Doberman Pinscher.jpg
Breed Group Group 5: Pinschers and Schnauzers
Sub-group 5-A: Large Pinschers and Schnauzers
Origin Country Germany
Weight Males: 88-99 pounds. Females: 70-77 pounds.
Height Males: 26-29 inches. Females: 24-27 inches.
Other Name(s) Dobe, Dobermann
Breed Type Pure
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Doberman Pinscher

Breed Group Group 5: Pinschers and Schnauzers
Sub-group 5-A: Large Pinschers and Schnauzers
Origin Country Germany
Weight Males: 88-99 pounds. Females: 70-77 pounds.
Height Males: 26-29 inches. Females: 24-27 inches.
Other Name(s) Dobe, Dobermann
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

The Doberman Pinscher was first and foremost developed to be a working dog. The creation of the Doberman breed is credited to a German tax collector, Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, from whom the breed received its name. In Germany during the 1890s, tax collecting was a difficult and dangerous job. It was for this reason that Karl Dobermann set out to create the perfect, personal working companion to accompany and guard him on his tax collection rounds. His goal in creating the Doberman Pinscher was to create the “ultimate Terrier,” a dog that was fast, hardy, sound, and intelligent. He also wanted a dog that possessed a strong guarding instinct, with intimidating looks that would ward off robbers.

Dobermann’s access to the local dog pound provided him with the perfect stock to create his breed. He reportedly used the old types of the Manchester Terrier, German Pinscher, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Weimaraner, Beauceron, and Black English Greyhound. Each breed selected was able to contribute something favorable and unique to Karl’s original goals for the breed.

The Doberman Pinscher’s breed type was set within a surprisingly short fifteen-year time span. The early Doberman specimens, no doubt, were notorious for being unmatched in fearlessness and tenacity. From there, the breed’s reputation not only caught on, but also spread far and wide, from country to country.

While the Rottweiler was primarily bred to guard property and livestock and the German Shepherd Dog was mainly bred to be an all-around working dog, the Doberman Pinscher was bred mainly for protecting their owners. As a result, the Doberman interacts and trains differently than these other large, working breeds. While the Rottweiler and the German Shepherd are content with watching their family’s activities from a distance, the Doberman prefers to be right at his owner’s side.

Today’s Doberman Pinscher breed has come a long way from the notorious guard dog of the 1890s. In just over 150 years of breeding to rigid standards, breeders have produced one of the most well-recognized working dogs. Today, instead of breeding for tenacity, reputable breeders select for temperament and health, placing heavy emphasis on producing animals free of genetic diseases, with sound temperaments and high trainability. As a result, the breed has been able to branch out to many areas of service to humanity. It remains a top-notch working dog, devoted guardian, and loyal member of the family.

The Doberman Pinscher is an excellent physical manifestation of all the characteristics that the breed was developed to be. They are a vigorous, powerful, and agile breed that exudes confidence and control. Alert, loyal, and attentive to their families by nature, Doberman Pinschers possess both the ability to think for themselves and an eagerness to learn. The Doberman Pinscher’s qualities make this breed a great working dog, a devoted family guardian, and a loyal member of the family.

