The Doberman Pinscher was first created by a man named Dobermann. No huge shock there, we’re sure. Still, this guy Dobermann was weird, and you need to hear about him.

His name was Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, and he lived in the 19th century in what we now call Germany. Reports say that his job was Justizangestellter im thüringischen Apolda und darüber hinaus Abdecker, Steuereintreiber und Hundefänger für das Ambt Niederrossla. That meant, for starters, that he was the dog catcher. He captured stray dogs for a living.

It also meant he was the dog flayer. When he captured dogs, he would kill them, and he would skin them. Reports get a little less reliable when explaining why he did this, but according to some accounts, he worked in a slaughterhouse, where skinning and tanning animals was routine. Dogs don’t make for the best leather, but when you lived in the 19th century, you took whatever you could get.

Dobermann was also the tax collector. The dog tax collector. From the 19th century to even today, there has existed an annual dog tax in Germany. In Munich, for example, you have to pay as much as 800 euros a year to your local government for the privilege of keeping a dog. The goal is to curb dog ownership, which was long seen as a destructive indulgence. 

Being a tax collector was a dangerous job, as many people Dobermann approached wanted to murder him, quite reasonably. And so Dobermann looked to the many dogs he captured and sought to create a breed specially designed to protect him during his rounds. There are conflicting reports of exactly which breeds he crossed to create his specialized Dobermann. Some say he crossed a pinscher with a sheepdog. Others say he roped in a “butcher’s dog,” an indeterminate breed of much ferocity. 

People continued the refining process after Dobermann died to create the pinscher we know today. For a while, though, the dog breed he made was not a success. He advertised it as good for hunting, but hunters became frustrated when the dogs ate the game they caught instead of bringing it intact to their masters. We won’t tell you how the masters responded, but keep in mind that they did carry guns. 

This fact came from the One Cracked Fact newsletter. Want more like this, straight from your email inbox, without any ads or popups? Join here:

Sign up for the Cracked Newsletter

Get the best of Cracked sent directly to your inbox!

For more dog history, check out:

The Dog that Saved Napoleon

A Woman Who Escaped Wildfire Returned Home To Find Her Dog Waiting For Her

Sophie the Dog Survives Four Months on a Desert Island

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see. 

Top image: Zeno666/Wiki Commons

Forgot Password?