By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 21st March 2024

Doberman (Doberman Pinscher)


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 21st March 2024

One mention of the Doberman or Doberman Pinscher makes one visualize a robust, strong, sturdy, and muscular breed with a courageous demeanor. Their vigilant, fearless disposition makes the Doberman one of the best protection dogs in the world. They excelled as adept war dogs, police dogs, and personal defense dogs.

What does a Doberman look like

The Doberman has an intimidating appearance that takes its ferocity to another level. They have a medium to the large body with a square frame. Other features include deep-set almond-shaped eyes, cropped, erect ears, a well-muscled neck, and a docked tail.

Doberman (Doberman Pinscher) Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesDoberman Pinscher,
CoatShort, smooth, thick, hard, and close-fitting; they even have a gray undercoat on their neck
ColorBlack & rust, blue & rust, red & rust, white, fawn (Isabella) & rust
Breed  TypePurebred
Lifespan9-12 years
SizeMedium to large
HeightMale : 26-28 inches ;
Female: 24-26 inches
WeightMale: 75-100 pounds;
Female: 60-90 pounds
Litter Size6-8 puppies
Behavioral characteristicsAlert, intelligent, loyal, fearless, confident, obedient
Good with ChildrenYes; only if brought up with them and socialized well
Barking TendencyModerate; barks when the need arises
Climate CompatibilityFine with hot weather; but sensitive to chilling or cold temperatures
Apartment CompatibilityYes; if exercised well
Do they shedYes; moderately throughout the year
Are they HypoallergenicNo
TrainabilityModerate to difficult ; depending on how early you start training
How much do they costAmerican Doberman Pinscher : $1500-$2500; European Doberman Pinscher : $3000 and up
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationAKC, FCI, VDH, UKC

History and Origin

The origin of the Doberman Pinscher dates back to the 1880s, Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a German tax collector from Apolda, being instrumental in its development . Louis’s inspiration to create this breed was his urge to produce a dog to protect and accompany him during his tax collection rounds. He even desired the resultant breed to have the strength, intelligence, and stamina needed to perform his duty efficiently as a fierce protector.

The dog that Louis Dobermann decided upon appeared much bigger, and less refined than the Doberman Pinschers of the present times. According to historians and experts, various other breeds have also contributed significantly to the development of the Doberman, mainly to acquire the distinct features its founder was looking for. Though the names of all the breeds and the exact proportion they contributed to Doberman’s development remain unknown, the significant ones include Rottweiler, Weimaraner, German Pinscher, and Beauceron.

While the Weimaraner may have given the Doberman its scenting ability, the Rottweiler possibly contributed to its strength and guarding skills. The Old German Shepherd, instrumental in developing several European breeds, was perhaps present in the Doberman’s development, too, accounting for its intelligence and stamina.

After Louis Doberman’s demise in 1894, the dog he created was named Dobermann Pinscher by the Germans in his honor. However, eventually, they removed Pincher from its name since it meant terrier in German. The British followed suit some years later. However, the United States and Canada have retained ‘Pinscher’ but omitted one ‘n’ from the name, keeping it as Doberman instead of Dobermann.

They eventually evolved into excellent working dogs, employed in k-9 services and search and rescue operations. The Doberman even functioned as a service and therapy dog, comforting and providing solace to the elderly, sick, and disabled. In the Second World War, it became the war dog of the United States Marine Corps officially, though it wasn’t used for the purpose. Its popularity peaked in time, ranking relatively high in the American Kennel Club’s list of Most Popular Dogs – 16th as per the 2021 rankings.

Temperament and Personality

As a family dog- They are people-oriented, sweet, and affectionate with their kith and kin. Most of their behavioral traits depend on their socialization. Though they would love every one of their family, many Dobermans are known to bond intimately with only one particular person, perhaps their master.

As a fierce protector – It would live up to the reputation of a devoted protection dog if trained well from the time it is a puppy. A Doberman trained for protection would safeguard its family against all odds at any cost. These dogs would go to any extent for the purpose, even sacrificing their lives. With the Doberman around, it wouldn’t be easy for any intruder to mess around your home, as they would be fast enough to get after their prey.

Their aggression –The Dobermans are stereotyped as aggressive dogs because of their defensive, protective, and attacking nature, ranked at no 4 of the world’s most aggressive breeds. The Dobermans of the past were a lot more ferocious than the modern-day dogs that appear toned down to a great extent through careful breeding. The present-day Dobermans are even-tempered and should receive proper training to display their ferocity only when the need arises and not out of purpose.

There have been several instances of a Doberman attack, one relatively recent in June 2020, when a 9-year-old girl was attacked by a Dobe while out on a family walk.

With kids – The Dobermans mingle well with kids, especially when brought up with them. Yet, owing to their enormous size and powerful approach, their interaction with toddlers needs supervision.

