Originating from Germany, the Doberman Pinscher is an iconic dog breed known for having both a muscular and an athletic body as well as intelligence to back it up. These majestic animals got their name from their creator, Louis Dobermann, of Apolda.
Because these dogs are incredibly loyal and fearless, they are considered some of the world’s best police dogs. However, in a family environment, these pups are equally great watchdogs and guardians of their homes.
You can always count on one of these pooches to have your back! Moreover, both male and female Dobermans are a great second pair of eyes for your loved ones and property.
But, if you are looking to get a Doberman Pinscher, then you should know that there are a few options to consider. This might come as a surprise, but Dobermans come in more than just tan and black. In fact, there are at least nine different beautiful Doberman colors!
In addition to the numerous colors and patterns, there are also three distinct variants of this breed. You will most likely come across the American Doberman, the European Doberman, and the Warlock Doberman variants. But, here is a little hint: only two of these three actually exist.
Doberman Pinscher breed: overview
• Dogs of this breed come with high energy levels and need lots of exercise.
• They can be very protective, so don’t be surprised if your pooch assumes the role of household guardian.
• A Doberman will assume the dominant role in your home if you are not a strong leader and don’t know how to deal with them.
• These pups are sensitive to cold weather and need adequate shelter in the winter.
• Dobermans are family-oriented dogs that shouldn’t be left alone. They are in their best state when included in all family activities.
• This breed has a reputation for being vicious. So, even though your furry buddy may have a sweet personality, strangers as well as neighbors might be afraid of them.
When it comes to their coat, Dobies sport a short coat that lies close to the skin, and they may have a slight undercoat around their neck.
Their coat requires a minimal amount of grooming, and they are considered clean dogs that don’t smell as much compared to some other dog breeds. However, don’t be fooled by the length of their coat.
Even though it lies close to the skin, it does shed, and this breed might not be the best choice for allergy sufferers. Weekly brushing with a rubber curry or a grooming glove should be more than enough to keep the coat in optimal condition and your home from becoming covered in dog hair.
Doberman colors chart
Before we go into the details, here is a brief overview of different Doberman colors:
1. Black and rust.
2. Red and rust.
3. Isabella or fawn.
4. Cream or white.
5. Pure black.
8. Fawn and rust.
9. Blue and rust.
Of course, not all of them are standard colors of this breed, and we will explain everything in the following section.
Colors of Doberman Pinschers
As we mentioned above, there are nine different colors that Dobermans can come in. There is some controversy surrounding the white Dobermans and albino Dobermans, but we will get to that later on.
For now, you should know that there are two genes in the Doberman breed pertaining to color: a color dilution gene, and a black gene. These two genes can produce four different color combinations.
These four standard colors are the only ones recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC):
• fawn with rust markings
However, there is also a white color that the American Kennel Club acknowledges, but it does not fall into the “standard” color category.
In this article, we will also include some information about the typical temperament and personality traits of each color and variant of Doberman whenever there appear to be common behaviors reported by owners.
Keep in mind that each dog is unique, and it will have a unique personality. However, many Doberman owners claim that certain coat colors seem to have common personality and temperament traits. We will describe these situations, but please keep in mind that this part is purely anecdotal.
Doberman colors; black and rust
The “black & rust” Doberman is by far the most common color combination for these pups. In fact, they are probably the ones you imagine whenever someone mentions this breed. Often depicted in comic books, movies, and mainstream media, it is really hard to mistake one for anything else.
Dobermans with this color combination have a slick black coat, with tan markings or highlights near and around their ears, eyebrows, legs, faces, chest, and sometimes below their tail. Black and rust is really the signature color of this iconic breed. This color variation is also seen in German Shepherds and Rottweilers.
However, due to the tan-like markings, black and rust Dobermans are often referred to as “black and brown” or “black and tan” Dobermans as well. Provided they are in healthy condition, these pups will have fur that is smooth and glossy, with deep contrast between the markings and the base color.
As we previously mentioned, not all Doberman colors are officially recognized by the AKC. However, the black and rust variant is undoubtedly part of the standard, especially given its immense popularity among Doberman enthusiasts. And, as you might have figured out yourself, this color combination is the easiest to find.
Doberman Pinscher colors; blue and rust
The blue and rust Doberman Pinscher is a magnificent sight to behold. Although they are not as common as their black and tan cousins, they are definitely one of the most sought after. The subtle blue hue makes them unique while maintaining the standard American Kennel Club recognition.
