Focus on Pets and the Show Ring

The main difference between American and European Doberman breeding is human social attitude. In the United States, where litigation involving dog bites is as rampant as irresponsible dog owners, the common consensus seems to be that only ‘vicious’ dogs bite.

This was no more evident than when the United Doberman Club was formed in the US as a result of the AKC's decision to not sanction Schutzhund competition events due to the protection phase because it involves bite work. The United Doberman Club currently holds Schutzhund trials under the auspices of the American Working Dog Federation.

Also making this misguided social view starkly evident are the Breed Specific laws that have been proposed, and many passed, in an effort to reduce dog bites. Advocates of Breed Specific legislation ignore the real cause of dog bites, irresponsible people and place the blame not only on the dog, but on specific breeds of dog. This is unfair but more importantly, it is ineffective. Breed Specific laws will not and do not fix the problem.

Regardless of popular attitude, many Doberman owners and breeders in the United States still work to maintain the working traits in the Doberman and participate in Schutzhund.

Partially due to the popular attitude and partially due simply to America’s love of different aspects of the dog, the goals of most Doberman breeders in America are for the production of pet or companion dogs, and show dogs.

One of the reasons the Doberman is so popular in the US is that it is such a loving, gentle, and devoted companion dog who fits exceptionally well into the busy American family. Quality breeders focused on producing the Doberman as a companion are most concerned with health and temperament. However, the temperament most companion Doberman breeders look for is a general sure and friendly temperament.

In the US there are no temperament tests required for registering a Doberman litter; certainly not anything approaching the intensity or required human dedication as with Schutzhund trials. This lack of temperamental standardization has allowed irresponsible breeders to register their ill planned litters, which has contributed to the degradation of the Doberman breed. Irresponsible breeders have further degraded the Doberman breed by placing their puppies with whoever offers money. This has placed the Doberman in the hands of irresponsible owners who have neglected the Doberman’s needs, such as training and socialization, creating troubled and dangerous Dobermans.

This irresponsible branch of Doberman production in the US is certainly the main cause of the misguided American attitude toward the Doberman. Also contributing are the many movies and video games depicting the Doberman as a vicious creature.

Regardless of temperament standards, quality breeders in the US maintain exceptional standards on their own for the temperament of their breeding Dobermans. Quality breeders are highly discriminative when placing their puppies; they will only place them in homes that have shown their willingness and ability to properly care for a Doberman.

This dedicated type of Doberman breeder, often called master breeder, is the guardian of the Doberman breed. Their breeding is well planned with goals of contributing to and improving the Doberman breed.

These dedicated master breeders have produced some of the healthiest and beautiful Dobermans in the world and have grown a strong branch of quality Doberman lines in the US, often including German imports. Dobermans from this branch, in comparison to their European counterparts, are gorgeous, the supermodels of the Doberman world. They are longer lived, and possess the same distinctive Doberman temperament but are slightly sweeter and friendlier; or soft temperament by European standards.

This awesome branch of American Dobermans has taken over the US show ring, no longer referred to as guard or protection dogs but as family companions.

Also producing quality American Dobermans, but contributing less to the Doberman breed, are breeders focused on show dogs. The problem with these breeders is just that, they are focused on show confirmation and not health and temperament.

The differences between the European and American Doberman Pinscher has caused some people to suggest that the breed be split. However, any guardian of the Doberman breed will fight such a foolish idea. Doing so would drastically reduce the already small, quality gene pool, and would reduce the American Doberman’s working traits further.