Mighty & Majestic: European Doberman Pinscher Breed Overview

European Doberman Pinscher

Mighty and majestic, Sleek and powerful, fearless and vigilant, the European Dobermans are the world’s finest protection dogs. Doberman is the world’s first dog, bred specifically for personal protection.

The Doberman is bred as a personal protection dog, and he feels his job in life is to stick like glue to you, and no one’s going to be out to get you. When you get up to go to the bathroom, he follows you right in there, and he won’t leave you alone. If you have a working dog with protection instincts, “that’s what they are bred for”. They’re stable, and they’re a good family dog for right owners that we will discuss in ideal owners.


Vital Stats


More about European Doberman

Now, Western Europeans bred Doberman pinscher dogs, part of the breeding program is to keep the essence of the breed. In other words, the reason for the Doberman being is a personal protection dog. So when they breed dogs, for instance, in Germany, they follow a certain standard as far as beauty goes. They do a temperament test which includes social things, being around people, crowds, but also having a simulated attack and the dog must defend you.


If the dog fails any of these tests, they are not allowed to breed them. So they kept a more well-rounded dog rather than just the pretty dog, which was the main focus of the American breeders. For instance, the American Dobermans in the show ring, they’re selected, it’s a beauty contest, and, so they’re selected for their potential to win in the show ring.


Western Europe Doberman

The European dogs, you can’t lump it all in one basket because Europe is a bunch of countries and each country can have its regulations. In general, the countries in Western Europe, the EU countries, for years, have had rules and regulations on breeding. They have certain breed tests that dog must pass before it’s allowed to bred. As I was saying earlier, they must pass for confirmation. For beauty, they must be graded very well or excellent. For the temperament, again, very good or excellent, and certain health tests done.


Eastern Europe Doberman

Now the former East Bloc countries have no rules and regulations. Countries like Serbia, Croatia, places like that. They have no rules and regulations, and in fact, they have some rather large puppy mills in some of these countries that send thousands of dogs to the US and other countries. People say, “Oh, they’re European.” But you have to differentiate what country in Europe are they from. Do they have rules and regulations, or is it puppy mills? The Eastern Bloc countries are doing a pretty good business, especially now, because the EU passed rules a few years ago which outlawed cropping and docking.


So that means if you want to import a puppy from Germany when it arrives here, it’s going to have long ears and a long tail. Unfortunately, the new USDA regulations prohibit importers from importing a dog under four months old because they want it to have the rabies shot. So at four months old, it’s too old when it gets here for you to crop and dock it. So it’s going to remain sort of a black and tan Coonhound, long ears and long tail.


However, Eastern Bloc countries like Serbia, they’re still allowed to crop. So they’re capitalizing on that. To produce type, in the past, there has been some line breeding and inbreeding. So every breed has certain things you want to look out for.


European Doberman Temperament

Today’s Dobermans are natural guardians, which means they do not need any kind of specific training to make magnificent protection dogs for people and properties they have. That inherent predisposition to defend their own, which includes their owners, their territory, as well as other pets living in the household. And, whilst Dobermans are usually pretty friendly, reserved towards people in general.

They do form extraordinarily close connections to their own family and in particular, they will bond with the one person in the household who they regard as their leader. This close emotional connection gives us a clue as to why these dogs make such amazing natural guardians. Their deep affection for their loved ones gives rise to fierce loyalty. And, this loyalty in turn motivates the dog to defend their people with everything that they have.

However, you do have to understand how the dog thinks. For example, Uncle Joe who hasn’t seen you in five years comes to visit, and he sneaks up behind you and grabs you in a bear hug, and your dog is there, probably not a good idea. The dog sees someone attacking his master. He’s going to come to your defense. Coming up and slapping someone on the back is not a good idea also.


So, you have to understand if you have a dog that’s very protective of you. You have to understand how he thinks, and not put him in a situation that’s going to get him in trouble because it’s not his fault that he’s trying to protect you.


