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Doberman vs Great Dane: what are the differences?

Author: Alexandra Wrigley

The Doberman Pinscher and the Great Dane are giant breed dogs loved by many. Because they are large dogs, you might think they have the same characteristics and appearance.

But the truth is, there are subtle differences between the two regarding their personality, health, and appearance.

To know more exactly about Doberman vs. Great Dane, keep reading as we’re going to cover everything on them and a breed comparison this article today.

History of each breed

Before we can fully understand the characteristics of each gentle giant, their history must be uncovered first. By simply knowing about their origin, you can often gain a greater insight into their personality traits, athleticism, health conditions, and appearance.

Doberman Pinscher

doberman running

Dobermans first came into the dog world around the 1800s thanks to a man called Karl Doberman in Germany.

The man was a tax collector at the time, and he wanted to make a breed that would be courageous enough to help him collect taxes.

Therefore, the Doberman was bred to be a fearless working dog with a charming personality.

Great Dane

great dane on grass

Great Danes also come from Germany; however, their purpose differed from a Doberman.

These dogs were hunting dogs who would kill wild boar for upper-class Germans in the 16th century. The Great Dane breed was renowned for its aggressive traits and fierce attitude towards its work.

However, the breed’s genetics have been diluted since then, and now it’s a lot calmer today.

Personality of both breeds

Regarding the temperament of both breeds, there are some differences and similarities. They both embody common traits: outgoing, easy to train, protective, loyal, and courageous.

Doberman temperament

The Doberman Pinscher is an extremely intelligent dog, making them easy to train.

Their strong intellect and athletic nature make them great guard dogs to have. But, they only display guard dog tendencies when there’s an actual threat in place.

Don’t be put off by their guard dog nature either; they’re actually a great breed to own if you have small children; they love to play with them, as long as they’re socialized.

Great Dane

If you’re seeking affectionate dogs who are laid back, friendly, and thrive off human company, then the Great Dane is for you. A Great Dane is known as a companion dog for both adults and children.

You can expect this large breed to act as a lapdog, trying to lie on you when you’re watching the television. 

They always want to be in the company of a family member and will happily gently greet your household visitors, that’s unless they feel they are a threat. They don’t have an inbuilt hunting drive either as long as they’re socialized from an early age.

Size

doberman great dane size

If you compare the two breeds side by side, the Great Dane is the largest of the two. The sheer size of an adult Great Dane can weigh between 120-200lbs/55-91kg and grow up to 32-34inches/81-87cm in height. Whereas an adult Doberman can weigh between 60-80lbs/27-37kg and grow up to 24-28inches/61-72 cm.

Even though both dogs are slightly different in size, they are muscular and stocky. Compared to other animals, these are both large dogs that are not suited to living in space like a flat or an apartment.

Instead, they are better suited to dog owners that live in a large house that has a patio and backyard for them to exercise in.

Grooming requirements

For many new owners, grooming can be an important contributor to what dog they bring into their home.

If you’re a new dog owner looking to buy one of these breeds, you must know that both dogs have a short coat that requires different types of grooming for each breed. 

Grooming cannot be avoided, though, as they’re both heavy shedders!

Regardless of their coat type, both dog breeds must have a bath once a month and perhaps more, depending on how active they are and how dirty they can get. You should also brush their teeth each week and trim their nails every month, once they get long.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers have a sleek, short, and smooth coat that requires minimal grooming. They are a single-coated breed and shed quite a lot.

Because of this, they’re not a great dog to own if you suffer from a range of allergies.

Moreover, as they have a single-layered coat, they’re quite sensitive to cold temperatures.

Great Dane

Great Danes require daily brushing to remove excess fur and often shed more in the spring. Their grooming is often an easy task, and they’re quite low maintenance to look after.

Energy levels

Regarding the two dog breeds, there’s a slight difference in the Great Dane vs. Doberman.

The Doberman Pinscher requires daily exercise at a medium intensity, whereas the Great Dane has to undergo exercise at a high intensity.

On average, a Doberman Pinscher should have around 30-60 minutes of exercise a day compared to a Great Dane, which requires around 2 hours a day to burn off energy.

Training requirements

doberman great dane running

When it comes to training Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers, it shouldn’t be that difficult as long as you socialize from a young age to prevent destructive behavior.

Part of the reason for this is that both are a form of working breed that can learn quickly. While both are highly intelligent and easy to train, Doberman Pinschers require more rigorous training as they’re high-energy dogs.

Health problems

Like other breeds, these dogs can be prone to certain health problems during their lifetime. To help identify them, we must look at the Doberman vs. Great Dane separately.

Doberman Pinscher

On average, a Doberman Pinscher can live up to 10-13 years and are quite healthy. However, like other dogs, they can be prone to certain health problems such as:

  • Bloat
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Von Willebrand Disease
  • Narcolepsy
  • Wobblers Syndrome

Great Dane

Great Danes are known to have a life span of 8-10 years, a lot less than Doberman Pinschers. For most of their life, they are healthy, but they can be known to experience certain health problems such as the following:

  • Bone cancer
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye disease
  • Bloat
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy

While these pets may face health problems, it’s not always guaranteed that they will get them during their lifetime.

To avoid this, you must buy them from a reputable breeder and have detailed information about the dogs and their parents’ health history.

Which is better?

Overall, both dogs are excellent pets to own if you are a new dog owner or have children. The main difference between the two is that the Great Dane is a larger breed with more demanding energy requirements.

Because of this, they require owners who have time on their hands to exercise and play with them. Due to their large size, they’re also better suited to living in an apartment with a large space. Irrespective of their size, both breeds have a single-layered coat and are not high maintenance to own.

It’s truly hard to predict which dog is truly better, as there’s a range of factors that separate the two. Therefore to get a better idea, you might want to visit a breeder in person.

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