American vs. European Doberman: An In-Depth Comparison

American Doberman vs European Doberman comparison

Most people think that the only difference between American and European Dobermans is their breeding locations. Well, this assumption will probably throw canine experts into a fit of laughter because the two dog varieties have very little in common.

In fact, some owners and breeders believe that their characteristics have diverged to a degree where they should be considered two unique breeds. So, what are the differences between the two varieties?

American Doberman Pinschers are ideal show and family dogs because they have calm and gentle behavior. Meanwhile, European Dobermanns are often called too headstrong because of their intense working drive. This is also why they are mainly used for protection and law enforcement.

In this guide, my only goal is to compare the two Doberman varieties in great detail and refrain from picking a side.

This will serve as additional literature for Doberman education, so interested breeders and pet owners will be guided in purchasing and raising these dogs.

American Doberman


Overview


Height: 26 – 28 inches (male), 24 – 26 inches (female)

Weight: 75 – 100 lbs (male), 60 – 80 lbs (female)

Price: $1500 – $2500

Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

Colors: Black, blue, red, or fawn.

Markings: Light rust with a small white patch on the chest.


Appearance


General Build: Medium-sized toned and elegant body with thinner bone structure.

Head: Long and resembles a blunt wedge.

Eyes: Almond-shaped and medium brown to dark brown.

Neck: Well-arched which widens gradually toward the body.

Chest: Smaller and narrow.

Body: Long and lean.

Legs: Refined but delicate legs.


Temperament


  • Loyal, fearless, and alert.
  • Loving and devoted to their family.
  • Not that excellent in police work.
  • Alert protectors of homes and barks when the family is threatened.
  • Couch potato.
  • Sensitive to human emotions.
  • Have less chase drive.
  • Careful and calculating.
  • Responds to softer commands.
  • Needs tender training.

European Doberman


Overview


Height: 27 – 28 inches (male), 25 – 27 inches (female)

Weight: 80 – 105 lbs (male), 65 – 85 lbs (female)

Price: $2500 – $3500 (cheaper in Europe)

Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

Colors: Black, or brown with rust red.

Markings: Dark rust with no white patch on the chest.


Appearance


General Build: More compact and broader body with thicker bone structure.

Head: Wide and has a thick muzzle. Throatlatch and jaw are wider and muscular.

Eyes: Oval in shape and dark in color.

Neck: Short and thick with a lesser rise from the shoulder.

Chest: Muscular and broad.

Body: Solid and pronounced.

Legs: Straight and stockier legs.


Temperament


  • Loyal, fearless, and alert.
  • Loving and devoted to their family.
  • Excel at police and military work.
  • Very protective and attacks physically when the family is threatened.
  • Couch potato but a space hog.
  • In tune with human emotions.
  • Have an intense prey chase.
  • Brave with strangers.
  • Prefer strict and firm instructions.
  • Need strong discipline.

What Is an American Doberman Pinscher and European Dobermann? Are They the Same?

As I mentioned in the introduction, the American Doberman Pinscher and the European Dobermann do not have a hairline difference. They significantly differ from one another because they were bred for different purposes.

The American Doberman Pinscher is described by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a compact-built dog that is also considered a royal canine. They have an elegant stance that completes their noble look.

They differ in size from the European Dobermann, as well as in temperament, because they are more gentle and obedient.

This is evident in their AKC breed standardOpens in a new tab. created and reviewed by the Doberman Pinscher Club of America.

On the other side of the fence is the European Dobermann. They were named after Louis Dobermann, a tax collector and dog breeder who developed them with the hopes of producing a canine protector who can accompany him on his rounds.

Because of this, the European Dobermanns are tagged as the “Tax Collector’s Dog.”

European Dobermanns are ideal work dogs because they aren’t allowed to breed unless they pass a working test called the ZTPOpens in a new tab..

You can access the ZTP regulations on the breed standard published by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI)Opens in a new tab..

Why Are These Dobermans Called Differently?

Maybe you are a bit confused as to why I call these Dobermans differently. The first one is named the American Doberman Pinscher, while the other is European Dobermann with a double “n.”

