German Shepherds and Dobermans are both amazing breeds, but both also have a reputation for being intense, aggressive, and difficult dogs. But do these reputations accurately represent the breeds, and can German Shepherds and Dobermans get along with each other?
German Shepherds and Dobermans get along if they are well-bred, well-socialized, and well-trained from a young age; they can’t just be put together and left alone. They are territorial, so ensure there is enough room for both and minimize competition-inciting situations. They can also display same-sex aggression, so it’s best to get dogs of opposite sexes.
Living in a home with dogs that don’t get along together is stressful and can ruin the experience of having canine friends. If your dogs don’t get on together, then the pack is unstable, and conflicts are inevitable.
An unstable dog pack not only makes the owners stressed; the dogs also become upset and unhappy. Therefore, it is wise to research the breeds when choosing two or more dogs to live with each other.
Whether your German Shepherd and Doberman get along depends on their innate characteristics and individual personalities.
But there are steps that a responsible owner can take to encourage a harmonious relationship between their German Shepherd and their Doberman.
Breed Characteristics of German Shepherds and Dobermans
It is smart and responsible to do research before deciding what breed of dog will suit your home and personality.
Further research is required when you are trying to choose multiple dogs to share your home. When doing your research, it may be helpful to know that German Shepherds are also called Alsatians, and Dobermans are also called Doberman Pinschers.
Some people avoid these two breeds because of their “bad reputations.” German Shepherds and Dobermans are known as aggressive and difficult dogs to own, especially in homes with more than one dog.
Isolated incidents of aggressive behavior initiated these negative stereotypes. Poor breeding and poor ownership have perpetuated the misrepresentation.
German Shepherds and Dobermans have very similar breed characteristics; having a German Shepherd and a Doberman can be like having two German Shepherds or two Dobermans.
German Shepherds were initially herding dogs, and Dobermans were initially personal protection dogs. Therefore, they are naturally loyal and protective.
This means that they can be aggressive in response to threats against their people and property.
Loyalty and protectiveness make German Shepherds and Dobermans territorial, so they are less likely to get along without their own space. If you have a small house or a small yard, it might not be a good idea to get both these dogs at the same time.
If not trained properly, the territorialism can turn into problematic possessive behavior and inter-dog conflict.
German Shepherds and Dobermans are intelligent and trainable. Intelligent dogs need continuous and copious mental stimulation, or they will develop naughty behaviors in an attempt to entertain themselves.
Dedicated training can provide this stimulation. Training an intelligent dog is relatively easy and very rewarding to both dog and owner.
A Good Breeder
It is important to get your dogs from reputable breeders as opposed to back-yard breeders. The negative stereotype attached to German Shepherds and Dobermans is largely the result of irresponsible breeding.
Breed characteristics can be enhanced or mitigated by the individual dog’s personality. A good breeder can help you choose the dog that would be best for you based on your personality, the dog’s personality, and your home environment.
Tell the German Shepherd or Doberman breeder that you are also getting the other breed and ask them to guide your selection of the puppy.
Some individual German Shepherds and Dobermans can be genuinely aggressive or nervous-aggressive. A responsible breeder will not breed with a dog that displays this behavior as it can be hereditary.
Back-yard breeders are unlikely to consider temperaments when choosing dogs for breeding. Worse than this, some disreputable breeders will deliberately breed with aggressive dogs and then market them as guard dogs or fighting dogs.
Adopting a Doberman or German Shepherd
As animal lovers, we advocate for rescuing dogs. However, you need to be careful when rescuing German Shepherds or Dobermans, especially if you want to keep them together.
Often the dogs that end up in shelters have been abandoned due to negative behavior or rescued from illegal dog fighting groups.
But don’t just say no to adoption! Sometimes the “negative behavior” was just normal behavior left untrained by bad ownership, and other times it was simply high-energy that the owners couldn’t handle.
Some people even abandon their dogs because they shed too much or grew larger than expected.
Ask for the dog’s history, if it’s available, and spend some time with them before making your decision. You might even consider asking an animal behaviorist to assess the dog.
If the rescue dog has temperament issues, you might need to reconsider your decision to get both a German Shepherd and a Doberman, although you can still rescue one of them.
Some people abandon their German Shepherds and Dobermans for not being aggressive enough. Somebody looking for a guard dog or a fighting dog will not want a relaxed or timid German Shepherd or Doberman.
If you rescue a laid back, non-territorial German Shepherd, there should be no problem with also getting a breed-typical Doberman and vice versa.
Gender and Sterilization
German Shepherds and Dobermans can both display same-sex aggression. To mitigate this behavior, you should get both dogs when they are puppies, and you should get them at the same time.
Same-sex aggression usually only develops after puberty. If the dogs develop a friendship and learn how to share while they are in their puppyhood, then they are less likely to fight as teens and adults.
It might be best to avoid the possibility of same-sex aggression altogether by getting one male and one female.
Sterilizing both the German Shepherd and the Doberman can help to reduce same-sex aggression. Additionally, if you have a male German Shepherd and a female Doberman, or vice versa, they need to be sterilized to prevent accidental breeding.
Some people sterilize only one of their dogs. This is unwise if you want to keep a German Shepherd and a Doberman together.
Intact dogs are more likely to display aggressive or agitated behavior, particularly during the breeding season. These heightened emotions will not promote a harmonious home.
A Good Introduction Between A Doberman and German Shepherd
A good introduction is vital with German Shepherds and Dobermans. Getting them simultaneously as puppies is the easiest way to initiate this introduction.
Puppies are naturally less aggressive than they can become once they go through puberty. Puppies are also easier to control and less likely to hurt each other if they tussle while getting to know each other and finding their rhythm.
