Doberman AKC breed Standard

A Look at the Breed Standard


Before you study this, let me mention that there seems to be some confusion about the German or more generally, foreign-bred Dobes, being bigger or even better than the American Bred. These statements are being made either by someone who themselves were given wrong information from their seller, or they are just trying to sell you one of their 'import' or import bloodline Dobes. Not to say that there are not great Dobes in other countries, but it is the breeders themselves that make the difference, not the country of origin. Also take note: the Doberman is a medium-sized breed ranging by standard from 45 to 85 pounds, and I like the size more seen during the seventies.  My version is simply a stronger statured appearance. I prefer boys in the 85/105 range, and my girls 65/85 pounds with the variable based on client preference. Our reasons to not boost size any further is to protect the well-being of the my dogs and simply reminding folks that if they want a Dane or Mastiff sized dog, go with a Mastiff or Dane.  
On the other end of the standard I do not accept the notion that a Dobe should look like a gray hound - something seen all too often actually winning their Championships nationally and internationally and in the other direction you drastically increase the chances of skeletal problems.  
Following is the Breed description as found on the AKC site. Note, however, that this is a summary of the key qualities one should expect, but, like all generalities, each plus has many variables. To some, a dog is a dog...little expectation, little disappointment. To others... the new Dobe is the beginning of a great relationship and a grand adventure. One thing I can assure each reader of my site, by the time you finish HOYTT.Com you will have answers to questions you never knew you had. 

The American Kennel Club Standard for the Doberman Pinscher

General Appearance 
The appearance is that of a dog of medium size, with a body that is square. Compactly built, muscular and powerful, for great endurance and speed. Elegant in appearance, of proud carriage, reflecting great nobility and temperament. Energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient. 

Size, Proportion, Substance 
Height at the withers: Dogs 26 to 28 inches, ideal about 27½ inches; Bitches 24 to 26 inches, ideal about 25½ inches. The height, measured vertically from the ground to the highest point of the withers, equaling the length measured horizontally from the fore chest to the rear projection of the upper thigh. Length of head, neck and legs in proportion to length and depth of body. 

Long and dry, resembling a blunt wedge in both frontal and profile views. When seen from the front, the head widens gradually toward the base of the ears in a practically unbroken line. Eyes almond shaped, moderately deep set, with vigorous, energetic expression. Iris, of uniform color, ranging from medium to darkest brown in black dogs; in reds, blues, and fawns the color of the iris blends with that of the markings, the darkest shade being preferable in every case. Ears normally cropped and carried erect. The upper attachment of the ear, when held erect, is on a level with the top of the skull.

Top of skull flat, turning with slight stop to bridge of muzzle, with muzzle line extending parallel to top line of skull. Cheeks flat and muscular. Nose solid black on black dogs, dark brown on red ones, dark gray on blue ones, dark tan on fawns. Lips lying close to jaws. Jaws full and powerful, well filled under the eyes. 

Teeth strongly developed and white. Lower incisors upright and touching inside of upper incisors a true scissors bite. 42 correctly placed teeth, 22 in the lower, 20 in the upper jaw. Distemper teeth shall not be penalized. 
Disqualifying Faults: Overshot more than 3/16 of an inch. Undershot more than 1/8 of an inch. Four or more missing teeth. 

Neck, Top line, Body 
Neck proudly carried, well muscled and dry. Well arched, with nape of neck widening gradually toward body. Length of neck proportioned to body and head. Withers pronounced and forming the highest point of the body. Back short, firm, of sufficient width, and muscular at the loins, extending in a straight line from withers to the slightly rounded croup.

Chest broad with fore chest well defined. Ribs well sprung from the spine, but flattened in lower end to permit elbow clearance. Brisket reaching deep to the elbow. Belly well tucked up, extending in a curved line from the brisket. Loins wide and muscled. Hips broad and in proportion to body, breadth of hips being approximately equal to breadth of body at rib cage and shoulders. Tail docked at approximately second joint, appears to be a continuation of the spine, and is carried only slightly above the horizontal when the dog is alert. 

