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Let's start our comparison with the origins of these breeds.

The Doberman originated in Germany in the 19th century. We can thank tax collector Louis Dobermann, resident of Apolda, Germany, for the creationing this wonderful working breed. Louis Dobermann's job was a dangerous one, and as a tax collector, his presence was rarely welcomed. So, he set out to breed an intelligent and imposing breed to accompany him during his rounds. A few other breeds went into creating this canine masterpiece, including a "black and tan terrier," German Pinscher, Rottweiler, and some smooth-coated herding dogs. To this day, the Doberman Pinscher is one of the very few dog breeds developed for serving as a human personal protection dog.

The German Shepherd, on the other hand, was created in the 1800s when German cavalry officer, Captain Max von Stephanitz, made it his mission to create a superior herding dog for "tending", which is a type of herding where the dog acts as a living fence to keep livestock in one location. He and others aligned with this goal searched all over Germany and brought together some of the finest native herding dogs for the cause. Von Stephanitz spent 35 years refining and getting the breed into the limelight. The German Shepherd was wonderful, serving its original purpose. But after a time when the breed found itself jobless, thanks to modernization, it quickly found its way into other roles such as law enforcement and military work.

The German Shepherd and Doberman are two very distinct breeds, let us discuss.

The Doberman is also a reasonably easy breed to spot, even by someone who doesn't possess a vast knowledge of dog breeds. They are a tall, muscular, and elegant dog that screams athleticism. With a long muzzle, that looks like a blunt wedge. Usually, their ears are cropped, and their tails docked to give them a more sleek and imposing appearance. Though docking in cropping is becoming illegal in many parts of the world, and we see more Dobermans with a long tail and their natural floppy ears. There is also some disparity between American and European lines, with American lines being more slender and streamlined, while European Lines being more muscular and robust. The Doberman traditionally comes in black and tan. There are other colours within the breed, even if they aren't accepted in the breed standard such as, such as blue and rust, Isabella, red and rust, all black, white, and albino.

The GSD has a long, narrow muzzle with a scissor-like bite. Tall, alert, erect ears. This is a muscular, athletic dog with graceful movements. Its body takes on a more rectangular shape as it is longer than it is tall. They come in two different fur lengths, long-coated and standard coated. Initially, the breed came in a multitude of colours. Today the colours accepted for the German Shepherd include black and tan, black and red, sable, and black. Outside of accepted colour standards, we can find GSDs who are white, liver, fawn, Isabella, grey, black and silver, and brindle is now reappearing thanks to a genetic mutation in some lines.

What are the temperament differences between the German Shepherd and the Doberman?

Temperament can vary between the two different lines of Dobermans. Americans are less of a working dog and have a gentler disposition. While European lines are bred more for work and have higher-drives, they typically have more stamina and can be considered braver than their American counterparts. However, the breed overall is loyal, fearless, alert, and intelligent. This breed is not one to try anything funny with. They are incredibly strong, both mentally and physically.

Working line German Shepherds such as eastern German working lines, western german working lines, and Czech lines tend to be more on the intense side. This also includes more of a desire to work and higher drives. In contrast, show lines and pet lines tend to be a little more on the gentle side. However, the German Shepherd as a whole is intelligent, willing, courageous, and fiercely loyal. Sadly, it can be incredibly challenging to find a german shepherd with good temperament as a family companion, with the introduction of more higher-drive animals and bad breeding practices, nervousness that has cropped up in the breed.

What are the differences in Intelligence?

The Doberman is smart. And not just smart, really smart. On dog breed intelligence rankings, they don't fall far behind the German Shepherd and typically come in around number five on the ranking chart. This breed requires a top-notch canine leader to be at the helm, and like the German Shepherd, an ill-prepared owner might find themselves being owned by their Doberman as opposed to the other way around. This breed was created to be a personal protection dog, so it can also be very protective of its owners.

The GSD is considered one of the world's smartest dogs and comes in at number three on the breed ranking for most intelligent breeds. The German Shepherd is one of the most popular and widely used dogs breeds. Owners of this breed need to stay vigilant and stay one step ahead of this smart canine. Even experienced owners may sometimes find themselves outsmarted by their German Shepherd.

