DISCUSSION of the AKC STANDARD
GENERAL APPEARANCE---The appearance is that of a dog of medium size, with a body that is square. Compactly built, muscular and powerful, for great endurance and speed. Elegant in appearance, of proud carriage, reflecting great nobility and temperament. Energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient.
DISCUSSION—Medium size and compactly
built. This is a fundamental breed characteristic. The Doberman
does not have a size disqualification, but to maintain a medium size dog,
with the correct bone, substance and muscle we have a top of 28” for dogs
and 26” for bitches. The Doberman must also be built for speed and should
not be heavy or cumbersome. Neither should they be refined and spindly.
Though powerful and muscular, they must also be elegant and noble in appearance.
This does not mean refined by any means, but it is the overall flow of
graceful lines or curves. No abrupt stop from neck to shoulders,
to the tail, which is a continuation of the spine. Balance is the
key word when describing the Doberman. The well-laid shoulders and
upper arm should balance the strong rear angles. The Doberman is
a one-piece dog and no one part of the anatomy is more or less important
than the other, except where mouth disqualifications are an issue.
The hair is hard, short, and shiny and the body is solid and muscular, not fat and lumpy or thin and slack. The coat and skin seems as if the dog has been poured into it.
Watchful—The dog should be aware of what is going on. Once the Judge has approached from the front the first time, the dog will then pay little attention unless approached from the rear, he may flick his ears, or turn his head as if to say, “what are you doing back there?” He should in no case shy or back off from the judge. By the same token, a Doberman should never be aggressive or make any attempt to growl or snap at the judge. If this might happen (which would be highly unusual) the dog should be dismissed immediately from further competition. A Doberman is usually one of the most stable dogs of any breed to judge and any bad behavior is not to be tolerated.
Determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient are the combined characteristics that go into making up the Doberman and by reading the eyes of the animal you can see all these qualities on first inspection.
The temperament of this breed is of paramount importance. Any dog of this size must be controllable and totally stable. The Doberman sizes up a situation and reacts accordingly. He is not a pussycat by any means, but is not a loaded shotgun that will go off unexpectedly.
When judging our breed, the Judge should approach from the front and while not staring into the eyes, make a quick eye contact and walk up to him. Be firm when going over the dog as a light, cautious, hand will cause suspicion. Learn how to examine a mouth fast and expertly. Practice on your own dog at home. Most all of our Dobes are trained from puppyhood to have the mouth examined so they should present little problem. When examining the Dobe, be quick and do not massage them. You can see what you are looking for. You should not hover over him and reach over from the front to feel shoulders etc. Neither should you EVER kneel in front or behind the dog when examining.
SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE—Height at withers: Dogs 26 to 28 inches, ideal about 27 ½ inches: Bitches 24 to 26 inches, ideal about 26 ½ inches. The height, measured vertically from the ground to the highest point of the withers, equaling the length measured horizontally from the forechest to the rear projection the upper thigh. Length of head, necks, and legs in proportion to length and depth of body.
DISCUSSION: To apply this, you should picture the ideal substance in relation to the height of the dog. The taller the dog, the more substance is required. You should have an estimated vision of the ideal size of the Doberman. Straight shoulders, lack of brisket, finer bone, long neck can make a dog appear taller than it really is. The same holds true of a dog of ideal size that has adequate bone and substance but sandwiched between two larger dogs will appear too small. A very tall person can make a dog look smaller and a short person can make a dog appear taller. Many judges use a spot on their pants or skirt to make a determination of size. Again, practice so you can quickly evaluate if an animal is too tall or two small. Since we have a 2-inch spread in either sex, it gives enough room to a correct size. While a ¼ inch either way on a dog that has many good qualities, a dog that is an inch over or under the standard does not fit “type” in our breed. No dog one-inch over the top end of our standard should be awarded a blue ribbon. Rarely will you come across a 29 plus dog or a 27 plus bitch without it looking so different in the ring. A dog or bitch on the smaller end of the scale is not as much of a problem. They are usually not seen in the ring in the adult classes. Do not let size be your total determination of an otherwise quality animal.
HEAD—Long and dry, resembling
a blunt wedge in both frontal and profile views. When seen from the
front, the head widens gradually toward the base of the ears in a practically
unbroken line. Eyes almond shaped, moderately deep set, with vigorous,
energetic expression. Iris of uniform color, ranging from medium
to darkest brown in black dogs; in reds, blues, and fawns the color of
the iris blends with that of the markings, the deepest shade being preferable
in every case.
