Differences Between The Doberman and The German Shepherd

Doberman Pinscher or German Shepherd?

Both are incredible large breed dogs, and both require the right training to reach their full potential.

Basic Differences

Doberman Pinscher German Shepherd
Weight 65-90 lb (30-40 kg) 75-95 lb (35-43 kg)
Height 24-28″ (60-70 cm) 22-26″ (55-65 cm)
Family Mastiff Livestock
Type Working Herding
Breed Origin Germany Germany
Other Names Dobermann Alsatian, Deutscher Schaferhund
Life Span 10-12 years 10-12 years

The German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a large sized dog with shorter size, but heavier build than the Doberman.

They have a dense medium coat that sheds rather heavily. The German Shepherd is most commonly found in black and tan but also comes in solid black or solid white.

Although they are heavy, seasonal shedders, they have relatively low maintenance needs that mostly consist of regular bathing.

With its average life span of 10-12 years, their puppy litters are usually about 4-9 pups.

The Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is a medium to large sized dog and has a very compact build that is both sleek and elegant.

Their short, smooth, hard coat is fine and thick and they shed averagely and require minimal grooming.

They are sensitive to the cold and do not do well living outside fulltime. Full grown stands slightly taller than a German Shepherd at about 24-28 inches in height.

Litters are somewhat larger than those of a German Shepherd at anywhere from 3 to 13 pups.

Temperament

Doberman German Shepherd
Require plenty of exercise. Require plenty of exercise.
Reserved toward strangers, and assertive with other dogs. Can be suspicious toward strangers, and domineering.
Sensitive and highly responsive to their surroundings. This makes them better for apartment living. They are generally thought to be better with kids.
Despite reputation for intimidation, can be a great family pet. Aggressiveness can present itself and will vary by dog, but proper training can remedy that.
Loyal and protective breed. Very loyal and protective breed.

Note that every dog requires daily mental and physical stimulation, and will not respond well to long-term confinement.

Health Issues

German Shepherd

German Shepherds have a number of health concerns that they are genetically prone to.

They need regular checkups along with a healthy diet.

It is recommended that a German Shepherd’s eyes, hips, elbows and blood be tested regularly as part of their healthcare maintenance.

Doberman Pinscher

doberman pinscher sitting on the floorMajor health concerns include:

  • Cardiomyopathy, congenital heart defects and cervical vertebral instability.
  • Also prone to cervical spondylitis (wobbler syndrome). This is a result of neck vertebrae fusion and spinal cord compression.
  • Lesser concerns can include hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, von willebrand’s disease which is directly inherited, narcolepsy, demodicosis, osteosarcoma.
  • Occasionally albinism is seen in this breed.
  • They are generally not hypoallergenic.
It is recommended that cardiac and hip test be done regularly and that DNA testing be done for von willebrand’s disease.

Care needs to be taken with diet also, as the Doberman Pinscher is often prone to obesity during their middle age years.

Training

German Shepherd

Crate training is a wonderful tool for use with the German Shepherd puppy.

However if left alone for too long the dog will become bored and anxious and will be more prone to destructive behaviors such as excessive barking, digging and chewing.

This breed requires not only plenty of physical stimulation but also mental exercise in the form of good training.

The German Shepherd can be very suspicious of strangers. You must socialize the dog early, with other dogs, humans (including children).

German Shepherd – from Pup to Pal – is a great downloadable training manual from Andrew James.

The earlier you can get into something like this better.

With both a written and audio version, it covers many common issues with training your Shepherd.

Doberman Pinscher

This breed requires a leader who is willing and able to establish themselves as a natural authority.

Once included into the family, the Doberman Pinscher will need consistency and firmness from all family members.

It is highly important that the owners establish themselves as alpha and learn how to properly handle a Doberman as the breed can become willful and stubborn if they regularly get their way.

Consistency and a kind, gentle firmness are key to successfully training a Doberman Pinscher.

The Brain Training program for dogs is a particularly good video-based course that trains your dog using stimulating games.