Doberman Temperament

helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on September 16, 2019
Fact Checked

Dobermans are working dogs that are often associated with the military or police.

These noble canines can be used as guard dogs or security dogs for both homes and businesses.

However, they also make great family pets, proving to be natural guardians for the family.

Dobermans can sometimes be stigmatised as aggressive dogs given their role in the military and police.

Yet these German dogs are fiercely loyal to family members, with whom they’ll display an affectionate side.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the temperament of Dobermans.

We’ll break the article into the following sections to give you a clear insight into their personalities.

• Where do Dobermans come from?
• How big do Dobermans get?
• Doberman temperament
• Are Dobermans intelligent?
• Are Dobermans aggressive?
• Do Dobermans make good family dogs?
• Are Dobermans aggressive towards strangers?
• Are Dobermans good protection dogs?
• Do Dobermans attack?
• Do Dobermans require a lot of training?
• Anything else to consider
• In conclusion

With the introduction over, let’s take a closer look at where Doberman came from.

Where do Dobermans come from?

Dobermans are one of the most famous breeds of German dogs alongside German Shepherds and Rottweilers.

The Doberman is thought to have originated in the 1880s.

A German man called Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann is widely credited with creating the breed.

He worked in a dog pound and sought to create a new dog breed to help in his next job – a tax collector.

Mr Dobermann used a number of different types of dogs to create his ideal dog. Some of the breeds thought to have been used include Beauceron, German Pinscher, Rottweiler and Weimaraner.

Following his death, Otto Goeller created the National Doberman Pinscher Club in 1890. He set about developing the breed.

Doberman Pinscher was dropped from their name, although the United States and Canada have opted to keep it.

The American Kennel Club granted the Doberman Pinscher status in 1908. The organization rate the Doberman Pinscher as the 17th most popular dog breed in the USA.

How big do Dobermans get?

Doberman Pinschers are medium-sized dogs.

Males can reach a height range between and 26 and 28 inches, while they can weigh between 100 and 75 pounds.

Females can grow to a height between 24 and 26 inches, while they can weigh between 60 and 90 pounds.

Doberman temperament

Before we look at the personality of Doberman’s in more detail, the best place to start is learn how the AKC defines their temperament.

So here’s an extract from the AKC’s breed standard for Doberman.

Energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient. The judge shall dismiss from the ring any shy or vicious Doberman. Shyness – A dog shall be judged fundamentally shy if, refusing to stand for examination, it shrinks away from the judge; if it fears an approach from the rear; if it shies at sudden and unusual noises to a marked degree. Viciousness – A dog that attacks or attempts to attack either the judge or its handler, is definitely vicious. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs shall not be deemed viciousness.

Although Doberman are often stereotyped as aggressive dogs, as you can see from the AKC’s breed standard, these canines shouldn’t display any signs of viciousness.

Are Dobermans intelligent?

Dobermans are considered an intelligent dog breed.

In the famous dog book, The Intelligence of Dogs, the Doberman is ranked at number six. The Doberman is behind only the Border Collie, the Poodle, the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever and Shetland Sheepdog.

However, the Doberman Pinscher Club of America have a warning for would-be owners on their website:

Due to his energetic nature and super intelligence, many people do not make good owners although he isn’t nearly as difficult to own as he was in those earlier days when the Doberman earned his reputation as being the sharpest thing on four feet!

So these smart dogs aren’t for everyone.

Their ability to learn new command, obedience and other training is one of the reasons Doberman have proven so successful in the military and the police force.

These fearless dogs are famed for obedience, something which the AKC emphasises in their description of Dobermans.

Dobermans are intelligent, learn quickly and don’t hesitate to respond to commands.

Are Dobermans aggressive?

Dobermans are often stereotyped as an aggressive dog breed along with their compatriots German Shepherds and Rottweilers.

The search term “Are Dobermans aggressive” has over a quarter of a million results. Other searches such as “Are Dobermans aggressive towards strangers?” and “Do Dobermans attack?” have a high volume of search traffic.

