Doberman
Doberman running in the woods (Photo: Adobe Stock)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on September 09, 2019
Fact Checked

Dobermans are sleek and powerful dogs that are easily recognisable.

They perform a number of functions within society, including guard dogs, military or police dogs, service animals as well as family pets.

Dobermans are notorious for their impressive physiques, which is matched by their high levels of intelligence.

Weighing up to 100 pounds, Dobermans are considered a “fearless and vigilant breed”, which makes them great protection dogs.

The American Kennel Club rank the Doberman Pinscher as the 17th most popular dog breed in the United States.

In this article, we’re going to take a close look at the Doberman dog breed.

We’ll break the article into the following sections to give our readers a clear and thorough understanding of the dog breed.

• What is a Doberman?
• Where do Dobermans come from?
• Doberman vs Doberman Pinscher
• Doberman breed standard
• Doberman size
• Doberman ears
• Doberman colors
• Doberman appearance
• Doberman temperament
• Doberman intelligent
• Are Doberman aggressive?
• Is Doberman good family dog?
• Do Dobermans like other dogs?
• Doberman police dog
• Which dog is stronger German Shepherd or Doberman?
• Doberman lifespan
• Doberman health issues
• Are Doberman hypoallergenic
• Do Dobermans smell?
• Doberman shedding
• Doberman breeders
• Doberman price and puppies
• Doberman rescue
• Doberman mix
• Doberman to follow on Instagram
• Anything else to consider?
• In conclusion

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

What is a Doberman?

The Doberman is a loyal, fearless and alert dog breed.

This medium-sized domestic dog was originally developed in the 1890.

They’ve got some standout features, such as their erect ears, long muzzle and docked tail.

Where do Dobermans come from?

Like a lot of dog breeds, the exact history of the Doberman is open to debate.

German man called Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann is credited with creating these large working dogs in the 1880s. He lived in the German town of Apolda, where Karl was believed to have run a dog pound.

In preparation for his next job, which is thought to have been a tax collector, Karl set about creating the perfect protection dog. He looked for characteristics such as stamina, strength and intelligence.

The Doberman is sometimes referred to as the “Tax Collector’s Dog”.

After his death, Otto Goeller created the National Doberman Pinscher Club and worked on perfecting the breed in the 1890s.

It’s unclear what breeds were used to create the Doberman, although experts believe breeds such as the Beauceron, German Pinscher, Rottweiler and Weimaraner played a part.

According to Wikipedia, the Greyhound and Manchester Terrier were also used. They also describe the Old German Shepherd as the largest contributor to the Doberman breed.

Initially called Doberman Pincsher to honor Karl after his death, Pinscher was dropped from the name given it denoted terrier which was no longer appropriate.

Only the United States and Canada continue to use Doberman Pinscher.

The Doberman Pinscher was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1908. They’ve grown in popularity ever since. The AKC rank them as the 17th most popular breed in America (as of 2019).

Doberman vs Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman and Doberman Pinscher are the same dog.

In Germany, the decision was made to drop Pinscher from the breed’s name. Pinscher means Terrier in German. This was no longer deemed appropriate for these working dogs.

While most of the world shortened the breed’s name to Doberman, the United States and Canada continue to refer to these German dogs as the Doberman Pinscher.

Doberman breed standard

Before we delve into the finer details of the Doberman, let’s take a look at the American Kennel Club’s breed standard for these regal-looking dogs:

The appearance is that of a dog of medium size, with a body that is square. Compactly built, muscular and powerful, for great endurance and speed. Elegant in appearance, of proud carriage, reflecting great nobility and temperament. Energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient. Sleek and powerful, possessing both a magnificent physique and keen intelligence, the Doberman Pinscher is one of dogkind’s noblemen. This incomparably fearless and vigilant breed stands proudly among the world’s finest protection dogs.

Doberman size

Doberman are a medium-sized working dog as laid out by their breed standard.

Males can grow to between 26 and 28 inches in height and weigh between 60 and 90 pounds.

Females can grow to between 24 and 26 inches in height and weigh from 75 to 100 pounds.

Doberman ears

Perhaps a Doberman’s most distinguishing feature are their ears. They’re usually cropped and carried erect. The upper attachment of the ear, when held erect, is carried on a level on top of the skull.

The procedure is thought to be done for functionality for both the traditional guard duty and effective sound localization.

It’s worth point out that cropping ears is illegal in many countries, including some Commonwealth nations.

Doberman colors

Dobermans can come with a striking coat of black, blue, red or fawn, along with rust markings.

The Doberman Club of America outline that the permitted colors include black, red, blue and fawn. Their markings include rust, which should be sharply defined, appearing above each eye and on muzzle, throat and forechest, on all legs and feet, and below the tail. A white patch on the chest is permitted, but it shouldn’t excess 1/2 square inch.

