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Doberman vs Great Dane: Key Differences (With Pictures)

Written by: Sarah Psaradelis

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Dogster Team

Doberman vs Great Dane: Key Differences (With Pictures)

The Doberman Pinscher and Great Dane are both loyal and large dog breeds that make excellent pets. When it comes to comparing the two dog breeds to one another, there are certain differences in terms of their appearance, temperament, and care that sets these two dog breeds apart.

If you are interested in both a Doberman Pinscher and a Great Dane but don’t know which breed is better for you, then this article will help you make an informed decision.


Visual Difference

Doberman vs Great Dane - Visual Differences
Image by: Left – Tanika, Pexels | Right – Al_Er, Shutterstock

At a Glance

  • Average height (adult): Up to 27 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 60–100 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–13 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Low
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent, loyal, and eager to please
Great Dane
  • Average height (adult): 28-40 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 100-200 pounds
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years
  • Exercise: 40–90 minutes a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent and loyal

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Doberman Overview

Doberman Pinscher Sitting
Image by: 1790316, Pixabay

Dobermans are large dogs that originated in Germany to protect tax collectors during the 1890s.


Dobermans have a protective personality since they were originally bred to be personal protection dogs. You will find that Dobermans are often described as being regal, elegant, protective, and loyal which are all good characteristics of a guard dog that can protect your family.

Dobermans can be quite reserved and even suspicious of strangers, and they are going to be more affectionate towards close family members that they spend most of their time with and trust.


Dobermans have higher exercise requirements than Great Danes, and they enjoy exploring, guarding, and running around to release their energy. This means that you will need to exercise your Doberman often while providing them with a large yard to run around in or daily walks or runs in a secure environment.

Dobermans are quite active, and they can get bored easily if their exercise and enrichment needs aren’t being met. Dobermans need over an hour of exercise per day, and usually, 1 to 2 hours will suffice.

It is important to provide your Doberman with toys and physical activities that can keep them busy throughout the day and prevent them from getting bored.

Doberman Pinscher Dog
Image by: YamaBSM, Pixabay


Training a Doberman is fairly easy, as their temperament makes them the perfect dog to train. Being loyal and intelligent makes the Doberman eager to please you and learn commands, tricks, and house rules.

It is easier to train your Doberman from a young age, usually starting at around 8 to 12 weeks of age so that they are more willing to be trained without having to change old habits if they were only to begin being trained as an adult.


The Doberman is an overall healthy dog breed that has few health problems if they are fed a healthy and balanced diet, get enough exercise, and have a routine veterinary checkup.

However, there are certain health issues that Dobermans are predisposed to due to their breed.

These health problems include:

  • Dental disease
  • Wobblers syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Narcolepsy
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Gastric torsion
  • Heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathy


The Doberman has a short and manageable coat with low to moderate shedding. Their coat is usually a brown and black coloration, but there are also chocolate varieties.

Dobermans are quite low maintenance when it comes to their grooming needs, and their coat is so short that brushing only need to be done once a week. Bathing will help keep their fur clean, and it can be done every 2–3 months.

Vet brushing doberman's teeth
Image by: gpointstudio, Shutterstock

Suitable For:

Dobermans are suitable for active families with older children. They should be kept in a home with a moderately large garden where your Doberman will spend most of its time.

You will need to take your Doberman for daily walks or a run in a dog-friendly park so that they can release some of their energy. They can be left alone for a while with access to the yard and toys to keep themselves occupied, and they rarely suffer from separation anxiety.

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Great Dane Overview

woman and her great dane
Image by: Yuri Nunes, Shutterstock

The Great Dane is a giant dog breed that originated in England during the 14th Century as a hunting dog.


Great Danes are gentle giants, and although their size might be intimidating, they are quite mellow and affectionate. Great Danes are not very aggressive, and they are quite nurturing and loving towards their families and other pets in the household. Great Danes are often described as laid-back and even lazy, and they will spend most of their day lounging around the home rather than running around.

As puppies, Great Danes can be quite active, but they will soon calm down as they reach adulthood. Great Danes can be more on guard towards strangers, and they will bark to alert you if something is not right in the home, making Great Danes a good watchdog to protect your family.


As one of the lazier dog breeds, the Great Dane is not known for being particularly active. They seem to mature faster than other dog breeds, mainly because they have shorter lifespans. This means that at around a year old, Great Danes become very lazy.

However, they still need to be exercised to keep them healthy and prevent obesity. You can exercise your Great Dane by taking them on daily walks or playing fetch with them in a dog park. Great Danes need less exercise than Dobermans, with only 40 minutes to 1 ½ hours of exercise per day.


Great Danes are easy to train, and their loyalty and intelligence make it easy to follow commands and learn the basic housebreaking rules. It is better to train your Great Dane from a young age before they reach adulthood and socializing them is important as a puppy.

You can begin training a Great Dane puppy at around 8 to 12 weeks of age and rewarding them for good behaviors during the training process with treats can help make it a pleasant experience for them.

Black great dane on the sea side
Image by: pirita, Shutterstock


Great Danes are an overall healthy breed, but there are certain health problems that you should look out for. As a large dog breed, the Great Dane might suffer from more health problems than other dog breeds, since the Great Dane has a significantly shorter lifespan than most, usually living between 8 to 10 years of age.

These health problems include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye problems such as cataracts
  • Wobbler syndrome
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Epilepsy
  • Cystinuria


The Great Dane has a short and manageable coat that is slightly longer than a Doberman. Great Danes are moderate shedders, but their short coat makes it easy to manage their shedding.

You will need to brush your Great Dane once or twice a week and give them regular baths every two to three months to keep their fur clean. As a big dog, it will be easier to take your Great Dane into a doggy grooming parlor rather than trying to bathe and trim their nails yourself.

Suitable For:

Great Danes make the perfect family-orientated dog breed, and they get along well with older children and other medium to large-sized dogs. Great Danes will fit into a family that can take them on daily walks and spend time giving them affection, as Great Danes can be quite loving towards those they trust. Since the Great Dane is a more laid-back dog breed, they do not need such a big yard as the Doberman.

woman and her black great dane dog sitting on a grassy field
Image by: ButtermilkgirlVirginia, Shutterstock

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Main Differences Between Dobermans and Great Danes

Doberman: Great Dane:
Smaller Larger
Not hypoallergenic Not hypoallergenic
Low to moderate shedding Moderate shedding
High exercise requirements Low exercise requirements
Athletic and active Laid-back and low energy
Protective and a good guard dog Loyal and a good watchdog
Longer lifespan (10–13 years) Shorter lifespan (8-10 years)


Which Breed Is Right for You?

Both the Great Dane and Doberman make good family-orientated pets, with the Doberman being more protective and alert than the Great Dane who is more laid-back and reserved.

If you are looking for a protective and loyal dog breed with high exercise requirements, low to moderate shedding, and a longer lifespan, then the Doberman will be the right dog breed for you. If you want a laid-back and loyal yet nurturing dog breed that doesn’t require much exercise aside from daily walks and has a moderate shedding coat, then the Great Dane will be a good choice.

See Also:

Featured Image by: Top – Amuzma, Shutterstock | Bottom – BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

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