Standard FCI n.143 of 19/02/1994 English version by Renata Di Fazio

Dobermann: classification

Brief historical view

Description of the breed characteristics

1.0.0 General Appearance

2.0.0 Important Measurement and Proportions

3.0.0 Temperament and Behavior

4.0.0 Head

5.0.0. Neck

6.0.0. Body

7.0.0. Limbs


9.0.0. Skin

10.0.0 Coat

11.0.0. Size and Weight

12.0.0. Faults

13.0.0. Disqualifying Faults


Country of Origin:Germany

Use: Companion, protection and working dog

Classification according FCI :

Group 2 - Pinchers , Schnauzers, Molossian type,Swiss Mountain and Cattle dogs

Section 1- Pinchers and Schnauzer undergoing working tests

Brief Historical View

The Dobermann is the only German breed that bears the name of its original breeder Friedrich Louis Dobermann ( 2/1/1834 -9/6/1894).

Mr Dobermann was believed to be a tax collector and a town dog officer. He had the legal right to catch and use all the county stray dogs. Between this vast reservoir he picked and bred only dogs with an aggressive temperament.

A very important step toward the Dobermann breedwas at that time the well known " butcher dog"a breed with some already fixed typology. Those dogs, that can be considered the ancestor of the modern Rotweiler, were bred with some kind of Shepherds with black colors and dark rust markings, that were very common in Thuringia at that time.

Through this kind of breeding, Mr. Dobermann finally obtained his breedthat was the expression of a utility dog, a good watch dog and also an alert companion. ( 1870)

This versatile breed was soon used for some of the common works of the times like hunting, watching sheep or watching properties. The police often used this breed as patrol support and they quickly earned the nickname of "police dogs".

The Dobermann breed requires a medium sized, powerfull and muscularly built dog, that in spite of his strongsubstance is distinguishablefor the elegance of its body lines and the grace of its movement.

The Dobermann has all the quality of a companion dog, a working dog and a protection dog. They are very suitable in the family life.

1.0.0 General Appearance

The Dobermann is a medium sized, powerful and muscularly built dog. Thanks to the elegant lines of its body and its proud expression of determination, this dog conforms to the ideal figure of a dog.

2.0.0 Important Measurement and Proportions

The body of a Dobermann can fit in an imaginary square particularly in the male case. The length of the body, measured from the shoulder to the buttock, should not be more than 5% longer than the height in males and not more than 10% longer in females. (The height is measured from the withers to the ground.)

3.0.0 Temperament and Behavior

The disposition of the Dobermann is friendly and peaceful. It is devoted to the family and is caring toward children.

For the Dobermann we look for a medium temperament, a medium aggressiveness and a fair tolerance before reaction.

The Dobermann is easily trainable and enjoys the work and has good working ability thanks to its decisiveness, braveness and strong temperament. Its self-confidence and its intrepidness are also required considering that this breed is very alert toward its surroundings and reactive toward all kind of events.

4.0.0 Head

4.1.0 Cranial Region

The skull is strong and in proportion with the rest of the body. Viewed from the top the head resembles a blunt wedge. Viewed from the front the occiput's transversal line is leveled and does not curve toward the ears. The muzzle line extends almost straight to the top line of the skull and then gently round toward the nape. The superciliary ridge is well developed without protruding. The skull 's median sulcus is still visible. The occipital apophysis should not be too prominent. From a top and a frontal view the lateral side of the skull should not be bulging.The slight bulge formed between the zygomatich arch and the masseter region ( cheek bone) should be in harmony with the total length of the head. The head's muscles must be strongly developed.

4.2.0Frontal nasal descent (Stop)

The frontal nasal descent (stop) is slightly developed but clearly visible.

4.3.0. Face and Muzzle

4.3.1. Nostril region (Planum)

The planum is large and well developed but not protruding and the nostrils are well opened. The color is black, on black dogs, and allowed in a lighter shade for brown dogs so that it is suited with their coat.