Ears normally cropped and carried erect. The upper attachment of the ear, when held erect is on a level with the top of the skull. / Top of skull flat, turning with slight stop to bridge of muzzle, with muzzle line extending parallel to top line of skull. Cheeks flat and muscular. Nose solid black on black dogs, dark brown on red ones, dark gray on blue ones, dark tan on fawns. Lips lying close to jaws. Jaws full and powerful, well filled under the eyes. Teeth strongly developed and white. Lower incisors upright and touching inside of upper incisors-a true scissors bite. 42 correctly placed teeth. 22 in the lower. 20 in the upper jaw. Distemper teeth shall not be penalized.
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS: OVERSHOT
MORE THAN 3/16 OF AN INCH. UNDERSHOT MORE THAN 1/8 th. OF AN
INCH. FOUR OR MORE MISSING TEETH.
NECK, TOPLINE, BODY—NECK proudly carried well muscled and dry. Well arched, with nape of neck widening gradually toward body. Length of neck proportioned to body and head.
WITHERS pronounced and forming
the highest point of the body. BACK short, firm, of sufficient width,
and muscular at the loins extending in a straight line from withers to
the slightly rounded croup.
CHEST broad with forechest well defined. RIBS well sprung from the spine, but flattened in lower end to permit elbow clearance. BRISKET reaching deep to the elbow. BELLY well tucked up extending in a curved line from the brisket. LOINS wide and muscled. HIPS broad and in proportion to body, breadth of hips being approximately equal to breadth of body at rib cage and shoulders. TAIL docked at approximately second joint, appears to be a continuation of the spine, and is carried only slightly above horizontal when the dog is alert.
DISCUSSION—THE NECK IS PROPORTIONAL
IN LENGTH TO THE HEAD AND BODY. IT SHOULD BE CLEAN AND STRONG AND
DRY, WITH WELL-ARCHED NAPE, WIDENING GRADUALLY TOWARD THE BODY. THIS
GRADUAL WIDENING INSURES STRENGTH AND SHOULD BE PRESENT.
THE WITHERS ARE PRONOUNCED AND FORM THE HIGHEST POINT OF THE BODY. THE PROCESSES OF THE SPINE EXTEND UPWARD AND FORM THE HOOKS FOR THE MUSCLES OF THE FRONT LEG ASSEMBLY. THEY FORM THE STRUCTURE OF THE WITHERS AND GIVE IT ITS GENERAL SHAPE.
THE BACK IS STRAIGHT, AND FIRM. IT EXTENDS IN A STRAIGHT LINE FROM THE WITHERS TO THE SLIGHTLY ROUNDED CROUP. THE BACK IS NOT SLOPING, BUT LEVEL. IT IS BOTH FLAT AND WIDE. THE CROUP BEGINS WITH THE HIP BONES AND EXTENDS BACK. THE HIPBONE COMES OFF THE SPINE AT A 30-DEGREE ANGLE, BUT THE SPINE CONTINUES IN A STRAIGHT LINE THROUGH THE TAIL. THE TAIL APPEARS AS A CONTINUATION OF THE SPINE AND IS CARRIED ONLY SLIGHTLY ABOVE HORIZONTAL. IT SHOULD BE CARRIED NO HIGHER THAN AT THE ONE O'CLOCK POSITION. A TAIL CARRIED STRAIGHT UP AT THE TWELVE O'CLOCK POSITION IS FAULTY. A FLAT CROUP CAUSES THE TAIL TO BE SET THIS HIGH. LIKEWISE A STEEP CROUP AND LOW TAILSET IS EQUALLY FAULTY.
THE LOIN IS WIDE AND STRONG AND ONLY SLIGHTLY NARROWER THAN THE BODY.
THE WIDTH OF THE BODY IS POINTED OUT IN THE STANDARD. BY VIEWING THE DOG FROM THE REAR, YOU WILL SEE IF THE BREADTH OF HIPS, RIBSPRING, AND SHOULDERS ARE EQUAL. YOU SHOULD ALSO OBSERVE THE BREADTH LOOKING DOWN OVER THE TOP OF THE DOG.
THE CHEST IS BROAD AND WELL DEFINED
IN PROFILE AS WELL AS VIEWED FROM THE FRONT. WHEN VIEWED FROM THE
SIDE, IF FROM THE NECK DOWN IS A STRAIGHT LINE, THEN THE DOG DOES NOT HAVE
THE CORRECT LAYBACK OF SHOULDER AND UPPER ARM TO PROVIDE THE CORRECT FRONT.