Aside from showing their distinction, their names also have a long history. Initially, European Dobermanns were called Dobermann Pinschers, but the Germans eventually dropped the second name.

This is because they have noticed that the breed no longer resembles a Terrier or Pinscher in Europe. Currently, these dogs are called Dobermann with a double ‘n’ in honor of the full name of its breeder, Louis Dobermann.

As for the American Doberman Pinscher, they were named as such mostly because of political color. After World War II, many German associations brought terror, including name spellings.

American breeders decided to remove an “n” from the Doberman’s original name to lessen their European inclination. They also added back the word Pinscher because they have noticed that they are slowly resembling back the terriers through continuous development.

Differences in Appearance

Physical appearance is perhaps the most noticeable difference between the American Doberman Pinscher and the European Dobermann.

If you boot up your phone or laptop and search for pictures of the two on the internet, you will be presented with multiple collages comparing them side by side.

The differences are subtle in the photos, but you will realize that they are indeed dissimilar once you see both varieties in person.

American Doberman Pinscher

Since the American Doberman Pinscher is primarily bred to be show dogs, it is quite expected for them to look more elegant and regal.

One good way to describe how they look is by comparing them to a high-endurance athlete. They are long and sleek, and their coat is a bit shinier than that of the European bloodline.

Here’s a more detailed rundown of their physical appearance:

  • General Build: American Dobies have a toned and elegant body that is thinner and more refined than the European Dobermann. They are medium-sized but muscular at the same time.
  • Head: Their head is relatively long that resembles a blunt wedge. It widens as it reaches the base of the ears when seen from the front. Their muzzle is also slender, and their throatlatch is dramatically tapered.
  • Eyes: Their eyes are almond-shaped. The color of black dogs’ iris usually ranges from medium brown to dark brown, while the red, blue, and fawn dogs possess an eye color similar to their coat.
  • Neck: The neck is the most notable physical difference of the American from the European Dobie. Those who are from the American bloodline have a well-arched neck which widens gradually toward the body. It also appears longer because of the sharp neck rise.
  • Chest: They have a smaller chest but are still broad and well-defined as compared to other breeds.
  • Body: They possess a long and lean body with a more elegant structure.
  • Legs: They have refined but delicate legs that are straight and parallel to each other.
  • Height: Standard height at the withers ranges from 26 to 28 inches for males while females are between 24 and 26 inches.
  • Weight: Male weighs 75 to 100 pounds while females weigh 60 to 80 pounds.

The physical description I have presented above is lifted from the breed standard of the AKCOpens in a new tab. for the American Doberman Pinscher.

RECOMMENDED READING: Male vs. Female Doberman: Which One Is Right for You?Opens in a new tab.

European Dobermann

European Dobermanns look more menacing than their American counterpart. They are relatively larger because they have a thicker bone structure. Their breeders purposefully developed them this way because their purpose is to work and protect humans and properties.

Below is a detailed description of a European Dobermann’s physical appearance:

  • General Build: They have a more compact body that is way broader than the American Dobie. However, they are also tagged as medium-sized dogs.
  • Head: Their head is more expansive, and they have a thicker muzzle. They also have more enormous paws and a muscular throatlatch.
  • Eyes: Their eyes are oval in shape and dark in color. Brown dogs are permitted to have lighter shades.
  • Neck: Their neck is shorter and thicker with a lesser rise from the shoulder.
  • Chest: Because they are larger than their American counterparts, their chest is more muscular and broader.
  • Body: They have a solid and pronounced body that is essential for working dogs.
  • Legs: Front legs are almost straight, as seen from all sides. It is also stockier.
  • Height: Male European Dobermanns are expected to stand between 27 to 28 inches. While the female’s ideal size is 25 to 27 inches. Notice that their minimum height is one inch higher than that of an American Dobie.
  • Weight: Since they are more massive, the males weigh 80 to 105 pounds while females weigh 65 to 85 pounds.

The majority of this information is based on the FCI standards for European DobermannsOpens in a new tab.. It is more detailed because it is composed of a 7 paged description.

