Doberman Pinschers are known for their natural inclination towards guard work. In fact, the Doberman breed was originally created for this specific purpose. You may have wondered if a male or female Doberman is the best guard dog for protecting your family. After years of working with various Dobermans and their owners, I believe I can shed some much-needed light on this subject.
Are male or female Dobermans better guard dogs? While both male and female Dobermans are exceptional guard dogs, female Dobermans tend to mature earlier and be ready for guard work sooner than males. They’re also more inclined to be protective of their owners whereas males tend to be more territorial and protective of their home in general.
Female Dobermans are great at protecting one person whereas males excel at protecting a large property or whole family. But there’s certainly more to the answer to this question. Each has it’s own advantages when it comes to guard work. That’s why some experienced Doberman owners will opt to own both a male and female together to protect a home. But if you can only bring home just one dog, then this article should help to make it clear which is the better guard dog for you.
Male vs. Female Doberman Guard Dogs
Dobermans are well known for being very effective guard dogs as well as beloved family pets and companions. Their genetic advantage in guard work is clearly visible in their bodies and attitudes. The Doberman’s body is sleek and robust, built for strength and stamina.
Louis Doberman picked breeds and dogs specifically in an attempt to create the best guard dog possible. Many people feel he succeeded. While their exact ancestry is unknown, it is believed that Dobermans were the result of breeding dogs like the Rottweiler, Black and Tan Terriers, and German Pinschers—all good guard dogs in their own right.
But like any breed, we have two sexes to pick from for the “best” guard dog. So let’s talk about the advantages each dog has towards certain guard dog work.
Advantages of Males
Advantages of Females
The largest difference between male and females Dobermans is their size. Males average about two inches taller and 15 to 20 pounds heavier. They’re bulkier with more muscle mass whereas the females tend to be smoother in appearance. Many describe the females as more elegant in their appearance.
We now know that female dogs generally make better personal guardians than males, due to their maternal instincts and tendency to bond tightly to one specific person. They are much more suspicious of those they don’t know and are better at “keeping strangers on edge” especially when out in a public place with their owner.
Males, on the other hand, are considered better for guarding property or more broadly, a full family unit. This is due to their greater territorial instincts. They are generally more accepting of strangers when in public, but on their home territory, they are much more likely to show aggression to people or animals that approach their boundaries.
While the traits listed above may be true in a general sense, it’s important to remember that all dogs are individuals and there are no guarantees as to how your specific Doberman will act. It depends far more on how they’re raised, trained, and socialized than what sex they are.
If you want help picking the right Doberman puppy for guard work, see my article How to Choose the Best Doberman Puppy from a Litter.
Female Dobermans as Guard Dogs
Traditional thinking has been that males dogs are almost always better guard dogs than females. After all, they’re usually larger, have more muscle, and are more likely to be “alpha” type dogs. But now we have more information and it’s clear that this isn’t necessarily always the case.
First of all, females mature quicker than males and usually began acting like adults around the age of two (males usually don’t mature in temperament until about age 4). This means they can be trained earlier and actually perform guard work sooner than males.
If you want a guard dog that will excel at protecting one specific person in the family, be quick and easy to train, stick close by your side, and be exceptional at personal protection when in public settings, then a female Doberman may be the best choice for you.
In fact, now some experts believe that female Dobermans tend to be more aggressive, but why? It’s actually the size difference that experts say contributes to the slight differences in personality types that male and female Doberman Pinschers can display. Surprisingly, being slightly smaller in size might actually make females better than males for guard work.
The smaller stature of female puppies means there is a higher likelihood that they would be pushed around by their littermates. After all, Dobermans are naturally playful and like to assert their superiority over others. To prevent themselves from being overly dominated by male pups, females have learned to adopt a more aggressive demeanor within the first months of their lives.
This can be a character trait that stays with the dog throughout her entire life. This is why it can be dangerous to underestimate a female Doberman Pinscher guard dog.
Male Dobermans as Guard Dogs
Male Dobermans certainly have the strength and power to be a formidable force when it comes to guard work. Their bite strength is unmatched, and that extra 15 to 20 pounds of body weight makes a big difference when they strike their target.
Males are also highly territorial and will often mark the perimeter of their property by urinating around the boundaries. This territorial instinct is great if your desire is to have your Doberman protect your yard, property, or home.
If you want a guard dog who is as powerful as possible, will bond equally to all members of the family, excel at protecting your property, and who’ll be less “on-edge” in public settings around new people, then a male Doberman may be the best choice for you.
However, they’re a little goofier, more playful, and slower to mature out of puppyhood than females. Usually, male Dobermans will start to “calm down” and become more suitable for protection training at around the age of 4—twice the time of female Dobermans.
They’re also quicker to accept strangers as compared to females. This can be a positive or a negative depending on what you’re looking for. It’s certainly better to have this attitude in your dog if you’re frequently out in public meeting new people.
Will an untrained Doberman protect you? Take a look at my article all about how untrained Dobermans respond to situations where it’s necessary they step up and protect their owners. I also examine five real-world situations where Dobermans have protected their owners. See How Even Untrained Dobermans Will Protect Their Owners here.