IPO Is a Temperament Test

There is a sport, and it is called Schutzhund. Schutzhund started as a temperament test, and it’s involved in a sport. It’s now called IPO, but it tests all the major drives of the dog. The dog has to track a human. And IPO tests his concentration, sense of smell, sense of obedience to follow the track, and just going on, and sticking with the job. The obedience portion tests his agility, his ability to follow the command, his rapport with the owner, retrieving, working from a distance under command, etc.


The protection aspect tests the dog’s courage, and hardness, willingness to take on the bad guy even if it means putting himself in harm’s way to protect his owner. Also, he’s under the control of the owner and willing to follow the command. Even when he wants to get that bad guy, and you tell him, “Out,” he must out because he’s got to be under command. So it tests all the major drives of the dog.


Breeders, way back when in the early 1900s figured this was a really good test to find good breeding partners. Again, Of course, with all this work, they got little competitions going. The interesting fact about it is that if you talk to a German shepherd dog person, they will say that Schutzhund developed as a breeding test for the German shepherd dog. However, what they don’t know, and it was, the German Shepherd Club was the first club that said, “Wow, this is great, “let’s incorporate this into our breeding program.” However, Schutzhund was developed by a German gentleman called Konrad Most, and he was a Doberman breeder.


Ideal Home

Today dog enthusiasts all over the world adore the European Doberman, and not only because of its amazingly strong protective instincts. But, also because Dobermans are a sheer joy to live with, usually very calm and quiet in a home environment, these dogs are so attached to their people that many people call them Velcro dogs. When exercised enough the noble protectors can even be kept in apartments.

They absolutely love nothing more than snuggling up to their people and just following them around the house wherever they go. Hence, these same features make the Doberman also very prone to separation anxiety. Especially, when sharing the home with their owners.

It can be observed that Dobermans display anxious behavior like weeing on the floor, or whining, or scratching at the door as soon as their favorite human leaves the home. Now, this tendency can be counteracted by having other family members take over some of the care of the dog. Like feeding, walking, and training them as well. In this way, the intelligent Doberman will quickly learn that their main canine leader leaving the home is nothing to be upset about.

Dobermans make excellent family companions and guardians. They adore children and usually get along quite well with other pets in the household, especially, if they grow up with them and are well socialized. Now, of course, as is the case, with any large breed, you should never leave your dog and your young kids to play together unattended. Dobermans are large dogs and quite playful, and can accidentally knock children over causing quite severe harm even if it’s a complete accident.


Ideal owners

  • European Dobermans, particularly working bloodlines, deserve households with active parents. It’s just, you got to do it. Or you’re going to do the dog a disservice.


  • Get a working dog if you are very active outdoors, go hiking with them, go bike riding with them. And, at the end of the day, they are going to be a lot happier and pleased with you.


  • If you’re looking for a dog to be a house dog, somebody that’d be a great pet who’s going to be with you by your side, this dog may not be for you. The number one complaint with European Dobermans is, they will be tearing up your yard, they will bite everything, they want to run and play all the time. So, “That’s what they were bred for”. So, understand what you get.


  • They never really walked anywhere, they run everywhere. They never said Doberman walk unless you’re walking with them.


Exercise Needs

  • European Dobermans have exceptional mental and physical energy, and a quick walk around the block just won’t cut it. They are a high-energy breed and need as much physical exercise as they do mental. You may have some individuals that are higher or lower energy than others. They need at least 2 hours of exercise every day.


  • You need to put in the extra effort to the Doberman to be a calm member of the family. When you’re thinking about ways to burn some energy, be mindful of their joints throughout their whole life. So it’s often better to opt for longer and more frequent walks, or jogs, over runs. You should plan to go for a long brisk walk at least two times a day with your Doberman.


  • Incorporate some heels or agility work to keep them in shape. The Doberman is a highly intelligent breed that is very capable of excelling at mentally demanding canine sports like obedience and Schutzhund.