4.3.2. Muzzle

The muzzle is strongly developed and proportionated with the head. The muzzle shall be high and wide also in the upper and lower incisor area. The labial opening should reach the molars.


The lips are firm and tight to the jaw and they should ensure a perfect closure of the mouth. The gum pigment is dark in black dogs and of a lighter shade in browns.

4.3.4 Jaws, Dentition, Teeth

Upper and lower jaws are powerful and wide with a scissor bite. Full dentition required with 42 teeth correctly placed and normally developed.

4.3.5. Eyes

Medium size, oval, with a dark color iris. In browns dogs the color is allowed of a lighter shade. The eyelid is well tied to the eye bulb. The palpebral fissure is bordered with eyelashes.

4.3.6. Ears

The ear is highly set to the skull and carried erect. The crop is done in proportion with the head length. In those countries, where cropping is forbidden, the intact ear is equally accepted and has the same value in a show contest. An intact ear shall be of a medium size with the front edge lying flat to the cheek.

5.0.0. Neck

The neck is of a good length proportioned with the head and the rest of the body. It is muscular, the skin is relatively tight and firm and the superior outline gently curved. The posture is erect as a sign of noble distinction.

6.0.0. Body

6.1.0. Withers

Well pronounced especially in males. The height and length are determinant for the dorsal top line that is lightly ascending starting from the croup.

6.2.0. Back (dorsal region)

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

6.3.0. Loins

Of good length and well covered with muscles. In the females the loins can be a little longer to allow room for the breast.

6.4.0. Croup

A hardly perceptible inclination, starting from the sacrum to the tail root. The croup appears well rounded with a good width and covered with strong muscles. From a top line view it should not be either perfectly straight or noticeably inclined.

6.5.0. Chest and Thorax

The height and the depth of the thorax must be well proportionated to the withers' height and to the length of the body. The ribs are lightly curved so that the thorax height is almost equal to half of the withers' height. The chest is of a good width with an especially developed fore chest.

6.6.0. Underline

Starting from the sternum's posterior edge and arriving to the pelvis the ventral line of the abdomen is well tacked in.

6.7.0. Tail

The tail is highly set and docked short so that 2 caudal vertebrae are still visible. In those countries wheredocking is illegal the tail may remain intact.

7.0.0. Limbs

7.1.0 Forelimb

From every side of view the front legs appear strongly developed, almost straight and vertical to the ground.

7.1.1. Shoulder

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 iswell set back and has an approximately 50 degree angle to the horizontal line.

7.1.2 Upper Arm

The upper arm is of a good length and well muscled. The angle between the scapula and the humerus is of 105/110 degrees.


The elbows are well tied to the thorax and not turning out.

7.1.4.Lower Arm

The lower arm is strong, straight and covered with muscles. Its length is in proportion with the rest of the body.

7.1.5. Carpal Region

The carpal joint is strong and firm.

7.1.6 Metacarpal Region

With a solid bone structure that follow the lower arm's vertical line. From the frontal view the metacarpus appear straight, from a side view it shows a flexion of a 10 degree maximum.

7.1.7.Front Foot

The front feet are short. The toes are tied together and arched toward the top (cat paw). The nails are short and black.

7.2.0. Hindlimb

As a whole, seen from behind, the Dobermann looks wide and rounded thanks to the strong musculature of the pelvis and the croup. The muscles that leave from the pelvis running down the thigh and those that reach the knee and the lower thigh, give a substantial width to the whole hindlimb that appear to be very powerful. The hindlimbs are strong parallel and perpendicular to the ground.

7.2.1 Thigh

The thighs are of a good length, wide and well covered with muscles. The coxale (pelvis bone) must have a good inclination. The thigh rest at approximately 80 degrees from the horizontal line.

7.2.2. Knee

The femur, the tibia and the patella form the robust articulation of the knee, which has angulations of approximately 130 degrees.

7.2.3. Lower Thigh

The lower thigh is of a medium length in proportion with the whole hindlimb length.