The main culprits behind the blueish color are the two copies of the diluted recessive gene that is inherited from their parents. Yes, this variety of Doberman also has the genes for black and tan, but when you dilute black, you get the fine blueish grey color.
The majority of people, and some Doberman enthusiasts, often mistake this variety for a silver or slate grey. As a result, this coat color of the Dobe breed is unofficially referred to as the grey Doberman as well.
The rust markings on top of the blue base have a much lower contrast compared to the standard black variety. In fact, this color looks more like charcoal silver and grey, with a dash of purple. Just keep in mind that this hue and shade can vary dramatically among individual dogs of this breed.
Red and rust Doberman colors
According to the American Kennel Club, the red and rust Doberman is the second most popular coat color for this breed. However, the difference in popularity between this variety and the standard black and white variety is quite substantial.
This variety looks similar to a Weimaraner, and it gives off an aura of mystery that tends to leave new owners in awe. Although they are referred to as “red” Dobermans, they are really dark reddish-brown in color. Because of this, many other people call them brown Dobermans, and you can’t really blame them.
Regardless of what you call them, there is no denying that these pups are simply as gorgeous as they come! The red and rust Dobermans usually come with rust (tan) markings on the muzzle, ears, legs, chest, bottom, eyebrows, and beneath the tail. And, because the tan in this breed looks like light brown, the contrast isn’t nearly as visible as with the black and rust variety.
Red Doberman Pinscher colors
Just like other solid-colored Dobermans on our list, solid red Dobermans aren’t that common even among Dobe enthusiasts. Moreover, red-colored Dobermans are also not ethical to breed, as they can suffer from health problems just like other melanistic Dobermans.
But, even though most canine clubs, people, and breeders don’t agree with the breeding of this color, red Dobermans still exist in some rare cases. Even finding a picture on the internet can be a challenging task, and some may even advertise the red and rust variety as solid red.
Another name for the red Doberman Pinscher is chocolate Doberman. Since they are pretty much all-around solid brown, this name makes perfect sense!
Doberman colors; fawn and rust
While not many people have heard of this color, the fawn and rust Doberman is another officially recognized coat color of this breed. Similar to the blue and fawn variety, these uniquely colored pups carry the recessive dilute genes that give them this special fawn and rust color.
But, instead of having the genes for a black coat color, these pups have the genes for a red coat. In other words, instead of black diluting to blue as we’ve seen in the blue Doberman, in this case, the red color dilutes into a fawn. Some people find the fawn and rust Dobermans a bit funny looking, but they are beautiful nonetheless!
The fawn color of these doggies still looks brown, or light brown to be precise, but it has much less of the reddish undertone seen in solid reds. The best way to describe this Doberman variety would be to compare them to light milk chocolate.
Like many other varieties of this breed, fawn and rust Dobermans will still have tan markings around the chest, legs, bottom, muzzle, ears, eyebrows, and sometimes under their tail. But, we have to admit that it is rather difficult to notice these markings as the contrast is minimal due to the two colors being very similar.
Fawn (Isabella) Doberman
By now, you should have a clear picture of the problems and health concerns with Dobermans that do not have the typical rust or tan markings. The solid fawn Doberman is no exception, and health concerns are very real when it comes to this Doberman variety.
In terms of rarity, solid fawn Dobermans are even rarer than the solid blue variety. But, if we’ve learned anything so far, we know that unethical and irresponsible breeders will still attempt to create dogs of this coat color and try to sell them at a premium for their “exotic” looks.
We advise you not to buy into the hype and fall for this tactic. Stay away from breeders that advertise selling Dobermans with solid colors. It is one thing to get one in a litter by accident, but another to specifically breed Dobermans just to get a specific solid color. If a breeder you are dealing with is selling multiple fawns, reds, or blues, they are most likely neglecting their health.
Doberman colors; white
The white Doberman Pinscher is probably the most unique variety of them all. Some white Dobermans have a pure solid white coat while others come with a cream-white coat color. Regardless, both types are classified as white Doberman Pinschers. However, there are certain ailments associated with this color as well.
White Dobermans aren’t all that meets the eye. In fact, they are the result of inbreeding, whether accidental or intentional. As a result, the inbreeding practice has caused these dogs to become albino – well, partial albino to be precise.
White is still a very new color within this breed. The first documented case of a partial albino Doberman appeared in 1976 when a pup named Sheba was born. Since then, there has been a lot of inbreeding, and today, we have many other partial albino Dobermans around the world.
