Are Doberman Pinschers Good Family Dogs? 5 Things You Need to Know

Doberman Pinschers are deemed to be imposing, dangerous, and vicious. As much as their physical appearance can be overwhelming, they are more than their daunting appearance. In fact, many ask us this question: are Doberman Pinschers good family dogs? In this post, we take a closer look at this breed, their personality, behavior, and more.

Doberman Pinscher Info

Height: 26 to 28 inches (male); 24 to 26 inches (female)
Weight range: 65 to 90 pounds
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
AKC Classification: Guard dog
Color: Black, blue, fawn with tan markings
Iconic features: Raised, trimmed ears

In this video, Marilyn Braverman gives us a peek on her life as an owner of a Doberman Pinscher:

Origin of Doberman Pinschers

Doberman Pinschers came from the Thuringia District in Germany. A tax collector named Louis Dobermann started breeding dogs to be his guard as he collects money around. And as a dogcatcher of the area, he got access to various dog breeds, which he used to breed the first Doberman dog. Still, there’s no clear documentation of what breeds Doberman Pinschers came from.

He used this dog to be his companion and protector. This is the reason why being protective is Doberman Pinscher’s second nature.

From there, this breed has been re-bred to become a ‘super dog’. They focused on function than appearance, which is why Doberman Pinschers nowadays are athletic. From there, Dobies have been transported to various countries, including America.

The temperament of Doberman Pinschers

Are Doberman Pinschers good family dogs? To answer this, the first thing you have to check is the temperament of the breed. Most of the time, the breed’s behavior and temperament are a deal-breaker for families who are looking for a home companion.

*Highly protective

With their erect ears, imposing look, and confident gait, there’s no doubt that Dobies are protective dogs. They will guard their families and are always ready to give a fight under threatening situations.

When a stranger gets into the door, Doberman Pinschers will be the first responder. They will bark to impose their authority, which also makes them a reliable guard dog for your family.


Doberman Pinschers has a strong sense of self-confidence. They don’t back down on danger and they always try to get their own way. With this, some of them are deemed stubborn and hard-headed. But with patience and an experienced owner, they will become obedient canines.


Although they can be a challenge to breed, Dobies are very smart. They can easily remember commands, though patience is needed.

The good thing about this is they don’t like wandering around. Once you give them the task of guarding your home and kids, they will stick to it for life.

*Affectionate to their families

When raised in a loving home, Doberman Pinschers will be affectionate to their masters. They won’t mind playing, hugging, and cozying by the couch. However, they aren’t the cuddliest bunch so you have to respect their boundaries. 


If you’re looking for a dog that will stand by your family for life, you’ll never go wrong with Doberman Pinschers. They bond strongly with their families, though they tend to run favorites within the household.

The energy level and exercise requirements

Another important consideration when choosing a family dog is the activity level of the canine. You’d want a breed that matches the lifestyle of your family. And if you’re considering a Dobie, you have to be specific with their energy level.

Doberman Pinschers have a moderate energy level. And although they love playing and staying active, they have a very manageable intensity. If you’re not engaging them in playtime, they prefer staying focused on guarding your home.

As for their exercise needs, short walks each day would suffice. Still, it’s important to keep a Dobie mentally stimulated so they won’t vent out their boredom on your couch or new pair of shoes.

Overall health

No one wants a ‘fixer-upper’ dog so if you’re considering getting a family pet, you have to check the health of the breed. Just take note that each breed has its own predominance to certain conditions and will get sick at some point.

If you’re considering getting a Doberman Pinscher, the following are some of the conditions on which they are susceptible. Still, this doesn’t mean that a Dobie will develop all of these conditions.

*Hip dysplasia

Due to the Dobie’s unique gait and lower back height, they are prone to hip dysplasia. This hereditary condition manifests when the thighbone doesn’t grow properly and the joint’s ball and socket don’t fit. Usually, a surgical procedure is required to fix this health issue. However, not all dogs with hip dysplasia are good candidates for this treatment. So when getting a puppy, always source it from a reputable breeder.

*Von Willebrand’s Disease

Like hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand’s Disease is a genetic condition characterized by the inability of the blood to clot. This causes dogs to have bleeding gums, internal bleeding, nose bleeding, and more.


The opposite of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism is the lack of activity of the thyroid gland. This leads to poor production of the thyroid hormone, which will lead to stunted growth, hair loss, epilepsy, and other secondary conditions in dogs.

*Retinal atrophy

This condition causes the gradual and progressive degradation of a dog’s retina. The first onset of this condition will cause night-blindness among dogs. Over time, this will cause a total loss of vision.


Albinoism is a hereditary condition often seen among Doberman Pinschers. However, unlike in humans, albinoism won’t make a Dobie totally white. Instead, Doberman dogs with this condition will have pink skin and muzzle. Some would even have light or blue eyes. And like albino humans, Doberman Pinschers with albinoism are photo-sensitive. 

How do Dobermans deal with kids?

are Doberman Pinschers good family dogs

If there’s one deal-breaker when choosing a family dog, it would be the dog’s behavior toward kids. Take note that each Dobie will have varying personalities. Some love being with kids while others are less tolerant of roughhousing. So if you’re weighing about getting this breed, here are some of the points you have to know:

*Affectionate but…

Doberman Pinschers love being with children, though kids are not their favorite people. They can endure tight hugs, but they have rather shorter patience that Labrador Retrievers or Golden Retrievers.