THE BRISKET SHOULD BE TO THE ELBOW WHETHER ON A PUPPY OR AN ADULT.
THE RIBS ARE WELL SPRUNG AND SHOULD FORM A FULL, BROAD CAGE, BUT FLATTENED IN THE LOWER END TO PERMIT ELBOW TO MOVE EASILY. THE BELLY IS WELL TUCKED, BUT SHOULD NOT BE ‘HERRING GUTTED.” IT SHOULD CURVE GRADUALLY TO THE LOIN. THE TAIL CARRIAGE, ONLY SLIGHTLY ABOVE HORIZONTAL. WHAT IS CORRECT FOR A BOXER IS TOTALLY INCORRECT FOR A DOBERMAN. AN EXHIBITOR WITHOUT CAUSING THE DOG DISCOMFORT CANNOT SHOVE A CORRECT TAIL UP TO A TWELVE O'CLOCK POSITION. YOU CAN SEE THE CORRECT CARRIAGE WHEN THE DOG IS MOVING.
FORQUARTERS—Shoulder Blade sloping forward and downward at a 45-degree angle to the ground meets the upper arm at an angle of 90 degrees. Length of shoulder blade and upper arm are equal. Height from elbow to withers approximately equals height from the ground to elbow. Legs seen from front and side, perfectly straight and parallel to each other from elbow to pastern; muscled and sinewy, with heavy bone. In normal pose and when gaiting, the elbows lie close to the brisket. Pasterns firm and almost perpendicular to the ground. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet well-arched, compact and catlike turning neither in nor out.
DISCUSSION—THE DESIRED FRONT
ASSEMBLY CALLED FOR IN THE STANDARD IS A DOBERMAN WITH A 45 DEGREE LAYBACK
AND 90 DEGREE ANGLE. THIS IS HARD TO ACHIEVE, BUT IT IS SEEN AT TIMES.
THE STRAIGHTER SHOULDER IS MORE COMMONLY SEEN, BUT SHOULD BE PENALIZED
TO THE EXTENT OF THE DEVIATION FROM THE IDEAL. THE CORRECTLY ANGULATED
SHOULDER AND UPPER ARM MAY LOOK DIFFERENT FROM THE MORE UPRIGHT ASSEMBLY,
BUT THIS IS WHAT WE STRIVE FOR IN OUR BREED.
IMAGINE DROPPING A STRAIGHT LINE FROM HIGH POINT OF THE SHOULDER BLADE. IDEALLY IT SHOULD REACHES THE GROUND JUST BEHIND THE FRONT FOOT, THE UPPER ARM AND SHOULDER ARE USUALLY EQUAL IN LENGTH. IF IT DROPS QUITE A BIT BEHIND THE FRONT FOOT, IT MEANS THE UPPER ARM IS SHORTER THAN THE SHOULDER BLADE. IF IT REACHES THE GROUND IN FRONT OF THE FRONT FOOT, THE SHOULDER IS SHORTER THAN THE UPPER ARM.
THE PASTERN APPEARS PERPENDICULAR FROM PROFILE, BUT IS SLIGHTLY BENT. THIS IS NECESSARY TO ABSORB THE SHOCK OF THE GAIT. THE PASTERNS SHOULD BE SHORT AND STRONG WITH NO INCLINATION TO KNUCKLE OVER OR BOW. NEITHER SHOULD IT BE LONG AND SLOPING BACK.
FEET ARE WELL ARCHED, CATLIKE AND COMPACT. THEY SHOW NO TENDENCY TO TURN OUT OR IN WHEN STANDING OR MOVING. THE TOES ARE TIGHT SHORT AND STRONG AND WELL UP ON THEIR PADS.
HINDQUARTERS—The angulation of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. Hipbones falls away from the spinal column at an angle of about 30 degrees, producing a slightly rounded, well filled-out croup. Upper Shanks at right angles to the hip bones are long, wide, and well muscled on both sides of thigh, with clearly defined stifles. Upper and lower shanks are of equal length. While the dog is at rest, hock to heel is perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, the legs are straight, parallel to each other, and wide enough apart to fit in with a properly built body. Dewclaws, if any, are generally removed. Cat feet as on front legs, turning neither in nor out.