They are moderately robust and parallel. The tibia and the metatarsal form an angle of approximately 140 degrees.

7.2.5. Metatarsal

The metatarsal is short and perpendicular to the ground

7.2.6. Hind foot

Like the front foot, the hind feet are short with the toes tighted together and arched to the top. Nails short and black.

8.0.0 Gait

The gait is very important for the type of work that the dog is destined to do as well as for the morphological evaluation. The movement is elastic, elegant, agile, free and covers ground easily. The front limbs bounce forward while the hindlimbs give the necessary push to make a vigorous step. While trotting, one of the front limbs goes forward simultaneously with one of the hindlimbs from the opposite side. During the movement, the back the ligament and the joints, are firm.

9.0.0. Skin

The skin is well pigmented and adhered everywhere.

10.0.0 Coat

10.1.0. Hair Texture

The hair is short, hard, thick, smooth, shiny, tight and uniformly distributed over the whole body. Undercoat is not allowed.

10.2.0. Hair Color

The colors are black or brown with rust red markings. The markings are clean and well delineated. The markings are on the muzzle, as spots on the cheeks and above the eyebrows, on the throat, as 2 spots on the forechest, all around the metacarpals and the metatarsals, the feet, on the inside of the thighs and over the perineal region and the ischiatic tuber region.

11.0.0. Size and Weight

11.1.0. Size

Males 68-72 cm (26,77- 28,35 inches)

Females 63-68 cm (24,80- 26,77 inches)

For both sex a medium size is desirable

11.2.0. Weight

Males 40-45 Kg (85-95 lbs.)

Female 32-34 Kg (65-75 lbs.)

12.0.0. Faults

Any variation of the standard is considered a fault and during the judging would be penalized according to it seriousness.

12.1.0. General Appearance

Inability to distinguish secondary sexual dimorphism, not enough substance, too light, too heavy, high on the limbs or week bone.

12.2.0. Head

Too wide, too narrow, too long, too much or too little stop. Bad slope of the skull's top line, Roman nose. Weak under jaw. Round eye or slant eye, light eye, bulging eye, deeply set eye. Cheek too prominent. Lips not tight enough or overlapping too much. Labial opening not meeting tightly. Ears set too low or too high.

12.3.0. Neck

A little short or too short. Too much skin on the neck, dew-lap, deer neck, too long and not in proportion with the rest of the body.

12.4.0. Body

Back not solid and firm enough, sway back, arched back or sloping croup. Insufficent or too much spring of the ribs,insufficient or not well developed forechest, back too long overall, ventral underline too loose or too retracted. Tail set too low or too high (flag tail).


Too poor or too much angulation of the front and hind limbs. Elbows loose. Any of the bone or joint's position or length that is different from the standard, feet too close together or too wide apart, cow hocks, spread hocks, close hocks, open or flat foot, toes not well developed, pale nails.


Markings too light or not well delineated, smudged markings, mask too dark, charcoal spots on the limbs, markings too big or too small on the forechest, long, soft, curly or dull hair. Bold patches or with lighter hair color. Large tufts of hair especially on the body. Visible undercoat.

12.7.0. Behavior and Temperament

Absence of psychological equilibrium, too much or too weak temperament, too aggressive, inappropriate biting, vicious dog. Too low or too high tolerance before reaction.

12.8.0. Size

Deviation of size up to 2 cm from the standard should result in a lower grading.

12.9.0. Gait

Wobbling, tripping, stiff movement, or pacing

13.0.0. Disqualifying Faults

13.1.0 General

Severe inversion of the sexual dimorphism.

13.2.0. Eye

Yellow eye (raptor eye), wall eye.

13.3.0. Dentition

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

13.4.0. Coat

White spots, hair too long or too curly, extremely light coat or with large bold patches.

13.5.0. Temperament

Scared, shy or timid dog, distrustful or vicious dog, nervous or too aggressive.

13.6.0. Size

Sizes that deviate of more than 2 cm over or under the standard chart.

P.S. Males should have 2 normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.