The FCI Dobermann Breed Standard 


The Dobermann is of medium size, strong and muscularly built. Through the elegant lines of its body, its proud stature, and its expression of determination, it conforms to the ideal picture of dog.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS : The body of the Dobermann appears to be almost square, particularly in males. The length of the body measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock shall not be more than 5% longer than the height from the withers to the ground in males, and 10% in females.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : The disposition of the Dobermann is friendly and calm; very devoted to the family it loves children. Medium temperament and medium sharpness (alertness) is desired. A medium threshold of irritation is required with a good contact to the owner. Easy to train, the Dobermann enjoys working, and shall have good working ability, courage and hardness. The particular values of self confidence and intrepidness are required, and also adaptability and attention to fit the social environment.



Strong and in proportion to 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.
Stop : Shall be slight but visibly developed.


Nose : Nostrils well developed, more broad than round, with large openings without overall protrusion. Black – on black dogs; on brown dogs, corresponding lighter shades.
Muzzle : 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.
Flews : 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/Teeth : Powerful broad upper and under jaw, scissor bite, 42 teeth correctly placed and normal size.
Eyes : Middle sized, oval/almond shaped 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 new standard  FCI Standard:

The ears, are left natural and of an appropriate size; they are set on either side at the highest point of the skull and are ideally 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.


Withers : 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.
Back : Short and tight, of good width and well muscled.
Loin : Of good width and well muscled. The bitch can be slightly longer in loin because she requires space for suckling.
Croup : 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.
Chest : 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.
Underline and Belly : From the bottom of the breastbone to the pelvis the underline is noticeably tucked up.

FCI new Standard 

TAIL: The tail is left natural and is ideally carried high in a slight curve.


General : 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%.
Upper arm : Good length, well muscled, the angle to the shoulder-blade is approximately 105° to 110°.
Elbow : Close in, not turned out.
Lower arm : Strong and straight. Well muscled. Length in harmony with the whole body.
Carpus (Carpal joint) : Strong.
Metacarpus (Pastern) : Bones strong. Straight seen from the front. Seen from the side, only slightly sloping, maximum 10°.
Forefeet : The feet are short and tight. The toes are arched towards the top (cat like). Nails short and black.

General : 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°.
Knee : 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°.
Lower thigh : Medium length and in harmony with the total length of the hindquarter.
Hock joint : Medium strength and parallel. The lower thigh bone is joined to the metatarsal at the hock joint (angle about 140°).
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 : The hair is short, hard and thick. It lies tight and smooth and is equally distributed over the whole surface. Undercoat is not allowed.

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.


Height at withers : Males : 68 – 72 cm.
Bitches : 63 – 68 cm.
Medium size desirable.
Weight : Males : about 40 – 45 kg.
Bitches : about 32 – 35 kg.

FCI Standard No

FAULTS: 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 and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.

  •   Lack of sexual dimorphism; little substance; too light; too heavy; too leggy; weak bones.

  •   Head too heavy, too narrow, too short, too long, too much or too little stop; Rams nose, bad slope of the top line of the skull; weak lower jaw; 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.

  •   Back not straight; sway back; roach back; insufficient depth or width of chest; tail set too low; sloping croup; too little or too much tuck up.

  •   Too little angulation in forequarters; hindquarters with too little or too much angulation; loose elbow; feet too close together or too wide apart; cow-hocks, spread hocks; open or soft paws, crooked toes; pale nails.

  •   Tan-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.

  •   Deviation of size up to 2 cm from the standard should result in a lowering of the quality grading.

  •   Gait that is not harmonious, in particular pacing.

FCI-St. N° 143 / 17.12.2015



  •   Aggressive or overly shy dogs.

  •   Anydogclearlyshowingphysicalofbehavioural abnormalities

    shall be disqualified.

  •   Yellow eyes (bird of prey eye); different coloured eyes.

  •   Overshot; level bite; undershot; missing teeth according to the


  •   White spots. Visible undercoat.

  •   Dogs which deviate more than 2 cm over or under the standard.

     Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully

    descended into the scrotum.
     Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical

    conformation should be used for breeding.

    The latest amendments are in bold characters.


The UK Kennel Club Dobermann Breed Standard 

General Appearance
Medium size, muscular and elegant, with well set body. Of proud carriage, compact and tough. Capable of great speed. 

Intelligent and firm of character, loyal and obedient. 

Bold and alert. Shyness or viciousness very highly undesirable. 

Head and Skull
In proportion to body. Long, well filled out under eyes and clean cut, with good depth of muzzle. Seen from above and side, resembles an elongated blunt wedge. Upper part of head flat and free from wrinkle. Top of skull flat, slight stop; muzzle line extending parallel to top line of skull. Cheeks flat, lips tight. Nose solid black in black dogs, solid dark brown in brown dogs, solid dark grey in blue dogs and light brown in fawn dogs. Head out of balance in proportion to body, dish-faced, snipy or cheeky very highly undesirable. 

