Are Dobermans Aggressive? An Expert's Perspective

Doberman Pinschers have a reputation for being intimidating and aggressive. However, this breed is instinctively protective rather than offensive or aggressive. Learn more about this breed's temperament from an expert.

Are Dobermans Aggressive? An Expert's Perspective

Doberman Pinschers have a reputation for being intimidating and aggressive, particularly with strangers. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that this breed was involved in nine deaths related to dog bites between 1979 and 1988, placing it sixth on the CDC list.


Doberman Pinschers are instinctively protective rather than offensive or aggressive. They only become aggressive when they feel threatened or are trying to protect their owners.

Dobermans are unique in that they were bred for one purpose only: to protect their human companions. Unlike the American pit bull terrier, which is known for biting and not letting go, Dobermans do the opposite. I have a five-year-old male Doberman named Fang, who I castrated at age four due to a mild prostate infection. Intact male Dobermans are more prone to prostate cancer, so I took the necessary precautions.

The European Doberman is much closer to Louis Dobermann's original dog than the American variant. I agree with the notion that Hollywood has created some unfair stereotypes about Dobermans, when in reality they are some of the most intelligent, sweet, and affectionate dogs in history. That said, Dobermans need their personal space to be respected and dominant Dobermans may not always want hugs or to give them. Although they have impressive abilities, they are unlikely to use them unless they feel threatened.

During my time consulting with Doberman owners, I have encountered some dogs that seem to be having a difficult time.The breeder warned me not to be too affectionate with Fang because Dobermans tend to become too attached to their people. However, I ignored this advice and have lavished him with love throughout his life; he wants to be with me every second! Louis never documented exactly which breeds he used to create the Doberman, but it is believed that he used a combination of the greyhound, Rottweiler, German shepherd, Great Dane, German Pinscher, English Pinscher, English greyhound, shorthaired shepherd, weimaraner, Beauceron, and black and tan terrier (which is now extinct but is an ancestor of the Manchester terrier). It is important not to get too angry at a Doberman as they can become scared or angry in response. No, Dobermans are not bad; they do have the capacity to be dangerous but this is rare and they are generally never aggressive without cause.

It is also important to note that Dobermans have a very strong bite and can apply up to 305 PSI of pressure through their jaws.