Doberman vs Pitbull – it shouldn’t be a fight.
The Doberman and Pitbull have both endured a bad reputation for aggression over the years.
However, raised and handled correctly, both dogs make loyal and loving pets.
The Doberman is the much larger of the two, but also generally easier to train, and more reliable with other pets.
Choosing Between Doberman vs Pitbull
But which one should you choose?
Here we compare their appearance and temperament, how they are to train, their exercise requirements, and health issues.
First, let’s find out the history of both the Doberman and the Pitbull to have a better understanding of these two breeds.
Doberman vs Pitbull History
The Doberman is from Apolda, Germany, bred and developed during the 1800s by a tax collector named Louis Dobermann.
Dobermann required an intelligent but tough dog who could provide protection during his rounds in dangerous neighborhoods.
As Dobermann ran a local dog shelter, he had access to a wide variety of breeds.
Many believe the Doberman developed from a mixture of short-haired shepherd dogs, Rottweilers, black and tan terriers, Weimaraners, and Greyhounds.
The German Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1900 followed by the AKC in 1908.
The Pitbull can trace its ancestry back to the start of 19th century England where bull and terrier breeds gained popularity for bull baiting.
When these inhumane blood sports became illegal in 1835, they were replaced by dog fighting contests.
Aggression was bred into these dogs, but combined with the trait of not wanting to bite humans, so that handlers could safely break up fights.
Many Pitbulls accompanied immigrants to the USA, used on farms for both protection and companionship.
In 1898, the breed was named American Pitbull Terrier by the United Kennel Club.
The name was changed to American Staffordshire Terrier by the AKC during the 1930s to disconnect them from their fighting past.
Doberman vs Pitbull Appearance
We have looked at their past, but how do the two breeds compare when it comes to appearance?
Size may be a deciding factor when choosing between the Doberman and the Pitbull.
The Doberman is bigger, being medium to large, with an athletic physique.
He is 24 to 28 inches tall weighing anywhere between 60 to 100 pounds.
The Pitbull, on the other hand, is a medium-sized dog who is stocky and muscular.
He stands 17 to 19 inches high and weighs 30 to 35 pounds, so there is quite a difference between the two breeds.
The Physical Appearance Of The Doberman
The elegant looking Doberman is both muscular and powerful, displaying a regal air about him. He has an alert, intelligent expression on a long wedge-shaped head with floppy ears and a relatively long tail.
However, the Dobie is well-known for their infamous cropped ears and docked tail, two very controversial procedures.
His short, sleek coat can be any of the following five colors:
The most common hair colors seen in Dobermans are black and tan.
The Physical Appearance Of The Pitbull
The Pitbull is a medium-sized dog with a muscular body that is slightly longer than it is tall. Their thin tail is long and somewhat pointed.
They possess a sizeable brick-like head revealing powerful jaws that can develop into a big wide smile!
Although the ears stand upright, they often curl over at the top and are also sometimes cropped.
The Pitbull has a short coat but with a coarse texture and comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including:
Doberman Vs Pitbull Temperament
Both breeds are often stereotyped as being dangerous and aggressive, but is this justified?
Let’s find out!
The Doberman is naturally protective and originally bred to be aggressive but with good trainability, only attacking when ordered to do so.
Modern breeding practices have developed the breed into a much less aggressive dog who is loyal and obedient.
However, the personality traits of the Doberman can differ from dog to dog.
Most, though, are affectionate and loving, and adore being with their family. If socialized early, they get on well with other pets and children who are respectful towards them.
Despite their toughness, the Doberman is a sensitive breed who dislikes shouting and will act in defense if mishandled.
Separation anxiety is often a problem, leading to destructive behaviors like chewing and constant barking if they are left alone for too long.
The Pitbull continues to receive more bad press than any other dog breed but is sadly often misunderstood.
Much of this stigma is down to irresponsible ownership and bad breeding practices.
In many countries, the Pitbull is banned, including the UK, with restrictions in some US cities and towns.