So if you have small kids and infants, Dobies might not be the perfect dog for the family. They are better off with older kids who know how to respect their boundaries.

Also, you should always supervise Doberman Pinschers when playing with your kids. This is so you can act right away if your Dobie becomes snappy.

Still, you’ll have better chances of having a well-disciplined Dobie if you get it as a puppy. Also, raising a Dobie with your kids will make the pooch more comfortable around children.

*Tolerant at some level

Overall, Doberman Pinschers are tolerant of kids, but only to some extent. Don’t expect them to be great nannies, though they excel in protecting kids.

Still, we recommend limiting the contact between infants and Dobies as this breed can be snappy with pinchy behavior.

Doberman Pinschers are guard dogs

Take note that Doberman Pinschers were bred to become guard dogs. This role has been innate to them since then. So if you’re wondering if they will be good family dogs, the answer will depend on your expectations.

If you want a brave dog that will defend your family come what may, this breed is a perfect choice. However, if you don’t like the standoffish nature of Dobies, you should consider retriever dogs as these are usually more laidback.

Still, Dobies can be great family dogs. You just have to ensure that the pup came from a responsible breeder. Aside from that, you have to dedicate your time to training this pooch so you can dampen their negative behavior. You may also need to dog-proof your home first to reduce the potential damages that may occur since Dobies are active canines.

You should get a Doberman Pinscher if…

*You’re looking for a confident and assured dog
*You want a dog that will guard your property
*You want a family dog that can keep up with your athletic lifestyle
*You’re looking for a family dog with an easy-to-maintain coat

You should NOT get a Doberman Pinscher if…

*You can’t deal with a bold personality
*You have toddlers that can startle a Dobie
*You’re living in an area with Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL)
*You live in a noisy area

Still deciding? Here’s another video to help you assess if Dobies are for your family:

Raising a well-rounded Doberman Pinscher

For those who are planning to get a Dobie as a family dog, the following tips will help in raising these pooches as well-rounded canines:

*Early socialization is crucial

With a dog breed like Doberman Pinschers, you have to prioritize early socialization. This is to dampen their aggressive tendencies. Also, socializing a Dobie pup as early as possible increases their kid-friendliness.

Take note that you should also socialize a Dobie with other dogs aside from humans. This way, you can raise them in a multi-dog household.

You have to be very careful when introducing new dogs to a Doberman Pinscher. This is to prevent further aggression.

*Continuous training is necessary

With a strong-headed breed like Doberman Pinscher, training should be done continuously. This way, they will be a friendly doggo that will not cause harm to your family. Also, training is crucial so these pooches won’t develop negative behavior such as aggressive chewing and excessive barking.

Always impose the rules so your Dobie won’t challenge your authority at home.

*A strong leader is needed

Take note that Doberman Pinschers require a confident alpha. As the master, you always have to keep the upper hand so Dobies won’t try to reign over the household.

Expect Doberman Pinschers to challenge your authority, which you can fix by training and socializing them continuously. Make sure that the dog recognizes you as the master and not the other way around.

*Legal liabilities

Aside from focusing on the health and training needs of a Doberman, you should also know what your legal liabilities area. Some states and cities in the U.S. ban the ownership of ‘dangerous breeds’ like Doberman Pinschers, Pitbulls, Rottweilers, and so on.

Meanwhile, some areas will have more relaxed rules. Some only require the dog to be leashed when taken outdoors. Also, special documentation has to be accomplished before you can own a Dobie. This varies across BSL areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do Dobermans bark a lot?

A: Dobermans aren’t really barkers, but they will be vocal if they want to say something. Take note that this breed can have fierce behavior if they are threatened. They may also demand attention and bark to make it known.

Q: Do Dobermans like to cuddle?

A: Dobies are affectionate dogs, but don’t expect them to be lapdogs. This breed is athletic and always in the move. Still, they love to stay close and rest their heads on their owners’ lap. Some may appreciate cuddles, though each Dobie varies from another.

Q: How often do Dobermans need a bath?

A: In general, Dobermans need bathing every six to eight weeks. But if your pooch loves playing outdoors and gets dirty fast, you may bathe them more frequently.

Q: Do Dobermans like to swim?

A: Although Dobermans are guard dogs, their athletic side always unravels. Still, you shouldn’t force them into it as this dog has its own air of self-importance.

Q:  Will Dobermans get along well with cats?

A: Some Dobies won’t mind living with cats. However, most of them have a hard-wired hunting instinct. They love chasing after smaller animals, so cats may not be safe around them, especially tiny ones.

Final words

Are Doberman Pinschers good family dogs? If your family is active and in need of a guard dog, Dobies are unbeatable options. They are one of the bravest bunch and they will defend you come hell or high waters. Still, this breed isn’t for everyone. Make sure that you can handle its personality so the pooch will grow as a disciplined and safe canine. Also, always consider your home setup, your kids’ preference, and your lifestyle. The last thing you’d want to do is giving up the Dobie in a local shelter.