5 Things to Know About Doberman Pinschers

Most commonly known as guard dogs, Dobermans are energetic and affectionate dogs who make great pets and service animals.

doberman pinscher breed profile
Dobermans are energetic, affectionate and easily trained. Photo: YamaBSM

1. Key Characteristics of Doberman Pinschers

  • AKC Group: Working
  • Height: 24–28 inches
  • Weight: 66–88 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: Around 13 years

Dobermans are medium-sized dogs who are compact and muscular and boast great endurance and speed.

The long head leads to an elegant and regal appearance. Ear cropping and tail docking has been common for the breed, but these are becoming infrequent where some countries have banned the practices.

Colors include black, red, blue and fawn, and there is also a gene that causes an all-white Doberman.


2. Where Doberman Pinschers Come From

In 19th-century Germany, Louis Dobermann was a tax collector who wanted a dog to protect him while on the job. The dog was created from crossing several different breeds and reportedly made their first dog show appearance in 1876.

The Doberman was named for Louis, but many canine organizations dropped the second “n” in the name. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1908, and the Doberman Pinscher Club of America was founded in 1921.

doberman pinscher breed profile
Dobermans make great companion animals. Photo: YamaBSM

3. How Friendly Are Doberman Pinschers?

The breed is loyal, intelligent and affectionate, with exceptional strength and stamina. Easy to train, they retain their training well with regular reinforcement.

Dobermans need consistent leadership and should be well socialized before entering a home with children (do this when the dog is young — they can be great with kids). They also perform well as therapy dogs.

They prefer to be close to their people and they’re sensitive to cold temperatures — for these reasons, among others, don’t keep your Doberman outside.

Dobermans are commonly described as dangerous or aggressive in breed-specific legislation (BSL). While dominance varies among the breed and even among a litter, viciousness results as a lack of proper training and socializing or improper guidance, such as being trained to attack or fight regularly.

Just as with the bull terrier breeds, Dobermans can be trained and socialized to be excellent companion animals and family pets.


4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs

HIGH: Dobermans are energetic dogs who need daily exercise and do best with a yard. Take them on long walks or short jogs, and reinforce their training regularly.

Grooming Needs

LOW: The short coat of the Doberman sheds from minimal to average compared to other dogs — a short brush once per week is usually all that’s needed. Be sure to also clean the teeth and ears and trim the nails.

Health Problems

HIGH: The Doberman breed does have genetic health problems. Some or all of these may be possible:

  • Cervical issues due to spinal compression
  • Blood disorder (Van Willebrand’s disease)
  • Obesity in later years
  • Skin issues
  • Bloat
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Heart defects
  • Potential increased health problems in all-white Dobermans (believed to be caused by a specific gene)

Learn a little more about the Doberman Pinscher in this video:

5. How to Adopt a Doberman Pinscher

Considering getting a Doberman for your next pet? Check adoption resources first. Even purebred animals can end up in shelters.

Try Petful’s adoption center.

Additional Resources


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