European Doberman Dog Breed Facts and Information

You might be surprised to know that there’s a European version of the Doberman Pinscher. Find out more about this breed here.

Reading on, you’ll find out all the important facts and information about the European Dobermann. First, I’ll discuss the European Dobermann’s breed history and how it was developed. Next, I’ll describe the European Dobermann’s personality and appearance. Then I’ll go over how to take care of your own European Dobermann and the different health issues the breed faces. Finally, I’ll show you the key differences between the European Dobermann and the American Doberman Pinscher.

The History of the European Dobermann

European Dobermanns were developed by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann in the 1880s. He was a tax collector in Germany. He also ran a dog pound which gave him the idea to create a dog breed that could protect him during his work.

Louis Dobermann’s goal was to have a dog that was strong, intelligent, and energetic. After he passed away, the development of the Dobermann was taken over by Otto Goeller who perfected the breed. Soon after that, the National Dobermann Pinscherman Club was formed.

The breed was developed by combining several breeds such as the Beauceron, German Pinscher, Rottweiler, and Weimaraner. According to documents produced by Goeller, the Greyhound, and Manchester Terrier were also among the list of breeds involved in creating the Dobermann Pinscher.

Today, the Dobermann is among the top 20 most popular dog breeds in the world. This breed grew in popularity from its job as a guard dog in World War II. There have also been several films that feature this breed in pop culture. As time goes by, more and more Dobermanns have been registered with several kennel clubs.

The Personality of the European Dobermann

The European Dobermann is a fearless, intelligent, and devoted dog. For most of this breed’s history, it’s served as a working dog that worked with the police and military. This has led to the breed being alert and protective.

European Dobermanns are generally dogs that need firm and assertive owners. They respond well to strong discipline and obedience training. When it’s off duty, you can expect your European Dobermann to be a lazy couch potato.

As a family pet, European Dobermanns are loving and loyal dogs. They can be wary and sometimes aggressive towards strangers, especially when they sense a threat. These dogs will bark when an unfamiliar person enters your home. In some cases, it might even attack a person if it senses that their family is threatened.

It’s important to socialize your European Dobermann as early as possible to counter its aggressive instincts. You can raise a perfectly gentle and loving European Dobermann by introducing it to other dogs and people as often as possible while it’s still a puppy.

What Does the European Dobermann Look Like?

This is how the European Doberman appearance.

Now it’s time to discuss what the European Dobermann looks like. This handsome dog definitely isn’t lacking in the looks department. With its strong build, balanced proportions, and elegant face, this dog is sure to steal your heart. In the following sections, I will describe the European Dobermann’s size, appearance, and coat colors.


The European Dobermann is a medium-sized and stocky dog. Once it reaches adulthood, you can expect your European Dobermann to stand at a height of 25 to 27 inches with males being slightly taller than females. It will weigh about 80 to 105 lbs if it’s male and 65 to 85 lbs if it’s female.

Although it is a sizable dog, it has a compact, squarish build. Generally, this breed’s height should equal its length. Dobermanns have deep and wide chests that lead to a short and downwards back. They also have medium-length legs that aren’t that much longer than the height of their torsos.

According to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the Dobermann’s head, neck, and legs should be in proportion to its body. The ideal build for this dog makes it perfect for developing a balance of strength, endurance, and agility.


The Dobermann has a wedge-shaped head and long snout. Its snout should be just about as long as its neck. Its teeth meet together in a scissor bite. They have round and expressive eyes that are a bit closer to each other compared to other breeds.

When it’s born, a Dobermann has a long tail that curves upwards. However, most Dobermann owners opt to shorten their dog’s tail through docking. Docking is considered a controversial topic because it has no other purpose than to improve the aesthetic appearance of a dog. As of today, it is illegal in most European countries. European Dobermanns that don’t have a full tail are restricted from participating in dog shows held by the FCI.

