The Doberman Standard

CKC Standard For Doberman Pinschers

Origin and Purpose

The Doberman Pinscher originated in Germany around 1890 and takes its name for Louis Doberman. Originally it was used almost exclusively as a guard dog. In today’s society, the properly bred and trained specimen makes a loving and obedient family companion.

General Appearance

The appearance is that of a dog of good middle size, with a body that is square: the height measured vertically from the ground to the highest point of the withers equalling the length, measured horizontally from the forechest  to  the  rear  projection  of  the  upper  thigh.  The  Doberman should  be  elegant  in  appearance,  with  proud  carriage,  reflecting  great nobility, and should be compactly built, muscular and powerful for great endurance and speed.


Energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal, and obedient.


Height  at  withers—males  26  to  28  inches,  ideal  27½  inches  (70  cm); females 24 to 26 inches, ideal 25½” (65 cm). Males, decidedly masculine, without  coarseness.    Females,  decidedly  feminine,  without  over- refinement.   Deviation from ideal height to be penalized in proportion to the amount of deviation.

Coat and Colour

Smooth  haired,  short,  hard,  thick  and  close  lying.    Invisible  grey undercoat  on  neck  permissible.    Allowed  colours:  black,  red,  blue  and fawn.    In  each  colour  the  more  strongly  pigmented  coat  is  the  more desirable.  Markings: rust red, sharply defined, and appearing above each eye, and on muzzle, throat, forechest, on all legs and feet and below tail. White on chest not exceeding one-half square inch permissible.


Long and dry, resembling a blunt wedge, both frontal and profile views. When seen from the front, the head widens gradually towards the base of the ears in a practically unbroken line. Top of skull flat, turning with slight stop to bridge of muzzle, with muzzle line extending parallel to the topline of the skull. Length of muzzle equal to length of skull. Cheeks flat and muscular. Lips lying close to the jaws, and not drooping. Jaws full and powerful, well filled under the eyes. Nose solid black in black dogs,  dark  brown  in  reds,  dark  grey  in  blues,  and  dark  tan  in  fawns. Teeth strongly developed. Lower incisors upright and touching inside  of upper incisors–a true scissors bite. Forty-two teeth (22 in lower jaw and 20 in upper jaw) correctly placed. Distemper teeth not to be penalized.

Eyes almond shaped, not round, moderately deep set, not prominent, with vigorous, energetic expression. Iris of uniform colour, ranging from medium  to  darkest  brown  in  black  dogs,  the  darker  shade  being  the more desirable. In reds, blues and fawns, the colour of the iris should blend with that of the markings but not be of a lighter hue than that of the markings. Ears either cropped or uncropped. The upper attachment of the ear, when alert, should be on a level with the top of the skull. If cropped,  the  ears  should  be  well  trimmed  and  carried  erect.  If uncropped, they should be small and neat, and set high on the head.


Carried  proudly,  well  muscled  and  dry.  Well  arched,  and  with  nape  of neck widening gradually toward body. Length of neck proportioned to body and head. Head may be carried slightly lower when moving, for greater reach of the forequarters.


Shoulder blade sloping forward and downward at a 45 degree angle to the  ground,  and  meeting  the  upper  arm  at  an  angle  of  90  degrees. Shoulder  to  be  as  close  to  45  degrees  as  possible  and  set  well  back. Relative  length  of  shoulder  and  upper  arm  should  be  as  one  to  one, excess  length  of  shoulder  blade  is  more  a  fault  than  excess  length  of upper arm. Height from elbow to withers approximately equals height from  ground  to  elbow.  Legs  seen  from  the  front  and  side  perfectly straight and parallel to each other from elbow to pastern; muscled and sinewy, with round, heavy bone. In a normal position, and when gaiting, the elbow should lie close to the brisket. Pasterns firm, with an almost perpendicular position to the ground. Feet well arched, compact and cat- like, turning neither in nor out. Slight toeing out much less undesirable than toeing in. Dewclaws may be removed.


Back short, firm, of sufficient width, and muscular at the loin extending in a straight line from withers to the slightly rounded croup. Withers pro – nounced  and  forming  the  highest  point  of  the  body.  Brisket  full  and broad,  reaching  deep  to  the  elbow.  Chest  broad,  with  forechest  well defined. Ribs well sprung from the spine, but flattened at lower end to provide elbow clearance. Belly well tucked up, extending in a curved line from  chest.  Loins  well  muscled.  Hips  broad  in  proportion  to  body, breadth of hips being approximately equal to breadth of body at rib spring.


In balance with forequarters. Upper shanks long, wide, and well muscled on both sides of thigh, with clearly defined stifles. Hocks while the dog is at rest: hock to heel should be perpendicular to the ground. Upper shanks, lower shanks and hocks parallel to each other, and wide enough apart to fit in with a properly built body. The hip bone should fall away from the spinal column at an angle of about 30 degrees. Upper shank and lower shank are equal in length. The upper shank should be at right angles to the hip bone. Croup well filled out. Cat feet, as on front legs, turning neither in nor out. Dewclaws, if any, may be removed.


Tail docked at approximately the second joint, should appear to be the continuation of the spine, without material drop.


The gait should be free, balanced, and effortless with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. When trotting there should be a strong rear action drive. Hocks should fully extend. Each rear leg should move in line with the foreleg on the same side. Rear and front legs should be thrown neither in nor out. Back should remain strong, firm and level. When moving at a fast trot the properly built dog will single track.


Feminine  dogs,  masculine  bitches.  Light  tan  or  muddied  markings. Overly  large  markings.  Head  out  of  balance  in  proportion  to  body Ram’s, dish-faced, cheeky or snipey head. Any deviation from the correct number or place ment of teeth to be penalized in direct proportion to the amount  of  deviation.  Slit  eyes,  glassy  eyes,  round  eyes.  Weak  or knuckled-over  pasterns.  Hare  feet,  splay  feet.  Overly  rounded  or  flat croup.

Major Faults

Coarseness, fine Greyhound build. Loose shoulder, straight shoulder. Sway or roach back. Straight stifles, cow-hocks, spread hocks and sickle hocks.


  • Shyness, viciousness
  • Overshot more than 3/16 in. (.5 cm), undershot more than 1/8 in. (.3 cm).
  • Four or more missing teeth.
  • • Dogs not of an allowed color.


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.


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 vicious.

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