Doberman vs German Shepherd

Doberman vs German Shepherd – Battle of the Breeds

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This battle of the breeds features the Doberman vs German Shepherd. Both of these breeds are highly intelligent and fierce protectors of their turf. They are both popular among families and make excellent companions. Both have their strong points. The GSD is revered for its intelligence and trainability. The Dobie is also well loved and will never leave your side. So what are the main differences between the Doberman Pinscher and the German Shepherd?

Doberman vs German Shepherd Stats

Doberman PinscherGerman Shepherd
Height: 24″-28″Height: 22″-26″
Weight: 60-100 lbsWeight: 50-90 lbs
Life Expectancy: 10-12 yrsLife Expectancy: 9-13 yrs
Temperament: Alert, Fearless, LoyalTemperament: Intelligent, Loyal, Obedient
Health: Average for large dogsHealth: Average for large dogs
Energy Level: HighEnergy Level: High
Required Exercise: 2 hoursRequired Exercise: 2 hours
Trainability: ExcellentTrainability: Excellent
Good with Children: ExcellentGood with Children: Excellent
Good with Dogs: Very goodGood with Dogs: Very Good
Bark Level: MediumBark Level: Medium
Shed Level: MediumShed Level: High
Bite Force: 305 psiBite Force: 238 psi
Price: $1,500 – $2,500Price: $1,500 – $3,000

Doberman Quick History:

Doberman History

The Doberman Pinscher is a fast and powerful animal with a sleek and muscular body.

These physical attributes made it the perfect specimen to protect tax collectors in the 1800’s.

A dog breeder and tax man named Louis Dobermann needed protection for his rounds and decided to combine his two passions.

He developed a dog that would intimidate any possible hostile clients and also protect him from any harm. Thus the Doberman was born.

The dog breeds he used to create the Doberman are unknown. But many believe that the old German Shepherd, German Pinscher, Rottweiler and Weimaraner may have played a role.

Throughout the years they became known all over the world for their working dog prominence. They excelled in many areas including competition, military, police, search and rescue, service for the disabled and therapy.

They gained popularity during World War II thanks to the Marine Corps Dobermans working alongside soldiers. Many of them lost their lives during the battles.

Since then, they have done very well in the competitive ring with back to back wins at Westminster’s for Best in Show during the 1950’s. The most recent win came in 1989, when “Royal Tudor’s Wild As The Wind” won the prestigious title.

The Doberman was registered by the AKC in 1908. It is now very popular and ranks number 17 out of 200 on the list of most popular dogs.

German Shepherd Quick History:

German Shepherd History Background

Originally a herding dog, the German Shepherd’s history dates back to the 1800’s. Back then sheep herders utilized the breed to protect their livestock from predators.

They were extremely alert, smart and strong, making them excellent at their job. The GSD was mainly used for this purpose until they were no longer needed as the number of predators diminished due to German Industrialization.

Right around that time period, a man by the name of Max von Stephanitz became determined to develop the German Shepherd into the perfect working dog.

He saw a dog named “Hektor Linksrhein” at a dog show and purchased the canine. It had everything that Max was looking for in the breed. He named it “Horand von Grafath.” He would later found the Society for German Shepherd Dogs.

Horand was eventually registered as the first GSD and became the bedrock of the breed that we recognize today. Eventually the breed made its way to the United States. The very first German Shepherd registered in the U.S. was called “Queen of Switzerland.”

The breed gained fame in the 1900’s thanks to some famous GSD’s on the big screen. Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart were some of the most popular. They went through a period of unpopularity during World War I and even had their name changed to “Alsatian.”

Eventually their name was reinstated and their popularity once again increased. They now continually make the top three in the American Kennel Club’s most popular dog breeds list.

Doberman vs German Shepherd Size

Both dogs are fairly large and can hold their own in a fight. They are both fierce protectors and can look intimidating to anyone or anything threatening their territory. Doberman Pinschers can stand up to 2″ taller at the shoulders and weigh up to 10 lbs more.