Because of their fighting background, the Pitbull can be aggressive towards other dogs and pets.
And the consequences of their aggression can be terrible.
Determination is one of their most notable characteristics, as well as being fearless and stubborn.
But given a chance, Pitbulls can make loyal, loving companions who are devoted to their family.
These dogs crave attention and are always eager to please.
They are particularly affectionate towards children and known initially as nanny dogs, but should always be under supervision.
The Pitbull also suffers from separation anxiety, so needs a family where someone is home for most of the day.
As both breeds have had aggression bred into them, it’s important to meet both parents before bringing a puppy home, or demand details of temperament tests before you bring home a rescue dog.
Doberman vs Pitbull Training
Both breeds are highly intelligent, working dogs often used by the military and the police.
However, as strong, powerful animals, early training and socialization are essential. Otherwise, they become difficult to control.
Dobies love a job to do and need a purpose, learning tasks quickly.
The strong-willed Pitbull may try to test you but are often easy to train.
With both breeds, a calm handler is required using consistent training methods and positive reinforcement.
As two smart dogs, it is vital that lessons are fun but challenging to maintain their interest.
Look for dog training classes in your area geared towards working dogs, which will also help socialize your pup.
Find out more information with our puppy training guides.
Doberman Vs Pitbull Exercise
Both the Doberman and the Pitbull have high energy levels needing plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
They require at least two vigorous walks per day, with the chance to run around and play games like frisbee in a secure backyard.
Lack of exercise can lead to destructive and aggressive behaviors.
These two breeds are perfect partners for owners who run, hike, or cycle.
But whereas the athletic Doberman enjoys swimming, the Pitbull finds this water activity difficult due to his stocky build.
Doberman Vs Pitbull Health
Both the Doberman and the Pitbull are generally healthy dogs enjoying a reasonable lifespan.
The Doberman lives an average of 10 to 12 years.
Like many breeds, they are prone to specific health issues, including:
• Heart disease
• Hip dysplasia – an abnormal function of the hip socket which can lead to lameness and crippling arthritis
• Thyroid disease – underactive thyroid gland
• Von Willebrand disease – blood clotting disorder
The Pitbull has a slightly longer lifespan averaging 12 to 14 years.
They can suffer from conditions such as:
• Hip dysplasia
• Thyroid disease
• Degenerative myelopathy – an incurable, progressive disease of the spinal cord
• Elbow Dysplasia
When buying a Doberman or Pitbull puppy, screen test results should be provided by the breeder for hip dysplasia and thyroid disease, which are common in both breeds.
Simple tests are also available to identify a Doberman carrying the von Willebrand’s gene and any Pitbull who might have the degenerative myelopathy gene.
Care Requirements Of The Doberman And Pitbull
Both breeds shed moderately all year round and have minimal grooming needs. Their coats require brushing once or twice a week to remove loose hair.
Brush their teeth daily, clean the ears, and trim the nails regularly.
As active working dogs, both the Doberman and the Pitbull require a high-quality protein feed with meat as the main ingredient.
Which breed makes the better pet?
Doberman vs Pitbull?
As both breeds are similar, it’s a tough decision!
But before you even consider a Pitbull, check if it is legal to keep one where you live.
Keep in mind that each of these breeds has had aggression bred into them, so are not ideal for the first-time owner.
Because of their fighting past, Pitbulls can be aggressive towards other dogs and pets, whereas Dobermans are often good with other animals if raised alongside them.
Although both make excellent companions, they require an experienced and knowledgeable owner who can train and socialize them from a young age and has the time to exercise them.
They are most suitable for active families with older children who have a large living area.
Do you own a Doberman or a Pitbull? Is their reputation justified? Tell us about your dog!
References And Resources
R. Scott Nolen The dangerous dog debate American Veterinary Medical Association November 15, 2017
The gentle Doberman Composition of the Doberman Temperament
A MacNeil-Allcock et al Aggression, behaviour, and animal care among pit bulls and other dogs adopted from an animal shelter Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, 2011