Which of these two breeds is more trainable?

The Doberman has high trainability. This is a biddable breed that lives and breathes to please its people. Obedience is an absolute must with this breed given their smarts and temperament, and with their eagerness and desire to learn, this can be a relatively easy task as the breed can quickly grasp new concepts. The Doberman can also excel in a variety of work, including military, police work, Schutzhund, personal protection work, agility, and service dogs.

The GSD is one of the most trainable breeds in the world. On top of being able to learn incredibly advance obedience skills they also find themselves in an incredibly wide variety of fields such as herding, agility, Schutzhund, personal protection, service work, scent work, bomb detection, police work, military work, therapy dogs, obedience, rally, dock diving and many, many more.

Which has more energy, the GSD or the Doberman?

The two variations of Doberman's can have different exercise requirements. American lines being very active dogs but less demanding than European lines. European lines are not for the faint of heart or lazy of soul. They need a structured activity that resembles a job to keep them content and stop them from becoming destructive companions.

Overall, this breed is a fairly active one though most do have an "off-switch." Though there is some disparity between lines with working lines being much more active and intense. As they are working dogs, they require a lot of physical stimulation. They will need a long walk and a play session each day to keep them from using destructive behaviors to sate their need for physical stimulation.

How do they compare when it comes to health and life expectancy?

Doberman's tend to live anywhere from 10-12 years. The breed possesses a large, unpleasant list of health issues, including Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, dilated cardiomyopathy, von Willebrand's disease, and progressive retinal atrophy, albinism, hypothyroidism, Chondrodysplasia, Chondrodystrophy and IVDD risk, and Degenerative Myelopathy.

The life expectancy of a german shepherd is between seven and ten years, and the breed has a long list of health problems. Health problems known with the breed are, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Bloat, Degenerative Myelopathy, Hyperuricosuria, Multidrug Sensitivity, and Von Willebrand's Disease Type I. Blue colored GSDs can also suffer from Colour dilution alopecia which can cause hair loss.

What about social needs?

The Doberman has a very heightened need for social activity with its owner. A Doberman will never be far from its owner's side and enjoy accompanying their people wherever they go. A Doberman is probably one of the worst dog breed choices to remain outside and without human interaction for long periods. This breed is often so in tune with its people that they can become over sensitive and even become sick to their stomachs if there is stress or arguing in the household.

The German Shepherd is also a people-oriented dog. They want nothing more than to be with their people and to serve them. Loyal is an understatement. This breed does not do well being left on their own for extended periods. They will be devoted to the whole family but often pick one person who is their favorite and bond with.

How do they do with children?

Dobermans can be one of the best breeds around children if the individual is well-bred and have grown up with them or have had heavy socialization. This breed's world revolves around its people, even new additions to the family. Around children, these dogs can be calm, incredibly patient, and kind.

The German Shepherd is typically a good dog to have around children if they are raised with them. Though, they can be energetic in their younger years and may accidentally knock over young children. A German Shepherd should always have maximum opportunities to get socialization with children, which will just ensure any bad behaviors do not develop.

Next, let's talk about how these two breeds do with small animals.

Like most guarding breeds, the Doberman does have a prey drive. It can have instincts to chase after and capture small animals if raised with them and socialized well with little critters. They can take on a very calm, gentle, and patient mindset as they do with children they know well.

GSDs can be very tolerant of small animals, primarily when raised with them. However, it is imperative to do a proper introduction between a German Shepherd and a new small animal. As some GSDs will be okay with one kind of small animal, like cats, but have issues with another, such as chickens.

Finally, what are they like around other dogs?

Dobermans may be suspicious of strange dogs but tend to do well with other dogs in the household. Given have received consistent socialization and direction from their human leader. Though, it has been documented that some individuals in the breed can be same-sex intolerant.

German Shepherds do incredibly well with other dogs, given they were raised with them or had proper socialization with other canines from a young age. However, like the Doberman, some individuals are intolerant of other dogs of the same gender.


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