Origin of the Dobermann …..

By | 21st April 2018

Origin of the Dobermann

author Bitten Jönsson

This is a mere extract of the information found, in hope to give an overview of the origin of the breed Dobermann and its development up to the time of 1st WW.

Foundation of the Dobermann is the female “Wattenrock” –
a crossbred dog and a combination between “Butcherdog” & German Pinscher – The “Butcherdog” consisted of various breeds, like the Stoppelhopser and Beauceron, just to mention 2 breeds of dogs known to be represented in the “Butcherdog” – The Stoppelhopser, also known under the name Thüringian Shepherd, is now extinct, but was a founder of several dog breeds with origin in Eurasia.

“Wattenrock” – was a Pinscher-like female with greyish under wool.

“Wattenrock” was bred to a German Pinscher, and produced the female “Bisart” also known under the name Bismarck – “Bisart” was known to be a large female for her time, and with yellow markings, plus sharp temperament.

“Bisart’s” first litter, contained blue puppies, and the Sire to this litter was most likely a sibling or a crossbreeding containing Beauceron and Pinscher … as for “blue” to have occur, is not a surprise, as both the Stoppelhopser and Beauceron carried & carry respectively this trait – just as the Stoppelhopser was known to have carried the genetic disposition for natural bob-tail.

It is also known from historical records, that the heritage back to the Stoppelhopser was strong, and not overruled before the introduction of the Manchester Terrier – from this it is possible to deduct, that the breeding’s up to around the addition of new blood through the Manchester Terrier, primary was concentrated on German Pinscher and back breeding’s to Wattenrock. However, there are no preserved records which will be able to confirm this.

There have also been various speculation into the introduction of the Rottweiler – but again, this cannot be confirmed – and if the Rottweiler should have plaid a part in the development of the Dobermann, it is more likely, that this breed of dog has come in through the Butcherdog, but not as introduction as a purebred Rottweiler. Similar can be said about the postulation with reference to the Dogge / Great Dane – Many breeds of dogs have been mentioned, but none with certain confirmation, aside from The Gordon Setter; which was used in hope to improve the richness of the tan colour – this failed, and the attempt was abandon. On the other hand, it is fairly certain, that the Beuaceron has been involved, and before 1890, which is seen not only in the phenotype of the dogs, but also explain why wolf claws on the hind feet can occur. Researching the Beauceron of the very same time – the genetic heritage shared between these 2 breeds of dogs is highly evident – especially after year 1900 these shared traits cannot be ignored.

The breeding which took place from around 1884 and up to around 1890 is more or less a limboland – but it is highly likely, that the dogs noted in history as the founders are directly linked to the female “Wattenrock”

Background of the Beauceron

The origin of the Beauceron, contain of crosses between different breeds of dogs, and the ”primitive” type consisted of several qualities

– overall size smaller than the present, and with an expressive head
– herding skills, especially larger livestock
– hardness
– intelligence

there were given less attention to selection of general type of the dogs, hence less so-called consistency in the type of the breed.

The standard type which was agreed on in 1896, when the breed was recognized:

– size, height – males from 60 to 70 cm / females from 60 to 65 cm
– weight – males from 28 to 35 kilos / females from 22 to 28 kilos
– preferred size – middle sized dogs due to the better agility within these dogs
– chest deep
– straight back
– strong and wide hip section
– croup, slightly descending
– neck, gently arching
– shoulders, oblique
– head, long and flat, with not too much stop
– muzzle, strong
– jaws, strong and powerful
– nose, always black coloured
– eyes, medium sized, not round, and of dark brown colour – lighter colour accepted in non black dogs
– ears, partly erect, not directly hanging, but still placed closed to the head or directly erect
– coat, hard but not too short (partly long)
– colour of the coat/fur, black with clean tan colour, other colours also accepted, like dark grey, brownish and patterend
– tail, length – different length, but also often docked, and natural bob-tail was common
– double dewclaws on the hind feet (wolf claws)
– natural defense and guard dog
– supple and obedient, trainable

To increase the richness of the tan colour the Gordon Setter was introduced, and the results were seen at shows as early as 1897/1898, where the presented dogs were with a short coat and a richer tan colour – sized had at the same time increased . Crossing between Beauceron and Dobermann was common at this time, not with reference to type or structure, but to uphold diversity in the breeds.