Dobermanns also usually have their ears altered. Most Dobermann owners have their dog’s ears cropped to make them point upwards. However, Dobermanns naturally have ears that flop downwards. Like tail docking, ear cropping is illegal in most European countries.


European Dobermanns have two certain color genes in their DNA. One gene is for producing the color black (gene B) and the other gene is for diluting colors (gene D). These two genes can have different combinations which produce four different colors. These colors include black, blue, fawn, and red.

The European Dobermann normally has two colors on its coat. One of the colors is either black, blue, fawn, or red, and the other is tan. The first color is the dominant color on the European Dobermann’s coat while tan appears as markings on its snout, eyebrows, chest, and legs.

Aside from these colors, the Dobermann can also have a small white marking on its chest. According to FCI and AKC standards, the European Dobermann can only have a very small white marking on its chest to qualify for dog shows.

Take Care of a European Dobermann

Now it’s time to talk about how you can take care of your very own European Dobermann. Compared to most medium-to-large dog breeds, the European Dobermann is relatively low-maintenance. The most important part of the European Dobermann’s needs is its need for regular exercise. As you read on, the following sections will cover all you need to know about the feeding, grooming, dental care, and exercise needs of a European Dobermann.


Since it has a smooth coat, the European Dobermann’s fur is easy to take care of. You should brush your European Dobermann twice a week to help it stay clean and shiny. It’s best to use a slicker brush to groom your European Dobermann’s fur. This type of brush will easily get rid of dead fur and dander without irritating your dog’s skin.

When it comes to bathing, you’ll only have to bathe your European Dobermann as needed. This means that you should only bathe your Dobermann if it is visibly dirty or gets into a mess. When bathing your European Dobermann, it’s best to use gentle shampoos like oatmeal shampoos or aloe vera shampoos.

Another important part of taking care of your European Dobermann is cleaning its ears. Since it naturally has floppy ears, this breed is prone to earwax buildup. It’s important to clean your European Dobermann’s ears at least once a day. You can use an ear cleaning solution to get rid of any dirt from your dog’s ears. Simply pour a bit of the solution onto a cotton pad and use it to wipe away dirt and wax in your dog’s ears.

If you don’t lead a particularly active lifestyle but still want your own European Dobermann, you will definitely need to trim its nails. A European Dobermann that spends most of its time indoors will need to have its nails trimmed once a week. On the other hand, a European Dobermann that is more active can have its nails trimmed once every two weeks. It’s best to use pet-friendly nail clippers when trimming your dog’s nails to avoid accidentally injuring your dog’s toes.


In a day, a European Dobermann puppy needs to eat half a pound of puppy food, which is roughly a much as 1.5 cups. Once it reaches adulthood, it will need twice the amount at 3 cups or 1 lb of food a day. It’s best to feed your European Dobermann’s over two to three meals a day to help them avoid choking on their feed or getting bloated. As you read on, you will see some of the best brands to feed a European Dobermann puppy and an adult European Dobermann.

Below is a table that compares dry puppy food brands for European Dobermann puppies according to price:

Blue Buffalo Wilderness24 lbs8$69.98$551
Merrick20 lbs9$69.99$640
Now Fresh25 lbs7$80.99$566
Purina34 lbs5$52.39$281
Wellness Core24 lbs8$68.29$546

Below is a table that compares dry adult dog food brands for adult European Dobermann dogs according to price:

Blue Buffalo Wilderness24 lbs15$71.99$1,080
Merrick20 lbs18$69.99$1,260
Now Fresh25 lbs15$80.99$1,215
Purina47 lbs8$59.999$480
Wellness Core26 lbs15$56.98$855

Dental Care

Another important part of taking care of a European Dobermann is keeping its teeth and mouth clean. A European Dobermann will need its teeth brushed once a day. Brushing your dog’s teeth once a day gets rid of plaque and food that’s stuck between its teeth that might eventually lead to an oral infection.

It’s best to use a pet-friendly toothbrush kit because they’re designed to be used for dogs. It’s also a good idea to start brushing your European Dobermann’s teeth as soon as it starts eating solid foods because dogs can take a while to get used to having their teeth brushed.

