“only in the spirit of love, sacrifice and great cost will we bring our breed to a state of genetic excellence”
Philipp GrünigPhilipp Grünig
“Judge, scientific breeder and profound student of the Dobermann”

FCI Breed Standard - Dobermann

1.0.   Country of Origin
2.0.   Date of Publication of the Original Valid Standard
3.0.   Utilization
4.0.   F.C.I. Classification
5.0.   Brief Historical Summary
6.0.   General Appearance
7.0.   Important Measurement and Proportions
8.0.   Temperament / Behaviour
9.0.   Head
10.0.   Neck
11.0.   Body
12.0.   Limbs
13.0.   Gait / Movement
14.0.   Skin
15.0.   Coat
16.0.   Size and Weight
17.0.   Faults
18.0.   Disqualifying Faults


Country of Origin



Date of Publication of the Original Valid Standard

  14th February 1994



  Companion, Protection, Working Dog.


F.C.I. Classification

Group 2   Pinscher, Schnauzer, molossian type dogs, Swiss Mountain and Cattle dogs.
Section 1   Pinchers and Schnauzer undergoing working tests.
With working trial.


Brief Historical Summary


The Dobermann is the only German breed which bears the name of its original breeder, Friedrich Louis Dobermann (January 2nd, 1834 – June 9th,1891).

Mr Dobermann was believed to be a tax collector, offal abattoir manager (knacker) and a part time dog catcher, legally authorized to catch all stray dogs. From this reservoir of dogs he bred with animals that were especially sharp and aggressive.

The most important role in the creation of the Dobermann breed was most certainly played by the so-called "Fleischerhunde" ('butcher’s dogs'), which were already considered a relatively well-established breed at the time. These dogs were a kind of forerunner of todays Rottweiler, mixed with a type of Shepherd which existed in ‘Thüringen’ area as a black dog with rust red markings. In the 1870’s Mr. Dobermann bred with this mixture of dogs and thus he obtained ‘his breed’, i.e. working dogs, which were not only alert but also had a very high protective instinct. They were often used as guard and police dogs. Their extensive use in the police service led to the nickname ‘Gendarmen Hunde’ (country constable dogs). They were used in hunting to control large vermin. In these circumstances it was a matter of course that the Dobermann was officially recognized as a Police Dog at the turn of the next century.

The Dobermann breed requires a medium sized, powerful and muscularly built dog. Despite its substance, the lines of the body show elegance and nobility and its movement is graceful. He must especially be suitable as a companion dog, protection dog, working dog, and a family dog.


General Appearance

The appearance of the Dobermann is of medium size, with a body that is square, powerful and well-muscled for great endurance and speed. He meets the ideal picture of a dog, through his elegant lines, his proud carriage, upright stance, his spirited, loyal and fearless temperament and his expression of determination.


Important Measurements and Proportions

The body of the Dobermann appears nearly square; this applies especially to males. The length of the body (as measured from the front of the sternum to the extent of the hip joint) should not exceed the height of the dog at the withers by more than 5% in males and 10% in bitches.


Temperament / Behaviour

The basic disposition of the Dobermann is friendly, peaceful, highly attached to the family and fond of children. The Dobermann must have medium temperament and medium sharpness. Furthermore, the Dobermann must show medium stimulus threshold. Aside from good tractability and work ethic, attention must be paid to working abilities, protective instinct, fighting instinct, courage and hardness. Special emphasis is to be placed on self-assuredness and confidence. Appropriate alertness toward it’s environment.





Cranial Region

The skull is strong and in proportion with the rest of the body. Seen from the top the head is shaped in the form of a blunt wedge. Viewed form the front the crown line shall be almost level and not dropping off to the ears. The muzzle line extends almost straight to the top line of the skull which falls, gently rounded, into the neck line. The superciliary ridge is well developed without protruding. The forehead furrow is still visible. The occiput shall not be conspicuous. Seen from the front and the top the sides of the head must not bulge. The slight bulge between the rear of the upper jawbone and the cheek bone shall be in harmony with the total length of the head. The head muscles shall be well developed.



Frontal Nasal Descent (Stop)

The frontal nasal descent (stop) shall be slight but visibly developed.



Facial Region





Nostrils well developed, more broad than round, with large openings without overall protrusion. Black – on black dogs; on brown dogs, corresponding lighter shades.





The muzzle must be in the right proportion with the upper head and must be strongly developed. The muzzle shall have depth. The mouth opening shall be wide, reaching to the molars. A good muzzle width must also be present on the upper and lower incisor area.





They shall be tight and lie close to the jaw which will ensure a tight closure of the mouth. The pigment of the gum to be dark; on brown dogs a corresponding lighter shade.




Jaws, Dentition, Teeth

Powerful broad upper and under jaw, scissor bite, 42 teeth correctly placed and normal size.





Middle sized, oval and dark in colour. Lighter shades are permitted for brown dogs. Close lying eyelids. Eyelids shall be covered with hair. Baldness around the rim of the eye is highly undesirable.





The ear, which is set high, is carried erect and cropped to a length in proportion to the head. In a country where cropping is not permitted the uncropped ear is equally recognized. (Medium size preferred and with the front edge lying close to the cheeks).



The neck must have a good length and be in proportion to the body and the head. It is dry and muscular. Its outline rises gradually and is softly curved. Its carriage is upright and shows much nobility.






Shall be pronounced in height and length, especially in males and thereby determine the slope of the topline rising from the croup to the withers.




The back is firm, strong and of proportionate length covered with well developed muscles.




