Breed Profile: Doberman Pinscher

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

Dobermans are energetic, affectionate and easily trained.


Doberman pinscher, aka Doberman, Dobie or Dobe



Physical Description

Dobermans are medium-sized dogs that are compact and muscular with great endurance and speed.


The long head leads to an elegant and regal appearance of this dedicated breed. Ear cropping and tail docking has been common for the breed but becoming infrequent as some countries have banned the practices.

Males range in height from 26 to 28 inches while females are about two inches shorter. Weight ranges can vary between 66 and 88 pounds.

Colors include black, red, blue and fawn, and there is also a gene that causes an all-white Doberman. The average life expectancy is around 13 years but can vary.


The Doberman is believed to have been developed in the late 1860s in Germany.

Louis Dobermann was a tax collector who wanted a dog to provide protection in the unpredictable areas in which he had to perform his job. The dog was created from crossing several different breeds and reportedly made its first dog show appearance in 1876.

The Doberman was named for Louis but the additional letter was dropped by some organizations. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1908 and the Doberman Pinscher Club of America was founded in 1921.


Dobermans make great companion animals but also participate in tracking, guarding, therapy, police and military work, search and rescue, conformation shows and obedience trials.



The breed is loyal, intelligent and affectionate with exceptional strength and stamina.

They are easy to train and retain their training well with regular reinforcement. Dobermans need consistent leadership and should be well socialized before entering a home with children (this is best done when the dog is young and they can be great with kids). They also perform well as therapy dogs.

They prefer to be close to their people and are not recommended as outside-only dogs.

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.

Exercise Needs

Dobermans are energetic dogs that need daily exercise and do best with a yard. Long walks or short jogs are recommended with regular reinforcement of training commands and practices.

Meari demonstrates the fun and playfulness in Dobermans with this funny hide-and-seek game:

Grooming Requirements

The short coat of the Doberman sheds from minimal to average compared to other dogs. Grooming can be as simple as a short brush once per week while cleaning the teeth and ears and trimming the nails.

Common Health Problems

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 Willebrands disease)
  • Obesity in later years
  • Skin issues
  • Bloat
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Heart defects
  • Increased health problems in all-white Dobermans (believed to be caused by a specific gene, although the presence of the gene contributing to additional health problems is still being debated)

Is the Doberman Pinscher the Right Dog for You?

Dobermans are sensitive to cold and need regular exercise. They can do well in apartments or city life with an active owner that can commit to daily outings with the dog. These intelligent dogs are easy to train and can be socialized to live with children. They are also protective and exceptional guard dogs, so their natural instincts need to be nurtured with effective training and socialization.

If you can provide their exercise and training needs, you will be rewarded with a well-behaved, loyal and affectionate companion.

Adopt, Don’t Buy

If you consider 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

Photo: andreaarden/Flickr


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