The Doberman originated in Apolda, in Thueringen, Germany, in the late 1800s. It wadeveloped by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a German tax collector who createdelaborate crosses of different dogs to develop a breed that would be aggressive enough to protect him as he made his rounds in dangerous neighborhoods and whose appearance alone would be intimidating. Herr Dobermann also ran the local animal shelter and had access to many different dogs to use in his breeding program, although unfortunately he did not keep proper records to document the breed’s origin. Dobermans probably descending from shorthaired mixed-breed shepherd dogs, chosen for hardiness, intelligence and soundness, crossed with the Black and Tan Terrier, the smooth-coated German Pinscher and the Rottweiler. Other breeds that may have played a part in the Dobie’s background include the Beauceron, the Weimaraner, the black-and-tan Manchester Terrier and the Greyhound.
The breed type was stabilized by 1899 and officially recognized by the German Kennel Club in 1900. By the 1920s, Dobermans were found throughout Europe, including Russia, and as far as South Africa and the United States. The breed is distinctive in appearance and attitude, and is now found world-wide. Its early reputation for ferocity preceded it to the United States. It is said that one Doberman Pinscher won three American Kennel Club Best in Show ribbons before any judge had the courage to examine its mouth – where ultimately it was discovered that the dog had missing teeth, a serious breed fault.
Dobermans are extremely intelligent and are fast-learners, making them well-suited for police, military and guard work. Dobies have been used for hunting and to track criminals. They also have been used for search-and-rescue, as therapy dogs and as guide dogs for the blind. The Doberman Pinscher Club of America was founded in February of 1921.
Differences between the European Dobermann and the American Doberman
European Dobermann Male
European Dobermann Female
American Doberman Male
American Doberman Female
Longer, More Delicate, Slender Neck that rises more sharply at the shoulder.
Long, narrow wedge-like head and slender muzzle
Tight lips and skin on the head and neck
Cleaner, dramatically tapered throatlatch
Refined, more delicate bone (leg thickness)
Longer, leaner, more refined structure
Lighter, more feminine appearance
Lighter (tan or rust) markings contrasting a black coat
Typically maintained at a lighter weight; less lean muscle
Uniformly docked tail and cropped ears
Dewclaws uniformly removed
NOTE: American Doberman Pinschers are photographed with their necks tightly drawn up by the show lead in a position that pulls the dog upward, and the dogs are photographed with their mouths tightly closed. This difference can both obscure and exaggerate similarities and differences in dogs' conformation (Euro versus American).
Thicker, Muscular Neck with less rise from the shoulder
Thicker, more muscular throatlatch
Heavier, broader wedge-shaped head
Looser lips and skin on the head and neck
Thicker, heavier bone (leg thickness)
Larger, compact feet
Heavier, more muscular (masculine) physical structure
Dark (deep rust) markings contrasting a black coat
Typically maintained at a heavier weight; more lean muscle mass
Natural, long tail (not docked)
Natural, uncropped ear (note: uncropped ears must be taped/formed to ensure the proper shape)
Dewclaws uniformly not removed
NOTE: European Dobermanns are photographed with the show lead low on their neck/chest with the dog pushing forward against the lead, and the dogs are photographed with their mouths OPEN, often panting heavily. This difference can both obscure and exaggerate similarities and differences in dogs' conformation (Euro versus American).
GENERALIZED COMPARISON OF DISPOSITION AND TEMPERMENT:
Loving and devoted to its family.
Loves sofas, beds and cuddling. Couch potato personality, combined with a need to be active.
Alert. Barks confidently but not incessantly. Very interested in making an up-close physical inspection of visitors to ensure they are acceptable. Very confident while physically inspecting strangers and vehicles visitng our ranch. Higher DEFENSIVE drive.
Physically protective of its family & home. Confident intervening. May need to be restrained.
When he or his home or family is threatened, he will bark at the threat and stand his ground, confidently moving toward the intruder -- even when under the stress of noisy, physical intervention by the threat.
Tuned into human emotions, but may not be as sensitive to subtle emotional changes. Actively and assertively seeks engagement. Must be allowed to have a "job."
