Are Dobermans Good Apartment Dogs?

There are many people who love Dobermans, but who are hesitant to bring one into their home because they live in an apartment or a small home.

They think that a Doberman would not do well in their home because, well, Dobermans are big dogs.

But there is a lot more to a dog’s home than just its size. Dobermans can be great apartment dogs!

Five Reasons Dobermans Make Great Apartment Dogs

Dobermans can thrive in an apartment or a small home as long as their needs for exercise, socialization, and training are met.

Many Dobermans seem to prefer living in apartments because the small space keeps them closer to their owners.

And Dobermans are a good choice for apartment living for at least five different reasons.

Dobermans are highly intelligent

Neuropsychologist Stanley Coren surveyed over 6000 people about their experience with 110 breeds of dogs.

The 6000 dog owners rated Dobermans fifth among all breeds in ease of training.

They quickly learn what you expect of them, which makes them a lot easier to manage in an apartment setting.

Dobermans love company

Your 80-pound Doberman will try to crawl into your lap when you are watching TV, or wake you up in the morning by placing a wet nose on your cheek.

Dobermans enjoy interaction with humans, and they get a lot of it in an apartment. Their humans are always close by.

Dobermans make great guard dogs

A burglar who breaks into your apartment won’t be expecting a Doberman to be inside. The shock factor alone will send intruders running away.

But you do have to put your Doberman in a crate or a kennel when the repair person comes.

Dobermans don’t shed a lot and are very clean

Dobermans have a single coat. They don’t have a massive shed twice a year, like double-coated dogs.

Combing them once a week is enough to keep up with shedding. Additionally, they don’t have the urge to roll around in unspeakable substances when you take them outdoors.

Dobermans have a pack mentality, and you become the leader of their pack

More than most other dogs, Dobermans are oriented toward life in a pack.

A single Doberman living in an apartment or a tiny home can form a pack with humans, but the Doberman’s human family have to assert alpha status.

What It’s Like to Live with a Doberman in an Apartment

Dobermans like to stay close to their owners. Whatever you are doing, they want to be with you.

They don’t want to give you any alone time, even when you are sleeping or going to the bathroom.

But Dobermans are fairly large dogs, and they need a lot of exercise. So, how in the world can you keep a Doberman happy in an apartment?

It helps to bring your Doberman home when she is a puppy, just seven to nine weeks old. At this age, dogs are learning all about their world.

The more people, places, and things they are exposed to in the third, fourth, and fifth months of their lives, the more relaxed they will be about getting to know new people, places, and things for the rest of their lives.

Before you bring a Doberman puppy home, you need to be ready for predictable behaviors. Be ready to replace molding around doors.

Doberman puppies love to chew on it when they are teething. Have slip covers ready for upholstery.

Your Doberman will chew on them too. If you have carpets, tack down the edges, or your Doberman puppy may find a loose section of carpet and play tug of war.

It’s even more important to set a routine for your Doberman from the very first day he is part of your family.

Dobermans are very energetic dogs. If they know they will have at least two hours of outdoor play time, every day, they will better behave the other 22 hours a day that they are inside your apartment.

Still, you need to count on needing to make minor repairs.

Even if you live in a mansion, training a Doberman will involve some damage to small items around your house.

You need to keep your Doberman and fragile collectibles separated at all times.

One addition to your apartment that can make life easier is installing some bells on a string near your door.

Then train your Doberman to ring the bell when she needs to go outside for a bathroom break. Eventually, your Doberman will just need to go outside three or four times a day, more frequently when he is a puppy.

If you need to leave your Doberman at home during the day, consider installing doggie gates to keep your Doberman in just one room while you are gone.

Gates keep your Doberman in a single large room, but smaller pets can come and go.

How Do You Keep Your Doberman Happy Living in a Small Space?

The most important thing to consider in planning to bring a Doberman into your apartment home is setting up a schedule.

Dobermans can be very patient waiting for their play time if they know when they will get to go outside. Sometimes it is almost like your dog can tell time.