DISCUSSION—IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT
THE HINDQUARTERS BALANCE THE FOREQUARTERS. THE IDEAL IS TO HAVE HIP
BONES THAT FALL AWAY FROM THE SPINAL COLUMN AT 30 DEGREES. THE HIPBONE
SLANTS DOWNWARD AND ENDS FORMING WHAT THE STANDARD REFERS TO AS THE REAR
PROJECTION OF THE UPPER THIGH. THE UPPER SHANKS ATTACH TO THE HIPBONE
AND FALL AWAY AT A 90 DEGREE ANGLE. THE UPPER SHANKS ARE LONG AND
WIDE. THEY ARE WELL MUSCLED ON BOTH SIDES OF THE THIGH.
THE UPPER AND LOWER SHANKS ARE OF EQUAL LENGTH.
THE HOCKS ARE PERPENDICULAR TO THE GROUND. WHILE THE STANDARD DOES NOT MENTION ITS LENGTH, WE DO NOT WANT A LONG HOCK AND THIS WOULD SEVERELY AFFECT THE MOVEMENT. THEY SHOULD BE LET DOWN SUFFICIENTLY TO BALANCE THE ANGULATION.
THE STIFLES ARE CLEARLY DEFINED. WE DO NOT WANT A STRAIGHT STIFLE, NOR DO WE WANT AN OVERANGULATED REAR, SET FAR BEHIND THE REAR PROJECTION OF THE HIPS.
THE CROUP SHOULD BE SLIGHTLY SLOPING. IF PROPERLY SLANTED FROM THE HIP BONES AT THE 30 DEGREE ANGLE, THE TAIL CARRIAGE WILL BE CORRECT. IF THE CROUP IS TOO FLAT AND STEEP, THE TAIL CARRIAGE WILL BE MORE OF A GAY TAIL CARRIED AT THE TWELVE O'CLOCK POSITION. IF THE CROUP IS TOO STEEP, THE TAIL CARRIAGE WILL BE TOO LOW. THIS ALSO ALTERS THE GAIT OF THE DOG IN THE REAR. IF THE CROUP IS FLAT, THERE WILL BE NO DRIVE AND MORE OF A ROTARY MOTION. IF CROUP FALLS OFF THE DOG WILL MOVE UNDER HIMSELF AND WILL NOT EXTEND BACK FOR THE DRIVE.
COAT—Smooth-haired, short, hard, thick and close lying. Invisible gray undercoat on neck permissible.
COLOR AND MARKINGS—Allowed Colors: Black, red, blue, fawn (Isabella). Markings: Rust, sharply defined, appearing above each eye and on muzzle, throat and forechest, on all legs and feet, and below tail. White patch on chest, not exceeding ½ square inch, permissible.
DISQUALIFYING FAULT: DOGS NOT OF AN ALLOWED COLOR
DISCUSSION: The Doberman
comes in four colors each with rust markings. The red is actually
a reddish brown and may vary in shades from a chocolate (which is seldom
seen anymore) to almost a lighter auburn shade. Occasionally they
will be sun bleached. The blue is a bluish gray, but may very from
a very dark color to almost a light silvery gray.
The fawn or (Isabella) color is not what you see in a fawn Dane or Boxer.
It is more a silvery beige, camel, palomino, or Weimaraner colored.
Again the tone varies. The best way to describe both the blues and
fawns would be a red or black that have rolled in the dust. It has
a slight “dusty” appearance. Occasionally these colors, since they
are diluted shades of blacks and reds, will be presented with scant hair.
Some maintain a lovely coat, but it is a problem with these colors.
The markings may not be as deep rust as on the Blacks and reds, but they should not be washed out or straw colored either. The rust markings on all ideally would be deep rust. On the chest the rosettes should be distinct, as should all the markings, but not so splash as to look like a banner across the chest. Neither should they be so dark that they are hardly visible. Markings on face, which are very dark, take on a sinister look. These are more toward melanistic.
A solid colored Doberman with no markings is not subject to Disqualification, however it is seldom seen and one wonders if the dog is of pure breeding. No dog such as this should receive a ribbon for lack of merit. A dog that is Albinistic, white or parti-colored is disqualified.
Coat texture, length, and quantity should be a short, hard and thick. If you run your hand backward on the top, it should immediately return to position. A thin coat is evident as the skin shows through.
When judging for correct markings, if the first thing you notice when viewing the dog is its markings, something is wrong. Likewise if you have to search to find markings that is also wrong.
GAIT—Free balanced, and vigorous, with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. When trotting, there is strong rear action drive. Each rear leg moves in line with the foreleg on the same side. Rear and front legs are thrown neither in nor out. Back remains strong and firm. When moving at a fast trot, a properly built dog will single track.
