Last Updated on May 10, 2023 by Becky Roberts
Quick Summary: If you love big dogs, you might consider getting a German Shepherd or a Doberman Pinscher. Although they are both large-breed dogs, they have a lot of differences. As a puppy, the German Shepherd and Doberman must be socialized well. German Shepherds can live with active families and are more comfortable with children than Dobermans. While some believe that Dobies don’t like children, this actually depends on the dog and its training. Dobermans and German Shepherds make great family pets, as long as you keep them happy and well trained. If they’re healthy, German Shepherds can live up to 14 years and Dobies up to 12 years.
German Shepherds are consistently ranked as the second-most popular breed next to Labrador Retrievers. In 2018, Dobermans ranked number 17. Do you think this means that Dobermans don’t make great family pets? Not necessarily!
This article will provide more information about each breed to help you make an informed decision when choosing between these 2 wonderful dogs. You should ensure that you make the right choice for your family and pet as getting one is a long-term commitment.
- 1 Breed History and Background Story
- 2 Appearance and Size
- 3 Grooming and Maintenance Tips
- 4 Nutrition and Food Requirements
- 5 Temperament and Behavior
- 6 Training and Socialization
- 7 Exercise Requirements
- 8 Health Problems and Life Expectancy
- 9 Puppy Prices and Costs
- 10 Conclusion
Breed History and Background Story
Dobermans and German Shepherds were bred to help people. Despite the fact that they might appear to be working dogs, they are not. Both are German, but do their histories have any connection? Let’s find the answer.
The German Shepherd
Many people associate German Shepherds and police operations. They have been trained to detect illegal drugs and served in the armed forces. The breed was developed by Captain Max von Stephanitz in western Germany in 1889. These animals were valued by Von Stephanitz for their utility and intelligence.
Stephanitz wanted a dog that could be a servant. He also wanted to standardize herding breeds. Although all herding dog breeds in Germany were called shepherds, they did not always have the same traits.
Von Stephanitz also desired to breed a dog with natural beauty. After breeding the best dogs from each area, Von Stephanitz created the German Shepherd. German Shepherds were extensively used during World War I. Some American soldiers brought these dogs home, and movies like Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart made the breed very famous.
Doberman Pinschers were also developed in Germany, by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. Like the German Shepherd, the Doberman is also a relatively new breed of dog, as it was standardized at the end of the 19th century.
Dobermann was the owner of a dog pound in his hometown, and he mixed many breeds into the Doberman Pinscher. Although no one knows the exact breeds that went into creating the Doberman Pinscher, they believe it to have genetics from the following dogs:
- German Pinscher
- Great Dane
- German Short-haired Pointer
- Old German Shepherd dog
The Doberman has also been used in the military and police service over the years. U.S. soldiers observed that their enemies used dogs as scouts and sentries. In 1942, the Doberman Pinscher Club of America was asked to provide canines for the Marine Corps War Dog Training Facility in North Carolina.
The Doberman became the official U.S. Marine War Dog during World War II. These dogs were nicknamed “Devil Dogs ” during World War II. The Dobermans were outnumbered by German Shepherds at the end of the war.
Appearance and Size
These dogs share many physical similarities. Both breeds are large-sized dogs that range from 50 to 100 pounds and stand about 26 to 27 inches tall at one year of age.
Once fully grown, Dobermans are usually the larger of the two breeds. Both dogs are athletic, but Dobermans tend to be taller and more muscular than shepherds. Dobies’ spines slope more towards their backs, so their backs are also steeper than Shepherds.
Dobermans are short-coated and require minimal maintenance. They come in black and blue, blue and rust, and red and rust. Black is the most popular color combination.
German Shepherds have thicker, longer, double-layered coats. They shed more and need more grooming. their coats are most commonly black and tan, but they also come in solid black as well.
Grooming and Maintenance Tips
It’s a common misconception that Dobermans don’t shed. They do, but their fine, short fur may not be as noticeable as the longer strands from a German Shepherd. Shepherds shed their fur twice per year. This can cause the fur to fall all over your house as the seasons change from winter to summer. This is especially true for Shepherds with longer hair.
Both breeds should be brushed frequently, and a regular grooming regime is the best way to manage their shed. To keep your dog’s hair looking its best, you should brush them at least twice a week. You will need to brush your Shepherd more often if they have longer hair.
Thankfully, neither one of these dogs require professional grooming, and it is something you can do yourself. This is also a great time to bond with your canine friends.
Nutrition and Food Requirements
The average German Shepherd will eat around three cups of food per day, despite being slightly lighter. Dobie, a slightly heavier dog, will consume four cups. The amount you give them will depend on their weight and age, as well as their lifestyle. For a customized cup suggestion, make sure you read the package instructions.
The German Shepherd needs high-quality dog food that can support their activity levels and rapid bone growth. Dobermans also need the same. This rapid bone growth can be controlled with kibbles made for large-breed puppies. By controlling this rapid bone growth, you can reduce the chance of your puppy developing elbow and hip dysplasia. Large breed foods are extremely important for the Shepherd and the Dobie.
Feeding your dog the best nutrition is one of the best decisions you can make for them. Your pup can live a healthy life by knowing the difference between store-brand kibble and trusted brands. High-quality brands will also list meat as the first ingredient and offer a protein content of at least 18% in adulthood. This is especially important for large, energetic dogs such as these two.
These guys are also prone to a life-threatening condition called gastric torsion, also known as bloat. Large dogs with deep chests are the most likely to get bloat. Both the Shepherd and the Dobie tick these boxes. Do not feed your dog immediately after or before exercise. Give your dog at least two meals per day.