If you feel a bit nervous about brushing your dog’s teeth or you don’t have enough time to do it regularly, you can use other alternatives to a toothbrush kit. One alternative is enzymatic toothpaste Enzymatic toothpaste is formulated to taste like treats for dogs so it will be easier to convince your dog to keep its mouth healthy. You can also use water additives. A water additive is a simple solution that you can add to your dog’s water source and will protect your dog’s oral health.


Since it was bred to be a working dog, the European Dobermann is a breed that needs regular exercise. Regular exercise is necessary for European Dobermanns because, without it, they can easily gain too much weight and get sick. It’s also important during this breed’s growing stages because this breed grows a lot in a short amount of time. Regular exercise will help your European Dobermann adjust to its growing body as it goes from being a puppy to being a full-grown dog.

The most common way to exercise a European Dobermann is by taking it on walks. On average, a European Dobermann needs about 1 to 2 hours of exercise a day. These dogs love to go on long walks in exciting outdoor areas like parks or forests. You can also take your European Dobermann to a dog park to let it play and exercise with other dogs but you should only consider this option once your dog is properly socialized.

Although your goal for exercising your European Dobermann is to maintain its health, playing and engaging with your dog through exercise is also a great way for you to bond with your pet. European Dobermanns grow especially close to owners that spend a lot of quality play and exercise time with them. When playing with your European Dobermann, you can play fetch with it using balls and frisbees or tug with rope toys.

Common Health Issues in European Dobermans

Below are the most common health issues that European Doberman:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a bone condition wherein the ball and socket joint found in the dog’s hips are misaligned or do not fit together perfectly. It is most commonly passed down through genetics, but improper nutrition can play a big part, too..

Dogs like the European Doberman may have hip dysplasia if they show the following symptoms:

  • A dropped back or unstable rear end
  • Decreased activity and range of movement
  • Limping
  • Lethargy

Hip dysplasia diagnosis is done through an x-ray of the dog’s hip. Anesthetics are typically applied, which requires a few health tests beforehand.

If your dog displays any combination of hip dysplasia symptoms, visit a veterinarian for an early diagnosis. Starting maintenance medication before the condition worsens can prevent the need for surgery to remedy the joints in the future. Hip dysplasia treatment is commonly a combination of medication and physical therapy.


Hypothyroidism is a disease wherein dogs have a reoccurring hormone imbalance in their thyroid gland. While most dogs are prone to hypothyroidism, European Dobermanns are particularly predisposed to the condition.’

Hypothyroidism causes the thyroid gland to produce less thyroxine, which is a hormone that converts food into energy. Therefore, a dog with this condition is prone to a lack of energy despite having proper eating habits.

Dogs like the European Dobermann may suffer from hypothyroidism if they show the following symptoms:

  • Weight gain
  • Dull skin
  • Hair loss around the rear, back, and tail
  • Sluggishness or lethargy
  • Toenail and/or ear infections
  • Muscle loss

Observe at least three of these symptoms in your canine companion? It is recommended that you take them to a veterinarian for a diagnosis. Dogs diagnosed with hypothyroidism typically undergo a series of blood tests to rule out conditions that may share similar symptoms to the disease.

Fortunately for dogs and their owners, this thyroid disease is not life-threatening and only needs maintenance to save your dog from discomfort. Hypothyroidism treatment includes levothyroxine or L-thyroxine prescription. Though L-thyroxine is relatively cheap compared to other medications, dogs with hypothyroidism need to take it for the rest of their life.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s Disease causes uncontrollable bleeding in dogs. While some dogs never show obvious signs of Von Willebrand’s Disease, others experience unusual, excessive bleeding from their mouth, nose, or genitals. Many cases of this disease are often revealed after immoderate hemorrhaging occurs during surgery, after physical trauma, or after giving birth.