This is a video from John Walter, a doberman owner. He breaks down the physical and temperamental differences between the American Doberman and the European Dobermann.

Differences in Temperament

The temperament of the two Doberman varieties we discuss in this guide is the leading cause of their rivalry.

It is normal to see a European Dobermann breeder engage in a heated debate about the importance of the pup’s working skill because they are fundamentally bred for such tasks.

Meanwhile, American breeders have a lesser focus on this breed’s aggressiveness because they desire them to be a good show and family dogs.

Here are some temperamental facts about these two Doberman varieties that you need to know.

American Doberman Pinscher

The American Doberman is criticized for having a lesser drive compared to the European pups. They are relatively calmer; that is why they are known to bond well with families.

Below is a comprehensive analysis of their overall behavior and temperament:

  • American Dobermans are very loving and devoted to their owner and its family.
  • They are a bit of a couch potato. They share spaces well, so you’ll see them lounging on your bed or sofa.
  • They are alert protectors of homes and properties, although not as driven as the European Dobermanns.
  • If their family is threatened, their instinct is to bark and sometimes intervene physically.
  • They are sensitive to human emotion, so they are also more affected if you give them strong discipline.
  • They prefer tender training.
  • They are easy to train, and they respond to softer commands.
  • They are careful and calculating in unfamiliar surroundings.
  • They have less chase and food drive.
  • They are less likely to succeed in working events such as SchutzhundOpens in a new tab..
  • They are not that excellent in police work because they have a tendency to retreat.

If you are looking for a Doberman who can do well with families and a generally less active environment, the American bloodline is recommended for you. At the same time, if you are a less experienced pet owner, you will find them a lot easier to handle.

European Dobermann

The European Dobermanns are more headstrong than their American counterparts. They are the number one choice for police work and other similar types of work.

Below is a comprehensive analysis of their temperament:

  • European Dobermans are loving and devoted to their owner and its family.
  • They can be a couch potato, but they do not like sharing their space, unlike American Dobies.
  • They are very protective, which sometimes results in physical brawls.
  • They do not retreat when their family is threatened. They will bark and bite without hesitation.
  • They prefer strong discipline.
  • They are tuned with human emotions, especially to their owner.
  • They gain confidence when they are disciplined. This escalates through training and leadership tasks.
  • They need clear and firm training instructions.
  • They do not shy away from new environments. In fact, they can be outgoing and chaotic.
  • They have an intense prey chase, so if they aren’t suggested to go collar-free. They may jump on strangers if they aren’t fully trained.
  • They are successful in working events like Schutzhund.
  • They are simply born to do police and military work, so they excel at it.

European breeders are after Dobermans that are confident and have a strong work disposition. This is the very reason why, to some degree, they reject the refinement and elegance of modern American Dobermans who have lesser work aptitude.

If you are looking for dogs who won’t fail you in personal and property protection, the European Dobermanns perfectly fit your needs.

Differences in Coat Quality and Color

The coat quality and color are slightly less noticeable between the American Doberman Pinscher and the European Dobermann. However, no matter how deceiving they may look, a trained eye will be able to see that the European variety has a richer and deeper coat shade.

Some of the colors of both the American and the European Dobie are not registered on their respective kennel clubs, but they exist nonetheless.

American Doberman Pinscher

According to the AKC, the coat of an American Doberman Pinscher is smooth, soft, close-lying, and thick. Some of them may have an invisible grey undercoat on their neck, and this is accepted.

As for their coat color, the AKC only acknowledges black, blue, red, and fawn. The all-black American Dobie with no markings, as well as the white and albino pups, are not recognized even though there are pieces of evidence that they exist.

In terms of their markings, rust is the most common and the only color considered ideal by the AKC. These rust markings appear on the following:

  • Above each eye
  • On the pup’s muzzle, throat, and forechest
  • On the legs and feet
  • Below the tail

Some American Dobies may have a white patch on their chest, but it should not exceed ½ square inch to adhere to the standards. This is not common to European Dobermanns, so we can consider this significant difference between the two.

