American Doberman vs European Doberman What’s the Difference

American Doberman Pinschers and European Dobermanns look almost identical, to the point where most people wouldn’t even notice a difference. 

However, if you’re looking to adopt one of these dogs, there are differences that are important to take note of. This is especially true if you’re a first-time adopter. 

choosing the perfect dog breed

If you’re thinking of bringing a Doberman home as a new addition to the family, you need to know whether an American or European is right for you. 

This article will cover the most important factors to consider, like size, training style, friendliness, and more. 

Read along to see what makes the American and European Dobermanns different!

American Doberman vs European Dobermann: Side-by-side Comparison


American Doberman PinscherEuropean Dobermann
Size24-28” tall25-28” tall
Weight60-100 lbs65-105 lbs
TrainabilityWill need more gentle, positive reinforcement-focused training.Needs stern, firm training. Slightly harder to train. 
IntelligenceIntelligentIntelligent 
Friendliness with strangersBrave with strangers and less likely to attack when family is threatened. More likely than an American Doberman to be protective of its family and attack strangers when its family is threatened.
Friendliness with other dogsGenerally fine with other dogsGenerally fine with other dogs, but needs training and socializing 
Exercise needsHighVery high stamina and exercise needs
Lifespan10-12 years10-12 years

American Doberman vs European Dobermann History

In order to better understand the difference between these two dogs, let’s look at their histories. 

European Dobermann History

The European Dobermann was originally called the ‘Dobermann Pinscher’, named after a German tax collector, Louis Dobermann, who first bred the dog for the purpose of protection. 

It’s not exactly known what breeds were used to create the Doberman, but experts believe it’s a combination of breeds like the German Pinscher, Weimaraner, and Rottweiler. 

Eventually, the Germans dropped the ‘Pinscher’ from the name, probably because it stopped resembling a European Pinscher. However, the double ‘n’ in its name remained. 

American Doberman History 

Americans kept the ‘Pinscher’ part of this dog’s name, but removed the double N, so it simply became ‘Doberman’. It’s likely this happened in order to separate the dog from the negative public perception of Germany right after WWII. 

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Dobermans are famous in America for being great protection and working dogs. Their popularity increased significantly in WWII, when the US Marine Corps named the breed as its official war dog. 

Today, the dog is among the most popular breeds in the United States.

American Doberman vs European Dobermann Temperament

You always want to know what you’re getting into when it comes to a dog’s disposition and temperament. Let’s take a look at how these two breeds tend to behave.

American Doberman Temperament

American Dobermans are often considered to be great family pets, thanks to their intelligence, obedience, loyalty, and protectiveness. 

They tend to be calmer than their European counterpart, meaning they need less exercise and will misbehave less when bored. Still, they’re a dog with a high drive, and will need a good amount of exercise. 

American Dobermans are protective of their family and will bark loudly when they think their loved ones are being threatened. They may also engage physically, though this is less likely to happen than with a European Dobie. 

Overall, the American Doberman Pinscher is a great choice for those who aren’t experienced owners, probably more so than a European Dobermann. 

European Dobermann Temperament

While European Dobermanns, like American ones, are intelligent, loyal, and overall very strong dogs, they have some qualities that make them different.

Firstly, European Dobermanns are made to be working dogs. They’re popular in the military, search and rescue operations and law enforcement. 

This means they have a very high drive, even compared to the American Dobies. It makes them very determined dogs, but also means they’ll need a lot of exercise, discipline, and training. 

European Dobermanns are, of course, very protective of their families. They rarely back down when confronted and will engage physically with any threats. This makes them good guard dogs, but also increases the risk of unwanted aggression. 

American Doberman vs European Dobermann Grooming

Which version of the Doberman needs to be groomed most often? Let’s take a look.

American Doberman Grooming

American Dobermans have a slick coat that doesn’t require much grooming at all. They’re considered low-shed, but brushing them every so often will help keep their coat healthy. 

Their coat tends to be a bit more shiny than the European breed.

Their nails need to be trimmed at least once per month, and you should brush your American Dobie’s teeth often to prevent gum and teeth diseases.

European Dobermann Grooming

Just like the American version, European Dobermanns don’t need much grooming as they have a short and slick coat. Still, brushing their fur and teeth often is recommended for optimal health. 

American Doberman vs European Dobermann Training

While both intelligent, these dogs require different forms of training and discipline. 

American Doberman Training

All Dobermans are smart, regardless of what type they are. However, an American Doberman will respond better to positive reinforcement and gentle corrections. 

This is because they’re very sensitive to human emotions, which means they respond well to reassurance rather than punishment. 

European Dobermann Training

These dogs need a bit more firm training compared to the American version. That’s because, although smart, they can be stubborn. They also live to work and become confident through discipline.

These dogs will require more time and patience in training. 

American Doberman Pinscher vs European Dobermann Lifespan

American Doberman Lifespan

An American Doberman is expected to live anywhere from 10-12 years. 

European Dobermann Lifespan

Just like their American counterparts, European Dobermanns live from 10-12 years on average. 

American Doberman vs European Dobermann Health

Your dog’s health is important. Nobody likes unexpected visits to the vet. That’s why it’s important to consider a breed’s health concerns before deciding to adopt. 

American Doberman Health

American Dobermans and European Dobermans both have an unfortunate number of health concerns. Some serious and common concerns include:

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM);
  • Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI);
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease;
  • Prostatic Disease. 

Some of these, such as von Willebrand’s disease, can be genetically tested for, while others develop over time. 

Less serious health issues that are equally common include hypothyroidism and hip dysplasia.  

While both breeds suffer from these common health problems, the American Doberman Pinscher may have an advantage.

That’s because, in the United States, it’s much more common for breeding dogs and their puppies to be screened for health problems. It’s both more affordable and more common than in Europe. 

This means you can often know about a Doberman puppy’s genetic health concerns thanks to the breeder conducting DNA tests. This isn’t as easy with European Dobermanns. 

European Dobermann Health

European Dobermanns were once believed to be the more healthy of the two types of dog. However, in recent years, it’s started to appear that this may not be the case. 

Firstly, all of the health concerns mentioned above also apply to European Dobermanns. 

However, it’s  recently been found that American Dobermans are much less likely to develop DCM (a serious condition sometimes called ‘enlarged heart’) than Europan Dobermanns. 

Also, as mentioned before, testing American Dobermans is much easier and more common. 

Conclusion

Overall, while American Doberman Pinschers and European Dobermanns look similar and are equally intelligent, loyal, and strong, they have important differences.

In general, American Dobermans are better suited for families and first-time or inexperienced dog owners. This is because they’re easier to train and have a lower drive.

Also, they may be less prone to health conditions than their European counterparts.

However, European Dobermanns also make great pets, especially if you want a great and loyal guard dog around.

We hope this article has helped to inform you about the differences between American and European Dobermans!

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