Male Doberman Pinschers average 26 to 28 inches tall when standing at the shoulder line. Females are just a tad bit shorter standing 24 to 26 inches tall. Males outweigh the girls tipping the scales at anywhere between 70 and 100 pounds. Females weigh an average of 60 to 90 pounds.

Male German Shepherds are just a smidge smaller standing between 24 and 26 inches tall at the shoulder line. The females are just a couple inches shorter on average, standing between 22 and 24 inches tall. Males are only slightly heavier weighing somewhere between 65 and 90 pounds. Females weigh an average of 50 to 70 pounds.

Doberman vs German Shepherd Appearance

Doberman vs German Shepherd Appearance

Both of these breeds share some similar qualities. They are both streamlined in appearance and have long, lean, muscular bodies. This makes them both quick and able to run down any potential threats.

The Doberman has a very dignified look with smooth silky fur and their signature long narrow muzzle. They stand tall and proud and normally sport their traditional black and rust colors. They can look extremely intimidating which lends itself to their recognition as one of the top guard dogs.

The German Shepherd also has an exquisite look that people love. It has a long and lean, athletic body. It has big perky ears and a long muzzle. Normally it sports the traditional black and tan colors with a black mask on its face. They can look like big giant cuddly teddy bears or fierce canines.


The Dobie comes in five main colors. The most common is the black and rust that is normally associated with the breed. Other colors include blue and rust, fawn (Isabella) and rust, red and rust and white. The black and rust version is mainly all black with brown accents on the ears, face, above the eyes, on the chest and legs.

GSD’s comes in a wide variety of color combinations. The most common is the tan with black saddle that people are used to seeing. The other black color combinations include black with cream, black with red and black with silver. They also come in several solid colors including black, brindle, fawn, grey, tan and white. There are also bi-color German Shepherds without the saddle markings.


Both breeds have different looking heads. The Doberman has a long wedge shape head that gradually widens until it gets to the bottom of the ears. The German Shepherd has a long head as well that is well chiseled.


Dobies have smaller ears that are normally cropped and erect. They are close to the same size as the GSD whose ears are fluffy, triangle in shape and also erect. Both of their ears are floppy as youngsters and eventually stand as they get older.


Both dogs have long lean bodies with plenty of muscles. The Dobie is a little taller and thinner. They are also a bit more square. GSD’s are a little bit stockier with less length in the back legs and a back that slopes.


The Doberman’s tail is shorter and normally docked close to the second joint. The German Shepherd’s tail is longer, sable like and more bushy.

Doberman vs German Shepherd Temperament

Both of their temperaments share a lot of similarities. The Dobie and the GSD both have excellent qualities that make them attractive to many dog owners. Both breeds are alert, confident, determined, high energy, fearless, extremely loyal and very obedient.

The most significant difference between their two temperaments is their attachment to the owner. Dobermans are very attached to their owners and will cling to their side most of the time. They are even sometimes referred to as “velcro” dogs for this reason. They are super focused on their owners.

German Shepherds on the other hand are a little more independent in nature. They normally stay close by but don’t necessarily have to be right by your side. They are eager to please and are very susceptible to training.

Both of these dogs will put their own life on the line to save you or your family. Their keen awareness to situations makes them excellent protectors.

Doberman vs German Shepherd Health

Doberman vs German Shepherd Health

Both breeds are generally healthy and face some of the more common condition that large dog breeds are prone to getting. They can both suffer from bloat which is a digestive issue that can be life threatening. They are also both susceptible to elbow and hip dysplasia, a condition in which the joints have friction causing joint discomfort and pain.

Lifespans are very similar with the Dobie living to be between 10 and 12 years. The GSD is close to the same range averaging between 9 and 13 years.

Common health conditions for both breeds:

DobermanGerman Shepherd
AlbinismDegenerative Myelopathy
BloatElbow and Hip Dysplasia
Dilated CardiomyopathyEpilepsy
Elbow and Hip DysplasiaHemophilia
Progressive Retinal AtrophyPanosteitis
von Willebrand’s diseasePerianal Fistula
Progressive Retinal Atrophy

One of the best ways to reduce health issues is to feed your dog a lean healthy diet, proper exercise and trips to the vet at least once a year. Prevention is key and the veterinarian can sometimes notice signs and symptoms that owners may miss. Supplements like Glucosamine are great for large dog breeds.


