Select Page
Home 9 The Doberman 9 Breed History

Breed History

With its uncluttered look and symmetrical outline, the Doberman is uniquely a product of the 20th Century. Its short shiny coat, clipped ears and tail, superb structure and iron musculature, give the Doberman a trim appearance modern as tomorrow.

Outwardly simple, but inwardly complex, it is a mixture of many breeds, combining the fire and lightning reactions of the terrier with the power and intelligence of the guard and herding breeds. The Doberman was tailored for use in police and military work, and, to be a medium sized protector-companion in the home.

Originating in late 19th Century Germany of somewhat uncertain ancestry, its reputation for courage, loyalty and intelligence coupled with its aristocratic beauty, quickly made it popular in other lands, particularly the United States, where its growth had been fostered by careful selective breeding.

Dobermans, regardless of basic coat color, have a characteristic pattern of markings which ideally are a rust-red color. Its coat may be black, reddish brown, bluish gray or silvery beige. Its weight ranges from about 55 to 90 pounds and its height at the withers from 24 to 28 inches, males being larger than females.

The Doberman Pinscher derived its name from Louis Dobermann of Apolda, Thuringia, whose breeding experiments were reputedly involved in its early development. After his death in 1894, the Germans named the breed Dobermann-pinscher in his honor, but a half century later dropped the pinscher on the grounds that this German word for terrier was no longer appropriate. The British did the same thing a few years later. The Miniature Pinscher is not a miniature Doberman and the two breeds are not related.

There are no records, only speculation, as to the dogs which went into the creation of the original Doberman, but it is documented that crosses were made to two of the English breeds around the turn of the century, using the Black and Tan Manchester Terrier and the black English Greyhound, in order to improve the Doberman’s appearance. It is generally accepted as fact that the two German breeds, which played a major role in the Doberman’s ancestry were: the old German Shepherd, now extinct: and the German Pinscher – the ancestors of the Rottweiler and the Weimaraner.

The old German Shepherd contributed ruggedness, intelligence and physical and mental soundness, with the Pinscher adding the terrier fire and quick reaction time. The Weimaraner gave to the Doberman its hunting, retrieving and scenting capabilities, for the Weimar Pointer, as it was called, was an all purpose hunting dog. However, it was to the Rottweiler which the early Doberman strongly resembled, that the breed owes so much of its substance, bravery and reliable guarding ability.

The Doberman – History

1890 Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann (1834-1894) of
Apolda, Germany combines several breeds of dogs to create “Dobermann’s Pinschers”.

The Doberman breed was first registered with the American Kennel Club. It was not until 1922 that more than 100 were registered each year. In 1934, more than 1,000 were registered each year and in 1941 there were 1,637 Dobes registered and they were 15th in popularity amongst purebred dogs. Although there were not a great number of Dobes, they were the one breed that had been produced to be “police-soldier” dogs.

1921 Doberman Pinscher Club of America founded by George Earle III. You can learn much more about our founder by
clicking here.
1928 Ch. Big Boy of White Gate (owner/breeder Howard K. Mohr) wins the 1st Best in Show for an American-bred Doberman at the Rhode Island Kennel Club show.

Ch. Ferry v Raufelsen of Giralda (owner/breeder Mrs. M Hartley Dodge) is the first Doberman to win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club show


25 Marine War Dogs gave their lives liberating Guam. They served as sentries, messengers, and scouts.


Historic Newsreel recounts America’s invasion of the island of Okinawa, which proved to be one of the bloodiest engagements of WWII. Archival footage provided by The Military Network. This footage shows a brave Doberman.

1951 Enjoy Peggy Adamson with her “Tater’, Ch. Dictator v Glenhugel CD.

Also enjoy Ch. Emperor of Marienland:
Ch. Rancho Dobe’s Storm (grandson of Ch. Ferry v Raufelsen of Giralda [see above]; owner Len Carey breeder Brint/Vivian Edwards) wins back to back Best in Shows at Westminster. Shown here in 1952. For more Westminster winners, please
click here.

After Tess Henseler of vom Arthal Dobermans watched a performance by the Lippizaner horses of Vienna, she starts the Doberman Drill Team. Their performances include Madison Square Gardens in New York City at the Westminster Kennel Club show.