Confidence escalates through positive leadership & training. More "thick skinned" and forgiving.
When worked, has a deep, correct bite on the sleeve.
Easy to train. Responds to clear, positive training.
Confident and at ease in new and chaotic environments.
Likely to have a strong prey (chase) and food drive. Does very well in homes experienced with high drive dogs.
High ball drive. Will excitedly engage playing and working for a ball or tug. When you put the toy away, and tell him play time is over, he is very likely to persistently pester you to get the toy out again. If you have it in your pocket, expect persistence in trying to reactivate the toy even if you are done -- he may be working to engage with you for hours. May have to be crated to have 'down time."
High defensive drive.
More likely to be HIGHLY successful in working events (Schutzhund/IPO/Police Work).
Common in police and military work across the world.
Less common as a popular family dog in Europe.
Less likely to be successful in AKC Conformation shows.
Likely to be successful in European dog shows
Loving and devoted to its family.
Couch potato personality. Loves sofas, beds and cuddling.
Alert. Barks enthusiastically inside the home when strangers drive up. Accompanies us when we greet strangers, staying slightly distanced at first. Cautious and somewhat reserved about initiating physical contact with strangers. Lower DEFENSIVE drive.
Protective of its family & home. Hesitant to physically intervene and engage due to low defensive drive.
When the dog or its family is physically threatened, the dog will bark enthusiastically at the threat while maintaining a safe distance. When put under stress (noise, physical intervention) by the threat the dog continues to bark, but retreats when the threat escalates. Should never bite out of fear but is likely to instead maintain a safe distance from threat.
If worked, unlikely to have a deep, correct bite on the sleeve. May bite toward the end of the sleeve, or bite shallow or tentatively. Dog often still enjoys "work."
Tuned into human emotions. Very perceptive of the slightest change in his "person's" emotions and attitudes. Actively seeks engagement.
Confidence escalates through positive leadership & training. Slower to forgive stronger discipline.
Easy to train. Responds to clear, positive training.
May be cautious of new and chaotic environments, but should adapt when given the chance.
High prey (chase) and food drive. Low defensive drive. Easy to live with.
Medium ball drive. Will excitedly engage playing & working for a ball or tug. When you put the toy away, he will calm down and become a couch potato once he realizes that play time is over.
Less likely to be HIGHLY successful in working events (Schutzhund/IPO/Police Work).
Rarely found in police and/or military work today.
Typically lives as a family and companion dog in the USA.
More likely to be successful in AKC Conformation Shows.
Unlikely to be successful in European dog shows.
Doberman Pinscher Standard (American)
The American Kennel Club (AKC). Approved February 6, 1982, Reformatted November 6, 1990
GENERAL APPEARANCE: 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 tempera neat. Energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient.
SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE: Height at the withers: dogs 26 to 28 inches ideal about 271/2 inches; bitches 24 to 26 inches, ideal about 25 1/2 inches. The heights, measured vertically from the ground to the highest point of the withers, equalling the length measured horizontally from the forechest to the rear projection of the upper thigh. Length of head, neck and legs in proportion to length and depth of body. HEAD: Long and dry, resembling a blunt wedge in both frontal and profile views. When seen from the front, the head widens gradually toward the base of the ears in a practically unbroken line. Eyes almond shaped, moderately deep set, with vigorous, energetic expression. 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. Ears normally cropped and carried erect. The upper attachment of the ear, when held erect, is on a level with the top of the skull. Top of skull flat, turning with slight stop to bridge of muzzle, with muzzle line extending parallel to top line of skull. Cheeks flat and muscular. Nose solid black on black dogs, dark brown on red ones, dark gray on blue ones, dark tan on fawns. Lips lying close to jaws. Jaws full and powerful, well filled under the eyes. Teeth strongly developed and white. Lower incisors upright and touching inside of upper incisors - a true scissors bite. 42 correctly placed teeth, 22 in the lower, 20 in the upper jaw, Distemper teeth shall not be penalized. Disqualifying faults: overshot more than 3/16 of an inch. Undershot more than 1/8 of an inch. Four or more missing teeth.
