There is nothing subtle about the Doberman dog breed. These dogs are so famous that most people can name them on sight – even if they don’t know much about dogs!
Dobermans are known worldwide for their bravery in guarding and protection work. Dobermans make fabulous additions to any K-9 military, police, or private security team. They are great family watchdogs.
But will you find a difference between a male Doberman and a female Doberman? Does gender matter when you are picking out your Doberman puppy or rescue dog?
We will talk about all the important things you need to know about male vs female Doberman in this article so you can pick the dog that is right for you.
Male vs Female Doberman
Some people feel very strongly that a male Doberman is a better pet choice, while for other people the only right choice is a female Doberman.
The truth is, there is no one right or wrong answer. But there are some important gender-based differences to be aware of that might make a female or male Doberman the better pick for you.
We will devote the rest of this article to discussing these Doberman gender differences in detail.
Learn from a Doberman Expert About Male vs Female Doberman Dogs
Is a male or a female Doberman better for you? This helpful YouTube video will help you think through everything from size to temperament, training to socialization.
Consider your preferences for size, strength, personality, health, life expectancy, and other important considerations when choosing a gender for your Doberman puppy.
Male vs Female Doberman Appearance and Size
The official Doberman dog breed information on the American Kennel Club (AKC) website states that males and females have gender-based size, weight, and height differences.
A fully grown adult female Doberman dog typically weighs between 60 and 90 pounds and stands between 24″ and 26″ tall as measured from paw pads to withers (shoulder tops).
A fully grown adult male Doberman dog typically weighs between 75 and 100 pounds and stands between 24″ and 26″ tall.
Here, you can see that there can be some size and height overlap between the genders. This will depend on the size, weight, and height of the two-parent dogs, which is why it is always a good idea to meet the parent dogs before committing to a Doberman puppy.
Male vs Female Doberman Personality and Temperament
As Gentle Doberman owner chat forum highlights, gender-based size differences may be a better predictor for personality differences than anything else.
The reason being, smaller puppies of either gender may need to be more assertive or even aggressive to get enough food, attention, and interaction while still in the litter.
As the Pine Tree State Doberman Pinscher club explains, for most people the choice of puppy gender is simply one of personal preference.
All gender-based differences can be influenced by other factors, including whether the dog is intact or not, a healthy lifestyle, the presence of other household pets or dogs, and experiences early in life.
As Prestige Protection Dogs points out, the most important factor for developing protective instincts will always be training. Expert K-9 training can overcome many other potential flaws or faults in a Doberman dog.
Having said that, many Doberman breeders and owners believe that female Dobermans are more likely to be protective towards their handler or family, which is why a Doberman must be handled and socialized equally by all family members.
Female Dobermans are also said to be more protective of people than of premises or property. Overall, female Dobermans are thought to be more aggressive because of their intense focus on guarding and protecting a person directly.
These traits are thought to be associated with how a female Doberman would behave when guarding and protecting puppies.
Many Doberman breeders and owners believe that male Dobermans are more likely to be protective towards their humans s the premises and property.
Male Doberman dogs are more likely to mark their territory, patrol their territory and react with aggression towards uninvited trespassers (human or animal).
Male vs Female Doberman Trainability
According to WebMD for Pets, Dobermans as a dog breed are considered to be the fifth smartest purebred dog breed (out of 110 assessed dog breeds).
That is amazingly smart!
But it is important to note, as the American Psychological Association (APA) points out, that there is more than one type of canine intelligence.
Not all dog breeds were bred for the same type of work. Dobermans were specifically bred to serve as K-9 protection and guard dogs. So their type of intelligence is one of quick mastery and recall of new skills.
A Doberman can generally pick up a new command in less than five tries and will replicate it perfectly 95 percent of the time.
As long as the dog in question is healthy and strong and the training methods being used are positive, this ability holds regardless of whether the Doberman happens to be male or female.
Male vs Female Doberman Exercise and Activity
Doberman Chat owners forum highlights an interesting consideration when picking your Doberman puppy.
More than any gender difference, you may find the greatest difference in Doberman exercise and activity needs when choosing between a true working dog breed line and a show Doberman breed line.
Doberman dogs bred for active working life (versus to be a canine companion or compete in conformation-based dog shows) will be bred for pure endurance, energy and focus. This is necessary when a dog’s job makes a difference between life and death.
Working breed lines produce higher energy dogs regardless of the dog breed. Show or canine companion lines produce more balanced dogs with a greater focus on conformation or appearance.
So in this particular area, the breeder’s focus is much more important than any question of a puppy’s gender.
