Breed Standard

Breed Standard

The Dobermann

It Is Said That You Do Not Own A Dobermann, They Own You.

If you have never owned a dobermann before then please do some research so you have a clear understanding of the breed and what their characters are like.

Dobermanns are the most demanding and fun loving dog that you could ever own. They want and strive for your undivided love and attention. They are highly intelligent and need mental stimulation and like nothing more than being challenged with obedience training and agility. They respect and respond to leadership. They will thrive at whatever task you set them given the correct training. They were originally bred to protect and are a great family dog and love to be part of it. They are also a working breed and need appropriate daily exercise consisting of lead walking and free running. Exercise is paramount for a stable mind set and to socialise with humans and other dogs.

If you like to travel and are out a lot then this breed is not for you. No dog should be left to its own devices for extended lengths of time and with an intelligent dog like the dobermann it is a recipe for disaster. A pat on the head and being left to their own devices isn’t good enough.

Don’t buy a dobermann if you are not prepared to give the time and energy that this breed will need.

The Dobermann was originally conceived and created by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann in the late 19th Century. Dobermann was a tax collector in the city of Apolda located in the state of Thuringia, Germany. He was also responsible for the catching and keeping of stray dogs. To protect him whilst collecting the tax duties he started to breed from the stray dogs he had caught and the dogs he produced became known as ‘Dobermanns Dogs’. Records unfortunately do not show the exact breeds he used but it is believed that the breed combined the strength and intellect of the Thuringia shepherding dog, the shape and size of the Rottweiler and Great Dane, the agility and determination of the German Pinscher. The speed of the Greyhound and tenacity of various breeds of terrier including the Manchester Terrier which gave the Dobermann its sleek coat and figure.

Otto Goeller who was also from Apolda became interested in the Dobermann and founded the von Thüringen Kennels in 1901. He is credited as being the person who refined and stabilized the breed as it is known today. He became the founder of the Dobermann Pinscher Club which later became the National Dobermann Pinscher Club of Germany.

The Dobermann breed came to the United States of America in 1908 and the Dobermann Pinscher Club of America was established. The breed standard had been written in Germany and was adopted by the American Kennel Club in 1922. The name Pinscher which means terrier in German was later dropped

The Dobermann was virtually unknown in Great Britain until 1947. The Kennel Club which had been  established since 1873 subsequently adopted the breed and now sets the breed standard in this country.

In April 2007 the docking of tails in this country was banned.

After the controversal BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, aired in August 2008, the Kennel Club undertook a review of the breed standards of all pedigree dogs. After consultation with the breed clubs, in January 2009 the breed standard for the Dobermann was revised. As a result of the consultation two changes were made relating to the tails and dew claws.

1. The reference to dew claws removed has been deleted and they can now be left on.

2. The description relating to undocked tails has been ammended 

Breed Standard

General Appearance

Medium size, muscular and elegant, with well set body. Of proud carriage, compact and tough. Capable of great speed.


Intelligent and firm of character, loyal and obedient.


Bold and alert. Shyness or viciousness very highly undesirable.

Head and Skull

In proportion to body. Long, well filled out under eyes and clean cut, with good depth of muzzle. Seen from above and side, resembles an elongated blunt wedge. Upper part of head flat and free from wrinkle. Top of skull flat, slight stop; muzzle line extending parallel to top line of skull. Cheeks flat, lips tight. Nose solid black in black dogs, solid dark brown in brown dogs, solid dark grey in blue dogs and light brown in fawn dogs. Head out of balance in proportion to body, dish-faced, snipy or cheeky very highly undesirable.


Almond-shaped, not round, moderately deep set, not prominent, with lively, alert expression. Iris of uniform colour, ranging from medium to darkest brown in black dogs, the darker shade being more desirable. In browns, blues, or fawns, colour of iris blends with that of markings, but not of lighter hue than markings. Light eyes in black dogs highly undesirable.


Small, neat, set high on head. Normally dropped, but may be erect.


Well developed, solid and strong with complete dentition and a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Evenly placed teeth. Undershot, overshot or badly arranged teeth highly undesirable.


Fairly long and lean, carried with considerable nobility; slightly convex and in proportion to shape of dog. Region of nape very muscular. Dewlap and loose skin undesirable.


Shoulder blade and upper arm meet at an angle of 90 degrees. Shoulder blade and upper arm approximately equal in length. Short upper arm relative to shoulder blade highly undesirable. Legs seen from front and side, perfectly straight and parallel to each other from elbow to pastern; muscled and sinewy, with round bone in proportion to body structure. Standing or gaiting, elbow lies close to brisket.


Square, height measured vertically from ground to highest point at withers equal to length from forechest to rear projection of upper thigh. Forechest well developed. Back short and firm, with strong, straight topline sloping slightly from withers to croup; bitches may be slightly longer to loin. Ribs deep and well sprung, reaching to elbow. Belly fairly well tucked up. Long, weak, or roach backs highly undesirable.


Legs parallel to each other and moderately wide apart. Pelvis falling away from spinal column at an angle of about 30 degrees. Croup well filled out. Hindquarters well developed and muscular, long, well bent stifle. Hocks turning neither in nor out. When standing, hock to heel perpendicular to the ground.


Well arched, compact, and cat-like, turning neither in nor out. Long, flat deviating feet and/or weak pasterns highly undesirable.


Previously customarily docked.

Docked: Docked at 1st or 2nd joint. Appears to be a continuation of the spine without material drop.

Undocked: Appears to be a continuation of the spine without material drop, kink or deformity. May be raised and carried freely when the dog is moving or standing.


Elastic, free, balanced and vigorous, with good reach in forequarters and driving power in hind quarters. When trotting, should have strong rear drive, with apparent rotary motion of hind quarters. Rear and front legs thrown neither in nor out. Back remains strong and firm.


Smooth, short, hard, thick and close-lying. Imperceptible undercoat on neck permissible. Hair forming a ridge on back of neck and/or along spine highly undesirable.


Definite black, brown, blue or fawn (Isabella) only, with rust red markings. Markings to be sharply defined, appearing above each eye, on muzzle, throat and forechest, on all legs and feet and below tail. White markings of any kind highly undesirable.


Ideal height at withers: dogs: 69 cms (27 ins); bitches: 65 cms (251/2 ins). Considerable deviation from this ideal undesirable.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.