The differences between the American Doberman Pinscher and the European Dobermann

A review of the AKC / CKC and FCI standards will reveal something that is too often forgotten:
the standards are largely identical.
There should be no drastic difference between the physical attributes of American and European dogs.

Before we begin,

  • Please note that, temperament generalizations about the differences between European and American dobermans would be less contrasted, by comparing European doberman’s working line to American dobermans’s working line and American show lines with European show lines.
  • In both standards (American and European) there are working lines and show lines, so if we compare between them the American and European working lines there would be much less contrast ( in my opinion).
  • Any American Doberman who works must correspond to the description of the “disposition and temperament” of the description of the European Dobermann.
  • All German Dobermanns must pass the ZTP test before being reproduced – a requirement that does not exist in the United States/Canada and some European and Eastern European countries. Note that a dog is not eligible to take the ZTP exam if BOTH parents have not obtained their ZTP, if the results of his hip x-rays are not rated A or B (1 or 2 depending on the country) and several other constraints that you can find in the full document: The following document details the ZTP rules of the Dobermann Verein (German Dobermann Club).Basically it is a very rigorous test (more than the WAE that exists in the United States) to measure the dog’s stability, temperament and work. If the dog fails, it cannot be reproduced.
  • Working dogs are not suitable for most owners and families. Consult an expert in line work before making this choice.
  • All dogs are unique. Each puppy in a litter is unique in terms of appearance, genetic makeup and temperament. Thus, in any working litter, only a few puppies will excel at work. The same applies to the litters of show dogs.
  • These are only generalizations, although generalizations often correspond, this is not always the case. Each rule has its exceptions.
  • Neither the European Dobermann nor the American Dobermann are the best, they are simply different.
  • The American Doberman arrived when the German dogs were shipped to the United States. All our dogs are related to each other to some extent.

Temperament and Character.

Probably the greater difference between the two standards. Many American Doberman breeders call them velcro dogs. They tend to blend in with their master to be as close as possible and follow them as their shadow. Many American Dobermans are very good house or apartment dogs, they need to move certainly, but they quickly become couch potatoes.
Europeans are also in love with their owners, but tend to be more independent and always remain attentive to what is happening around them. A particular feature; they tend to jump on their master to show their happiness. They are often more determined and always give 100%. They have more difficulty relaxing if they have not expended their energy and many people are not comfortable with this kind of energy and commitment from a dog.

General appearance

Regardless of the standard, the Doberman should look elegant and proud. The American is usually more refined, more slender. The European has more substance, he is more massive.
Oksamit de Grande Vinko
Oksamit de Grande Vinko
Owner : Glenn Karlsen
Breeder : Natalia Solovyova ( de Grande Vinko Kennel )
xindal Schwarze Kraft
Xindal Schwarze Kraft
Propriétaire : Jordan Hristovski
Éleveur : Jordan Hristovski ( Schwarze Kraft )


The European head is larger, heavier and more massive than that of the Americans. The stop is more pronounced, the nose seems more square, because the lower jaw is more pronounced. In terms of dentition, the European standard requires having 42 teeth, in the American standard and in Canada, it is possible to have 4 missing teeth before it becomes a disqualifying fault. The American head is longer and narrower in the shape of a point, while the lips, skin on the head and neck are looser in the European Dobermann and tighter in the American.


In Europeans, the neck is thicker and more muscular, while in Americans it is longer, thinner and more delicate. Note that it rises more abruptly at the shoulder level.
The throat of Europeans is thicker (there is more skin), while in Americans it is very pronounced, a spectacular narrowing of the throat ( The method of presentation in exhibition also highlights this particularity)
Ch Foxfire All Star
Foxfire All Star
Owner : Michelle M. Santana
Breeder : Michelle M. Santana ( Foxfire Dobermans )
Foxfire Alltimate
Foxfire Alltimate
Propriétaire : Michelle M. Santana
Éleveur : Michelle M. Santana ( Foxfire Dobermans )
There are several other small differences, for example, American toes are shorter and more compact and dewclaws are removed, while they are left with Europeans.
The marking of Europeans (Rust) is darker than that of Americans and Europeans are generally maintained at a higher weight and they are generally more muscular; diluted colours are not accepted among Europeans, so the colors must be very dark (dark black and dark brown), fawn or Isabella are not accepted in the standard.
In the European Union the size of the ears has been illegal for several years and soon in France and Germany it will no longer be possible to breed dogs that have their ears croped (even if they come from a country where it is still standard/legal).
In the United States the standard is still Ear and Tails croped, the size of the tail of European lines (at the time and for countries that still practice it) and that of American lines are supposed to be at the 2nd vertebrae, but we notice that among Americans the tail is always left longer.

Presentation in Show

European Dobermanns are photographed with the low exposure leash on their neck/chest with the dog pushing forward against the leash, and dogs are photographed with their OPEN mouth, often breathless and heavy. This difference can both obscure and exaggerate the similarities and differences in dog conformation (Euro versus American).
American Pinscher Dobermans are photographed with their necks tightened by the leash of the exposure in a position that pulls the dog upwards, and the dogs are photographed with their mouths tightly closed. This difference can both obscure and exaggerate the similarities and differences in dog conformation (Euro versus American).