As breeding recommandation, and with reference to the standard of that time:

– long and flat heads, not too much stop – arch above the eyes, not too pronounced
– skull not too large/wide/high
– tight skin
– not much lip
– nose, not too large
– parallel shape of the head (noted in Beauceron with foreign blood)
– dark eyes, avoid getting lighter colour of eyes
– so-called normal length of tail
– coat, hard and as black as possible and dry
– medium size

As litters can be large, it is recommended to reduce the numbers of offspring in a litter – like 6 offspring per litter – give preference towards double dewclaws on the hindfeet.
The Beauceron is a working breed, and should be preserved as such.

Source: M. Boudonneau & M.A: Straudin –

According Phillip Grünig – Dobermann-like type of dogs were known in the area of Apolda before Karl Dobermann started to breed around 1880. When these dogs appeared at the yearly dog marked of Apolda, more people were attracted to them. They gained a certain popularity and were mentioned in newspapers and magazines, being described as typical ”Thüringer breed” – created by a workman out of crossbreeding between German Pinscher and Shepherd dogs (likely crosses between Beauceron & Stoppelhopser) – The breed known as Dobermann was entered at shows in 1897 (Erfurth) – 1899 (Berlin) – 1900 (Apolda) – this ”new” breed of dogs were readily accepted by dog fanciers, which were surprised by the uniformity of type seen in this ”new” breed of dogs.


Paternal ancestor of the Dobermann is said to be that of the Butcher dog – but also several places referred to as the Thüringer Shepherd, and as some of the traits the Dobermann was known for at this early upstart was equal to that of the Beauceron – herding and protection – it seems highly likely, that this Butcher dog was either a Beauceron or a mixture between the Beauceron and the Stoppelhopser (Thüringer Shepherd)

Traits which can be traced back to the Stoppelhopser (Thüringer Shepherd)

– dilute colour is possible
– natural bob-tail occurred

traits not only seen in the Beauceron and the Dobermann, but also in the present German Shepherd.

Junno v Frankfurt – 1900

Available photo material of the time, gives evidens of extreme similarities between the phenotypes of the breeds – whether this being Beauceron or Dobermann – and as there, according to written statements, are evidens of these 2 breeds of dogs being crossed even after year 1900, there now also is an additional ancestor to take into account – the Manchester Terrier. First officially known dog with heritage back to the Manchester is Ada v Apolda, and through her daughter Lady v Ilm-Athen, which was born in 1899, and had huge success among breeders of that time. According to Phillip Grünig, Ada v Apolda had doubtful parenthood, but with known influence from the Manchester Terrier. The influence from the Manchester Terrier is seen in the coat and the tan colour of the dogs, but also in head type. Traits which are seen in both the breeds Beauceron and Dobermann, especially after 1900. Additional infusion of Manchester blood is seen through the use of the purebred Manchester Terrier – Lady v Calenberg, born 1901, and again through the use of the female Lady Bittner, as her mother was partly Manchester too and after the introduction of the GreyHound in the Dobermann.

Manchester Terrier
published in the Christmas Magazine year 1900

First known introduction to the Manchester Terrier took place through 2 females – Lady v Ilm-Athen & Lady v Calenberg, born in 1899 and 1901 respectively – with reference to:

Lady v Ilm-Athen

Here the historical records tells us, that the Manchester Terrier influence came in through her maternal line “Ada v Apolda” – quotation from Phillip Grünig: her daughter Lady Ilm-Athen carried the blood of Manchester Terrier – so Lady v Ilm-Athen was at least 25% Manchester Terrier.

Lady v Calenberg

this female was a 100% Manchester Terrier offspring, as both parents were Manchester Terrier’s

Both females had large influence on the development of the breed, not only through their direct own activity, but also that of their offspring – and here the heritage back to the Stoppelhopser is highly reduced.

We are still in the early years of the development of the breed, and in 1904 a black GreyHound is born – his name is Max. Max becomes the next new blood infusion to the new breed. Through German stud records it has been possible to find some of his descendants – especially those which were used in future breeding; like:

– Stella v Hessen (Max & Flora v Ried)
– Draga v d SedansRuh (Max &Flora v Ried)
-Caro v Nijmegen (Max & Norma v Friesland)

all 3 females went into breeding, but in different countries within Europe

– Germany, Chez Republic and Holland –

some with more success some with less. Offspring from these females, were exported to various countries in Europe but also to USA.

