Differences between European and American Dobermann

Both the European and the American Dobermann have the same origin story. They are first bred in Germany during the year 1890. The initial distinction between these two breeds is the fact that the American Doberman is only bred in America (recognised by the American Kennel Club) , while the European Dobermann is only bred in Europe (recognised by the European Kennel Club) .

Is there a size difference between European and American Dobermann?

In accordance with both the European and the American Dobermann Standard, the Dobermann is a medium-sized dog. But the European Dobermanns do tend to look stronger compared to the American’s more lean body. American Dobermans are a little short and skinny compared to the muscular and taller European. American Doberman have rust or light brown markings and they come in many colors: black, red, blue or fawn ( Isabella ). European have tan or dark brown markings and they come in black and brown colors. Any dogs that are not of these two colors are not recognized by the FCI and cannot be certified by them or approved for breeding. The American Doberman has a thin neck with a little slope, thinner bone structure whereas the European Dobermann has a thick neck and no slope with thicker bone structure.

Differences in behavior

There are some slight differences in the behavioral styles of the American and the European Dobermann. For example, the American Doberman is a loyal guard dog, suited for family protection and companionship, while the European Dobermann is a strong and powerful working dog.

That does not mean that the European Dobermann isn’t suited for family life. Nor do we mean to say that the American isn’t suited for work. However, considering the construction and overall strength  of the European Dobermann, their behavior lines up better with police or military work compared to the leaner and more docile American Doberman.

European Dobermanns are usually bred for working purposes. They need to be stronger and more muscular to do “bite” work. But one is not better than the other. A European might be best for you if you have an active family, if you are experienced dog owner, want the best guard dog possible, want to compete in working dog events, protection events.



Like with many other dog breeds, the exact history of the Dobermann is unclear. The breed standard was established in 1890 as a guard dog.  Following Louis Dobermann’s death in 1894, the Germans named the breed the Dobermann Pinscher as a tribute to the man. However, 5 decades later, the word “pinscher” was dropped from the name.

The Dobermann Pinscher was created by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. Karl was the German tax collector and dog catcher who also worked as a police officer at night. He needed a working dog that could be alert, fast acting and protect him while performing his less glamorous duties. He began to selectively breed, focussing on the dogs’ characters rather than their physical appearance.


The result was an intelligent dog with enough trainability to keep it under control, yet a dog that would aggressively protect its owner on command. It maintained these traits, as well as being athletic, strong, fast, loyal and ferocious, and has been employed as a war dog, police dog and personal protection dog.

Like many breeds, the war and post-war eras nearly drove the Dobermann to extinction. It was saved by Werner Jung, who smuggled Dobermanns from East to West Germany and continued a breeding program that most of today’s dogs descend from.



They are considered a medium to large dogs with a square, compact, muscular body and possess stamina and speed. Dobermans are noble looking and carry themselves with pride. They stand 68 – 72cm males and 63 -68cm females at the shoulder, and while no standard weight is defined, they tend to weigh between 42 – 48 kilos males and 32 -38 kilos females. The short, hard, smooth and close-lying coat can come in several colors, including black, brown, blue and fawn, with sharply defined markings appearing above the eyes, on the muzzle, throat and forechest. Dobermanns enjoy a lifespan that averages 10 to 11 years.

The Dobermann has been a longtime favorite for service work as well as military and police work. The breed is extremely intelligent and willing to please with a high drive to do any job assigned to them. This also makes them exceptional service dogs and family guardians. In the right hands, the Dobermann is easy to train and considered one of the most intelligent breeds in the world. 


Unfortunately, the Dobermann has a reputation for being a dangerous dog. However, people familiar with the breed know that Dobermanns are loving, affectionate, sensitive, and loyal. When you have a Dobermann, your Dobermann may physically defend you and your family members from perceived threats. It’s highly unlikely that your dog will attack you.

Old myth says that Dobermanns can’t trust around kids. This myth probably got started due to the dog’s large size, its history as a guard dog, and its protective nature. The reality here is that a Dobermann that grows up around kids typically becomes an affectionate family member that’s very loyal and gentle with children, especially when trained and socialized.

Early breeders chose to crop the ears and dock the tail to lower the risk of injury or attack. Even after the need for dogs in tax collection fell out of practice, many breeders and Dog Owners chose to continue the tradition of ear cropping and tail docking.

The negative image of the Dobermann is fading away. Dog Owners are beginning to recognise that the Dobermann is a dog with big, loving heart. Fortunately, the practice of ear cropping and tail docking is falling out of fashion as well. In many places, this type of cosmetic procedure is banned, giving us a fully-tailed, floppy-eared Dobermann.


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