  • They can be stubborn at times, no matter what level of training you take them to. But, regularly working on their obedience will exercise their big brains wonderfully. It’s actually a crucial part of having a Doberman because they are so powerful and have deeply rooted protection instincts, and need a lot of outdoor activities.


  • I know it sounds like having a European Doberman requires a lot of extra effort on your part as their canine leader and that is absolutely true. But you also have to remember that exercising their brain and body often happens at the same time. For example, every time you take them on a walk don’t just walk around the neighborhood for an hour. incorporate sit, stay, and down commands along the way and double back on your path or run.


  • Most Dobermans may want to roll around and wrestle but others might prefer to sprint after a large ball with you, or love games where they have to use their powerful sense of smell.


  • They can be taught to fetch easily, but it’s not a game that comes as naturally to them as it does to other breeds. No matter how you exercise them, your Doberman will always be happiest when they are making you happy and getting quality time with the whole family.


  • European Dobermans are fantastic working dogs that love spending time with their family, cuddling on the couch after a good long play session and a few walks.


  • You’ll find that they are exceptionally energetic and puppy-like for about the first two and a half to three years of their life.


  • Keep training and be patient with them. And, you’ll find that a Doberman is a spectacular canine worthy of the extra effort they need for you to exercise them properly every day.


  • Now, American Dobermans don’t need that much exercise as European Dobermans. But, it is recommended that you also put the same effort on Americans, depending on their willingness to exercise.



  • Doberman is one of the easiest guard dog breeds to keep clean and stay on top of their grooming. These elegant dogs have very short single-layered coats that hardly shed throughout the entire year.


  • They lose their seasonal coats usually in spring and autumn. You need to brush them a bit more than usual, but apart from this, you only have to groom your Doberman once a week, maybe once every other week to keep your house nice and clean and free of hair.


  • The best tools to use for their short coats are rubber grooming mitts and natural bristle brushes. Brushing your Doberman not only removes their dead hair stuck in their coats but also stimulates circulation and distributes the natural oils around the dog’s skin.


  • Now unlike breeds with lush long and double-layered coats, regular baths are not needed for Dobermans to stay neat and clean, one bath in 2-3 months is enough. you can wipe your Doberman with a clean wet washcloth to remove dirt or dust.


  • When you do bathe your Doberman, don’t use human shampoo, use dog shampoo and to remove soapy residue rinse the dog thoroughly before you let him out. Thanks to their very short coats, Dobermans air dry really quickly.


  • Brushing them before and after the bath will remove any of those loose dead hairs. And, if you want to give their coat an extra nice shine, rub them down with a chamois cloth, or apply a spray-on conditioner for dogs.


  • To ensure that your Doberman stays free from painful ear infections, check their ears for excess wax build-up and mites every week. For ear cleaning drop 1-2 drops of solution, which is designed specifically for dogs, into their ears and gently rub your Doberman’s ears. You can follow the instructions on the packet for whichever product you go with.


  • You need to brush their teeth after every 2-3 days to protect your dogs from plague built-up, and cavities. As a large breed, the Dobermans are less prone to tooth decay than many smaller breeds.


  • As for your Doberman’s nails, they can get quite long and make unpleasant scratching sounds on your floors. Therefore, it is recommended to cut their nails whenever you listen to click sounds when they walk on the floor. Use specific nail cutters and chop smaller pieces to avoid injuries.


Health Issues of European Doberman

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Wobbler’s Syndrome
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Albinoism
  • Color Mutant Alopecia
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus
  • Cardio
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease

A reputable breeder of Dobermans should test eyes, hips, thyroid, Von Willebrands, cardio, and other health tests before breeding.


We’re lucky out on the Von Willebrands because they found the gene responsible. So you can do this little cheek swab in your dog and find out if it’s affected, a carrier of this gene, or clear. By having that knowledge, in a couple of generations, you can breed the dogs clear. Von Willebrands is a type of bleeding disorder, not as serious as hemophilia, but there’s a clotting problem. So you don’t want to have a dog with a bleeding disorder. However, the genetic testing we can do now is going to alleviate that problem.