DISCUSSION—To view the gait of the
Doberman, it requires views from 3 positions. Straight away from
the judge, coming straight in to the judge and moving in profile to the
The dog should single track. The standard calls for the rear leg to move in line with the front leg on the same side. This is a confusing sentence and infers a pacing gait. Of course this is not what we want. It just means that the opposite rear foot replaces the track of the front foot. Any flipping pastern, toeing in or out, elbows popping out, crossing over, wide tracking, hocking in or out are all faulty and are seen on the down and back. Crabbing may or may not be faulty structure. As this is a breed that is baited, many dogs are watching for the bait and will swing their rears out to the side. Tell the handler to put his free hand behind him and re-gait to see if it straightens out. On the side gait, you look for a dog maintaining a firm level topline, very good reach and drive correct head and tail carriage. As a working breed with correct angulation and balance, the dog will move with the head slightly lower then when standing to maximize his reach.
The properly built Doberman will not mince or prance or take quick short steps. It is a galloping breed, but since we can't see this movement in the ring, we must assess his movement at the trot. This is a dog that should be able to maintain his gait for long periods without breaking down or tiring. The back is flexible over the loin, but has no slack or roach while moving. A properly Built Doberman should have no problems moving from any angle.
TEMPERAMENT—Energetic, watchful, determined, alert, fearless, loyal and obedient. The judge shall dismiss from the ring any shy or vicious Doberman.
Shyness: 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.
Viciousness: A dog that attacks or attempts to attack either the judge or its handler, is definitely vicious. An aggressive or belligerent attitude toward other dogs shall not be deemed viciousness.
DISCUSSION—When the Doberman first came to America, they were judged by looks only and not by “hands on” as many were too tough to approach or examine. After WW11, Doberman fanciers demanded that any Doberman stand for examination without acting shy or vicious, or be disqualified. This meant that the American Dobermans had to accept strangers approaching and handling them, as the judge deemed necessary. Now, many years later, most all Dobermans behave well and are expertly handled.
Do not talk to the dog on approach,
as this is cause for the Doberman to be suspicious. He has been trained
to stand, have his mouth examined, and gone over. Talking to the
dog is not to be encouraged. By the same token, kneeling in front
or behind the dog is not proper either. Again, examine the dog with
a firm hand, but do not bounce or massage the dog. Your hands should
quickly go over him without feeling every part.
An exam such as this will be easy for the judge, as well as the dog. Pay attention to a handler who feeds the dog just before your approach. These dogs are taught to bait with passion and a the judge placing a hand in front of the mouth may cause the dog to possible grab the hand thinking it has bait in it. You can tell the handler to put away bait until you have finished the mouth exam.
Occasionally a puppy at its first show may be somewhat timid of its surroundings. You may want to give it a second try for examination. If it refuses to stand, or runs behind the handler, you must excuse it.
If a Doberman growls, excuse it immediately. Do not try for a second chance. These dogs give a warning and they mean it. Don't push your luck. If it would snap or bite you or the handler, disqualify it immediately; do not give it a second chance. These are powerful dogs and can do damage. The Doberman temperament is one of the best of all breeds in and out of the ring. You expect a stable dog. Do not put up for a moment with an unstable Doberman. You can see the look in the eyes if they are going to be trouble. It is extremely rare, but it can happen that one does not have the correct temperament.
FAULTS—The foregoing description
is that of the ideal Doberman Pinscher. Any deviation from the above
described dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation.
DISQUALIFICATIONS—Overshot more than 3/16 of an inch, undershot 1/8 of an inch. Four or more missing teeth. Dogs not of an allowed color.
OVERVIEW—When judging a class of
one or several Dobermans, stand in the middle of the ring to view the overall
balance of the dog. Once you have individually examined and gaited
the dog, as it comes back to you, let it stand freely without the aid of
the handler setting it up. You will see the dog as he is, and not
as a cleaver handler can mold.
We have not discussed showmanship. The Doberman is a show dog and is a beautiful sight to behold. He exudes energy and elegance; bone and substance. He is the epitome of an athlete. Many have gone on to become “the dog to beat” in Group and Best In Show competition. He is all there. No coat to hide faults. As a companion he is what all owners feel is the best. These dogs are most all house pets, and their devotion is next to none. We hope you enjoy your judging of them as we enjoy owning them.
SUBMITTED AND WRITTEN BY JUDY DONIERE
The Doberman Standard approved February
Reformatted November 6, 1990