Doberman Pinschers tend to be strong and aggressive, which leads many to use them as guard dogs. These same qualities, however, can sometimes make them rather dangerous to keep around the house, especially if you have small children nearby.

As one Australian family learned, however, there are exceptions to every rule. And sometimes, these exceptions can be tinged with loyalty, love, terror, and heroism.

A Truly Extraordinary Dog

When the Svilicic family adopted a Doberman named Khan from a shelter, they understood that they might have their hands full. Not only do animals from shelters often come from violent and traumatic backgrounds, but Dobermans, as mentioned, can be quite aggressive to begin with.

And yet, the Svilicics felt an immediate and unmistakable connection to Khan, and so, back in 2007, they decided to take him home to where they lived in Cairns, Australia.

Far from posing any danger to their little 17-month-old daughter Charlotte, Khan quickly became extremely protective of her. Together, they would play in the garden, and both loved each other.

One day, however, Khan began acting extremely unusually. Charlotte’s mother, Catherine, noticed this and recalled being confused at first. As Khan grew increasingly aggressive, Catherine began to fear for her daughter’s safety but assumed that something in the environment had triggered and upset Khan. Animals who have been abused can often be that way.

Then, to her shock and horror, Catherine saw Khan lift up little Charlotte by her diaper and throw her a distance of a few feet. As Catherine ran over, she noticed a snake on the ground. Even worse, this wasn’t just any snake. It was the Mulga or King Brown Snake, a particularly venomous creature known to deliver as much as 150 mg of venom in a single.

It suddenly all became clear: Khan wasn’t being aggressive toward Charlotte. He sensed the snake and had been trying to protect her!

“I realized he had been trying to get in between her and the snake before he threw her,” Catherine Svilicic told the Daily Mail in an interview.

Shortly after throwing Charlotte a safe distance away, the heroic hound let out a terrible scream of pain. The snake had bitten him!

Seeing this, the mother immediately took her daughter to safety and brought her pup to get medical attention. Thankfully, this harrowing story has a happy ending, as Khan was able to make a full recovery after he had been injected with some antivenin at a medical center.

This whole pulse-pounding, tear-jerking scene was like something written for a movie script, but it all happened.

A better illustration of the love of a dog for his human masters can hardly be imagined. Khan’s story manages to be beautifully uplifting while bringing a tear to the eye.

What an incredible dog!