Clearly, there’s a stigma around these dogs.

No doubt their affiliation as military or police dogs has contributed to that reputation. They’re also used by citizens as guard dogs.

However, as we highlighted in the AKC’s breed standard, these dogs by very definition shouldn’t show an aggressive or vicious steak at dog shows.

Dobermans do have an underlying desire to protect their owner, their family and their property. Therefore, they may be aggressive if they perceive a threat.

Let’s take a look at what Doberman Planet has to say about the modern-day Doberman:

They have far fewer aggressive traits than the Dobermans of many generations ago. The main reason for this is because modern breeders have bred out many of the aggressive traits from these dogs to make them more docile and better suited for a family environment.

Do Dobermans make good family dogs?

Wherever you’re reading up about the Doberman breed, you’ll almost certainly have learned that these dogs are extremely loyal to their dog owner and their immediate family.

Dobermans are affectionate, loving and fun companions inside the home.

They relish the chance to be part of a family environment. Indeed, Dobermans like to have interaction with the people that they have an affection or affinity for.

The AKC offer the following suggestion for Doberman owners:

It is every Doberman owner’s responsibility to ensure that the dog is raised to be a happy, well-mannered companion and canine citizen. The Doberman should always live inside the home with his people, rather than outdoors.

You’re probably wondering whether Dobermans are a good mix for a home with children.

As with all dogs, children must be educated to treat their canine companions with respect. You should never leave an infant with a dog unintended in any circumstances regardless of the breed.

The Doberman Pinscher Club of America write that Doberman are trustworthy around his master’s children, friends and other company as long as the Dobie is treated with respect.

Are Dobermans aggressive towards strangers?

Dobermans are often billed as aggressive dogs when they come face-to-face with strangers. However, this so-called aggression is more likely an aloofness.

Like a lot of lot of other breeds, Dobermans can be initially reserved around people they don’t know. However, after some time getting to know the stranger, the Dobie will be more relaxed and social.

Remember, the AKC’s breed standard outlines that Dobermans shouldn’t be shy.

Are Dobermans good protection dogs?

There’s no doubt that Dobermans can be protective of their owners.

They’ve got an undying loyalty to their master. This is a trait that been bred into these dogs since their creation in 1890s.

Described as incomparably fearless, Doberman Pinscher’s appearance alone should be enough to act as a deterrent to any would-be intruders.

A well-conditioned Doberman on patrol will deter all but the most foolish intruder.

Do Dobermans attack?

As we mentioned above, “Do Dobermans attack?” is a question that has substantial Google search traffic.

Perhaps this association comes from the fact that Dobermans have a famous bite.

Dobermans have a more powerful bite than their compatriots – the German Shepherd.

However, Doberman Planet have a great graphic to highlight that these dogs might have an unfair reputation as attack dogs.

Citing a 13-year study looking at the dog breeds involved in fatal attacks, the Doberman is ranked 11th.

The Doberman is behind some breeds that you’d anticipate seeing, such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and Mastiffs. However, Golden Retrievers and Huskies have been responsible for more fatalities than Dobermans.

Do Dobermans require a lot of training?

Dobermans are quick learners and very obedient. However, they require consistent and persistent training from a young age.

It’s a good idea to socialize your Doberman Pinscher as much as possible from a young age to get them used to different people and different situations.

Dobermans can be leash aggressive towards other dogs, but early socialization can help to tackle this problem.

Anything else to consider

If you want to learn more about Dobermans and their temperament, you could always contact some owners on social media to learn more about the breed.

In our experience, dog owners on platforms such as Instagram are more than happy to help with useful advice.

In conclusion

Doberman running in the woods (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Doberman running in the woods (Photo: Adobe Stock)

So there you have it, we’ve reached the end of our article on Doberman temperament.

Dobermans are deeply loyal dogs that thrive as a valued member of the family.

Although they’re often stereotyped as aggressive dogs, some of the personality traits can be misconstrued.

In fact, the AKC’s breed standard outlines that Dobermans shouldn’t be aggressive or vicious.