Here are some examples of the different coat colors of the American Doberman Pinscher:

Black and Rust American Doberman Pinscher

Blue and Rust American Doberman Pinscher

Red and Rust American Doberman Pinscher

Fawn and Rust American Doberman Pinscher

All Black American Doberman Pinscher

White American Doberman Pinscher

Albino American Doberman Pinscher

European Dobermann

The coat of a European Dobie is short, dense, and hard. It is smooth to touch and is equally distributed to its body, just like the coat of an American Doberman.

However, while the AKC allows a grey undercoat on a Dobie’s neck, the FCI does not recognize an undercoat in any part of the body.

As for the coat coloration, there are only two shades that are acknowledged by the FCI. These are black and brown with rust red.

European Dobermann breeders must produce the two shades mentioned above since they fit the dog breed’s overall disposition. Despite this strict rule, some breed blue, red, and fawn European Dobies, which are also striking.

For their markings, the FCI only accepts the tan color. Tan is actually a deeper shade of the rust color that most American Doberman Pinschers possess. Here’s where the tan markings are usually found:

  • On the muzzle
  • Above the eyebrow
  • On the forechest
  • On the throat
  • On the hind thigh’s inner side
  • On the metatarsus, metacarpus, and feet
  • Under the tail
  • On the forearms

Here are some examples of the different coat color of the European Dobermann:

Black and Tan European Dobermann

Blue and Tan European Dobermann

Red and Tan European Dobermann

Fawn and Tan European Dobermann

Differences in Kennel Club Conformation

Conformation is the official term used by kennel clubs for dog shows. This is an event where different canines are assessed as to whether they conform to their breed standards.

To clarify, this is not some sort of beauty pageant. Dogs aren’t compared with one another, but how close they look to the kennel club’s specifications.

These conformation events are done because many people believe that if a dog’s appearance adheres to the breed’s requirement, they will produce litters that are also of good quality.

Let us check out some of the interesting differences in Doberman conformation.

American Doberman Pinscher

AKC is the primary organizer of conformation shows for American Doberman Pinschers. They have outlined a breed standard for the Dobies that are being used on their dog shows.

Here’s how your American Dobie can be eligible for these shows:

  • They are six months or older on the show day.
  • Their breed is recognized and registered at the AKC.
  • They are not spayed or neutered.
  • They have no disqualifying faults stated by the breed’s foremost organization. As for the American Doberman Pinscher, it would be the Doberman Pinscher Club of America.
  • They have sound health, and they have complete shots.

As compared to European Dobermanns, American Dobies are required to have their ears cropped and their tail docked for them to join.

This is a big deal for many pet owners, especially if they want to maintain the natural look of their Dobie, but at the same time have them compete on dog shows.

European Dobermann

Conformation shows for the European Dobermann are organized by the FCI. They have digitally published a 21-paged list of regulations for their dog shows that also cover Dobermann conformations rulesOpens in a new tab..

Here are some of their generic rules to enter the competition:

  • Sick and lactating dogs are not allowed to join.
  • Female dogs who are in heat are also prohibited from participating.
  • Preparing the dog with a substance that will alter their overall structure and appearance is not allowed.
  • Double entries and late entries are not permitted.

The most significant difference of the European Dobermann’s conformation show to that of the American bloodline is that European Dobies are not allowed to have their ears cropped and their tails docked.

This is mainly because only military, police, or hunting dogs with paperwork are permitted and required to have altered ears and tails.

Western Europe considers this act of cropping and docking as highly illegal, and they want their dogs to look natural. They only allow dogs with these characteristics to compete on conformation shows if they were born on a specific date.

Differences in Gait/Movement

A dog’s gait is its quality of movement. This is given a lot of importance, especially in dog shows, because this determines whether the pup can serve its purpose or not.

In terms of the Doberman, the Europeans emphasize gait because they associate it with the working ability of a dog. Although the American Doberman Pinscher also has a powerful movement, they aren’t the focus of breeders and pet owners most of the time.

American Doberman Pinscher

The gait of the American Dobie is described as free, vigorous, and balanced. Their forequarters have a good reach, and their hindquarters also have an excellent driving power.