The Doberman Pinscher breed continues to provide a wide variety of services to humans. It has a keen sense of smell, which makes the breed an ideal candidate for search and rescue. Its strong desire to be around people makes it a great therapy dog, its fearlessness and trainability make it an ideal contender for police work, and its love of family makes it a great companion and competition partner. Doberman Pinschers are also seen in every sport, from dry land mushing to agility and obedience.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat dolichocephalic skull-type, moderate in size, wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is long, elegant, and powerful. From top and in profile it should resemble a blunt wedge. The top skull is flat without arch whether viewed from the front or in profile. From the front, the topskull is level between the ears. It should never appear domed or rounded. The occiput is not marked. The head muscles are well-developed, but never overly protruding. The superciliary ridge is well-developed, yet not prominent. A furrow at the center of the forehead is visible. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Eyes: The eyes are oval to almond in shape, of medium size, and set well within the sockets. Eyes may or may not be set a trifle obliquely. Medium to dark brown is preferred in black dogs, light to medium, gray, hazel, green, or amber is permissible in liver, blue, and gray dogs. The eye lids are tight fitted and well-pigmented according to the coat. Missing hair from the eye lids is undesirable.
Ears: The ears are set high on the skull, medium in size, with the upper edge level with the topline when alert. Ears may be natural or docked. Natural ears should be drop, with the inner edge and tip lying close to the head. Cropped ears should be cropped long and carried erect, although fallen ears due to improper cropping should not be penalized. There is no preference to cropped ears over natural ears.
Muzzle: The muzzle is broad, full, deep, long, and well-developed. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length, powerful, possess good bone substance, and appear strong, never looking snipy or weak. The muzzle should never be so deep as to appear like that of a Great Dane, or overly tapered and refined and tapered like that of a Greyhound.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length allows for proud head carriage, powerfully-muscled and well arched. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest, or sternum, is well-developed.
Body: Compact, solid, and good substance and solid bone. The body is never racy, refined, heavy, or bulky. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set high on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, often just slightly above the level of the topline. Never tucked, or carried up over the back. Tail may be left natural (preferred) or docked short. Natural tails are of a moderately long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. Natural tails may come in any shape, from straight, curved, hooked, or ringed. Natural tails should never appear kinked or snapped flat over the back. Docked tails should be cut short to just two vertebrae.
Movement: The Doberman Pinscher’s gait should be agile, springy, effortless, and efficient. It should denote power, endurance, and agility. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The mature Doberman Pinscher should exhibit a calm demeanor, even temperament, a high degree of watchfulness, and self-composure, being ever-attentive of his handler or owner. They are fiercely loyal and devoted to their families and take on roles as guardians of the property and especially of small children. Unlike the Shepherds and Rotts that were bred to work away from their owners, the Doberman was developed to stay at his owner’s side, which has earned him the reputation of being a “clinger.” Their intelligence makes them easily trained to perform many jobs, tasks, tricks, and feats. This makes them all-around working and family dogs. A certain degree of aloofness is to be expected in mature specimens toward strangers, so judges shouldn’t expect a mature Doberman pinscher to fall all over himself with excitement and giddiness when approached or examined. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 5: Pinschers and Schnauzers

Proportions: Square with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump being equal to or just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio is 10:9. with the 10:9. Body length in males should not exceed the body height by more than 5%. Females may be just slightly longer, or off-square, with the length of the body not exceeding the height by more than 10%. The body is well-put together, with sturdy substance and medium bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type.
They are strongly built with good substance and solid bone. Their build should be indicative of power, speed, agility, stamina, and endurance.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat dolichocephalic skull-type, moderate in size, wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is long, elegant, and powerful. From top and in profile it should resemble a blunt wedge. The top skull is flat without arch whether viewed from the front or in profile. From the front, the topskull is level between the ears. It should never appear domed or rounded. The occiput is not marked. The head muscles are well-developed, but never overly protruding. The superciliary ridge is well-developed, yet not prominent. A furrow at the center of the forehead is visible. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Expression: The expression of the eye should be keen, energetic, and anticipatory. The Doberman Pinscher is capable of a stern, imposing stare.
Stop: The stop is slight to moderate
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:1, with the topskull being equal in length to the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel
Muzzle: The muzzle is broad, full, deep, long, and well-developed. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length, powerful, possess good bone substance, and appear strong, never looking snipy or weak. The muzzle should never be so deep as to appear like that of a Great Dane, or overly tapered and refined and tapered like that of a Greyhound.
Lips or Flews: Lips are clean and fit rather tightly over the teeth and jaws. The lips are well-pigmented. Darkly pigmented gums are preferred to bubble-gum pink mouths with black, gray, or blue on black and blue dogs, and brown on liver dogs.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: The cheeks are smoothly to well-padded with powerful muscle. The cheeks should not appear chiseled or coarse. The foreface is well-filled under the eyes.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, or scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: The eyes are oval to almond in shape, of medium size, and set well within the sockets. Eyes may or may not be set a trifle obliquely. Medium to dark brown is preferred in black dogs, light to medium, gray, hazel, green, or amber is permissible in liver, blue, and gray dogs. The eye lids are tight fitted and well-pigmented according to the coat. Missing hair from the eye lids is undesirable.
Ears: The ears are set high on the skull, medium in size, with the upper edge level with the topline when alert. Ears may be natural or docked. Natural ears should be drop, with the inner edge and tip lying close to the head. Cropped ears should be cropped long and carried erect, although fallen ears due to improper cropping should not be penalized. There is no preference to cropped ears over natural ears.