So aside from the direct influence by Max, his direct offspring also had a large impact on the breed. Some of the traits which are normally seen in GreyHound was thrown in the first generations – like offspring without tan makings, sable / merle coat – traits which according to the records were easily corrected – too pointed heads, nose part too long and ended up with incorrect dentition, were more difficult to get rid of. To this, the mentality, which especially has been described by Gerhard Schüler and Phillip Grünig, and as a huge set back.

Due to the described problems, the breeders of the past, started to back breed to the Manchester Terrier. As late as in 1914, there seem to have been a direct infusion of Manchester Terrier – which has been documented through the book by Phillip Grüning.

In 1933 the Germann Dobermann club investigated the origin of the Dobermann, and after careful deduction the outcome of this investigation was, that the German Pinscher was one of the primary founders of the breed. This is in accordance with the documentation stated by Karl Dobermann’s sons, as the female known as Wattenrock was a product of a German Pinscher female.


Litter (1884)
Sire: Butcherdog – Dam: Bisart
Bisart (1882)
Sire: German Pinscher – Dam: Wattenrock
Wattenrock – founder (1880)
Sire: Butcherdog – Dam: German Pinscher

From the found documentation, it seem highly likely to state, that the origin of the Dobermann clearly is that of:

– German Pinscher
– Beauceron/Stoppelhopser
– Manchester Terrier

The informations and details are based on historic data and pedigree information from various studbook entries which gives verification on one another.

Dobermann 1919


– Phillip Grünig
– Simon Rietveld
– Gerhard Schüler
– official German studbooks
– Historic documentations of the Beauceron
– Published photos of the various breeds

Full document: Origin of the Dobermann-added

7 thoughts on “Origin of the Dobermann …..

  1. Daniëlle Termijn

    Hi Bitten,

    Just a share in relation to above article.

    Did you know that they use for the foundation of the Thuringian Shepherd a wolf.
    In Horand von Grafrath what was a Thuringian Shepherd there would be documented proof that more than half of the first ten Sieger’s
    were descendents of wolves. If it’s true this is maybe some extra information to the breeds origin.

    1. Bitten Post author

      Hi Danielle

      I have not read up on that, but it’s not a surprise at all – I do know that the “Stoppelhopser” was extinct before 1880 – and the Thüringian Shepherd an outcome of the Stoppelhopser, just like the breed Risenschnauzer & German Shephard (foundation of todays Schäferhund) -> http://www.germanwatchdogs.com/blog/developing-the-german-shepherd-breed/ – you can compare these first photos of the German Shepherd to the “Stoppelhopser” and also to Luis Dobermann’s “Schnupp” – Despite the difference in size, the likeness between the founders is very high, which also give good explanation in regard to the use of the dogs … The so-called refinement into various breeds of dogs made the difference, like the crossing to the German Pinscher, which has been documented and from there the factual foundation of the Dobermann of today … We also know from science, that the wolf and sjacals are the base behind the domestic dog, just as they are the base behind the village dog.
      So when you are “looking” for DLA haplotype with reference to sire or dam of several breeds of dogs, or one specific breed of dog, they will lead back to a very few individuals, and hence you can actually not use such a tool to define the genetic built up of a dog breed, as you need all genetic inputs from each and every ancestor of the past, and the variation this may have contributed through the refinement of the various breeds.
      Just like in humans, the majority of the human breed, can be traced back to the male haplotype “Adam” and the female haplotype “Eve” – this mean that the human race is highly inbred – at least when you compare it to the verdict of the dog breeds. When you then look back into the history of the human, we know that “controlled” breeding also took place here – but there has never been conducted a scientific research into possible bottelnecks in the human breed …. In humans the freedom of breeding have made a difference, to this there has never really been set a standard as how to look or the ability to perform, hence the variation within the human breed compared to the consistent controlled breeding dog various dog breeds -If this then is transferred to dogs breeds, and if people would stop looking at titles and concentrate on overall health and funktionality, this might be a huge help for a lot of dog breeds which are highly influenced by bottlenecks created through inbreeding.

