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Dobermans In Detail: 8-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 towards other dogs shall not be deemed viciousness.

The assessment of temperament begins with “reading” the dog’s eyes.  The dog should be interested, confident, and curious. The dog should feel good about himself.  When the Doberman stands on its own and when it moves you will see temperament.  A dog that acts like a robot or stares blindly at a piece of bait is not displaying true Doberman temperament.  Dogs are “only human” and do make mistakes, have feelings and emotions.  They may feel like “showing/ working/performing” one day and not another, just like the rest of us. In the ring, the Doberman should be allowed to show his personality, respond, react, and just be a Doberman.  We have a proud breed and require a very versatile temperament.

The judge shall dismiss from the ring any shy or vicious Doberman – the dog should be mentally sound and stable.  Neither of these should be tolerated.  This dog is too powerful to reward for poor temperament – if it’s not tolerated in the ring, the dogs won’t be bred and carry this on to future generations.

Shyness – A dog that moves while being examined should not be faulted if he recovers and can be examined with no trouble.  This is a breed that should react to things and behavior that may initially seem shy, could be that of surprise.  The dog should be socialized before attending shows.  If the dog can’t be examined without the assistance of the handler, he should not be in the ring – no matter what the age.  Even a dog with a very stable temperament can have a bad day.  Do NOT ever tolerate a shy dog under any conditions!

Viciousness – This is a breed where most males are not tolerant of other males (bitches can be this way too).  Dogs may try to make eye contact with other dogs, and “talk” to each other.  This is NOT viciousness, it is a Doberman.  If on the other hand, the dog acts threatening to a person or can’t be controlled, he will be disqualified from the ring.  If the dog is not under control, he will be excused or disqualified accordingly.


Click the following links to read more articles in  the “Dobermans in Detail” series:

Size, proportion &substance


Neck Topline and Body






Conclusion: test yourself

by Linka Krukar submitted by Marj Brooks