Shoulder Blade - sloping forward and downward at a 45-degree angle to the ground meets the upper arm at an angle of 90 degrees. Length of shoulder blade and upper arm are equal. Height from elbow to withers approximately equals height from ground to elbow. Legs seen from front and side, perfectly straight and parallel to each other from elbow to pastern; muscled and sinewy, with heavy bone. In normal pose and when gaiting, the elbows lie close to the brisket. Pasterns firm and almost perpendicular to the ground. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet well arched, compact, and catlike, turning neither in nor out. 

The angulation of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. Hip Bone falls away from spinal column at an angle of about 30 degrees, producing a slightly rounded, well filled-out croup. Upper Shanks at right angles to the hip bones, are long, wide, and well muscled on both sid clearly defined stifles. Upper and lower shanks are of equal length. While the dog is at rest, hock to heel is perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, the legs are straight, parallel to each other, and wide enough apart to fit in with a properly built body. Dewclaws, if any, are generally removed. Cat feet as on front legs, turning neither in nor out. 

Smooth-haired, short, hard, thick and close lying. Invisible gray undercoat on neck permissible. 

Color and Markings 
Allowed Colors: Black, red, blue, and fawn (Isabella). Markings: Rust, sharply defined, appearing above each eye and on muzzle, throat and fore chest, on all legs and feet, and below tail. White patch on chest, not exceeding ½ square inch, permissible. Disqualifying Fault: Dogs not of an allowed color. 

Free, balanced, and vigorous, with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. When trotting, there is strong rear-action drive. Each rear leg moves in line with the foreleg on the same side. Rear and front legs are thrown neither in nor out. Back remains strong and firm. When moving at a fast trot, a properly built dog will single-track. 

Energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient. The judge shall dismiss from the ring any shy or vicious Doberman.

Shyness: A dog shall be judged fundamentally shy if, refusing to stand for examination, it shrinks away from the judge; if it fears an approach from the rear; if it shies at sudden and unusual noises to a marked degree.

Viciousness: A dog that attacks or attempts to attack either the judge or its handler, is definitely vicious. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs shall not be deemed viciousness. 

The foregoing description is that of the ideal Doberman Pinscher. Any deviation from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation. 

Overshot more than 3/16 of an inch, undershot more than 1/8 of an inch. Four or more missing teeth.
Dogs not of an allowed color. 

Approved February 6,

The Breed Standard nationally and Internationally has remained almost untouched since the 20's. In the Dobe Standard there is no disqualification for under or over the size standard. Judges are told to look for the total Dobe and only consider size a negative if truly extreme in either direction, otherwise if the total Dobe pushes the limit but outshines the competition it should be rewarded. In developing the Hoytt Dobe of today we did what every person who wanted to become 'known' did. Both before Hoytt and since, combine different bloodlines until you have what you think the world will like and take one more step and build your own version of the Dobe which I did. That was I understood the complications of change via genetics. My showing in the conformation ring was used to build a list of Champions so that I was soon not looked at as one more private breeder with a male and female calling myself a professional or AKC term "Breeder".  As soon as I was enjoying the world of breed winning I started doing some obedience competition and quickly realized the Dobe liked to learn things. Actually loves to show you how much it knows but of course it had to first be taught the things it could do to show off.

Soon I wanted that 'fun' side more. My Dobes had that flash needed for title or at least each that was selected for the conformation ring.  In 1980 I began building what today are Dobes who comprehend and retain what they are taught at a much earlier age, fitting into our world faster and making it much easier to meet the rules of life in our world. And guess what?  They still have the flash associated with the  "show Dobe". Today my Dobes rank number one in the obedience ring and have for three decades. "HOYTT" is the most successful breeder in the world of AKC obedience not just in Dobes but over all breeders no matter what the breed. Think this is just an invented PR statement well for a few hundred dollars you can order a list of the Hoytt Dobes who have gained their degrees*. So while I may not seek Conformation degrees anymore and don't offer my breeding males for public stud, I still keep track of the Breed Standard. 

*We just sent for the list ourselves, and will begin building the page that will list of both the pre-titled and after placement owner trained and ti 



"Before Lexus, I believed I had already experienced the 'best,' but I now know why my friends were so adamant that I turn to you for my next Dobe."

Artist / Royal Oak, Maryland


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