Why Dobermans Make Ideal Guard Dogs
Dobermans are consistently rated as one of the best guard dogs in the world and among the top 5 smartest dog breeds in the world. They’re also considered one of the world’s most trainable dogs. They are strong and athletic animals and are proud to protect their inner circles (i.e. their “pack” or family). The breed was originally created with the purpose of making the ideal guard dog, and with a bite force of 328 PSI, they have the means to back up their bark.
Dobermans have served closely with military and police personnel and even had a pivotal role in the success of the allies in the fight against the Japanese during the Battle of Guam during World War 2.
All these characteristics are why the Doberman breed is consistently considered one of the world’s best breeds for guard or personal protection work.
Unfortunately, their assertive temperaments and their general distaste for anyone who may resemble a possible intruder has cultivated an atmosphere of apprehension around the breed. However, in reality, they’re still sweet, loving, and caring family dogs and are known to be gentle with kids.
Though their reputation is someone unwarranted, they continue to prove how adaptable they can be in almost any living situation—another great benefit to using a Doberman as a family guard dog. I go much more in-depth into Doberman aggression here.
Training for Guard Work
Before your Doberman is ready to be successful at guarding you or your family, you need to be sure he has some basic training under his belt. This is important for any dog, regardless of if he is going to perform guard work.
Start training your pup with simple commands and manners right from the beginning. These foundational commands include sit, stay, down, come, recall, watch, heel, leave it, drop it, and a release command. Instilling basic manners are important also so that he or she can focus during their training sessions.
To further develop your Doberman’s, guard dog skill set, enrollment in an accredited training program is highly recommended. Naturally, Dobermans are fairly good guard dogs but they’ll only excel at guard or personal protection work if you train them. A little training goes a long way.
Schutzhund is the german word for “protection dog”. It’s now known as “IPO” training, but many people just call it “protection training”. This training focuses on developing your dog’s obedience, tracking, and protection abilities and dogs that have gone through this training successfully generally prove to be exceptional guard dogs. There are IPO training facilities all over the United States and many other countries. There will be hands-on training and testing to make sure your dog is willing and capable to protect you.
IPO training can be a lot of fun and will surround you with experienced dog handlers. It can become as much of a club for the owners as the dogs. Most owners find they make new friends and get further absorbed in the personal protection dog world than they thought they would.
If you want more information about getting involved in Schutzhund/IPO training take a look at the website myschutzhundlife.com. They have great information about getting involved in protection training your dog, including this resource for locating IPO clubs near you.
Other training schools, although not dedicated specifically to protection work, can be very helpful for your dog. These clubs can help you fine-tune your Doberman’s obedience, agility, and other abilities. Participating in these are major confidence boosters for your dog—a very important thing for a guard dog, whether male or female.
These are some of the other training clubs that might be useful for your Dobie to participate in if you are concerned with having the best guard dog possible.
- Scent Work – In scent work trials, your dog must find a specific scent hidden in the search area. They focus on developing and honing your dog’s natural abilities to use their nose to the furthest extent possible.
- Agility Clubs – In agility trials, you and your dog will demonstrate that you can work together through a variety of situations. They’ll learn how to work closely with you and trust your direction. It’s an amazing way to bond with your dog. It’s also a great way for your dog to build confidence by climbing, jumping, and running through obstacles.
- Obedience Clubs – In obedience trials, your dog must perform a prescribed set of exercises which the judge scores. Clubs that specialize in this will work with you and your dog to develop these things. It’s a great way to bond and develop an overall more easy-to-manage dog.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has this online directory available of various breed clubs depending on what you’re looking for.
This additional training is so important because, without confidence and obedience, your Doberman is not going to perform well as a guard dog. In fact, if I wanted to know my Doberman would protect me and my family if needed, and I could only enroll him in one training class, I would pick agility training.
With some dedication, obedience work can be done at home but agility training in a facility does so much do build your dog’s confidence that even without specific protection training such as IPO, your Doberman will be much more likely to act appropriately if a situation arose where they had to protect you or your family. Confidence is king.
Dobermans are amazingly capable dogs and there is no other realm where this is truer than with guard work. That’s why we have the Doberman breed in the first place! The great thing is that they’re so adaptable they can also make great service and therapy dogs and also excel with their search-and-rescue abilities.
If you want to decide which sex would be the better guard dog for your situation, you need to take into account what you want the dog for and the environment they’re in. In the end, each dog has it’s own personality and temperament. These things will have a much bigger impact on how good of a guard dog they are then what sex they are.
To learn more about all the differences between male and female Dobermans, not just in guard work, see my article Male vs. Female Doberman: Which is Better?
Like so many things with the Doberman breed, you can’t make a bad choice here. Both males and females are amazing guard dogs and they’ll both love being in a close relationship with you. Neither choice is wrong.
Are female Dobermans more aggressive? Female Dobermans are often considered by experts to be more aggressive than male Dobermans. They’re usually quicker to take aggressive action against a stranger and they make excellent personal protection dogs.
Are female Dobermans good guard dogs? Female Dobermans are excellent guard dogs. They excel at personal protection due to their tendency to bond tightly to one person in the house. Females are also easier to train and more suspicious of strangers.