With strangers – At the first meetingthey would exhibit reservedness towards people whom they don’t know. However, when exposed to different situations and people since their childhood, they would eventually learn the difference between the good and the bad. They might not display aggression at every stranger.

With other dogs: If brought up with the other canine, the Doberman would get along well with them. However, when it comes to dogs outside their territory, they could display untoward behavior, especially if they consider the latter a threat to their family.

With cats: If socialized, the Dobie would exhibit friendliness with cats, yet owners should supervise their interaction as the dog could get agonized by the slightest trigger. 

As barkers: They could get noisy and bark a lotnot without reason, though only if the need arises. For instance, if they sight something unusual when at guard and need to alert their masters of the same. It is also needed to know that a Doberman, when bored, would also bark without a cause; hence giving them sufficient exercise is required.



The energetic dogs they are, it is evident that the Doberman needs at least two hours of exercise every day to remain fit both physically and mentally. 30-40 minute walk daily with a lot of free play outdoors and indoors is all they need. Most Dobies enjoy going on hikes, so you could consider taking your Doberman along on your next venture. You may even make your pet participate in several dog sports like agility, obedience, and tracking.


They have a short and smooth coat that would suffice well with minimal grooming. Brush the Dobes coat at least once or twice a week using a brush with short bristles. Using a grooming mitt or rubber curry brush additionally would help remove the dead hair and even retain the shine of their coat. Trim the Dobes nails at least once a month. They even have sharp teeth, which you must 3-4 times a week to prevent tartar buildup.

As per AKC norms, the Dobermans are born with floppy ears, later cropped chiefly if they are to participate in shows. Those with floppy ears are more susceptible to ear infections due to a greater chance of moisture getting trapped inside the ear canal. So, every week, wiping their ears using a paper towel with a vet-approved ear solution is a must.

Health Problems

The Dobermans are healthy but can suffer from hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, albinism, progressive retinal atrophy, von Willebrand’s disease, and dilated cardiomyopathy.

These deep-chested dogs are susceptible to several digestive disorders like bloating and gastric dilation volvulus. The conditions could become life-threatening with a lack of preventive measures.


They belong to the world’s most intelligent dogs list, ranking 5th as per Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs. So it is pretty evident that they would respond to training if handled firmly and tactfully. Train them at the earliest lest they could turn pushy and destructive, provided the strong, powerful breeds are.

Socialization:  This is a mandate since the time they are puppies. A lot depends on how well they are socialized, which impacts their personality positively or negatively. A well-socialized Dobe acquainted with diverse smells, situations, and people right from the start would have the capacity to distinguish the good from the bad. This, in turn, would even help control their aggression level.

Obedience: Training them on basic commands like ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ ‘bark’ right from the start would help instill guarding traits in them when these dogs grow. After training them on obedience, the next lesson must be on impulse control. When interacting with welcomed guests, they should keep their attitude under control and sit silently or lie down in their company. You should also teach them their boundaries to understand the territory they are protecting and won’t go beyond that.


Like any other big dog breed, the Doberman Pinscher also needs a high-quality diet, homemade or store-bought, rich in protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals. Ensure that the food you prepare for them has a meat source like beef, lamb, or chicken, whole grains like brown rice, and veggies like peas, beans, and sweet potatoes.

Interesting Facts

  • The Doberman’s fame peaked after they clinched the Westminster Club Dog Shows title for four years – 1939, 1952, 1953, and 1989.
  • They have been a part of television series. Some famous fictional Dobermans include Alpha from the 2009 American animated movie Up and Diablo appearing in the 2008 American comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua.


Q. Does a Doberman have floppy ears?

They have floppy ears by birth. However, certain breed registries like the AKC approves Dobermans with cropped ears. There have been several controversies regarding cropping a dog’s ears. Some do it for aesthetic purposes, while certain breeders crop ears to lessen the chances of moisture accumulation and ear infection. However, those with uncropped ears aren’t allowed in the show ring.

Q. How does the American Doberman and European Doberman differ?

The European Doberman and American Doberman have specific noted physical differences that separate one from the other. The American Doberman is sleek and elegant, perfect as a family dog. At the same time, the European Doberman appears larger and more muscular, with an increased prey drive, ideal as a working dog.

Q. How  is the bite force of a Doberman pinscher?

The Doberman Pinscher has an extremely strong bite with a bite force of about 600 pounds of pressure.

Q. What is a King Doberman?

King Doberman isn’t a purebred but a cross of the Doberman pinscher, the mighty Great Dane, or even the Rottweiler.

Q. Do Dobermans have long tails?

Dobermans are born with a long tail, which in most cases is shortened through docking right after their birth. The AKC approves only docked tail Dobes to enter the show ring.

Q. What is a melanistic Doberman?

Melanistic Dobermans have an all-black coat sans the rust markings because of a genetic mutation. However, these black Dobermans do not form a part of the breed standard, also not permitted in the show ring.

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