NECK, TOPLINE, BODY: Neck proudly carried, well muscled and dry. Well arched, with nape of neck widening gradually toward body. Length ot neck proportioned to body and head. Withers pronounced and forming the highest point of the body. Buck short, firm, of sufficient width, and muscular at the loins, extending in a straight line from withers to the slightly rounded croup. Chest broad with forechest well defined. Ribs well sprung from the spine, but flattened in lower end to permit elbow clearance. Brisket reaching deep to the elbow. Belly well tucked up, extending in a curved line from the brisket. Loins wide and muscled. Hips broad and in proportion to body, breadth of hips being approximately equal to breadth of body at rib cage and shoulders. Tail docked at approxinnately second joint, appears to be a continuation of the spine, and is carried only slightly above the horizontal when she dog is alert.
FOREQUARTERS: Shoulder blade sloping forward and downward at a 45 degree angle to the ground meets the upper arm at an angle of 90 degrees. Length of shoulder blade and upper arm are equal. Height from elbow to withers approximately equals height from ground to elbow. Legs seen from front and side, perfectly straight and parallel to each other from elbow to pastern; muscled and sinewy, with heavy bone. In normal pose and when gaiting, the elbows lie close to the brisket. Pasterns firm and almost perpendicular to the ground. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet well arched, compact, and catlike, turning neither in nor out.
HINDQUARTERS: The angulaton of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. Hip bone falls away from spinal column at an angle of about 30 degrees, producing a slightly rounded, well filled- out croup. Upper shanks at right angles to the hip bones, are long, wide, and well muscled on both sides of thigh, with clearly defined stifles. Upper and lower shanks are of equal length. While the dog is at rest, hock to heel is perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, the legs are straight, parallel to each other, and wide enough apart to fit in with a properly built body. Dewclaws, if any, are generally removed. Cat feet as on front legs, turning neither in nor out. COAT: Smooth-haired, short, hard, thick and close lying. Invisible gray undercoat on neck permissible.
COLOR AND MARKINGS: Allowed colors: black, red, blue and fawn (Isabella). Markings: rust, sharply defined, appearing above each eye and on muzzle, throat and forechest, on all legs and feet, and below tail. White patch on chest, not exceeding 1/2 square inch, permissible. Disqualifying fault: dogs not of an allowed color.
GAIT: Free, balanced, and vigorously with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. When trotting, there is strong rear-action drive. Each rear leg moves in line with the foreleg on the same side. Rear and front legs are thrown neither in nor out. Back remains strong and firm. When moving at a fast trot, a properly built dog will single- track. TEMPERAMENT: 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 toward other dogs shall not be deemed viciousness.
FAULTS: The foregoing description is that of the ideal Dobermann Pinscher. Any deviation from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation. DISQUALIFICATIONS: Overshot more than 3/16 of an inch. Undershot more than 1/8 of an inch. Four or more missing teeth. Dogs not of an allowed color.
Doberman Pinscher Standard (European)
FCI - The Federation Cynologique Internationale Standard N:o 143 14.02.1994 ORIGIN: Germany
APPLICATION: Companion, protection and working dog
F.C.I. CLASSIFICATION: Group 2: -Pinscher and Schnauzer type, Molossian type and Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs Section 1: Pinscher and Schnauzer type with working trial.
GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Dobermann is of medium size, strong and muscularly built. Through the elegant lines of its body, its proud stature and temperamental character and its expression of determination, it conforms to the ideal picture of a dog.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: The body of the Dobermann appears to be almost square, particularly in males. The length of the body measured from the pro sternum to the ischium shall not be more than 5% longer than the height from the withers to the ground in males, and 10% in females.
BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT: The disposition of the Dobermann is friendly and calm; very devoted to the family, it loves children. Medium temperament and medium sharpness (alertness) is desired. A medium threshold of irritation is required with a good contact to the owner. The Dobermann enjoys working, and shall have good working ability, courage and hardness. The particular values of self confidence and intrepidness are required, and also adaptability and attention to fit the social environment.