With buccal mucosal screening, a test that measures how long it takes for bleeding to stop, Von Willebrand’s Disease can be diagnosed as early as possible. If a dog displays excessive bleeding within the controlled environment of the test, it is likely to have the disease. Von Willebrand’s Disease can be life-threatening and may lead to a dog bleeding to death after an accident, if left undiagnosed.

As for medical treatment, animal health professionals are still crafting a drug that can safely treat Von Willebrand’s Disease. For now, veterinarians may simply perform blood transfusions for dogs that experience physical trauma while suffering from the disease.

If you have a dog with Von Willebrand’s Disease, it is vital that you keep it out of harm’s way. Make sure that your dog doesn’t tread on dangerous terrain that can possibly injure its feet. You can also baby-proof your home to get rid of any possible incidents that can physically injure your dog.

American Doberman Pinscher vs European Dobermann

At first glance, it can be hard to tell the difference between an American Doberman Pinscher and a European Dobermann. However, these dogs actually have differences in their appearance and personality. Once you’ve seen one of each of these breeds, their differences become more evident.

Below is a table comparing the American Doberman Pinscher and the European Dobermann:

TraitAmerican Doberman PinscherEuropean Dobermann
BuildMedium-sized, thin and elegant shapeMedium-sized, stocky and compact shape
Weight60 to 100 lbs65 to 105 lbs
ColorsBlack and Tan, Blue and Tan, Fawn and Tan, Red and TanBlack and Tan, Blue and Tan, Fawn and Tan, Red and Tan
PersonalityIntelligent, Sensitive, AffectionateIntelligent, Reserved, Courageous, Alert
Lifespan10 to 13 years10 to 13 years
The American Doberman Pinscher compared to the European Dobermann.

Although the differences are minimal, the European Dobermann and the American Doberman Pinscher look different from each other. In general, the American Doberman Pinscher has a skinnier and more elegant look compared to the European Dobermann. Ultimately, these differences exist because the goals for developing these two breeds are completely different. The American Doberman Pinscher is a family dog while the European Dobermann is a working dog.

The American Doberman Pinscher normally has a longer back and legs, and a deeper chest compared to the European Dobermann. This is because American Doberman Pinschers weren’t bred to be working dogs for as long as the European Dobermann. Turning the American Doberman Pinscher into a family companion came a lot sooner than it did for the European Dobermann.

This also explains their differences in personality. Since the European Dobermann is still commonly used as a working dog, it has a temperament that’s more suited for that lifestyle. On the other hand, the American Doberman Pinscher has a personality that makes it more suitable to be kept as a family companion. American Doberman Pinschers are sensitive and very affectionate dogs. They enjoy cuddling up to their owners when they’re relaxing. On the other hand, European Dobermanns are a bit more aloof and reserved. They’re more likely to relax on their own, with a respectable amount of space away from the members of their family.

You can also see that the European Dobermann is a larger and heavier dog compared to the American Doberman Pinscher. Again, this is because the European Dobermann is meant to be a working dog. It needs a sturdier and more compact build to be able to work long hours and easily use its power to overpower possible threats.

Final Thoughts

The European Dobermann is a prime, high-quality working dog. It’s not too out-there of a statement to say that this dog is nearly indestructible. This breed has a strong, muscular, and compact build. This makes it the perfect guard dog for personal owners and an ideal working partner for professionals that need a strong dog.

However, despite being such a strong dog, the European Dobermann can still be prone to certain health problems. Unfortunately, most of the health problems that the European Dobermann faces are hereditary. This is why responsible breeders recommend that you get your European Dobermann’s genetics tested to find out which issues it will develop as it ages.

Compared to the American Doberman Pinscher, the European Dobermann is a stronger and more reserved dog. However, even if they are more reserved, the European Dobermann still makes for a fantastic family companion. Any dog can become a loving member of the family with the right socialization and care as it’s raised. Personally, I think I would prefer to have a European Dobermann because I admire its intelligence and how easily it can protect its family.