To keep your Doberman happy, you will need to schedule:

  • Frequent trips to the dog park. If you have socialized your Doberman to other dogs when she is a puppy, at the age of seven to eleven weeks, she will enjoy the company of other dogs at the dog park. Taking your Doberman to the dog park is a great way to let them run off their energy with other dogs rather than with you.
  • Frequent trips to an open field or a wooded area. Fields and woods are full of smells. Your Doberman will make them into an amusement park. They are also a great place to play fetch or to run with your dog.
  • Running with your Doberman. Take your Doberman with you when you go on a run. Dobermans can run at up to 40 miles an hour (64 km per hour). They can keep up with you without a lot of effort. Running with your dog burns off a lot of energy, so they are calmer when you get back. You just need to make sure your Doberman is leash-trained before you start running together.
  • Socialize with family members. If your Doberman meets the whole family when she is a puppy, she will make friends for life. You should not leave your Doberman alone unattended with an infant or a toddler, however, and you need to train your children to be gentle with their dog. If you make sure your Doberman spends lots of time with children as a puppy, he will be gentle with children as an adult.
  • Socialize with neighbors. The fact is, some people are afraid of Dobermans. A good experience with your dog can change their attitude toward the breed. You want your dog to be friends with your neighbors. This makes things a lot easier if your dog gets out.

Every dog is different, but you need to plan on exercising your Doberman three times a day on a regular schedule to keep your dog happy with apartment life.

How to Handle Bathroom Duty

The easiest setup for dealing with bathroom duty is installing a doggie door in your patio door and putting down some Astroturf where your dog can do her business.

If you have even a small patio, this arrangement can save you countless hours, and save you trips outside when the weather is bad.

But if you don’t have a patio, you will have to get used to walking your dog several times a day.

Potty training for puppies takes a lot of work. You can’t leave a Doberman puppy home alone for 8 or more hours a day while you are at work and expect them to learn to use the bathroom outdoors.

While your dog is being potty trained, you will need someone to come over several times a day to take them outside.

Three Problem Areas for Apartment Living with Dobermans

Dobermans that live in apartments can pose problems with barking, whining, and chewing furniture, both yours and furniture that belongs to your apartment complex.


Doberman puppies don’t bark so much as they let out a cute yelp. It can be tempting to encourage them to make this endearing sound, but don’t: If you live in an apartment, you just can’t afford to let your Doberman get used to barking.

The bark of an adult Doberman is very loud. Your neighbors will probably be able to hear it through the wall.

A Doberman that barks when you are gone will probably get complaints and get you a visit from your apartment manager. At the very first sign of a barking problem;

  • Determine why your Doberman is barking.
  • Correct your dog gently when it is barking.
  • Reward him with his favorite treat when he stops.


Whining is more often a problem with puppies than with adult Dobermans.

If your Doberman whines a lot, make sure she gets plenty of exercise during the day. This can require asking someone to come over during the day to exercise your dog while you are gone.

Chewing on Furniture (Yours and Other People’s)

Dobermans usually aren’t big on chewing on furniture except when they are puppies.

The best way to deal with the problem is to make sure they have lots of chew toys.

Frequently Asked Questions About Keeping Doberman in Apartments

Q. Are Dobermans good family dogs?

A. There was a time when Dobermans were bred to be aggressive watch dogs. They were not suitable for family living. But modern Dobermans are gentler dogs that can be good with children.

Q. Do Dobermans like to cuddle?

A. Dobermans love to curl up with their “pack.”That’s you! You may have to train your Doberman to lie down beside you instead of jumping up on top of you.

Q. Do I need to get permission to keep a Doberman in my apartment?

A. Some properties restrict certain breeds of dogs. Dobermans are often on that list. Ask your property manager if Dobermans are allowed before you bring one home. You may be asked to pay an additional rental deposit, or to take out renter’s insurance to cover possible damage by your dog.

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