Of good width and well muscled. In the females the loin can be slightly longer because she requires space for suckling.




It shall fall slightly, hardly perceptible from sacrum to the root of the tail, and appears well rounded, being neither straight nor noticeably sloping, of good width and well muscled.




Length and depth of chest must be in the right proportion to the body length. The depth with slightly arched ribs should be approximately 50% the height of the dog at the withers. The chest has got a good width with especially well developed forechest.




From the bottom of the breastbone to the pelvis the underline is noticeably tucked up.




It is high set and docked short whereby approximately two tail vertebrae remain visible. In countries where docking is legally not permitted the tail may remain natural.






The front legs as seen from all sides are almost straight, vertical to the ground and strongly developed. Shoulders: The shoulder-blade lies close against the chest, and both sides of the shoulder-blade edge are well muscled and reach over the top of the thoracic vertebra, slanting as much as possible and well set back. The angle to the horizontal is approximately 50%.





The shoulder lies tight to the thorax. The scapula is covered with stung muscles from both sides of its spine and reach over the spinus process of the thoracic vertebras. The shoulder blade is set well back and has an approximately 50° degree angle to the horizontal line.



Upper Arm

Good length, well muscled, the angle to the shoulder-blade is approximately 105° to 110° degrees.




The elbows are close in and not turned out.



Lower Arm

Strong, straight and well muscled. Length in harmony with the whole body.



Carpus (Carpal joint)

The carpal joint is strong and firm.



Metacarpus (Pastern)

Bones strong. Straight seen from the front. Seen from the side, only slightly sloping, maximum 10° degrees.




The feet are short and tight. The toes are arched towards the top (cat like). Nails short and black.




Seen from the back the Dobermann looks, because of his well developed pelvic muscles in hips and croup, wide and rounded off. The muscles running from the pelvic towards the upper and lower thigh result in good width development, as well as in the upper thigh area, in the knee joint area and at the lower thigh. The strong hind legs are straight and stand parallel.




Upper Thigh

Good length and width, well muscled. Good angulation to the hip joint. Angulation to the horizontal approximately between 80° to 85° degrees.




The knee joint is strong and is formed by the upper and lower thigh as well as the knee cap. The knee angulation is approximately 130° degrees.



Lower Thigh

Medium length and in harmony with the total length of the hindquarter.




Medium strength and parallel. The lower thigh bone is joined to the metatarsal at the hock joint (angle about 140° degrees).



Metatarsus (Rear Pastern)

It is short and stands vertical to the ground.



Hind Feet

Like the front feet, the toes of the back feet are short, arched and closed. Nails are short and black.


Gait / Movement

The gait is of special importance to both the working ability as well as the exterior appearance. The gait is elastic, elegant, agile, free and ground covering. The front legs reach out as far as possible. The hind quarter gives far reaching and necessary elastic drive. The front leg of one side and back leg of the other side move forward at the same time. There should be good stability of the back, the ligaments and the joints.



The skin fits closely all over and is of good pigment.





Hair Texture

The hair is short, hard and thick. It lies tight and smooth and is equally distributed over the whole surface. Undercoat is not allowed.



Hair Colour

The colour is black or brown, with rust red clearly defined and clean markings. Markings on the muzzle, as a spot on the cheeks and the top of the eyebrow, on the throat, two spots on the forechest, on the metacarpus, metatarsus and feet, on the inside of the back thigh, on the arms and below the tail.


Size and Weight



Height at Withers

Males: 68 – 72 cm   (26.77 – 28.35 inches)
Females:  63 – 68 cm   (24.80 – 26.77 inches)
  For both sexes a medium size is desirable.



Males: about 40 – 45 Kg   (85 – 95 lbs)
Females:  about 32 – 34 Kg   (65 – 75 lbs)



Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.



General Appearance

Reversal of sexual impression; little substance; too light; too heavy; too leggy; weak bones.




Too heavy, too narrow, too short, too long, too much or too little stop; Roman nose, bad slope of the top line of the skull; weak underjaw; round or slit eyes; light eye; cheeks too heavy; loose flews; eyes too open or too deep set; ear set too high or too low; open mouth angle.




Slightly short; too short; loose skin around the throat; dewlap; too long (not in harmony); ewe neck.




Back not solid and firm enough; sway back; roach back; sloping croup; insufficient or too much spring of rib; insufficient depth or width of chest; back too long overall; too little forechest; tail set too high or too low; too little or too much tuck up.




Too little or too much angulation front or hindquarters; loose elbow; deviations from the standard position and length of bones and joints; feet too close together or too wide apart; cow-hocks, spread hocks, close hocks; open or soft paws, crooked toes; pale nails.




Markings too light or not sharply defined; smudged markings; mask too dark; big black spot on the legs; chest markings hardly visible or too large; hair long, soft, curly or dull. Thin coat; bald patches; large tufts of hair particularly on the body; visible undercoat.



Behaviour and Temperament

Inadequate self confidence; temperament too high; sharpness too high; too high or too low a threshold of irritation.




Deviation of size up to two centimetres from the standard should result in a lowering of the quality grading.




Wobbly; restricted or stiff gait; pacing.


Disqualifying Faults




Pronounced reversal of sexual impressions.




Yellow eyes (bird of prey eye); wall eye.




Prognathism (underbite), enognathism (overbite), level bite, missing teeth.




White spots; pronounced long and wavy hair; pronounced thin coat or large bald patches.




Fearful, nervous and aggressive animals.




Dogs which deviate more than two centimetres over or under the standard.


Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.