Male vs Female Doberman Health Issues
Do male or female Doberman dogs live longer? Is one gender healthier than the other? We will look at these questions in this section.
CHIC (the Canine Health Information Center) keeps a useful database of breed-specific heritable health concerns for which pre-screening tests exist. CHIC states that Dobermans may inherit these major health conditions.
- Eye issues including progressive retinal atrophy.
- Heart issues including cardiomyopathy.
- Hip dysplasia.
- Autoimmune thyroiditis.
- von Willebrand’s disease.
- Temperament concerns.
It is important to make sure you choose a breeder who health tests parent dogs before allowing them to mate. This is the only protection you will have against choosing a puppy with a serious genetic health issue!
PetMD points out that other health issues can affect Dobermans. However, some of these issues lack pre-screening tests.
- Gastric torsion (bloat).
- Wobbler’s Syndrome.
- Cervical vertebral instability.
- Chronic active hepatitis.
In addition, some health issues can be specific to Doberman females or males. However, it is not always possible to tell whether a dog will have these gender-specific health issues through pre-screen tests.
In some cases, spaying or neutering can positively impact the incidence of certain cancers.
Male Doberman health concerns
Since most male Doberman dogs will be at least two inches taller and up to 15 pounds heavier than females in adulthood, male Dobermans are at greater risk for panosteitis.
Von Roth Dobermans breeder points out that this disease is sometimes called “growing pains.”
This is because panosteitis occurs when a young dog is growing and develops inflammation and pain along the long front or hind leg bones.
Luckily, this condition generally resolves as the dog concludes the growth spurt and can be managed with pain medication and physical therapy.
Male Dobermans may also be affected by prostate issues as they age.
Female Doberman health concerns
Female Doberman dogs can also be affected by panosteitis but often suffer milder symptoms due to their smaller size and lower weight.
Intact female Dobermans who are used for breeding can experience health issues related to carrying, whelping and nursing puppies. Mastitis is one of the most serious health issues that impact female Dobermans.
Male vs Female Doberman Life Expectancy
On average, a purebred Doberman dog typically lives between 10 and 12 years. While this doesn’t sound like a long time, it is about average for large dog breeds. In fact, researchers find that the larger the dog, the shorter the lifespan tends to be.
But are there any gender factors that can influence how long a male vs female Doberman lives?
A University of Georgia study indicates that spaying or neutering your Doberman dog later in life may increase life span by up to 1.5 years.
However, this also means you will have to deal with an intact Doberman for up to six years, with all the special precautions, additional potential for co-occurring health conditions, and extra veterinary care this may require.
The most important predictors of longer lifespan in both male and female Dobermans include healthy parent dogs, feeding a high protein large breed puppy and dog food, offering suitable exercise and activity to the life stage.
Providing regular preventative veterinary checkups and dental care, including brushing your Doberman’s teeth at home, can also increase overall health and possibly lifespan.
Male vs Female Doberman Good with Kids
Dobermans as a dog breed are very good with kids. However, as the Doberman Pinscher Club of America cautions, it is not wise to get a Doberman when you still have babies or very young children in the house.
Not only can a teething Doberman puppy, with its tiny sharp puppy teeth, cause serious injury and trauma to babies and young kids, but socializing and training a young Doberman can be as much work as doing the same with a young human.
It is best to wait until the children are older and can participate actively in a puppy’s growth, training, and daily life.
This is especially important if you choose a female Doberman puppy since female Dobermans can be more prone to bond closely only with their direct handlers. You really need to be sure your kids also participate in your dog’s training and care.
Male vs Female Doberman Good with Other Pets
This is the most important rule to remember if you want to add a Doberman to your family and you already have other dogs.
Do not put two male Dobermans or two female Dobermans together in the same household and assume they will just get along. This may work during puppyhood. But it is frequently the cause of fights and injury in adulthood.
This phenomenon is called SSA – “same-sex aggression” – and it is a well-documented fact among various dog breeds.
Desert Harbor Doberman Rescue states that SSA is more likely if two female Dobermans have been spayed or if the two dogs have a history of rehoming, trauma, or abuse.
SSA may also occur between same-sex dogs of different breeds, which is why it is so important to evaluate the addition of any new animal on an individual basis.
Male vs Female Doberman: Which Dog Is Right for You
As the information in this article highlights, any differences between male vs female Doberman dogs can arise for a variety of reasons.
Differences may in fact be purely gender-based. But these differences can be increased based on a dog’s diet, early life and handling, health, training and socialization, and other factors.
Rather than generalize and assume gender matters most, it can help to talk with a knowledgeable Doberman breeder to decide whether a male or female Doberman is the best choice for you.