Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Are Dobermans Smart? What You Need to Know!

Misty Layne Profile Picture

By Misty Layne

Dog training, brown Doberman sits in the park and looks at the owner

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Many people already know that the Doberman breed is incredibly loyal and sweet, but have you ever wondered just how intelligent these dogs are? We might believe, as pet parents, that our pups are the smartest ones around, but there’s an actual list ranking the most intelligent dog breeds to help us prove that. So, how smart is the Doberman?

The Doberman breed is super smart! These dogs came in at #5 in a famous study that ranked the intelligence of a wealth of dog breeds. Here’s what to know about that study and the intelligence of the Doberman.

Divider 2

How Is the Intelligence of Dogs Determined?

The study we mentioned above was put together by Stanley Coren, a canine psychologist. He conducted the study by surveying 199 dog obedience judges and asking them how well different canine breeds met these criteria:

  • How many times a command must be repeated for a dog to learn it
  • If a dog obeys a given known command on the first go and how quickly it does so

These two criteria are known as working intelligence and obedience intelligence. But how do they determine how smart a breed is? Well, those dog breeds that were able to pick up new commands in fewer repetitions are more intelligent than those that take several repetitions to learn. And the more quickly a dog responds to a command it knows, the smarter it is.

How Do Dobermans Compare to Other Breeds?

Doberman Pinscher playing
Image Credit: patstatic, Pixabay

As we said, the Doberman came in at #5 in the Stanley Coren study, so this breed is extremely intelligent. Dog breeds in the top tier (or top ten) of this study were the ones that were able to learn new commands in less than 5 repetitions. They could also obey known commands on the first attempt with a success rate of 95% or higher.

Considering breeds with average intelligence pick up new things in 25-40 repetitions and can only get known commands on the first try half the time, that means the Doberman is one smart canine!

Is Intelligence Only Measured With Working and Obedience Intelligence?

Nope! There are, according to Stanley Coren, other areas of intelligence that can measure how smart a pup is. While there are several more different aspects of intelligence—spatial, interpersonal, adaptive, and instinctive—adaptive and instinctive are the ones other than working and obedience that can determine how intelligent a dog is.

Adaptive Intelligence

So, what exactly is adaptive intelligence? This area of intelligence is a dog’s ability to learn on its own. A good example is when your Doberman is confronted with a challenge, such as a barrier to where it wants to be or even an intriguing puzzle toy—how quickly is it able to figure out the solution?

doberman pinscher dog jumping to fetch a toy
Image Credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock

Instinctive Intelligence

And what is instinctive intelligence? This is how well a dog does in activities for which it was bred. The Doberman, for example, was bred to be a guard dog, so they have that instinctive, innate ability. And while the Doberman breed has had aggressive traits bred out for a while, it doesn’t mean that ability to guard isn’t still there!

Can I Figure Out How Smart My Doberman Is On My Own?

You absolutely can figure out your pup’s intelligence on your own! And it’s fairly simple, too. You just need to give your Doberman a doggie IQ test, which will have you setting up some tasks for your dog to complete. Time these tasks to see how quickly they manage to finish them; with that, you can see how smart your dog really is. These tasks will test a range of skills in your pet, including reasoning, learning, problem-solving, cognition, and more.

Divider 7


The Doberman is one of the smartest canines around, considering it came in at #5 in Stanley Coren’s study to find which dog breeds were the most intelligent. This means the Doberman has excellent working and obedience intelligence and is able to learn new things quickly. If you want to test out your own Doberman to find out how clever it truly is, you can set up a fairly easy doggie IQ test at home to find out!

Featured Image Credit: Derkachev Artem, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database