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Doberman Shepherd (Doberman Pinscher & German Shepherd Mix): Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

doberman german shepherd

Height: 22-26 inches
Weight: 90-110 pounds
Lifespan: 10-13 years
Colors: Tan, brown, black
Suitable for: Active owners without children, people who need a guard dog, warm environments
Temperament: Loyal, energetic, brave, dominant

Doberman Shepherds are a 50-50 cross between a German Shepherd and Doberman Pinscher. The combination of a German Shepherd’s intelligence and a Doberman’s loyalty make this breed a valuable companion and the perfect watchdog.

This isn’t a breed for beginners. Doberman Shepherds take a lot of work. You’ll need to provide lots of daily activity and a strong sense of discipline – Dobermans love to take charge, and German Shepherd smarts make them great at getting their way. But if you put the work in, a Doberman Shepherd will reward you with fierce loyalty and companionship for its whole life.

This guide will help you decide if a Doberman Shepherd is the right dog for you. We’ll go over its intelligence, temper, feeding and grooming information, and other facts you need to know before you bring a Doberman Shepherd into your life.

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Doberman Shepherd Puppies


Just like Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, Dobermans get a bad rap. They’re often pigeonholed as guard dogs, but in reality, they can do anything another dog can: play with you, exercise with you, and be a loving companion when you’re feeling down.

With dogs, though, it’s important not to forget that breeding influences behavior. For over a hundred years, generations of Dobermans have been selected for independence, stubbornness, and aggression. This doesn’t mean that Dobermans or Doberman Shepherds can never be anything but watchdogs, but it does mean that you’ll have to work around their instincts to mold them into loving companions.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Doberman German Shepherd Mix

1. German Shepherds and Alsatian Wolf Dogs are the same breed

One of the Doberman Shepherd’s parents, the German Shepherd, became famous worldwide due to its role in the First World War. The ability of the Germans’ dogs to carry messages, scout positions, and even bring soldiers fresh ammo impressed the British, French, and Americans so much that they began raising German Shepherds for military use. But with Germany unpopular during the war years, these Allied pooches were called Alsatian Wolf Dogs instead.

2. Doberman Pinschers were created as the perfect guard dogs

At the end of the 19th century, a German named Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann set out to create the greatest guard dog ever bred. He combined several German breeds to reach his goal. In particular, Dobermann looked for long, straight ears that would be more intimidating, and short tails that couldn’t be grabbed in a fight.

3. Doberman Shepherds are more than just watchdogs

They’re great at herding, racing, and tracking, all of which are great ways to help them work out their abundance of energy. In the military, they can be therapists as well as fighters, with their loyalty and watchfulness making them excellent companions for soldiers living with PTSD.

The parent breeds of Doberman Shepherd
The parent breeds of Doberman Shepherd: Left – Doberman (YamaBSM, Pixabay) | Right – German Shepherd (Anna Dudkova, Unsplash)

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Doberman Shepherd🧠

Doberman Shepherds are bold, athletic, and willful. Both of its parent breeds are loyal and watchful, but they also like to get their way, especially Dobermans.

Although they have a reputation for stubbornness, it’s perfectly possible to socialize a Doberman Shepherd so that it’s friendly and loyal rather than tense and domineering — owners do it every day. In addition to being bold and protective, they love to romp and play just like any other dog.

The best way to socialize a Doberman Shepherd is to start introducing it to new people as a puppy. Their natural instinct is to aggressively protect their master, but they also love to be around people. If you teach them early on that new people are a source of good things, they’re much more likely to grow up companionable, social, and well-mannered.

With their intense loyalty, Doberman Shepherds are prone to separation anxiety and don’t like to be away from their owners for long periods. They’re even known for following their masters into the bathroom. If you can’t visit home and play with it at least a few times every day, a Doberman Shepherd might not be the right dog for you.

