Isaak Delle Due Donne

Dina Van De Donauhoeve

Although they are considered to be working dogs, Doberman Pinschers are the target of a stereotype of ferocity and aggression. As a personal protection dog, the Doberman was originally bred for these traits: it had to be large and intimidating, fearless and willing to defend its owner, but sufficiently obedient and restrained to only do so on command. These traits served the dog well in its role as a personal defense dog, police dog or war dog, but were not ideally adapted to a companionship role. In recent decades, the Doberman Pinscher's size, short coat, and intelligence made it a desirable house dog. Although these dogs are known for their aggression, they are also extremely loyal. They can easily learn to 'Respect and Protect' their owners; however they do not adapt well to new masters.
In response, they are excellent guard dogs that protect their loved ones. They are generally sociable towards humans and can be with other dogs, ranking among the more-likely breeds to show aggressive behaviour toward strangers and other dogs but not among the most likely. They are very unlikely to show aggressive behaviour towards their owners, an unlikely behaviour that can only be allowed to grow up in the puppy if the owner doesn't has some previous dog experience.
There is evidence that Doberman Pinschers in North America are calmer than their European counterparts because of these breeding strategies. Because of these differences in breeding strategies, different lines of Doberman Pinschers have developed different traits. Although many contemporary Doberman Pinschers in North America are gentle, loyal, loving, and intelligent dogs, some lines are bred more true to the original personality standard.
Although the stereotype is largely mistaken, the personality of the Doberman Pinscher is peculiar to the breed. There is a great deal of scientific evidence that Doberman Pinschers have a number of stable psychological traits, such as personality factors and intelligence. As early as 1965, studies have shown that there are several broad behavioral traits that significantly predict behavior and are genetically determined. Subsequently, there have been numerous scientific attempts to quantify canine personality or temperament by using statistical techniques for assessing personality traits in humans. These studies often vary by identifying different personality factors, and by ranking breeds differently along these dimensions. One such study found that Doberman Pinschers, compared to other breeds, rank high in playfulness, average in curiosity/fearlessness, low on aggressiveness and low on sociability. Another such study ranked Doberman Pinschers low on reactivity/surgence, and high on aggression/disagreeableness and openness/trainability.


Canine intelligence is an umbrella term that encompasses the faculties involved in a wide range of mental tasks, such as learning, problem-solving, and communication. The Doberman Pinscher has ranked amongst the most intelligent of dog breeds in experimental studies and expert evaluations. For instance, Psychologist Stanley Coren ranks the Doberman as the 5th most intelligent dog in the category of obedience command training, based on the selective surveys he performed of some trainers (as documented in his book The Intelligence of Dogs). Additionally, in two studies, Hart and Hart (1985) ranked the Doberman Pinscher first in this category. and Tortora (1980) gave the Doberman the highest rank in trainability,.

Although the methods of evaluation differ, these studies consistently show that the Doberman Pinscher, along with the Border Collie, German Shepherd and Standard Poodle, is one of the most trainable breeds of dog.


In addition to the studies of canine personality, there has been some research to determine whether there are breed differences in aggression. In a recent study, aggression was divided into four categories: aggression directed at strangers, owner, other strange dogs and rivalry with other household dogs.[14] This study found that the Doberman Pinscher ranked relatively high on stranger-directed aggression, but extremely low on owner-directed aggression. The Doberman Pinscher ranked as average on dog-directed aggression and dog rivalry. Looking only at bites and attempted bites, Doberman Pinschers rank as far less aggressive towards humans, and show less aggression than many breeds without a reputation (e.g., Cocker Spaniel, Border Collie and Great Dane). This study concluded that aggression has a genetic basis, that the Doberman shows a distinctive pattern of aggression depending on the situation, and that contemporary Doberman Pinschers are not an aggressive breed overall.
Although recent studies do not rank Doberman Pinschers as the most aggressive breed, their size, strength and aggression towards strangers makes them potentially dangerous. Studies of dog bites and dog bite fatalities have shown that the danger of attack by Dobermans is relatively high.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1979 and 1998, the Doberman Pinscher was involved in attacks on humans resulting in fatalities less frequently than several other dog breeds such as pit bull–type dogs, German Shepherd Dogs, Rottweilers, Husky-type, Wolf-dog hybrids and Alaskan Malamutes. According to this Center for Disease Control and Prevention study, one of the most important factors contributing to dog bites are related to the level of responsibility exercised by dog owners.