[13 reasons] Why do police & military reject Dobermans?

Why do police & military reject Dobermans

I remembered that I used to see more Dobermans as police dogs or military dogs during my childhood. But, now, we can rarely see a Doberman serve as a police or military dog. What happened to them? Let’s find out.

So, why are Dobermans not used as military or police dogs?

Dobermans aren’t used for police and military work due to they are costly and time-consuming, not ideal for multi-handlers, bad reputation, less nerve, less trainable, less temperament, stubborn, they don’t mature fast, and have a high potential for health issues compared to other working breeds.

We gonna look into the reasons why this happened, their military background, and several other amazing facts. In fact, By reading the following factors that will definitely give you a better understanding of Doberman.

The reasons why Dobermans aren’t used as police or military dog.

Think about this for a second. We once in a while see a k9 unit with a Doberman. But, How about a decade or two ago?

Since I also have a Doberman myself and I was just curious why Dobermans are seldom used for military purposes and police work.

Although Dobermans are amazing creatures for such a work and they have a great history with a military background, but it seems like the army and police are inclined to get Belgian Malinois and German shepherds for the service over Dobermans.

After meeting few dog trainers, k9 officers with many years of experience with police dogs, I concluded with 13 reasons why Dobermans aren’t used as police or military dogs anymore!

So, here are the top reasons.

  1. Expensive and Dobermans consume a lot of time.
  2. Dobermans are not well with multi-handlers.
  3. Dobermans don’t do well in extreme temperatures.
  4. High potential for health problems.
  5. Dobermans don’t mature as fast as some other military or police breeds.
  6. Bad reputation.
  7. Tendency to bond with one person.
  8. Less temperament.
  9. Less nerve compared to some other military or police breeds.
  10. The Dobermans are smart and a little cunning.
  11. Less popular compared to some other military or police breeds.
  12. Dobermans are less likely to bite and hold
  13. Less trainable and stubborn compared to some other military or police breeds.

So, it is time to consider each of the reasons one by one. Stick with me…

1. Expensive and Dobermans consume a lot of time.

These dogs, for once were heavily used by the police and military forces. Although Doberman was once a popular canine breed, they are becoming less prevalent, and canine police unite.

The reason is they are much more costly to acquire than other police dogs, almost similar in strength and intelligence.

That means it takes a lot more time to train a Doberman than a German shepherd or Belgian malinois. The tails and ears need to be docked, and it consumes a lot of time and money.

If we compare the time and budget it takes to acquire Doberman as a working dog with a German shepherd or Belgian malinois, it takes one average of about half the cost and half the time.

Recommended Reading: Are Belgian malinois aggressive? [Veterinarian Advice]

2. Dobermans are not well with multi-handlers.

The Dobermans are not ideal for multi-handlers. In most cases, police and military dogs aren’t kept in the kennel, and they live with their owners.

These military dogs are must live with their owner, or in other words, the handler, in order to thrive the bond between the dog and handler and work together on the field.

If the bond is weak or no bond at all between the dog and the handler, It makes no sense to keep that dog as a military or police dog, or the handler needs to be changed.

In any case, if the handler changed, it takes a great deal of time for them to make a true bond with the new person and become a team.

But, when it comes to most popular working dogs like German shepherds, they can easily adapt to the new owner, or technically “The handler.”

So, this is one of the reasons why breeds like GSDs and Belgian malinois become more popular among police and military forces than Doberman pinschers.

Recommended Reading: Are Dobermans good for first-time owners? [Owners Guide]

3. Dobermans don’t do well in extreme temperatures.

Dobermans cannot bear up with the extreme temperatures.

But, when it comes to GSDs and Belgian malinois, they have a considerably thick coat that helps them to do well in extreme temperatures as the longer coat truly insulates these dogs from the cold and the heat.

Since the Dobermans cannot take the cold and heat, they need to be provided the doggy boots and coats, and what does the image in your mind look like about a military dog with doggy boots and insulated jackets?

Suggested Reading: why do service dogs look sad?

4. High potential for health problems.

In general, the Dobermans are prone to so many health issues along with injuries compared to other popular police and military dogs.

5. Dobermans don’t mature as fast as some other military or police breeds.

No one can go to the field with a young dog. The maturity of Dobermans is starting around the age of 2.5-3 years, and it makes them ready to work as police and military dog.

But when it comes to GSDs, it only takes about 2-2.5 years, and most GSDs reach maturity around 2 years of age. The Belgian malinois takes about 2 years.

By the way, here are 7 important things you need to know about police dogs.

6. Bad reputation.

The bad reputation is one of the common reasons why Dobermans aren’t common in police works in the public eye.

There were so many bad reputation cases that happened during the last century, and I’m sure you will find enough sources to prove this statement.

One such accident happened in the late 70s. One of the Dobermans who served as a police dog has gone out of control and turned on everyone.

7. Tendency to bond with one person.

The Dobermans are much more likely to bond with one person, making them inappropriate to become police and military dogs.

If we think about the process of working dogs, usually, After the k9 training is over, the k9 trainer hands the dog over to the handler.

In general, the GSDs and Belgian malinois can adapt to the new owner straightforwardly.

With regards to Dobermans, this process is nearly like rehoming a rescue dog. This means it’s a pretty much difficult task, and it makes the Doberman less popular among military and police works.