Temperament and Behavior
Working dogs are more intelligent than herding dogs. However, Dobermans are one of the two working-class canine breeds that have made it onto the top 10 most intelligent dogs. They are almost as intelligent as a person and can get bored with tedious tasks. This can make it difficult to train them. It is important to make sure you are the leader of the pack as soon as possible.
Dobermans are extremely loyal and protect their family. However, they may be attached to one family member. It is important to socialize them as soon as possible. This will prevent them from being shy and snappy.
German Shepherds might be more mischievous than Dobermans. Dobermans are more open to being treated with kindness and honesty by people who interact with them. German Shepherds can become very high-strung if they are not socialized properly.
Both of these dogs scored high in a trait called guarding tendency. They will defend their territory, as well as their family members. Dogs that are aggressive or territorial can make it a problem. Both of these breeds must be taught how to protect their territory.
As Family Pets
This loyalty makes them great family pets. German Shepherds can be adapted to live with high-energy families, even though they are more comfortable with children than Dobermans. Your children should be trained as well as your dog. Children should learn how to interact with large pets in order to be seen as leaders and not enemies.
German Shepherds are part of the herding category, while Dobermans belong to the working canine group. But these groups were classified together until 1983. The loyal and easy-to-train herders are simple to understand. They keep track of the animals and people they protect. They are great companions and often do protection work.
The working group of dogs has fewer specifications. A Husky, for example, is a working dog since it can pull a sled. The Doberman was bred to protect. Dobermans aren’t natural herders. They are intelligent and loyal and can be trained to herd other animals.
Training and Socialization
Both breeds were bred to be guard dogs, but they are not more dangerous than other breeds. Chihuahuas can be just as dangerous. A Chihuahua’s hard bite isn’t as dangerous as one from a larger breed, though.
No dog should be considered a biter because of its breed. Aggression is often a result of poor training or fear. Dobermans and German Shepherds can be reactive but will bark more than they bite if they are not taught to use their teeth.
Some people believe Dobermans don’t like small pets or children, but this depends on the dog and its training. German Shepherds are more patient and easygoing with children than other breeds. Both dogs should get along with children if they are raised together. Children should learn how to be with dogs and not disturb them while they’re sleeping or eating.
These dogs may bark at strangers or friends if they have guarding tendencies. You may have to use specific training methods to curb this irritating characteristic.
As a puppy, the German Shepherd and Doberman must be socialized well. To increase their confidence, you should mix them with other dogs, humans, animals, and places. This will help them to be less protective.
Both of these breeds require lots of exercise as they get bored easily. They may become bored if you don’t take them out before or after work. If they are left alone for more than eight hours, they may resort to destructive behavior.
They both require at least an hour of intense exercise each day. Owners suggest they should be exercising for at least two hours each day. This is something you should be ready for. These dogs are definitely for active families only!
Working dogs need to exercise vigorously to keep them energized. These guys don’t like long, boring walks around the block.
They make great jogging companions and enjoy fetching and agility games. Dobermans rival Labs in their activity levels, and German Shepherds likely will exceed both in the terms of exercise commitment.
They will also require mental stimulation throughout their day to keep them happy. You should invest in plenty of toys for your dogs. These should be strong and durable toys. We can guarantee that if your dog doesn’t have a chew toy, they will find something to chew on. Or raid your best sneaker collection!
Health Problems and Life Expectancy
Due to inbreeding, both breeds have an inclination towards certain ailments. This is a problem for all purebred dogs. German Shepherds have a longer average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, whereas Dobies tend to live for 10 to 12 years.
The main health concerns for German Shepherds include:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Hip dysplasia
They should have regular checkups and special attention given to their joints.
These are the main health concerns that Dobermans have:
- Hip dysplasia
- Heart problems
- Spinal instability
Regular examinations of the hips and heart should be done on all Dobermans. They should also be tested for von Willebrand’s disease, which is directly inherited and can cause serious blood loss from minor wounds.
Puppy Prices and Costs
The cost of a German Shepherd puppy and a Dobie pup from a reputable breeder will start from around $1,000. It will be slightly more if you’re looking for a puppy that comes from an elite breeder or is from an award-winning line. Do not be deceived into buying a puppy at a lower price than that. It is a sign that they are reckless or even worse, a part of a puppy mill.
It is important to work with a respected breeder for any dog breed. For large, powerful dogs like the Shepherd and Dobie, it is especially important. The key window for important socialization is 3 to 12 weeks. It will be worth it to pay a bit more to have your pup socialized by a breeder. If you don’t, you will end up spending more on behavioral training and other liability costs in the event of an emergency.
You also need to keep in mind the additional costs associated with puppy ownership. It costs money to get your puppy vaccinated and for you to attend puppy health checkups. Food and food-related items like beds, collars or harnesses, toys, etc. are all expensive.
Despite not being the most expensive canine to care for, these guys are often more costly than average dogs due to their size and specific needs.
Dobermans and German Shepherds are roughly the same size, but how they look is completely different Dobermans have short hair and are muscular, while German Shepherds look like giant stuffed animals. They share many similarities, besides their size.
Both of these dogs share similar pasts and were bred to be working dogs. They can offer high levels of protection. These intelligent dogs can be trained to obey many commands and are loyal. They need to be mentally stimulated because they are so intelligent.
These dogs are always working. They will protect you even when you are taking a stroll in the park. Understanding and meeting their psychological and physical needs can create a wonderful relationship between humans and dogs.
Dobermans and German Shepherds make great family pets, provided you keep them happy and allow them to exercise.