Lifestyle Needs


The Dobermann is a large, strong and agile dog.  He is usually keen and alert and has been used for guarding and tracking.  He is sometimes used as a police dog and responds well to obedience training.  He will adapt to family life but needs firm handling.  His short and shiny coat means that he is easy to keep clean and needs only occasional grooming.  He needs a house with a garden and loads of exercise.  He can be fussy about where he sleeps and likes his creature comforts. Average lifespan 10 years.

Genetic Diversity
(Known as Coefficient of Inbreeding: 'COI'. It should be as low as possible.)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 5.2% - See 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Gene Pool Size
(Known as Effective Population Size: 'EPS')


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

  • Gastric dilatation volvulus (Bloat/Torsion) (stomach fills with air and can twist, causing extreme pain and requiring urgent vet treatment) associated with deep chested conformation.
  • Panosteitis (bone inflammation) (a self limiting disease affecting young dogs in large, rapidly growing breeds)
  • Cervical vertebral malformation syndrome (Wobblers Disease) associated with long and straight neck

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip Dysplasia:  breed 5 year mean score 9.8 (parents should be lower)
  • Elbow Dysplasia: score should be 0
  • Eye Disease: Screening for Eye Diseases prior to breeding

Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV ) (litter screening)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

  • von Willebrand’s disease type 1 (vWD)

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening Schemes

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) (heart chambers enlarge and walls of ventricles become thin, causing heart failure – very prevalent in this breed).  There are three tests available:

Echocardiogram – must be done by a cardiologist and needs to be repeated regularly;
DCM Troponin 1 test (needs to be repeated annually: ;
DNA (Kate Meurs):

Further health information:

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Doberman Hepatitis
  • Cancer: various types
  • Cervical Vertebral Malformation Syndrome (Wobbler Syndrome)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Incomplete ossification of the humeral condyle (IOHC)
  • Hepatitis
  • Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD) (Flank Sucking)

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

Breed Health Information