When introducing an adult dog and a puppy or two adult dogs, you need to ensure that both you and the environment are as calm and neutral as possible.
Introduce them outside to make sure they both have enough space. Keep them both leashed in the beginning and quickly correct any negative behavior before it escalates.
Remove food, toys, or beds over which your dogs can become possessive. Don’t leave them alone together initially, but also don’t keep them separated all the time.
If you keep separating them in the beginning, it will take longer; and they might also set up separate territories in the rooms or areas you lock them away, making it harder to integrate them.
Good Socialization And Training
As mentioned earlier, the loyal, protective, and territorial traits of German Shepherds and Dobermans can lead to possessive behavior if left unregulated.
Start with socialization. You are very important to your German Shepherd and Doberman. Their intense loyalty means you need to make an effort to socialize them with other dogs and other people.
If you live in a home with other people, make sure that they also interact with your dogs through feeding, playing, and even discipline as it can generate respect.
Even if you get a German Shepherd and a Doberman together, they need further socialization with outside dogs to help bring balance.
Take your German Shepherd and Doberman to obedience training from a young age and keep up with the training, don’t just stop once they have completed a class or two.
Training provides them with constant physical and mental stimulation and time with you, which they love!
A bored German Shepherd or Doberman is more likely to develop destructive habits and bad behavior.
German Shepherds are also prone to neurotic behavior if left on their own. Neurotic behavior is never desirable, but it is detrimental where you have two or more dogs with the temperaments of German Shepherds and Dobermans.
German Shepherds and Dobermans are both suited to being trained in guard and attack work. However, these breeds should only be trained as guard dogs or attack dogs if they are working animals living under working animal conditions.
If you want the dogs to be your household pets, avoid this training as it promotes their aggressive behaviors, even if a command can check them.
Before we get started explaining this important point, you may be interested in checking out the video below – it does a good job of highlighting some of the differences between these two awesome breeds:
The dog owner is one of the biggest determining factors for whether or not German Shepherds and Dobermans can get along.
You have to ensure that you choose the correct dogs with good, complementary temperaments. You also have to be committed to their socialization and training.
You can’t give up if it gets difficult or if you get tired of putting in the work. Remember that these breeds will do anything for you, including sacrifice themselves for you.
You also have to provide enough space for two large, active, and territorial dogs. A smaller house is fine as long as you have a big yard and good weather most of the year, so your dogs are not often cooped up together.
A small yard is not appropriate, even if your house is large. If your dog can’t get enough exercise, they can become irritable and agitated.
You need to avoid situations that create competition between your German Shepherd and Doberman. This contributes to the maintenance of a stable relationship between your dogs and ensures a peaceful house.
They should have separate eating areas so that they don’t feel like they are competing for their meals, as this will heighten aggression.
You should also keep high-value objects such as toys and bones away from your dogs unless they both have one.
Do not confine your German Shepherd and Doberman to the yard. They are highly people-orientated and can become distressed if excluded from your daily life.
However, you should avoid allowing your German Shepherd and Doberman onto the couch or bed next to you. They are big dogs, so there is probably only space for one of them at a time, creating another potential source of rivalry.
You need to make sure that you don’t treat your German Shepherd and Doberman as the same dog in an attempt to eliminate competition. They are unique individuals with different needs.
German Shepherds need lots of grooming, so make this a special time with them. Dobermans are more affectionate and needy than German Shepherds, so give them extra cuddles when they need them.
Another factor in good ownership is the owner’s personality. A very nervous person, especially if they are nervous about their dogs, should probably not get a German Shepherd and a Doberman together.
The dogs will pick up on your nerves, and it will make them tense as well. Your agitation may reinforce the behavior and incidents that you most dread.
A very aggressive person should also not get these two dogs together. In fact, it might be better for them to get neither dog.
A calm, authoritative, and kind person is the best owner for these breeds. Knowing what type of dogs will match your personality will come from researching the breeds.
Additionally, a responsible breeder will find out what type of person you are and steer you away from an inappropriate breed.
A Good Idea
So, now you know that German Shepherds and Dobermans can get along. Here are a few reasons why it can be a good idea to get them together.
If you love your German Shepherd and want to get another one, but you don’t want to have another shedding dog that requires lots of grooming, then try to get a Doberman instead.
As mentioned earlier, the two breeds have very similar temperaments, but you won’t need to brush a Doberman nearly as often.
If you love your Dobermans, but you don’t want to have two very needy dogs, getting a German Shepherd might be the perfect solution. German Shepherds are more independent than Dobermans, so they don’t demand as much attention.
Both German Shepherds and Dobermans are large breed dogs with high activity requirements. If you have them together, they can entertain and exercise each other, taking some of the pressure off of you.
German Shepherds and Dobermans have similar breed characteristics and can get along very well under the right circumstances.
Both of these breeds are loyal, protective, intelligent, and trainable. Both breeds are also high-energy and high maintenance.
The success of their interactions depends on several factors, including good breeding, individual personalities, proper socialization and training, and good ownership.
Getting a German Shepherd and a Doberman as puppies and at the same time can help to make their introduction easier and allows them time to learn how to share their home, things, and people before hormones start influencing them.
Additionally, same-sex aggression behavior, characteristic of both German Shepherds and Dobermans, can be minimized if they grow up together.
Even though they require a lot of work, putting in the extra effort is rewarding for all concerned and also strengthens the bonds between you and your dogs.
German Shepherds and Dobermans are amazing dogs, loyal and affectionate, and there is no reason why you should not get to enjoy them together.
In fact, there are even benefits to having both a German Shepherd and a Doberman.