Once the American Dobie trots, their rear-action drive is too strong. Their rear legs move with the forelegs and are sometimes thrown in and out.

They also have a tendency to single-track when they move at a fast trot. This proves that they are of good quality and they have a good balance.

European Dobermann

Like I said a while ago, European breeders put more emphasis on the gait of their Dobermann because they believe it determines the dog’s working ability. As described by the FCI, the European Dobermann’s gait is free, elastic, elegant, ground covering, and agile.

When you analyze their forelegs’ movement, you will notice that they reach out wider, just like their hindquarters. Their legs have an elastic drive, which makes them move quicker than other breeds.

The movement of one of the forelegs and the opposite hind leg happens at the same time. This is due to their back stability as well as the quality of their joints and ligaments.

Differences in Health Issues

American Doberman having a medical exam at veterinarian's office

Both the American Doberman Pinscher and the European Doberman suffer from canine ailments that afflict the breed. By reviewing the body of literature on these health issues, I found out that both Doberman varieties may get affected by the following:

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): According to the College of Veterinary Medicine of Cornell UniversityOpens in a new tab., DCM is a cardiac muscle disease that decreases the heart’s ability to pump blood. This condition may lead to death if not treated early.
  • Gastric Volvulus: This is a common disorder among Dobermans because they are large and deep-chested. Initially, the dogs experience bloat, which progresses into volvulus where the stomach’s entrance and exit are blocked.
  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism in Dobermans is characterized by loss of hair, weight gain, and low cold tolerance. This can easily be identified through routine blood tests.
  • Von-Willebrand Disease: This is a bleeding disorder that is primarily hereditary. The leading cause of this health problem is the lack of a specific protein needed for blood clotting.
  • Wobbler Syndrome: Wobbler syndrome is evident in large dogs like Doberman. Pups afflicted with this disease experience compression on their spinal cord and nerve roots, which results in neck pain or a deficit in the nervous system.
  • Hip Joint Dysplasia: This is a deformity in the hip joint and socket of Dobermans. Dogs who are diagnosed with this hereditary disease exhibit wobbliness and limping.
  • PHTVL/PHPV: The persistent hyperplastic tunica vasculosa lentils (PHTVL), called persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV), is a developmental disease that causes cataract formation and variable leukocoria.

Let’s take a closer look at the chances of each Doberman variety of acquiring the diseases mentioned above.

American Doberman Pinscher

The lifespan of American Dobermans is 10 to 12 years, according to AKC. They are viewed to be more vulnerable to canine diseases as compared to their European counterparts.

These involve not only genetic diseases but non-hereditary health problems as well. In a studyOpens in a new tab. conducted by Dr. Reinhard Haberzetti among Dobermans from Germany, Europe, and the USA, he estimated the spread of degenerative diseases for each variety.

Below is a table containing the results for the American Doberman Pinscher:

DiseaseThe Occurrence of the Disease Among American Dobermans
Dilated CardiomyopathyVery high
Gastric VolvulusHigh
HypothyroidismHigh
Von-Willebrand DiseaseHigh
Wobbler SyndromeHigh
Hip Joint DysplasiaLittle
PHTVL/PHPVLittle

It is quite noticeable that most American Dobies are prone to getting the DCM. This disease is fatal because it can lead to the cardiac arrest of your dog.

The good thing is that dogs’ health testing is more common in America, and it is not that expensive. Another good point to include is that some American breeders are now importing European Dobies to lessen the likelihood of this defect to occur.

European Dobermann

For so many years, Dobermanns from Eastern Europe were proven to be healthier than the American pups even though they have the samelife span, which is 10 to 12 years.

In fact, a few decades ago, Dobies, who came from Russia and other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union, did not showcase any disease and illness.

However, as times passed, Dobermann’s probability of remaining healthy until they reach old age is no longer guaranteed.

Experts believe that this happened because breeders started using Western European Dobies to achieve a particular look. These Dobies are known to be more prone to various diseases.