  2. Daniëlle Termijn

    Hi Bitten,

    Just like you describe for example the cross with the German Pinscher this had I believe a great influence also for their appearance. Probably because of the percent of the others was to less and diluted quickly. This could also be in the matter of some specif traits ( temperament) of these breeds. I mean with others also the Thuringian Shepherd Dog because if this was not the case we would have seen a total different dog what also could belong to a other cluster.

    Between the lines you mention something what is a interesting topic in relation to the domestication process. I have a fascination about the First Domestication and how the dog became dog during the many decades. If you have a link to a science paper or some proof that there is a reason to believe that the Golden Jackal as being a ancestor of the dog I have for sure interest in it. For example Konrad Lorenz was very long a believer in the fact that some breeds had the Golden Jackals as ancestor. He described in his book Man Meets Dog but later he recant his theory because of studies in relation to the wolf. What I do believe is that the Wolf and Golden Jackals have had the same distant ancestor. Also in the domestication process there are more than one thoughts, ideas, theories, hypothesis and studies about the origin of the dog. Like for example the Dingo is also named in this matter by Janice Koler-Matznick and she describes it in her book Dawn of the Dog, the genesis of a Natural Species. So even about the domestication process our species can not agree. Maybe there are more options, I will have a open mind in this aswell. Saying this I’m a believer in the many stories you can read from The Elders ( North-America ) and their bond with the Wolf. So still at this moment I follow the path from the wolf………

    Maybe the first bottleneck was when we moved from Africa to colonize world.

    Agree with your last lines you wrote in above reply.

    1. Bitten Post author

      Hi Danielle

      With reference to the Jackal’s ….

      3 “types” have been defined -> Wood Jackal – Grey Jackal – Yellow Jackel – There is a huge description of all this in the book by Phillip Grünig – and from page 2 and forward …

      What came first, the eeg or the hen – as according to theinformation I have found – the Jackal came first, and the Wolf later (origin from Jackal) … give me a little time, as if you do not have access to the book, I will try and make copies of the pages, as I believe it would be better for you to read it yourself.

  3. Daniëlle Termijn

    Hi Bitten,

    I’m aware of the pedigree in relation to the different Jackals you mention. I don’t have the book but can read it on internet. Yes what came first and what has maybe a same ancestor, good question. You don’t have to make copies but thank you for the information in the matter to the Jackal and Phillip Grünig Book.

    I will not say yes or no because I can’t many books share on almost every subject opposite material or proof. I will not follow it blindly, it has trigger me to find out more but all the years I have reading books and from different authors the Jackals came not as the firts option. Only I read some of it in the book of Lorenz. It was almost never a subject in relation to domestication process in some lectures or studies that I have followed but also this will not say they had right and the other was wrong………Maybe it is also a matter of personal believe, intelligence at some level or study in taxonomy.

    1. Bitten Post author

      HI Danielle

      Taxonomy is a lot of different things, but I assume you primary refer to evolution and the areas attached to this form of taxonomy. Emigration take a long time – moving from one area to another, ajusting to the new environment etc. – so it is possible that the different types of Jackels can have crossbred too, but it seem that the Terrier belong under the Yellow Jackel and the Dobermann under the Grey Jackel – to this the GreyHound types seem to belong to both the Wood and Yellow Jackel though depending on original size – Wood Jackels being the smallest of the 2 mentioned.
      SO if you follow this pre development before domistication, it is rather interesting to see how the Stoppelhopser and later the German Pinscher, plus the infusion of the Manchester Terrier and GreyHound as contributors to the refinement of the Dobermann.

  4. Daniëlle Termijn

    Hi Bitten,

    Yes you are correct I mean with taxonomy, the evolution process and what has also my intrest how humans and the ancestor from our dogs coevolved. It is in our DNA I would almost say, the bond and relation we have with the Canine as a species.

    I have tried to understand the pedigree and get it clear in my head. It could be a great subject for some groups and what the respondings would be. Must say I’m surprised why I never have read it as a topic in relation for example genetics. Probably it isn’t worth the interest for a healthy debate. For now I let this theory rest and maybe I will come back to it later if I have more insight.

    Thank you for you effort so far.

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