The color most commonly associated with Doberman’s is black and rust.

Doberman appearance

The Dobie Team (Photo: @thedobieteam / Instagram)
The Dobie Team (Photo: @thedobieteam / Instagram)

The American Kennel Club write that a Doberman’s head should be long and dry, resembling a blunt wedge in both frontal and wedge views.

Their eyes should be almond in shape with a vigorous and energetic expression.

Here’s the Doberman Club of America to explain a little more where Doberman eye color is concerned:

Iris, of uniform color, ranging from medium to darkest brown in black dogs; in reds, blues, and fawns the color of the iris blends with that of the markings, the darkest shade being preferable in every case.

Their neck should be proudly carried, well muscled and dry. Their back should be of sufficient width, and muscular at the loins.

Doberman’s have a broad chest that is well defined, ribs are spring from the spine.

Their tail is docked at approximately the second joint, giving the appearance of the continuation of the spine.

Doberman temperament

Like we’ve already mentioned above, Dobermans should be energetic, watchful and determined. Other personality traits include fearless, loyal and obedient.

Given their high energy levels and super intelligence, the Doberman Club of America state that these dogs aren’t for everyone even though they’re not a difficult breed to own.

The Doberman Club of America pose an interesting question on their website:

The uneducated public still harbors a pronounced fear of the Doberman Pinscher, and strangely enough, this has been a lasting blessing for the breed. But how then, can the Doberman breed with such a reputation, be one of the ten most popular breeds in the United States today.

Dobermans are eager to please their owners and extremely loyal, to a much greater extent than other dog breeds.

Therefore, Dobermans make great guard or watch dogs for his owner, family home or business. Indeed, the AKC says a “well-conditioned” Doberman should deter most would-be intruders.

Doberman intelligent

Dobermans are considered a highly intelligent breed of dog.

In fact, “The Intelligence Of Dogs” rate Dobermans as the sixth smartest dogs in the world.

Only the Border Collie, the Poodle, the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever and Shetland Sheepdog.

Of course, each Doberman can have different levels of intelligence.

Are Doberman aggressive?

Dobermans are often stereotyped as aggressive dogs. However, it’s written in their breed standard that aggressive Dobermans aren’t permitted.

Let’s read a little more from the American Kennel Club:

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.

Alternatively, a Doberman shouldn’t be a shy dog, either.

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.

So there you have it, Dobermans shouldn’t be shy or vicious.

Is Doberman good family dog?

As we’ve touched upon above, Dobermans make natural guardians for the family home. While they’re appearance should be sufficient to deter any unwanted visitors, Dobermans have a softer streak where the family is concerned.

The German breed are extremely loyal and highly trustworthy where his master and the family is concerned.

Dobermans relish the chance to become an important and enjoyable part of the family.

On the family bond, the Doberman Club of America went on to add:

He requires close association with those he loves and when this love is present, his temperament makes him a natural protector. He is trustworthy around his master’s children, friends and even company if he is treated with reasonable respect.

Again, every Doberman will have a slightly different temperament.

Do Dobermans like other dogs?

By this stage, you’ll know that Dobermans shouldn’t be aggressive.

Therefore, well socialised Dobermans should get along with other dogs. It’s a good idea to bring your Doberman puppy to socialization and training classes from a young age, as you should do with any dog.

Dobermans do have a high prey drive – so you should never leave a Doberman unsupervised with small pets. This is advice that you should follow regardless of your breed of dog.

Doberman police dog

Dobermans have established themselves as an excellent police dog.

They’re quick, strong and obedient which makes them ideal candidates to work with the police, military and other service dog roles.

Which dog is stronger German Shepherd or Doberman?

Dobermans and German Shepherds are both medium-sized working dogs with a reputation for being excellent guard dogs.

One question that has been Googled over one million times is whether the German Shepherd or Doberman is stronger.

The Doberman has a more powerful bite than the German Shepherd (245 PSI to 238 PSI), while they’re slightly taller and heavier too.

Doberman lifespan

Dobermans have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years.

Of course, some Dobies may live shorter or longer lives than the average for the breed.

Doberman health issues

Dobermans are prone to a number of potential health problems. The Doberman Club of America list seven conditions that have been identified in the breed. Some screening tests are available for the conditions – but not all of them.

Cardiomyopathy is an inherited heart disease in Dobermans.
Hip Dysplasia is the poor confirmation to malformation of the hip joint, which can result in complete luxation of the femoral head.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormone to adequately maintain the dog’s metabolism.
Von Willebrand’s Disease is an inherited bleeding disorder with a prolonged bleeding time and a mile to severe IX deficiency.
Wobbler’s Syndrome occurs when dogs suffer from spinal cord compression caused by cervical vertebral instability or from a malformed spinal canal.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy is when visual acuity is diminished. It can lead to blindness.
Albinism aka white-coated and white factored Dobermans shouldn’t be bred.