Yes, we know… they look very cool, but trust us, you don’t really want a white Doberman. Not only do these canines develop many health problems, but they have also been known to develop all sorts of behavioral issues.
Health conditions of white Dobermans can include eye and skin issues. Furthermore, photosensitivity is a rather common problem with these white-colored pups.
And, on top of all that, white Dobermans are known to have poor eyesight, which usually leads to behavioral issues.
When dogs can’t really see their immediate surroundings, they tend to develop severe anxiety much easier, which can lead to aggressive behaviors, such as biting. Due to the health problems that come with the white coat color, this variety of Dobermans has been banned in several countries across the globe.
Rare Doberman Colors
Full Albino Doberman
A full albino Dobie has no pigmentation whatsoever. In fact, these poor pups lack the genes that allow them to produce any pigment.
This results in a pooch that looks significantly more white in color compared to the white (partial albino) dog mentioned above.
The easiest way to figure out whether a dog is full or partial albino is with the color of their eyes. A dog with blue eyes is considered cream or white, while a dog with pink eyes is considered full albino.
White Dobermans are often mistaken for true albino Dobermans, but full albino Dobermans are not known to exist. A true albino is incredibly rare in any dog breed, and it is a result of a genetic mutation called tyrosinase.
If you come across breeders who advertise their Dobermans as being true albino, make sure to check the dogs’ eyes. If they have blue eyes, then by definition, they can’t be albino. Albino dogs are incapable of producing any color as that requires at least some pigmentation.
Given the popularity of the black and rust or black and tan Dobermans, you would think that a solid black color is also popular, right? Well, not exactly.
Black Doberman Pinschers are quite rare because they are considered unethical to breed. But, why is that exactly?
Black Dobermans are also called “melanistic Dobermans.” The term is used to describe solid black dogs of this breed without the traditional tan or rust markings. As you have figured out by now, this color is not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club due to the potential health concerns that may arise.
But, the possible health problems are not enough to deter unprofessional and careless breeders to profit off of all black Dobermans. Irresponsible breeders will market these pups as “rare” or “exclusive” just for the sake of turning a buck.
We are here to inform you not to buy into this lie! Many backyard breeders or puppy mills that strive for rare coat colors often put breeding for good health on the bottom of their list of priorities. Appearance should never come before a dog’s wellbeing.
If you come across a breeder who purposefully breeds for a solid black color in this breed, we suggest you stay as far away as you can from them. Because these breeders practice unethical breeding procedures, you can never be certain of the quality of their puppies or potential long-term health complications.
Steel Blue Doberman Colors
A steel blue Doberman PInscher may even be rarer than a solid black one! In fact, the solid blue color may actually be the rarest among the breed. Similar to their black relatives, blue Dobermans are also unethical to breed due to numerous health issues that may occur. But, this doesn’t mean that all blue Dobies will be unhealthy.
Nevertheless, as a future Dobie owner, you should be aware of all the things that accompany a certain color. Health conditions that are related to the blue Dobermans may include:
• Von Willebrand Disease (VWD)
• Color Dilution Alopecia
Some of these conditions are extremely dangerous, and they can lead to plenty of severe ailments in the future.
For instance, Color Dilution Alopecia can happen to all blue-colored pups, not just Dobermans. In fact, this health issue is quite common in blue French Bulldogs, and it leads to severe hair loss. In turn, a dog may suffer from skin problems and all sorts of nasty diseases.
Once again, we urge you to not look for a blue Doberman no matter how cool they might seem. If you come across a breeder who advertises blue Dobermans, we suggest extra caution when doing business with them. However, given that they are ultra-rare, your chances of finding one are pretty slim.
As we mentioned above, there are three (actually two) distinct types of Doberman – the European and the American variety.
Both make excellent pets and guard dogs, but they do have some very different traits. Here are the main temperamental and physical characteristics that set the American version apart from the European version:
• Smaller (lighter and shorter)
• Less muscle mass
• Overall sleek appearance
• Sleeker and thinner head and snout
• Slender, long neck
• Longer body
• Smaller chest
• Lighter colored eyes
• Lighter colored rust markings
• Less of a working dog
• More often bred for dog shows
• More likely to bond to their owners
• Calmer temperament
• Responds well to light correction and positive reinforcement
• More in-tune with people
• Thrives in a family environment
• More elegance and grace
• Can be less brave
The physical traits listed above aren’t often debated, but the temperamental traits are generally thought to be true of American Dobermans. However, you should keep in mind that they can vary dramatically as each individual dog is unique with its own temperamental predispositions.