Almond-shaped, not round, moderately deep set, not prominent, with lively, alert expression. Iris of uniform colour, ranging from medium to darkest brown in black dogs, the darker shade being more desirable. In browns, blues, or fawns, colour of iris blends with that of markings, but not of lighter hue than markings; light eyes in black dogs highly undesirable. 

Small, neat, set high on head. Normally dropped, but may be erect. 

Well developed, solid and strong with complete dentition and a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Evenly placed teeth. Undershot, overshot or badly arranged teeth highly undesirable. 

Fairly long and lean, carried with considerable nobility; slightly convex and in proportion to shape of dog. Region of nape very muscular. Dewlap and loose skin undesirable. 

Shoulder blade and upper arm meet at an angle of 90 degrees. Shoulder blade and upper arm approximately equal in length. Short upper arm relative to shoulder blade highly undesirable. Legs seen from front and side, perfectly straight and parallel to each other from elbow to pastern; muscled and sinewy, with round bone in proportion to body structure. Standing or gaiting, elbow lies close to brisket. 

Square, height measured vertically from ground to highest point at withers equal to length from forechest to rear projection of upper thigh. Forechest well developed. Back short and firm, with strong, straight topline sloping slightly from withers to croup; bitches may be slightly longer to loin. Ribs deep and well sprung, reaching to elbow. Belly fairly well tucked up. Long, weak, or roach backs highly undesirable. 

Legs parallel to each other and moderately wide apart. Pelvis falling away from spinal column at an angle of about 30 degrees. Croup well filled out. Hindquarters well developed and muscular; long, well bent stifle; hocks turning neither in nor out. When standing, hock to heel perpendicular to the ground. 

Well arched, compact, and cat-like, turning neither in nor out. All dewclaws removed. Long, flat deviating feet and/or weak pasterns highly undesirable. 

Customarily docked.
Docked: Docked at 1st or 2nd joint. Appears to be a continuation of spine without material drop.
Undocked: Appears to be a continuation of spine without material drop, or slightly raised when the dog is moving. 

Elastic, free, balanced and vigorous, with good reach in forequarters and driving power in hindquarters. When trotting, should have strong rear drive, with apparent rotary motion of hindquarters. Rear and front legs thrown neither in nor out. Back remains strong and firm. 

Smooth, short, hard, thick and close-lying. Imperceptible undercoat on neck permissible. Hair forming a ridge on back of neck and/or along spine highly undesirable. 

Definite black, brown, blue or fawn (Isabella) only, with rust red markings. Markings to be sharply defined, appearing above each eye, on muzzle, throat and forechest, on all legs and feet and below tail. White markings of any kind highly undesirable. 

Ideal height at withers: dogs: 69 cms (27 ins); bitches: 65 cms (25.5 ins). Considerable deviation from this ideal undesirable. 

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 and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog. 

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

This information is intended as a guide and may not be relevant to certain countries IE Where cropping & docking is permitted.


The only known photograph of Herr Dobermann (on the left) 

with some dogs friends and unknown mongrel dogs.

                                                                   The Dobermann

The future of the Dobermann will be different from his past. Certainly he is now evolving and what he becomes is in the hands of the breeders. They should aim not just to produce, but to breed a Dobermann that can answer the demands of the new age without loosing either his beauty or his temperament.

May the breeder have the spirit, dedication and the love to achieve this goal.

J.M. v.d. Zwan, In the beginning . . . a history of the Dobermann, 1999

Origins of the Dobermann

The Dobermann is the only breed to have been named after its creator, Herr Louis Frederic Dobermann who lived from 01/02/1834 - 06/09/1894 had searched for a dog of medium size, that was sleek and agile, yet powerful and courageous, with a high devotion to its master but unable to find one, set out to create one. Although no precise early breeding records are held, many studies of the Dobermann background have concluded that the following breeds may have been involved - the Rottweiler, known then as the butchers dog, the Pinscher, the old German Shepherd Dog, the Manchester Terrier and later on, the Greyhound. 

But it was Herr O Goller who was the great architect and sponsor of the breed, he also gave the breed its name, in Germany at that time there were only Shepherd Dogs, Butcher dogs and Pinschers and so he therefore decided to call the new breed the Dobermann Pinscher. It is through his efforts that the breed was officially recognised by the German Kennel Club in 1900, after founding the Dobermann Pinscher Club Apolda (later becoming the Dobermann Verein - DV) on the 27th August 1899. The DV is the oldest Dobermann breed club in the world.