8. Less temperament.

Frankly, there are few percentages of Dobermans capable of doing military and police work. But, when it comes to GSDs and Belgian malinois, their working temperament and appearance are much more ideal for military and police work.

9. Less nerve compared to some other military or police breeds.

If a canine needs to work for the police or army, that dog should be confident and calm in some sort of strange, adverse situation, and the Dobermans don’t have that solid and firm nerve.

But, when it comes to Belgian malinois or GSDs, they have an over soldier mentality, and they are capable of following orders better than Dobermans do.

10. The Dobermans are smart and a little cunning.

Being smart is great, eh? But, when this smart temperament combined with a little cunning, it’s not ideal for working dogs.

If something bad happens, the Dobermans are more likely to keep it remembered and tend to choose a different approach. When it comes to GSDs, if something bad happens, their learning rate from that situation is a little less than Dobermans.

But, the GSDs are really strong as regards predicting new situations than Dobermans as the Dobermans tend to learn from past mistakes and try to go at things whole different ways.

But the first duty of a police or military dog is to follow the orders of its handler. That is why there is currently a lack of Dobermans among the army and the police work.

If we discuss this a little further, It doesn’t matter whether In the military or the police. In the case you have given an order, you have to follow that without any question.

As we discussed earlier. The Dobermans are smart, and they are naturally tempted to analyze each and every situation prior to taking any action, and they tend to choose the easiest way to complete the task without following commands.

This personality from a working dog is not what the police or the army are looking for. In fact, if we think about GSDs and Belgian malinois, they are always prepared to follow the order without any problem.

This analyzing behavior prior to taking action in Dobermans is a huge disadvantage on the field as every second is important and needs to be counted.

If a GSD or a Belgian Malinois has given an order to take a suspect down, they are in all likelihood of taking the action without even thinking. Actually, this is a huge advantage as these dogs can buy some time for the officers in a hostile situation.

11. Less popular compared to some other military or police breeds.

In general, there are a much larger number of breeders producing German shepherds and Belgian malinois just for military purposes, and this number is way less when it comes to Dobermans.

Because there are loads of certified breeders out there, who produce GSDS and Belgians, than Doberman. A purebred Doberman is extremely difficult to find.

By the way, if you wanna understand how to tell if a Doberman is purebred, just go through the link!

12. Dobermans are less likely to bite and hold

In general, GSDs and Belgian malinois are capable of biting and holding. But when it comes to Dobermans, they just bite and try to munch. To be honest, it’s not a big deal in military works in the field. But, with regards to police work, it really matters.

13. Less trainable and stubborn compared to some other military or police breeds.

Although the Dobermans are highly trainable dogs, they aren’t much trainable compared to GSDs and malinois.

The fact that you need to understand is these reasons don’t make a Doberman bad police or military dog. If we take the truth here, This is a competition between Dobermans and other skilled working dogs.

So, if we think about a set of Belgians or GSDs, the success rate is way higher than Dobermans as the Dobies are less trainable and stubborn compared to these mentioned breeds.

Are Dobermans still used as police dogs or in the military?

As we discussed earlier, Dobermans were popular military and police dogs prior to few decades. But, most modern police and military forces are inclined to use several other working dogs for these purposes instead of Doberman.

But, this doesn’t mean that the police and the army are staying completely away from the Dobermans. We can still find Dobermans in U.S. police stations and in the military. In fact, several countries still prefer to keep Dobermans as working dogs.

What should we expect from police or military dogs?

You know, since I have a Doberman, I personally know that they can be easily adapted to any situation. If the military and police don’t prefer to keep the Dobermans as working dogs, What skills should a working dog have?

Here are the areas where these working dogs are talented.

  • Search and rescue
  • Apprehension
  • Detection

Search and rescue: These police and military dogs do great work searching and rescuing lost victims, and they have saved thousands of lives in the last few decades. These dogs have an excellent sense of smell, and they are capable of tracking miles in a raw, and rescue people at the end of the day.

Apprehension: In general, the military dogs that used to apprehender the suspects are extraordinary discipline dogs. Apart from suspecting and holding the hostages, they are capable of fighting with hostages when needed.

Detection: These dogs help the police to detect what is illegal by their excellent sense of smell.

With regards to the personality of a k9 dog breed, usually as follows.

  • Protective.
  • Eager to please their handler.
  • Tendency to be aggressive when needed.
  • Excellent at basic to advanced obedience behavior.
  • Smart and capable of learning new things quickly.
  • Courageous
  • Have an excellent sense of smell

What are the top police and military dogs?

Here are the top police and military dog breeds ever.

  1. Belgian malinois
  2. German shepherds
  3. Bloodhound
  4. Rottweiler
  5. Doberman
  6. Airedale terrier
  7. Boxer
  8. Giant schnauzer
  9. German. shorthaired pointers. (Click here to check if German shorthaired pointers are good for first-time dog owners)
  10. Labrador retrievers


Most Doberman lovers are just curious to know why Dobermans are not used as military and police dogs anymore. Well, we discussed 13 reasons why the police and the military are inclined to reject Dobermans. Then we discussed what we can expect from such a working dog. I hope you found this helpful. have a nice day!