Doberman Dog Attacks: The Essential Facts

    Even when a dog is in the care of responsible dog owners, almost any dog imaginable is capable of causing at least some harm to innocent people – whether it is a minor cut or a life-threatening bite wound. That being said, some dogs are obviously more dangerous or less dangerous than others. Certain dogs have been specifically bred for warfare, guarding, and defense. Among these dogs is the Doberman breed – one of the oldest and most popular for military, police, and home defense purposes. But just how dangerous are Doberman dog attacks? What kind of injuries can they cause? What are their unique characteristics? How many injuries do they cause each year? And perhaps most importantly, what can you do if you have been injured by one of these animals? Let’s find out:

    The History of the Doberman


    The Doberman was developed relatively recently, and it first emerged on the scene in 1890. Also known as the “Dobermann” or the “Doberman Pinscher,” this breed originated in Germany – having been bred by a tax collector who also worked as a night watchman. The breed is said to have a mixture of Rottweiler, German Pinscher, Terrier, Weimaraner, and short-haired shepherd heritage. 

    Quickly after their emergence, it was clear that Doberman Pinscher dogs exhibit specific personality traits. One of these traits is an abnormally high level of intelligence, and Dobermans are now considered one of the most clever breeds in the world. This makes them extremely “trainable,” and their ability to follow commands is matched only by breeds like the Border Collie, the German Shepherd, and the Golden Retriever. While this might be reassuring to some, it is worth mentioning that these commands may include orders to attack, maim, or even kill others. 

    Dobermans also exhibit relatively high levels of aggression as they are historically bred specifically to be aggressive and intimidating. Not only that, but they will stand their ground and attack anything that they consider to be a threat to their owners. While it is true that well-trained Dobermans only attack on command, many of these dogs are not well-trained. This means that they may attack whenever they believe someone is a threat. For organizations such as police forces and military organizations, this level of aggression was ideal. But for those who wanted pets for companionship rather than protection, the Doberman was quickly deemed a somewhat unsuitable choice.

    Dobermans were used extensively in both World War I and World War II. Due to their high levels of intelligence, they were employed for several roles, including search and rescue, mine detection, sentry duty, and guard duty. The Germans reportedly trained as many as 200,000 dogs prior to World War II for these roles – many of whom were Dobermans. The United States also made extensive use of Dobermans – especially in the US Marine Corps

    The Doberman was also widely adopted by various police forces across the world. Their aggression and trainability made them ideal for many roles – although this breed has fallen out of favor in the modern police world as of late. One report states that these dogs are too “high-strung” in some cases. This is why you are far more likely to see breeds like German Shepherds being used in modern police forces. In fact, the Doberman has also fallen out of favor in modern military units, and these dogs are more common as pet dogs and guard dogs than “working dogs.” But this still does not change the fact that they were specifically bred for aggression, guarding, and protection – and their long history in policing and military is a clear testament to this fact. 

    Doberman Bite Statistics

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    Pet Helpful states that Dobermans were responsible for almost 20 documented attacks from 1982 to 2013 in their list of top 10 most dangerous dog breeds. Of these attacks, nine involved child victims. There were also seven documented deaths and 10 maimings due to these incidents. These statistics were updated in 2022, showing a total of 23 attacks since 1982 – including 12 child victims, eight deaths, and 12 maimings. 

    Dobermans have a bite force of about 230 PSI (pounds per square inch). While these dogs might not be quite as powerful as Great Danes or Bull Mastiffs, they are almost identical to German Shepherds in terms of bite force. 230 PSI is more than enough to cut through skin, sever arteries, and shatter bones. There are some reports that state Dobermans are capable of much stronger bites – approaching 600 PSI. While the data is inconclusive, the most accurate range is probably between 245 and 305 PSI. 

    You also have to consider the fact that raw strength is not everything. Dobermans are extremely fast and agile, allowing them to catch victims easier than other dogs. In addition, they have high levels of energy and spirit – which means they will not simply give up the chase. Finally, Dobermans are highly intelligent, and they have the potential to circumvent barriers between them and their prey. For example, a Doberman can figure out how to unlock a gate, and they might not be easily tricked or confused by those trying to escape. 

    How Dangerous are They Compared to Other Breeds?

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    All breeds of dogs are dangerous to some extent. In some ways, it does not make sense to compare one breed to the other to assess a specific dog’s potential to cause harm. Dogs are like people – each one has a slightly different personality. Some may be more inclined to violence, while others may be relatively calm and peaceful. For example, in the past, we’ve covered some of the dog breeds that tend to bite more often than others, such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds.

    While it is true that the personality of a dog can be determined by genetics, it may also be caused by their environment, their upbringing, and any psychological trauma they may have experienced.

    This means that the owner plays a role in the dog’s personality. If the owner abuses the dog, it may be more likely to attack people. If the owner trains the dog to attack strangers on sight, the dog will obviously become more dangerous. Some Dobermans spend most of their lives as working dogs – either as police dogs or military K9s. After their careers, they may be adopted by loving families. But despite their new owners’ best efforts, it may be difficult to resolve a history of violence – especially if the dog has killed or maimed people in the past. 

    With all that aside, Dobermans do have the potential to be violent and aggressive – more so than many other dogs. These animals are consistently ranked among the top 10 most dangerous dog breeds in the world. They were bred specifically for policing, guarding, and military roles – and some consider them to be among the top five most aggressive dog breeds in the world. Studies also suggest that Dobermans are more likely to be violent toward strangers than their owners – suggesting an almost fanatical loyalty to their owners that can easily spark attacks. Whenever Dobermans see what they consider to be a threat to their owners, their instinct is to attack. Only well-trained Dobermans can resist this urge, attacking only on command. 

    Finally, Dobermans are known to be aggressive towards other dogs, and they have exhibited poor social skills in some circles. Some believe that different Doberman offshoots have different levels of aggressiveness. For example, there is a widely-held belief that North American Dobermans are less aggressive than their European counterparts – although there is little evidence to back this up. 

    How Severe are Doberman Bite Wounds?

    Even a bite injury from a small dog can be life-threatening. When you are dealing with a dog specifically bred for violence, warfare, and policing, the chances of serious injury are high. In October of 2022, a 3-year-old girl in the UK was left with life-threatening injuries after a Doberman attack. Another attack in the UK by a Doberman was reported in 2022, with a senior citizen suffering a bite wound to the head after being pounced on. In Nevada, a man who ordered his Doberman to attack a deputy faced a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. These examples show how dangerous Dobermans can be and how they can be trained to attack and hurt other people with ease.  

    Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer in Chicago?

    If you are a dog bite victim or have any family members who have suffered injuries after a dog attack caused by a Doberman or any other breed, you need to contact a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney in Chicago at your earliest convenience. Choose the law firm of Palermo Law Group for a dog bite case evaluation, and you can give yourself the best possible chance of a positive outcome. While a personal injury lawsuit cannot turn back time and prevent your accident from occurring, it can provide you with compensation.

    You can use this compensation to cover your medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, PTSD, and any other damages. Furthermore, a successful dog bite lawsuit can give you a sense of justice and closure – perhaps making it easier to move on with your life as best as possible. Book your free consultation today to discuss your legal options and move forward with an effective action plan. 



    Mario Palermo is the Founder and Lead Attorney at Palermo Law Group in Oak Brook, Illinois. For the past 26 years, he has worked tirelessly to help injury victims and their families in their times of need. He is a seasoned authority on civil litigation, and also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a prestigious group of trial lawyers who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Mr. Palermo has been named a “Leading Lawyer” by his peers in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

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