
3. Difficulty Understanding Each Other
Dogs and cats have very different body language styles. It takes time for them to get to learn or understand each other, as the communication styles of the other animal are often confusing for them.
What a dog interprets as a call for play might be what a cat interprets as aggression, and vice versa.
Dogs and cats that stick out the initial language barrier can often learn to get along and be in tune with each other.
But it doesn’t work for all animals, so this is one reason that your Doberman and cats don’t end up becoming friends.
How To Safely Expose/Introduce Your Doberman To A Cat For The First Time
● Step 1: Expose Them To Each Other’s Scents
Both cats and dogs explore the world with their noses. Their senses of smell are very strong and can get overwhelmed easily.
To help them get used to each other’s scents, start exposure without any direct contact.
To do this, expose both animals to the scent of the other in a separate environment.
You can give a cat the Doberman’s toy and let the Doberman sniff the cat’s blanket, for example. Letting them both sleep with an item of the other animal is a great idea, too!
Do this a few times, and over time, allow them to sniff each other through closed doors.
● Step 2: Exercise Your Doberman First
The high energy levels of a Doberman can be a bit too much for most cats. That much energy can also cause a Doberman to become overexcited or panicked when introduced to a cat.
To reduce this issue, give your Doberman tons of exercise before they meet the cat in question for the first time.
Several hours of some really high-intensity play can help reduce destructive and restless tendencies.
● Step 3: Use A Barrier
The first in-person meeting between a Doberman and cat should happen through a barrier such as a gate. Have your Doberman on a leash so you can control its movement and prevent it from lunging suddenly and scaring the cat.
This barrier will allow the cat and Doberman to see each other and sniff each other with some degree of safety.
Don’t prolong the meeting too much – just enough for some curiosity!
You can increase the duration of these meetings gradually over time. Create a positive association for both animals of each other by using treats or other rewards for both of them after each meeting.
● Step 4: Direct Introductions
Once you’ve done barrier-protected introductions a few times, it’s finally time to bring the cat and Doberman into the same room with nothing between them.
Keep the Doberman on a leash and ensure that the cat has a safe escape route if it wants one.
Begin the direct introduction at a large distance. Once again, do not prolong this meeting. Gradually increase the amount of time the introduction lasts for each time you do it.
Let the cat get progressively closer, too, but keep the Doberman in the same leashed position.
Both animals should be given treats, praise, and rewards to further strengthen positive associations and keep things calm!
Dobermans can be good with cats, but many factors go into determining this. With good training, positive association, and socialization efforts, you can potentially create an environment where these animals can happily coexist!