They’re currently doing a lot of research and trying to find genes that cause cardio. So far, they found two, but it doesn’t seem to be the answer yet, because clear dogs are still having a problem. So it has to be multifaceted and maybe even an environmental influence, but they don’t know. So what breeders do now is, test their breeding stock with echocardiograms or Holters which is like an EKG machine that finds if they’re throwing any extra ventricular beats or whatever. They’re testing these two gens, and hopefully one day they’ll have a handle on that.


American and European Doberman Difference

  • American bred Doberman pinschers, in general, have a lot of the protective instincts, the courage, and the hardness, bred out of them. So they’re going to be a lot mellower, easier to handle and train, kind of like a Labrador in a Doberman suit kind of thing. The American Doberman has become watered-down pets where the drive has been taken away. They are ideal family dogs.


  • Now, European bred Doberman pinscher dogs, part of the breeding program is to keep the essence of the breed. They have high drive, high energy levels, and the dog must protect you. They must be super focused on you in crowds, not the distractions. If they feel threat to their owners, they don’t hesitate to engage physically and they don’t retreat no matter what the condition is. The American Dobermans can retreat sometimes. They are ideal protection dogs.



European Doberman Price

The American Dobermans range from $800-$2500, but the European Dobermans start from $2500-$3500. Depends on breeders and bloodlines.


What to Look For When Buying European Doberman?

Some breeders, in the United States, are 100%, European breeders. They tend to breed more for the look if their dogs don’t have any working titles and extensive screening. A lot of people get dead spin on the fact that their selling point is well, this dog right here is the great-grandson of a dog, which is a great dog having personal protection, or show title. But that’s three generations, two or three generations back.

So we can’t go by great grandfather, we go by what the parents are, what they look like. That’s why when people ask me how to pick out puppies? I say “Go see both parents” just don’t get caught up in seeing what the great grandfather looks like. Because I’ve seen a lot of times where the puppies actually come out looking like the mom.


If you are a person into the sport, whether it’s French Ring, PSA, IPO, or personal protection, you have to be able to look for dogs that have workability. See both parents work, because it’s in their DNA. Either a dog going to have it or he isn’t going to have it. He is either going to ball or fall. One or the other, right?

So, when you’re looking for a working dog, look at the working, make sure they have a pedigree that goes back two generations at least. And make sure they have some kind of working titles. Or a demonstration of working titles. Or demonstrations of even working.

But we’re in America and it’s all about image first. It’s all about what the dog looks like. A lot of people buy animals off of pictures. You take the right picture at the right angle, that dog going to look big. He’s going to look great. They got Photoshop for a reason.


How many inches tall is a 10 week old European Doberman puppy?

At the age of 10 weeks, European Doberman puppies should measure between 12-14, or 15 inches. But, it depends on every individual puppy.


How much should 7 weeks old Doberman European weigh?

At 7 weeks, males should weigh somewhere between 19 lbs to 21 lbs and females should weigh between 15 lbs- 17 lbs.


What is the difference between European and American Doberman?

There are a lot of differences between American and European Dobermans. I’m considering 2 main differences that are size and temperament.

  • American Dobermans are friendly, loving, affectionate, and ideal family dogs with lower energy levels and drive. But, the European Dobermans are friendly, loving, confident, and ideal protection dogs with high energy levels, drive and exercise needs.


  • As of size, there is not much difference, but Americans stand 26-28 inches and Europeans stand between 27-29.5 inches. There are some breeders out there who are trying to push standards. So, you need to get a European Doberman from a reputable breeder.


How big would a European Doberman pinscher get?

Some European Dobermans can get 29-29 ½ inches tall, but normally they stand 28-29 inches.


Now, if you have more questions about Dobermans, visit our FAQS page. or just send me an email and I’ll be in touch soon.


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