Are Doberman hypoallergenic

The AKC write on their website that there’s no such thing as a 100 percent hypoallergenic dog but there are some breeds that have more hypoallergenic qualities than other canines.

Dobermans aren’t a hypoallergenic dog breed given these German canines do shed.

Doberman shedding

Dobermans are moderate-to-regular shedders but their coats don’t require a lot of maintenance.

They’ve got a smooth-haired, short, hard, thick and close lying.

These German dogs require regular brushing to keep their coat in top shape. The AKC suggest a quick daily brush with a short-bristled brush or grooming mitt should suffice.

Do Dobermans smell?

Dobermans generally don’t produce much of an odor. Therefore, they’re considered a relatively clean breed of dog.

The American Kennel Club describe the Doberman as a “wash and wear” breed. They don’t recommend bathing your Doberman regularly.

Doberman breeders

If you’re looking to buy a Doberman puppy, you can check out the Doberman Pinscher Club of America’s website.

They provide a list which contains 199 Doberman breeders in different states around the USA.

The DPCA offer the following advice to people looking to buy a Doberman:

Buyers should be certain to check all matters relating to registration, health claims, awards or certificates, Doberman quality (adult, puppy or otherwise), stud/puppy agreements with the breeders, sellers or stud owners before making any decision.

Doberman price and puppies

So you’ve decided a Doberman is the right dog for you, you’ve narrowed a shortlist of breeders you want to contact, but how much will a Doberman puppy set you back?

Doberman puppies will usually cost between $1500 and $2500 from a reputable breeder in the USA. Alternatively, European Dobermans can cost upwards of $2,500.

Doberman rescue

The DPCA provide some insight into the process of rescuing a Doberman on their website.

Rescue is about finding happy endings for those Dobermans that fall upon hard times. Usually it involves the dog being a ‘foster’ in a volunteer’s home – where they receive necessary medical attention and behavioural evaluation before, hopefully, adoption into a new home – but sometimes Rescue is just about giving advice or assistance with those behavioral or medical issues and the dog then remains in its current home.

There are a number of Doberman rescue organisations throughout the USA, and even more throughout the world.

With regards to the American-based Doberman rescues, the DPCA provide a list containing over 50 Doberman rescues who have signed up to their code of ethics.

If you believe a Doberman is the right breed for you, you can contact one of the rescue groups and arrange to foster a Doberman to give you an even better insight into life owning one of these dogs.

Doberman mix

If you’re interested in Doberman but are prepared to rescue a Doberman that has been mixed with another breed, there are number of crosses that tend to be more common or more popular. These include:

• Rottweiler / Doberman Mix = Rotterman
• German Shepherd / Doberman Mix = Doberman Shepherd
• Beagle / Doberman Mix = Beagleman
• Great Dane / Doberman Mix = Doberdane
• English Bulldog / Doberman Mix = Englishman
• Greyhound / Doberman Mix = Doberhound
• Collie / Doberman Mix = Dobie
• Poodle / Doberman = Doodleman
• Corgi / Doberman = Dorgi
• Labrador / Doberman = Doberlab

Doberman to follow on Instagram

If you want to learn more about the Doberman breed, you can always contact current owners on social media platforms such as Instagram. In our experience, dog owners are more than willing to share information about their dogs and the breed as a whole.

Here are five Doberman accounts to check out on Instagram:

1) Cairo (@cairothereddoberman) – 67,900 followers

2) The Doberman Rescue crew (@amyeiler) – 78,300 followers

3) K9 Duke (@duke_k9) – 78,600 followers

4) Ruby (@rubydooby_do) – 87,700 follower

5) The Dobie Team (@thedobieteam) – 115,000 followers

Anything else to consider?

If you’re still considering a Doberman as a pet, we recommend contacting one of the breeders listed on the DPCA’s website.

We don’t advise buying an Doberman – or any dog for that matter – from a website, third part breeder or in a pet store.

You should always ask to see the puppy with his/her mother, as well as AKC or UKC documentation for the parents, plus proof of health checks and veterinary exams.

In conclusion

The Dobie Team (Photo: @thedobieteam / Instagram)
The Dobie Team (Photo: @thedobieteam / Instagram)

So we’ve reached the end of our introduction to the Doberman breed.

They’re dogs that originated in Germany in the 1880s before the American Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1908.

Dobermans make excellent guard dogs for the family home or business, as well as excel in the military or police service.

Their devotion to their master and family make them excellent family pets in the right living circumstances.