When I was a kid, we had a dog that had no problem jumping clear over our 6-foot backyard fence. So when my wife and I decided to get a Doberman puppy, I knew I had to figure out how high they were capable of jumping and so I could decide if my fencing was adequate. Besides, I knew these were impressive dogs, so I was also just curious what they were capable of.
How high can a Doberman jump? A healthy Doberman Pinscher is capable of a vertical jump of up to 6-feet. However, jumping a backyard fence is rare as most Dobermans will respect boundaries. For Doberman owners, a 5-foot tall fence is usually sufficient, but a 6-foot tall privacy fence is ideal.
A Doberman is a very fast dog, and it’s partially because of their speed that they are capable of impressively high jumps. Although there are documented cases of Doberman’s climbing over an 8-foot plywood wall, typically a much smaller fence will suffice as long as you keep a few basic rules in mind.
Why Dobermans Can Jump so High
Doberman Pinschers are physically very impressive dogs for many reasons. But a 6-foot high jump is one of the highest, and rarely seen, in the dog world. So why can they jump, as one Doberman owner described it, “like a deer”?
The Doberman is an athletic working breed with long legs and a lean, muscular build. They are genetically related to the Greyhound, which we all know is incredibly fast and agile. In fact, the Doberman Pinscher is one of the fastest dog breeds around with a top speed of 40 mph (only about 5 mph shy of the Greyhound). With long legs and fast speeds, it doesn’t take much more to make impressive leaps.
Keeping Your Doberman in Your Yard
Luckily for potential Doberman owners, just because the breed is capable of very impressive physical feats like a 6-foot vertical jump, it doesn’t mean that you need an 8-foot fence. Because besides being fast and great jumpers, Dobermans are also very trainable and great guard dogs. As a great guard dog, it is usually instinctual to them to respect boundaries.
So if you have or are considering getting a Doberman, here are a few rules to keep in mind that’ll help keep them in your yard:
- Privacy fences are better. If they can’t see what’s on the other side, they will be less likely to want to jump the fence.
- Never climb on (or reach over) your own fence. Always greet your dog through the fence and not by reaching over or climbing on the fence. These dogs are some of the most intelligent in the world. If they see you climbing on the fence, they’ll understand that they can too.
- Don’t stack items against the fence. Keeping the area clear around your fence can make a big difference. Dobermans are great at using other nearby objects to propel themselves up and over barriers.
- Give them plenty of room and exercise. If your dog is taken out for walks frequently or has plenty of room to run and play, it’s very unlikely that they will have any desire to jump your fence. So give your dog plenty of exercise.
- Use their amazing trainability traits. This is the best tip I can give. These dogs are highly trainable. If you make it clear that they are not to jump or climb on their perimeter fence (by taking appropriate corrective action when you see it), your Doberman will quickly understand that the yard’s boundaries shouldn’t be tested.
Many people are hesitant to rely on just training alone for a dog to keep them in a yard. I mean, after all, that’s not full proof, right? Actually, you’d be surprised how reliable a Doberman is who knows the boundaries.
My dog is a perfect example of that. He is a 90-pound Doberman Pinscher. Throughout his life, I can count the number of times on one hand that I told him he wasn’t supposed to jump up on something or climb on something. Now, as a 5-year-old adult dog, he absolutely will not jump or climb over any obstacle. Almost to a fault.
In fact, I have tested this by laying down a foot and a half tall laundry basket in the hallway of our house (he could literally walk over the top of it) and playing with his favorite toy on the other side while calling him over. He will sit there, staring at me, crying and asking to be let through the small barrier but will absolutely not jump over it himself. It just isn’t an option for him. That’s how intelligent these dogs are.
Many Doberman owners will rely on a simple 4-foot tall chain link fence to keep their dog in their yard, with great results. I’m one of them! The side yard of our home has a kennel with a 4-foot chain link fence and we often use that area to separate the dog during large gatherings. I have never had him get out.
In fact, one time he wanted out so badly because he heard the family having fun around the corner, that he shook the fence until the door came off the hinges and fell down. But he still refused to leave because he respected the boundaries of his kennel! I found him sitting patiently inside his kennel with the door off the hinges in front of him.
Spend some time training your dog. It doesn’t take much training with a Doberman for them to understand what you expect of them.
- If you see your dog climbing or jumping up on the fence. Tell him “No” in a firm voice and make sure he gets off the fence while you watch. You can either guide him off the fence or just use your words to get him off.
- Anytime you let your Dobie out of a fenced area (whether it’s the backyard or a kennel), never let them run past you when you open the door. Always make them wait until you have the door open, then pause for a second, and use your release command (I say “Ok!” and my dog knows it’s ok to run past me).
These simple actions will help your Doberman understand that the fence is a boundary and not an obstacle to conquer.
If you are still worried that your dog might climb out of your fence consider lining the inside of your fence with a roll of plastic mesh. This type of fencing can usually be found at your local home improvement store and is a great way for keeping your dog from getting a foothold on the fence.
The use of electronic collars (or “invisible fences”) can be somewhat controversial. Many people don’t like the idea of a dog getting a small static charge as a correction if they leave a certain area. I am not here to change your mind on electronic collar one way or another. However, many people use these collars, and only these collars (no physical fencing), as a way to keep their Doberman Pinschers on their property.
Basically, they consist of a very long roll of thin wire that you lay out or bury around the perimeter of your yard (or any other area where you want your dog to stay). Then you put a specialized collar on your dog.
If your dog goes near the perimeter, the collar will give your dog an audible warning beep. If your dog attempts to cross the perimeter, the collar will give your dog a small electrical shock.
Doberman’s learn incredibly quickly and in my mind, these devices are only really cruel to use on a dog that doesn’t easily learn or isn’t trainable. This is not the case with the Doberman. I have tried these devices on my dog and he understands them very well and what his limits are in less than a day.
If Your Doberman Pinscher Does Get Out
If your dog gets out of your yard, the chances are he or she will stay very close to your home. These dogs are pack animals and they don’t feel comfortable being far away from their territory or their pack (their family).
If your Dobie gets out during the day while you are at work, don’t be surprised if you come home to find him sitting on your porch waiting for your arrival.
Make sure you have a collar on your dog that shows who he belongs to, and even better, have him or her microchipped. This will ensure your dog will always find their way back to you.
Where I live we also are required to keep a “proof of rabies vaccination” tag on our dog’s collar as well. Having that collar is not only the law in some areas, but it causes animal control to treat your dog just a little bit nicer if they have to capture them, at least that’s what I’ve been told.
Do Dobermans dig under fencing? Although Dobermans have been known to dig underneath fencing, this is typically due to boredom and not an attempt to escape their enclosures. Providing your Doberman with more physical and mental activities during the day can help to alleviate the problem.
Do Dobermans chew on wood fencing? Adult Doberman Pinschers are not known for chewing on wood fencing. Occasionally, a young Doberman who is going through the teething stage will seek out wood to chew on which might include your backyard fence. Providing plenty of chew toys for your dog can help discourage wood chewing.
Can Dobermans climb trees? Dobermans are not known for climbing trees. If they’re chasing prey which runs up into a tree they will often attempt to scramble up the trunk, usually with poor results. Dobermans are poor climbers, but great jumpers with a vertical leap of up to 6 feet.