Here’s the result of the study of Dr. Haberzetti about the European Dobermanns:

DiseaseThe Occurrence of the Disease in Western EuropeThe Occurrence of the Disease in Eastern Europe
Dilated CardiomyopathyVery HighLittle
Gastric VolvulusHigh and IncreasingLittle
HypothyroidismLittle, but IncreasingLittle
Von-Willebrand DiseaseLittle, but IncreasingLittle
Wobbler SyndromeLittle, but Fast IncreasingLittle
Hip Joint DysplasiaLittleLittle
PHTVL/PHPVLittle to MediumLittle

In addition to the data presented above, another researchOpens in a new tab. published in the Journal of Veterinary and Internal Medicine has linked European Dobermans with DCM.

The study’s researchers found out that 58.2% of the 412 Dobermanns that were examined have a higher chance of developing DCM in their lifetime. Unfortunately, genetic testing for this disease is more expensive in European countries.

Differences in Breeding Regulation

European breeders believe that the American Dobies lost their working ability because of the less strict kennel clubs’ regulations in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the AKC is honest enough to admit that they only aim to provide breeding education and not reinforce rules.

The presence and absence of breeding regulations among the two Doberman varieties greatly impact their overall disposition and temperament, as evident in the dogs presented during conformation shows.

American Doberman Pinscher

The American Kennel Club does not regulate the Doberman Pinschers’ breeding, unlike the Europeans, because their focus is more on the consumer’s preference.

In a way, this is a good thing because Doberman enthusiasts may own pups who are easier to manage and family-friendly.

However, since their breeding is altered, most American Dobermans cannot pass simple social tests and other related examinations that the European Dobie would easily ace.

American breeders also gladly mix Dobermans with European lines in their breeding practices to improve the litter’s color markings, temperament, and bone structure. In other words, their breeding choices are broader and less restricted.

As for their registration to the AKC and other kennel clubs in the U.S., the process is considered a breeze by many. All you will need is a certification that proves that your Doberman is an offspring of AKC registered parents.

Your dog won’t get inspected, and all you have to invest in a small fee for the certificate.

European Dobermann

In Europe, Dobermanns are not allowed to breed unless they pass a working test given by Doberman Clubs. This test is called ZTPOpens in a new tab., which aims to measure a dog’s working ability, mental stability, nerves, and social skills.

Those who did not meet the regulations won’t be registered and won’t receive an FCI pedigree.

Here are some of the things that the European Dobermann are required to do during the ZTP testing:

  • Walk through a noisy crowd of strangers.
  • Identify friendly people from those who are suspicious.
  • Protect his owner during a staged attempted attack.
  • Remain calm and non-aggressive during a gunshot.

Below are some decent videos I found on Youtube that shows what happens during ZTP testing:

Aside from these tests related to temperament and behavior, European Dobies are also measured, and their teeth are counted to check if they conform to the breed standard set by FCI.

They are rated according to their protection performance and how close they look to the breed’s expected appearance.

In addition, those pups who competed in working dog competitions and events like the Schutzhund/IPO are regarded as more valuable and are encouraged to breed.

Differences in Puppy Price

Several factors affect the pricing of a Doberman Pinscher, and this applies to both the American and the European varieties. They are the following:

  • Bloodline
  • Certification from kennel clubs
  • The reputation of the breeder
  • Vaccines
  • Ear cropping and tail docking (for American Doberman Pinschers)
  • Disease Testing
  • Options between show quality and pet quality Dobies (for American Doberman Pinschers)

Below is a detailed comparison of the average cost of the American and European Doberman.

American Doberman Pinscher

You will be able to buy an American Dobie at a much affordable price than its European cousin. Their price ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 when you purchase them from reputable breeders.

The lower amount is the money you have to shed off if you want a pet quality Doberman. Meanwhile, if you are after a show quality pup that can compete on conformation shows, you should be willing to spend the higher amount I have mentioned.

Show quality pups are usually examined by experts to make sure that they have desirable traits and fit to join dog shows.

European Dobermann

The European Dobermann is relatively more expensive than those from the American bloodline if you purchase them from the United States. They would cost around $2,500 to $3,500 because they are not that common.