HEAD: CRANIAL REGION: Strong and in proportion to the body. Seen from the top the head is shaped in the form of a blunt wedge. Viewed from the front the crown line shall be almost level and not dropping off the ears. The muzzle line extends almost straight to the top line of the skull which falls, gently rounded, into the neck line. The eyebrow bone is well developed without protruding. The forehead furrow is still visible. The Occiput shall not be conspicuous. Seen from the front and the top the sides of the head must not bulge. The slight bulge between the rear of the upper jawbone and the cheek bone shall be in harmony with the total length of the head. The head muscles shall be well developed.
STOP: Shall be slight but visibly developed.
FACIAL REGION NOSE: Nostrils well developed, more broad than round, with large openings without overall protrusion. Black on black dogs; on brown and blue dogs, corresponding lighter shades.
MUZZLE: The muzzle must be in the right proportion with the upper head and must he strongly developed. The muzzle shall have depth. The mouth opening shall be wide, reaching to the molars. A good muzzle width must also be present on the upper and lower incisor area.
FLEWS: They shall be tight and lie close to the jaw which will ensure a tight closure of the mouth. The pigment of the gum to be dark; on blue and brown dogs a corresponding lighter shade.
JAW/DENTITION/TEETH: Powerful broad upper and under jaw, scissor bite, 42 teeth correctly placed and normal size.
EYES: Middle sized, oval and dark in colour. Lighter shades are permitted for brown and blue dogs. Close lying eyelids. Eyelids shall be covered with hair. Baldness around the rim of the eye is highly undesirable.
EARS: The ear, which is set high, is carried erect and cropped to a length in proportion to the head. In a country where cropping is not permitted the uncropped ear is equally recognised. (Medium size preferred and with the front edge lying close to the cheeks.)
NECK: The neck must have a good length and be in proportion to the body and the head. It is dry and muscular. Its outline rises gradually and is softly curved. Its carriage is upright and shows much nobility.
BODY: WITHERS: Shall be pronounced, in height and length, especially in males and thereby determine the slope of the topline rising from the croup to the withers.
BACK: It is short and tight. The back and the loin section are of good width and well muscled. The bitch can be slightly longer in loin because she requires space for suckling.
CROUP: It shall fall slightly, hardly perceptible from sacrum to the root of the tail, and appears well rounded, being neither straight nor noticeably sloping, of good width and well muscled.
CHEST: Length and depth of chest must be in the right proportion to the body length. The depth with slightly arched ribs should be approximately 50% the height of the dog at the withers. The chest has got a good width with especially well developed forechest.
UNDERLINE: From the bottom of the breastbone to the pelvis the underline is noticeably tucked up.
TAIL: It is high set and docked short whereby approximately two tail vertebrae remain visible. In countries where docking is legally not permitted the tail may remain natural.
TESTICLES: In males both testicles must be normally developed and be visible in the scrotum.
LlMBS: FOREQUARTERS: General: The front legs as seen from all sides are almost straight, vertical to the ground and strongly developed.
SHOULDERS: The shoulder blade lies close against the chest, and both sides of the shoulder blade edge are well muscled and reach over the top of the thoracic vertebra, slanting as much as possible and well set hack. The angle to the horizontal is approximately 50 degrees.
UPPER ARM: Good length, well muscled, the angle to the shoulder blade is approximately 105 to 110 degrees. ELBOW Close in, not turned out.
LOWER ARM: Strong and straight. Well muscled. Length in harmony with the whole body.
METACARPUS: Bones strong. Straight seen from the front. Seen from the side, only slightly sloping, maximum 10 degrees.
FRONT FOOT: The feet are short and tight. The toes are arched towards the top (cat like). Nails short and black.
HINDQUARTERS: General: Seen from the hack the Dobermann looks, because of his well developed pelvic muscles in hips and croup, wide and rounded off. The muscles running from the pelvis towards the upper and lower thigh result in good width development, as well as in the topper thigh area, in the knee joint area and at the lower thigh. The strong hind legs are straight and stand parallel.
UPPER THIGH: Good length and width, well muscled. Good angulation to the hip joint. Angulation to the horizontal approximately between 80 to 85 degrees.