1970’s Mrs. Alvarez’s Doberman Drill Team toured the United States and Canada for nearly 30 years giving demonstrations at hospitals and public events.
1978 Am/Can Ch. OTCH Teraden’s Sweet Gypsy Rose ROM (owner Irene Quesnoy breeder Denyse Lee) is the first Doberman to achieve an obedience trial championship (OTCH).

Ch. Royal Tudor Wild as the Wind UDTX ROM (owner Arthur/Sue Korp Beth Wilhite breeder Beth Wilhite & Judy Bingham) wins Best in Show at Westminster. In 1988, Indy was also #1 dog all breeds. For more Westminster winners, please click here.

1992 Ch. Brunswig’s Cryptonite (owner Sam/Marion Lawrence breeder Robert/Phyllis Farrer) achieves 124 Best in Show awards. He remains the top winning Doberman in breed history.

“Always Faithful,” a memorial statue commissioned by the United Doberman Club is installed in Guam. It serves as a permanent remembrance of the courageous Dobermans that gave their lives in service to America and the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. The statue was created by accomplished sculptor, Susan Bahary.


Am./Can./Int. Ch. Wingate’s Leading Edge, Am./Can. CD, CDX, UD, CGC, TDI, ROM “Ryan” (owner Kathy Rambo breeder Jody Pidino Jan Reed) becomes first Doberman Pinscher in history to achieve Top 20 Status in both Conformation and Obedience in the same year. He wins the Top 20 Conformation Event in 1998. The Ryan Award inaugurated in 1999 to honor any dog who achieves this feat.



Ch. Toledobes Serenghetti (owner Richard/Sandra Johnson Howard/Huston Hedinger; breeder Sue Brown Judy Doniere Barb Randall ) leads working group dogs with 81 Group Firsts and 23 Best in Shows. She remains the “winningest” Doberman Pinscher bitch of all time with 99 Best in Shows.

2000 MACH6 Ravenswood Sunnysky Careveil CDX “Sunny” (owner Claire D’Andrea; breeder Carole Hoeker, Betty Clark) is the first Doberman to achieve a Master Agility Championship (MACH). She went onto complete this feat an amazing 6 times (MACH6).

Search and Rescue Dobermans assist at the World Trade Center attack Ground Zero. Shirley Hammond and her Dobe are captured in this photo.

2002 Ch. MACH Carosel Mexican Princess ROM (owner Rae A O’Leary; breeder Carol Petruzzo Janet Pomerantz Manolo Queljeiro) is the 1st Champion Doberman to earn a master agility championship (MACH).
2005 Cara’s Red Sasha, IPO 3
(owner/breeder Ray Carlisle), wins the IDC World Championship. She is the only Doberman bred on American soil to achieve this feat. During the same year Cara’s Top Shelf, SchH3, IPO3, placed fourth in the same competition and won the Italian Doberman Pinscher National. He is also the only American-bred Doberman to accomplish this.
2006 Ch. OTCH MACH Jaroe Steel Magnolia Alisaton UDX ROM “Smurf” (owner Mary Fitzgerald DVM Gwen DeMilta Grahm Swayze; breeder Jim/Roseanne Kelly) earns her third championship title, making her the first Doberman to have achieved the Triple Crown. She is a conformation (CH), obedience trial (OTCH) and master agility champion

The Doberman Pinscher Club of America celebrates the Doberman Pinscher, faithful Americans for 100 years.

(Ch. Marienburg’s Mary Hartman and Ch. Marienburg’s Sun Hawk bred/owned by Mary Rodgers)


MACH7 ADCH Thornwoods Flare CD MXF TQX TM WAC CGC TDI (owner Yvonne Mancino; breeder Sharon Stimpfle) is the first Doberman to earn her Master Agility Championship seven (7) times. By the fall of 2011, Flare was a MACH9!!!


CT Wingate ‘N Sherluck’s Vanadium WAC TDX VST “Vada” (owner Jan Plagenz; breeder Jody Huston Faye/Gary Strauss) becomes the first Doberman to be awarded the Champion Tracker title. To be a “champion tracker” a dog must hold 3 tracking titles – TD (tracking dog), TDX (tracking dog excellent), and VST (variable surface tracking).


Ch. Catawba’s Take no Prisoners CD ROM SchHI (breeder/owner Susan Miller) is the first Best in Show CD ROM Doberman to obtain a Schutzhund I title.