Much of the temperamental and physical differences come from the breeder’s intentions. American breeders tend to breed for dog shows, and they want their dogs to collect impressive titles. This, in turn, can help the breeder produce more desirable offspring in the future.
As a result, American Dobermans are more likely to excel at American Kennel Club conformation shows, but are less likely to excel at working events.
With that said, American Dobermans can still do a good job in personal protection roles, but they aren’t at the same level as European Dobermans are. This is simply due to the fact that American Dobies don’t have the drive and aren’t as powerful as their European cousins. But, American Dobies still do generally well in obedience and agility competitions.
Why are there different Doberman colors?
All dogs of this breed carry the gene for rust- or tan-colored markings. According to both European and American standards, these markings should have clear outlines, and they should be found on all four paws, on the chest in two clear spots (above the legs), on the muzzle, on the throat, at the base of the tail, and above each eye.
However, some mating pairs produce litters whose coat colors override the tan markings. This can happen either by diluting the markings to near-white or drowning them in black. But, neither of these occurrences are considered part of the breed’s standard.
The European Doberman is quite different from its American relative when it comes to both temperamental and physical traits. Here are the main traits that set the two types apart:
• Slightly larger (heavier and taller)
• More muscle mass
• Blockier and thicker snout and head
• Thicker, shorter neck
• Thicker overall bone structure
• Broad chest
• Darker colored eyes
• Darker colored tan markings
• Slightly shorter body (in length)
• Working dog temperament
• More alert
• Confident in new situations
• Lots of drive, stamina, and determination
• Responds well to clear and firm directions
As with its American counterpart, you should keep in mind that the temperamental traits we listed above are generally thought to be true of European Dobies. However, each dog will come with its own personality, which may or may not fit the description.
Apart from their bigger and more robust build, the European Doberman type is also said to have a significant amount of drive and stamina. Combined with their confidence and bravery, this makes them exceptional at guard work. They also excel at police, military, and search and rescue work.
European Doberman breeders focus more on creating hard-working dogs that excel at any task rather than creating pups that excel at dog shows like the Doberman breeders across the pond.
Note: This is just a glimpse into the differences between the two main varieties of the Doberman Pinscher breed. If you want to take a look at the complete list of differences between them, you can take a look at our European vs American Doberman guide.
Warlock (King) Doberman
The Warlock Doberman variety (also referred to as Goliath or King Doberman) is said to be a giant among the Doberman Pinschers. However, you should know that no such dog exists.
It has been confirmed by multiple sources, including the Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA), that there is no exceptionally large purebred form of Doberman Pinscher. All dogs of this breed are medium-sized, and any exceptionally large version you might come across is likely not a purebred Doberman, but Doberman mixes.
Unfortunately, terms such as King or Goliath are likely to be used by backyard breeders as a tactic to portray their dogs as exotic or rare. This is usually done by crossing a Doberman with a Great Dane. This results in what appears to be a giant Doberman-like canine, but is actually just a Great Dane Doberman mix commonly known as a Doberdane.
Likewise, sometimes these breeders will mix Dobermans with Rottweilers, Pitbulls, or Boston Terriers to produce what they try to sell as unique, rare, or valuable. Remember that no reputable breeder would ever advertise “Warlock”, “Goliath”, or “King” Dobermans for sale.
These awesome dogs are already the ideal size for protection work. Any larger and they wouldn’t be as agile or as fast, which are both crucial qualities to have in their line of work.
The largest a Doberman should be per the breed standard is 26 inches tall, and 90 pounds for females, and 28 inches tall, and 100 pounds for males.
But, if you’ve really set your eyes on a Great Dane Doberman mix, make sure to find a reputable breeder who advertises them as Doberdanes and not by some made-up name.
All Doberman Colors: Summary
Photo from: @doberman_worldwide
Out of all the Doberman colors we listed above, the black and rust variety is not only the most common, but also the most popular. The majority of people choose black and tan as their favorite color combination, followed by red and rust.
When it comes to rarity, there are widely varying options about which one takes the number one spot. While some people claim that a pure black Doberman without markings is the least common, others argue that the cream or white Doberman is the rarest of them all. Some, however, claim that blue Dobermans are the rarest, making up just eight or nine percent of the breed.
But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter which one is the most popular, most common, or rarest of the bunch. The most important thing is to buy or adopt a healthy Doberman puppy or adult pooch that will be by your side for many years to come!