Doberman Shepherd Dog Parents
Image Credit: YamaBSM, Pixabay

Are These Dogs Good for Families?🏡

Doberman Shepherds are not a good dog for families with small children. While it’s absolutely possible to raise them so they’re friendly and affectionate with kids, it simply isn’t safe to leave an untrained Doberman Shepherd puppy alone with a human child. They might see the child as a threat, and if they start attacking or biting, it can be difficult to make them let go.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?🐶 😽

Doberman Shepherds aren’t known for being mean to cats or other dogs. Some Doberman Pinschers are known for behaving aggressively toward other dogs of the same sex, but this trait doesn’t carry over to the crossbreed. If anything, it will ignore your other pets entirely in its eagerness to spend more time with you.

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Things to Know When Owning a Doberman Shepherd:

Food & Diet Requirements🦴

Like many larger breeds, Doberman Shepherds are at risk of obesity. They love to eat and aren’t great at regulating their food intake.

We recommend 4 to 5 cups of dry food each day, split into two meals. Choose an organic kibble with specific ingredients that supply it with protein, whole grains, and fat.


Doberman Shepherds are overflowing with energy, so they must get the chance to spend it. Every day, be sure to give them at least 90 minutes of physical activity. Take it on walks, let it run free at the dog park, or incorporate it into your usual workout habits.

Their need for lots of exercise makes Doberman Shepherds the perfect dog for active owners who already have a daily fitness routine. They won’t have enough space in an apartment – we recommend that you only adopt one if you have a backyard or large rural property.


When training a Doberman Shepherd, start by socializing it while teaching it simple commands. While it’s a puppy, give it plenty of time to interact with people, and have everyone you introduce it to provide it with toys and treats.

The first commands you should teach it are straightforward ones like “sit” and “stop.” These will teach the dog that a perceived threat is over and that it can stop its aggressive behavior.

As your puppy grows into an adult, continue spending lots of time with it every day, exercising, and playing with toys. Over time, you’ll reinforce the bond you two share, and win its everlasting loyalty.

doberman shepherd
Image Credit: Anna Mogilevtseva, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Doberman Shepherds are work dogs, so their coat doesn’t take a lot of work to maintain. They shed and drool very little. You should only need to brush them once or twice a week, but even then, it’s more of a bonding activity than a medical necessity.

Health Conditions ❤️ 

The product of two breeds bred for strength and hardiness, Doberman Shepherds have good lifespans and few common health problems. However, there are still a few things to watch out for.

Minor Conditions
  • Dermatitis: A skin rash that develops in response to allergies that usually appear in dogs between 1 and 3 years of age. It can be treated with medicine baths, anti-histamines, and special diets.
  • Separation Anxiety: If left alone too much, this can reach the level of mental illness. To treat it, make sure your dog is getting enough time with you, and teach it to associate its toys with you while you’re gone.
Serious Conditions
  • Cardiomyopathy: An enlarged heart that sometimes affects large dog breeds. Abnormal breathing, lethargy, coughing, and bluish skin are common symptoms.
  • Dysplasia: A joint deterioration, most often of the hip and elbow joints, that commonly results from obesity and malnutrition in large dogs.
  • Wobbler Syndrome: A malformed bone in a dog’s spine that causes it severe pain while walking, resulting in a “wobble.”

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Male vs Female

There’s very little difference in size and weight between male and female Doberman Shepherds, but they do have slightly different tempers. Male Doberman Shepherds are prouder and focus more on being in charge of their territory; this can make them a handful compared to the more nurturing female Doberman Shepherds.

However, the dispositions of each gender pale in comparison to the difference that good or bad training can make. A well-trained male is infinitely easier than an untrained female Doberman Shepherd every time.

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Final Thoughts:

We don’t want to sugarcoat it: Doberman Shepherds take work. They’re the product of two breeds that value hard work, exercise, and achieving goals. You can’t just leave them alone and expect them to turn out all right.

On the other hand, the rewards of successfully bonding with a Doberman Shepherd are too great to put a price on. If you’ve read this far, and think you might be the right person to adopt a Doberman Shepherd, we encourage you to go for it. You can’t ask for a more faithful friend.

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Featured Image Credit: Nikolai Tsvetkov, Shutterstock

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