CH MACH D’Tales Vivala Ignition Redlaur NF ROM (owned by Connie Apling; breeder Laurie Gott and Stephanie Rudich) is the first Doberman to qualify for both the Top 20 conformation (2008) and Top 20 agility (2011)

2013 CH MACH Pajant’s Silent Power Alisaton CDX RE MXS MJB XF T2B TDI TT CGC ROM (owned by Carol Witt and Barbara Hall) is the first Male Doberman to be a dual Champion. He earned his conformation championship in 2009 and his Master Agility Championship (MACH) in 2013.

Ch. OTCH Platinum’s Black Again RN UDX6 OGM is the first Doberman to earn the Obedience Grand Master title. Jessi is owned by Sue & Art Korp.

2016 CT Wingate ‘N Sherluck’s Vanadium GO UDX VST MX MXJ VCD4 WAC “Vada” (owner Jan Plagenz; breeder Jody Huston, Faye/Gary Strauss) becomes the first Doberman to be awarded the VCD4 title. To earn the VCD4 title, the dog must reach the 4th level in each the obedience (Utility Dog Excellent), tracking (Variable Surface Tracker), and agility (Master Agility Excellent, Master Agility Jumper) venues.
CH CT MACH OTCH ADAMAS Dancing Silver Star UDX4, OM5, MXB, MJB, XF, VCD4, RN, CA, DJ, CGC, TKP, ROM “Dance” (owners Kathy McLemore and Elizabeth Barrett; breeder Elizabeth Barrett) becomes the first Quadruple champion. Dance is a Conformation Champion, Champion Tracker, Master Agility Champion AND Obedience Trial Champion.


George Earle III

How many of you know about the founder of our club? George Howard Earle III was born on December 5, 1890 in Pennsylvania. He grew up on a Montgomery County estate as the son of a wealthy family that traced its lineage back to the arrival of the Mayflower. According to Wikipedia :

“He received a degree from Harvard University and subsequentlygeorge-earle worked abroad in a family-owned sugar business. Upon US entry into World War I, he enlisted in the military. He earned the Navy Cross in 1918 after averting a fatal explosion when a munitions ship under his command caught fire. After the war, Earle returned to private business and became active in the Democratic Party, despite his family’s Republican roots. In 1932, he was appointed as Ambassador to Austria in the Roosevelt administration.”

According to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission : Earle became the leading choice for Democratic leaders – Earle’s deep family roots linked to distinguished Pennsylvanians and colonialists, his success as a businessman and war hero, and an athletic appearance appealed to voters. Earle was also known as a sportsman. He was captain of the All-Philadelphia Polo Team that won a national championship in 1930. He was also a hunter, fisherman, and a breeder of dogs.

Earle was elected to serve as the 30th Governor of Pennsylvania and held that office from January 15, 1935 until January 17, 1939.

In 1944, President Roosevelt assigned Earle to compile information on the Katyn massacre, the massacre of the Polish intelligentsia by the Soviet government. Earle’s subsequent report that the Soviet Union was guilty was suppressed by Roosevelt who was convinced that Nazi Germany was to blame.

Doberman History

In 1921, during a meeting at the Westminster Kennel Club, George Earle and a group of Doberman fanciers got together and formed the Doberman Pinscher Club of America. In 1922, they adopted the Standard for the breed set up by the Germans and this standard was kept under 1935 when the first American Standard was implemented and approved by the AKC.

Throughout the 1920’s and ‘30’s, the popularity of the Doberman Pinscher began to escalate in the United States and there was a heavy demand from American fanciers for German Siegers and Siegerins especially when they were proven producers. In 1921, George Earle led the way by acquiring Ch. Lord v. d Horstburg for his Red Roof Kennels along with several good German bitches. Lord was the top-winning Doberman at Westminster in 1922.


George Howard Earle III died on December 30, 1974 at the age of 84. He was married to Jacqueline Sacre of Belgium, who was his second wife, and they had a daughter and a son. The son, Ambassador Ralph Earle II, followed in his father’s footsteps with a career in politics. He was director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and served as chief negotiator at the SALT II talks on nuclear disarmament on behalf of the United States.

It was through the efforts of George Howard Earle III that the DPCA was born and we are forever proud of his accomplishments in life and on our behalf. To find out more about the distinguished life of our founder, please visit the sites below.