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The Choking Doberman is a popular urban legend that originated in the United States. It became popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Folklorists believe it is a descendant of a much older (Renaissance era) European folk tale about a clumsy burglar who injures his own hand while breaking into a house. His intrusion is revealed by the discovery of one or more severed fingers. The Choking Doberman and Other 'New' Urban Legends is the title of a book by folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand.

The story

A woman goes out for the evening with friends. Upon her return, she is greeted by her pet doberman choking in the hallway. Alarmed, she takes the pet to the veterinarian. The vet announces that he must perform a tracheotomy on the animal and he will call her when he has news. When the woman arrives home, the vet calls and tells her to leave the house at once. The dog was choking on three human fingers. The woman calls the police, who search the house. They discover the burglar, hiding in a closet, passed out from loss of blood.


  • Encyclopedia of Urban Legends by Jan Harold Brunvand
  • The Choking Doberman by Jan Harold Brunvand

See also


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