Body and Tail

General Description: Compact, solid, and good substance and solid bone. The body is never racy, refined, heavy, or bulky. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate length allows for proud head carriage, powerfully-muscled and well arched. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest, or sternum, is well-developed.
Topline: The topline is straight and slightly sloped from the prominent withers to the croup. The back is short, broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is short, taut, flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never swayed, roached, or level from withers to croup.
Croup: Gently, almost imperceptibly, sloped.
Underline: The underline is moderately tucked-up, but never so much as to appear wasp-wasted. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set high on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, often just slightly above the level of the topline. Never tucked, or carried up over the back. Tail may be left natural (preferred) or docked short. Natural tails are of a moderately long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. Natural tails may come in any shape, from straight, curved, hooked, or ringed. Natural tails should never appear kinked or snapped flat over the back. Docked tails should be cut short to just two vertebrae.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, solid bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of solid bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: Short, fine, dense, hard, thick, tight and smooth with or without short undercoat. The skin is uniformly tight throughout the body, giving the short coat a tight, fitted appearance.
Coat Color or Pattern: Black, liver, blue, Isabella, and gray, all with clearly defined tan points. Tan points may vary in shade from tan to mahogany. Tan points may have penciling.
ABOUT WHITE DOBERMAN PINSCHERS: Due to a genetic mutation in which dogs are born with a portion of a gene deleted (missing), some Doberman Pinschers are born white (also called cream, fallow, ivory, or platinum) with blue, pink, or white colored eyes. The College of Veterinary Medicine at the Michigan State University launched an investigation into the genetics of white Doberman Pinschers. Geneticists have discovered that white Dobes possess and are affected by a gene mutation in the form of a partial gene deletion that causes a condition known as oculocutaneous albinism in humans.

In both humans and dogs, gene deletion is responsible for unpigmented or very lightly pigmented tissues and features, including skin, hair, and eyes. This leaves both people and dogs affected by this gene susceptible to visual disturbances, light sensitivity, and prone to certain cancers and tumors. In fact, of the white Dobes studied in the investigation, it was found that more than ½ of the dogs had at least one tumor, while only one of the regularly colored dogs possessed a tumor. It should also be noted that all white Dobes descend from one individual born in 1976 (Padula’s Queen Shebah). Dobes that are affected by or carry this faulty gene are referred to as Z-factored Dobes.

For more information on the study of Z-factored Dobes, read
“A Partial Gene Deletion of SLC45A2 Causes Oculocutaneous Albinism in Doberman Pinscher Dogs”
by Paige A. Winkler, Kara R. Gornik, David T. Ramsey, Richard R. Dubielzig, Patrick J. Venta, Simon M. Petersen-Jones, Joshua T. Bartoe

Movement

The Doberman Pinscher’s gait should be agile, springy, effortless, and efficient. It should denote power, endurance, and agility. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The mature Doberman Pinscher should exhibit a calm demeanor, even temperament, a high degree of watchfulness, and self-composure, being ever-attentive of his handler or owner. They are fiercely loyal and devoted to their families and take on roles as guardians of the property and especially of small children. Unlike the Shepherds and Rotts that were bred to work away from their owners, the Doberman was developed to stay at his owner’s side, which has earned him the reputation of being a “clinger.” Their intelligence makes them easily trained to perform many jobs, tasks, tricks, and feats. This makes them all-around working and family dogs. A certain degree of aloofness is to be expected in mature specimens toward strangers, so judges shouldn’t expect a mature Doberman pinscher to fall all over himself with excitement and giddiness when approached or examined. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.