Both breeds are high energy and need an outlet to expend that energy. Two hours of exercise every day is recommended for both dogs. This will keep them lean and fit while simultaneously lowering their boredom level.

Daily walks, fetch and brain games are great for keeping their minds sharp. They also enjoy jobs to fulfill their working dog tendencies.


BARF Diet Dog Bowl

A lean healthy diet consisting of a high quality dog food with low carbs and high protein is recommended for both breeds. One of the most popular routes is the B.A.R.F. Diet that combines raw bones with fresh meats along with fruits, vegetables and often herbs.

Although the Dobie is a bit bigger than the GSD, they both eat around the same amount of calories each day. The amount will of course vary depending on the age, energy level and size of your dog. Stay away from fatty snacks and instead use healthy treats for rewards.

Here is a caloric and protein chart for both breeds:

Adult DobermanAdult German Shepherd
1,876-2,100 calories daily1,740-2,100 calories daily
25-30% protein18-22% protein

The amount of calories for a puppy will need to be adjusted depending on their age and stage of growth. Develop a diet plan with your vet for optimum health.


Dobermans are considered a “wash and wear” dog breed. They have a short smooth single coat that doesn’t require much grooming. They are moderate shedders and their hair hardly ever mats. However, a quick daily brushing will keep their coat smooth and glistening.

The German Shepherd on the other hand will require more brushing. They have a medium-length dense double coat of fur and require brushing at least every few days. GSD’s also go through seasonal shedding twice a year. During this period they will require daily brushing to remove undercoat hairs.

Neither dogs need frequent bathing and can go two to three months in between bathes. They should both have their teeth brushed every day. Nails should be trimmed on a monthly basis. It is also a good idea to clean their ears every few days. You can use a small amount of baby oil on a paper towel. Be careful not to damage their ears. Consult your vet for the proper technique.

Doberman vs German Shepherd Training

Doberman vs German Shepherd Training

Both of these breeds are extremely intelligent and easy to train. Socialization and training should being from a young age. Get them used to as many animals and people as possible as puppies.

The best method for both breeds is positive reinforcement training. It is important to develop a consistent training plan so your dog knows what to expect from you.

Dobie’s are strong powerful dogs who can push you around if not trained properly. They need firm leadership from their owner to avoid any destructive behaviors.

GSD’s are known for their obedience and ability to learn several commands. They are task masters and can perform numerous activities simultaneously. Their ability to retain information is incredible.

For the best results, you should never punish or yell at your dog. It will have the reverse effect. Positive rewards will give them motivation for learning.

Doberman vs German Shepherd Price

Both breeds have a very similar starting price of $1,500 for a new puppy. This is for a standard pet quality Dobie or GSD. Prices will go up from there vary depending on the breeder and lineage. They can get a lot pricier if you are looking for a competition show level dog.

The price for a German Shepherd guard dog can get very expensive costing up to $50,000 for a well trained GSD. The most expensive German Shepherd ever sold was $230,000 in 2015. It could respond to commands in three languages.

Because both of these breeds are medium-large size dogs, food and health costs will be more. You will need to consider overall costs over their lifetime. This will include paying for food, supplies and annual visit to the veterinarian for checkups.

In Closing

Although these two amazing breeds have some differences in appearance, they actually share a lot of similar qualities. They are both excellent family dogs and wonderful with children. The Dobie and the GSD will protect your family no matter what it takes.

The main difference between the Doberman vs German Shepherd is the Dobie’s clinginess. If you are looking for a beautiful muscular specimen of a dog that is alert, fearless, high energy and won’t leave your side, then the Doberman Pinscher is perfect for you!

If you are looking for a dog with a little bit more independence but still guard worthy, the German Shepherd is a great choice! They are big, fluffy and smart.

Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Which dog breed would you pick between the Dobie and GSD? Do you happen to own one already? Let us know! We would love to hear about your experience!

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