KNEE: The knee joint is strong and is formed by the upper and lower thigh as well as the knee cap. The knee angulation is approximately 130 degrees.
LOWER THIGH: Medium length and in harmony with the total length of the hindquarter.
HOCK JOINT: Medium strength and parallel. The lower thigh bone is joined to the metatarsal at the hock joint (angle about 140 degrees).
METATARSUS: It is short and stands vertical to the ground.
HIND FOOT: Like the front feet, the toes of the back feet are short, arched and closed. Nails are short and black.
GAIT: The gait is of special importance to both the working ability as well as the exterior appearance. The gait is elastic, elegant, agiles free and ground covering. The front legs reach out as far as possible. The hindquarter gives far reaching and necessary elastic drive. The front leg of one side and back leg of the other side move forward at the same time. There should be good stability of the back, the ligaments and the joints.
SKIN: The skin fits closely all over and is of good pigment.
COAT: HAIR The hair is short, hard and thicken It lies tight and smooth and is equally distributed over the whole surface. Undercoat is not allowed.
COLORS: The color is black, dark brown or blue, with rust red clearly defined and clean markings. Markings on the muzzle, as a spot on the cheeks and the top of the eyebrow; on the throat, two spots on the forechest, on the metacarpus, metatarsus and feet, on the inside of the back thigh, on the arms and below the tail.
SIZE AND WEIGHT: SIZE: Height at the highest point of withers: Males: 68 to 72cms. Bitches: 63 to 68cms. Medium size desirable.
WEIGHT: Males ca. 40 to 45 kg. Bitches ca. 32 to 35 kg.
FAULTS: GENERAL APPEARANCE: Reversal of sexual impression; little substance; too light; too heavy; too leggy; weak bones.
HEAD: Too heavy; too narrow; too short; too long; too much or too little stop; Roman nose; bad slope of the top line of the skull; weak underjaw; round or slit eyes; light eye; cheeks too heavy; loose flews; eyes too open or too deepset; ear set too high or too low; open mouth angle.
NECK: Slightly short; too short; loose skin around the throat; dewlap; too long (not in harmony); ewe neck.
BODY: Back not tight; sloping croup; sway back; roach back; insufficient or too much spring of rib; insufficient depth or width of chest, back too long overall; too little forechest; tail set too high or too low; too little or too much tuck up.
LIMBS: Too little or too much angulation in front or hindquarters; loose elbow; deviations from the standard position and length of bones and joints; feet too close together or too wide apart; cowhocks, spread hocks, close hocks; open or soft paws, crooked toes; pale nails.
COAT: Markings too light or not sharply defined; smudged markings; mask too dark; big black spot on the legs; chest markings hardly visible or too large; hair long, soft, curly or dull. Thin coat; bald patches; large tufts of hair particularly on the body; visible undercoat.
CHARACTER: Inadequate self confidence; temperament too high; sharpness/aggressiveness too high; too high or too low a threshold of irritation.
SIZE: Deviation of size up to two centimetres from the standard should result in a lowering of the quality grading.
GAIT: Wobbly; restricted or stiff gait; pacing.
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS: GENERAL: Pronounced reversal of sexual impressions
John Travolta is a downtrodden single father raising his daughter under difficult circumstances in Chicago. The young girl comes upon and then nurses a wounded Doberman used for fighting, back to health. Duped by underworld types he was working as a courier for, father and daughter leave the dog and flee cross-country to Los Angeles with both canine and mobsters in pursuit.
The Kiss This photograph shows a red Doberman Pinscher kissing an exhausted fireman. He had just saved her from a fire in her house, rescuing her by carrying her out of the house into her front yard, while he continued to fight the fire. She is pregnant. The firefighter was afraid of her at first, because he had never been around a Doberman before. When he finally got done putting the fire out, he sat down to catch his breath and rest. A photographer from the Charlotte, North Carolina newspaper, "The Observer," noticed this red Doberman Pinscher in the distance looking at the fireman. He saw her walking straight toward the fireman and wondered what she was going to do. As he raised his camera, she came up to the tired man who had saved her life and the lives of her babies, and kissed him, when the photographer snapped this photograph.