Meanwhile, if you decide to buy one from Europe to ensure that you will get an authentic pup, you will only spend approximately $500 to $2,000. The only downside is, you have to shoulder the shipping fee, which is not cheap.

Poland, Ukraine, and Russia offer the most inexpensive Dobermanns, so I suggest looking for a professional breeder from those countries.

The Rivalry Among the American and European Dobermann

The long-standing rivalry between the American Doberman Pinscher and the European Dobermann is mainly because of their temperament and purpose.

One is bred as a working dog, and the other is not. Breeders of each variety believe that one is superior to the other, which is very subjective since they aren’t bred to fill the same work type.

If you ask the Europeans, they argue that their Dobermann variety is more authentic than the Americans. They describe the modern American Dobies as too delicate, timid, and lacking assertive drive.

They criticize these developed pups because they do not undergo a temperament test before they are allowed to breed.

By adhering to a list of FCI standards, the European breeders maintain the Dobermanns’ original behavior and agility. They have a strong working drive, which makes them excellent protectors.

The Americans frown upon Europeans, who seem to favor the more aggressive type of Dobermans.

They label the European dogs as too vicious, coarse, and assertive because ever since the breed was introduced in the U.S., it was developed primarily for show appearances.

The focus is no longer on breeding aggressive protectors but on making the breed more elegant-looking. This is not to generalize that American Dobies cannot be working dogs.

It’s just that, when it comes to working, European Dobermanns are best suited since they are bred for that job.

American and European Doberman Breeders: Places to Get Your Doberman Puppy

Doberman puppy

I know you are really interested to learn about where you can buy your first American or European Doberman, so I added this section dedicated to helping you.

Below is a list of reputable breeders and directory websites that you can access to search for your new pup.

American Doberman Pinscher

  • Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA) Breeder Referral: The DPCA Breeder ReferralOpens in a new tab. features a directory of reputable breeders that you can contact to look for American Dobies. On the DPCA’s website, you will be able to find the breeder’s location, contact information including phone, email, and website, and the year where they became a member of the DPCA.
  • American Kennel Club (AKC) Marketplace: AKC MarketplaceOpens in a new tab. is your best option if you are a beginning pet owner, and you want to make sure that you will be handed a good quality pup. The bloodline of the puppies available is indicated on the website, as well as the contact information of the breeder.

European Dobermann

  • Doberman Ultimatus: Doberman UltimatusOpens in a new tab. breeds European Dobermanns who have a reliable temperament and easy to trace bloodlines. To view the Dobies they are selling, you should create an account and log in on their website.
  • Britton Farms: Britton farmsOpens in a new tab. import their studs from Europe, so you are assured of their quality. In fact, they work directly with the top kennels in that region to breed work inclined Dobies.

Which Doberman Is Right for You?

Now that you have learned about the differences between the American Doberman Pinscher and the European Dobermann, it is time to choose which one can meet your expectations for this breed.

The American Doberman Pinscher is right for you if:

  • You want to own a gentle but fierce-looking companion.
  • You desire a calmer dog that bonds well with the family.
  • You want a pup that is more in tune with human emotions.
  • You fancy elegant looking Dobies.

Meanwhile, the European Dobermann is right for you if:

  • You are adventurous, and you have a lot of time to spend with your dog.
  • You intend to compete in bite sports like Schutzhund/IPO, French Ring, etc.
  • You live in an area that would benefit from a guard dog.
  • You prefer robust and stable Dobermanns that look menacing because of their massive build.

Final Thoughts

To be honest, the best way to differentiate the two varieties of Dobermans is not through calling them by their geographical indicators. Instead, they should be called working and non-working dogs.

I know many people would disagree with me but labeling them as European and American doesn’t do them any good. These names create the idea of a rivalry between the two dogs, which are nonexistent in reality.

What exists is a competition between American and European breeders because they are trying to prove that their dog is superior to the other.

In choosing the Doberman for you and your family, do not depend on your decision on the appeal of their name but on their purpose.

Assess whether what temperament you can handle because, after all, raising a dog, especially a Doberman, is a big responsibility.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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