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  • Temperament: Loyal, Fearless, Alert
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 15 of 194
  • Height: 26-28 inches (male), 24-26 inches (female)
  • Weight: 75-100 pounds (male), 60-90 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Group: Working Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Doberman Pinscher lying in three-quarter view facing forward
Doberman Pinscher standing sideways in grass facing left
Doberman Pinscher head and shoulders facing left
Doberman Pinscher brown coat detail
Doberman Pinscher standing in three-quarter view
Doberman Pinscher head facing left
Doberman Pinscher sitting in three-quarter view
Doberman Pinscher standing sideways facing left
Doberman Pinscher black coat detail
Doberman Pinscher leaping into body of water
Doberman Pinscher puppy

Find a Puppy: Doberman Pinscher

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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 temperament. Energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient.

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. 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.

BODY

Neck proudly carried, well muscled and dry. Well arched, with nape of neck widening gradually toward body. Length of neck proportioned to body and head. Withers pronounced and forming the highest point of the body. Back 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 approximately second joint, appears to be a continuation of the spine, and is carried only slightly above the horizontal when the 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.

COAT

Smooth-haired, short, hard, thick and close lying. Invisible gray undercoat on neck permissible.

HINDQUARTERS

The angulation 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.

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doberman pinscher illustration

About the Doberman Pinscher

Dobermans are compactly built dogs—muscular, fast, and powerful—standing between 24 to 28 inches at the shoulder. The body is sleek but substantial, and is covered with a glistening coat of black, blue, red, or fawn, with rust markings.

These elegant qualities, combined with a noble wedge-shaped head and an easy, athletic way of moving, have earned Dobermans a reputation as royalty in the canine kingdom. A well-conditioned Doberman on patrol will deter all but the most foolish intruder.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Doberman Pinscher puppy

Find a Puppy: Doberman Pinscher

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Doberman Pinscher Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

Feeding an excellent-quality dog food throughout his lifetime is critical for the Doberman. The Doberman puppy should be fed an age-appropriate diet approved by the dog’s breeder or veterinarian. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Ample amounts of clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

Although mostly a “wash and wear” breed, some routine grooming will help to keep the Doberman in optimal condition. A quick going-over daily with a short-bristled brush or a grooming mitt will keep his coat shiny and healthy. He does not need to be bathed often. He should have his nails trimmed at least monthly, and his teeth brushed regularly. The ears should be wiped out carefully every few days—a little baby oil on a paper towel is good for this. Your veterinarian can show you how to clean your dog’s ears to avoid damage and stay on top of potential issues.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Occasional Bath/Brush

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Regularly

EXERCISE

The Doberman is an energetic athlete who needs a lot of exercise and free play. A Doberman will enjoy going for long daily walks or hikes with his owner, and having a large fenced area where he can run is vital for his physical and mental well-being. Participation in canine sports such as obedience, tracking, and agility will provide exercise for mind and body and fun times together for dog and owner.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Needs Lots of Activity

TRAINING

Dobermans are very intelligent, learn easily, respond quickly, and make loving and fun companions. However, they are very strong dogs and can become pushy, destructive, and unmanageable if not raised properly. Socialization starting in puppyhood is imperative, as is obedience training. Puppy training classes are highly recommended as well. It is every Doberman owner’s responsibility to ensure that the dog is raised to be a happy, well-mannered companion and canine citizen. The Doberman should always live inside the home with his people, rather than outdoors.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Eager to Please

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

Although Dobermans are generally healthy, there are certain conditions that the breed is prone to. One of these is bloat, a life-threatening digestive condition that owners should learn the signs of and know what to do should it occur. Genetic health conditions that can affect the breed include hip dysplasia, dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart), von Willebrand’s disease (a clotting disorder), progressive retinal atrophy, albinism, and hypothyroidism. Responsible breeders screen their breeding stock for these health conditions via medical testing. Never purchase a puppy or dog from a breeder who has not genetically tested their breeding stock for these conditions.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Cardiac Exam
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease DNA Test
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Doberman Pinscher
Doberman Pinscher
Doberman Pinscher
Doberman Pinscher
Doberman Pinscher
Doberman Pinscher
Doberman Pinscher

History

Since the invention of money, one thing has been certain at all times and in all places: The tax collector is never a welcome visitor. In certain precincts of 19th century Germany, the reception was downright hostile. All too aware of this was taxman and dog breeder Louis Dobermann, from the town of Apolda. He hoped to breed an imposing but dependable protector to accompany him on his rounds.

Dobermann’s handiwork was a larger, less refined version of the pinscher that today bears his name (minus an “n,” which was dropped somewhere along the way). Historians mention the Black and Tan Terrier (forerunner of the Manchester Terrier), German Pinscher, Rottweiler, and smooth-coated herding dogs among the components of Dobermann’s new breed.

The “Tax Collector’s Dog” quickly gained an international reputation as a working dog supreme. Dobes have excelled at police and military K-9 duty, as therapy dogs and service dogs for the disabled, as searchers and rescuers, and in competitive dog sports. During World War II, the U.S. Marine Corps Dobermans of the Pacific won the breed great fame. Twenty-five of these loyal “Devil Dogs” died during the battle for Guam.

With their muscular good looks and proud gait, Dobes are consistent winners in the ring. A Dobe named Storm won Westminster’s Best in Show two years running, 1952 and ’53. The Doberman Pinscher came to the AKC in 1908 and has since reigned as one of America’s most popular working breeds.

Did You Know?

The Doberman originated in Apolda, in Thueringen, Germany, around 1890.
The Doberman takes its name from Louis Dobermann of Apolda.
The Doberman Pinscher Club of America was founded in 1921.
The Doberman was officially recognized as a breed in 1900.
The Doberman emerges from old shorthaired shepherd-dog stock combined with Rottweiler, Black and Tan Terrier, and Smooth-Haired German Pinscher.
"Always Faithful", a life-size Doberman in bronze, is located in Guam at the war dog cemetery at the US Naval Base in Orote Point as a permanent monument.

The Breed Standard

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 temperament. Energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient.

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. 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.

BODY

Neck proudly carried, well muscled and dry. Well arched, with nape of neck widening gradually toward body. Length of neck proportioned to body and head. Withers pronounced and forming the highest point of the body. Back 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 approximately second joint, appears to be a continuation of the spine, and is carried only slightly above the horizontal when the 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.

COAT

Smooth-haired, short, hard, thick and close lying. Invisible gray undercoat on neck permissible.

HINDQUARTERS

The angulation 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.

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doberman pinscher illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK & RUST Check Mark For Standard Color 015
BLUE & RUST Check Mark For Standard Color 042
FAWN (ISABELLA) & RUST Check Mark For Standard Color 316
RED & RUST Check Mark For Standard Color 145
WHITE 199