Doberman, Miniature and German Pinscher. Surely, they do look very similar and it is easy to think, that they are different size varieties of the same breed? But is it true? Are they related together?
First of all, it is important to say, that all three dogs are completely separated breeds and they are all recognized by all the major kennel clubs. So no, even though they have similarly muscular and athletic body in the same colors, they are not only varieties of one breed and for example, the Miniature Pinscher is not related to the Doberman at all. So no, the Doberman is not a Min Pin on steroids and Miniature Pinscher is not a small variety of a Doberman.
On the other hand, the German Pinscher is distantly related to both. It is believed, that the German Pinscher was used in the development of the Dobie. Sadly, we do not know on 100% what are the ancestors of neither of these breeds, so this is only a guess, but experts believe, that Dobermans were bred from Rottweilers, GSDs, Weimaraners, Beaucerons, German Pinschers and Greyhounds. Possibly some other breeds. BTW, Dobermans are the youngest of these three breeds and they were bred in the 1880s.
The German Pinscher is related to the Min Pin as well. Both, German and Miniature Pinscher were already established breeds, when the Doberman was developed and we are not sure if they had something in common in those times. It is believed that yes and that the German Pinscher was also used in the development of Min Pin.
But later, the Miniature Pinscher was also used in the German Pinscher breeding. How is it possible? Well, after the second world war. In the 1950s, the German Pinscher was extremely close to become extinct and there was no litter registered from 1950 to 1958.
Luckily, one breeder, namely Wener Jung, decided to save the breed and collected few remaining German Pinschers and four large Miniature Pinscher and crossed them together. So those four Min Pins are also responsible for bringing the German Pinscher breed back.
And what was the original purpose of these dogs? Well, the Doberman Pinscher was originally bred as protector for a tax collector Louis Doberman, but both German and Miniature Pinscher were mostly used as skilled ratters.
The largest difference is their size. The smallest is a Miniature Pinscher with average height between 25-30 cm and weight between 3-5 kg. The German Pinscher size is between 43-51 cm and weight between 11-20 kg. The largest of these three, the Doberman, should be between 60-72 cm tall and 32-45 kg heavy. So as you can see, there are HUGE size differences between these dogs.
Even according to the official breed standards, the Miniature Pinscher is a reduced image of the German Pinscher without the draw-backs of a dwarfed appearance. But we can definitely find some differences in the Doberman.
Their bodies are more wedge shapes, they have longer neck, broader chest, proportionally larger feet. They also have relatively larger muzzle, compared to the head size.
And what about their temperament? Well, it is quite different and again, we can look into the official FCI breed standards. According to it, the utilization is different in all three breeds. The spirited, lively and playful Miniature Pinscher is a typical house and companion dog. But if i say a companion dog, do not think that it is a coach potatoe, not at all! They need a lot of daily playtime, exercise and mental stimulation as well. They will love to live in an active family. They are nicknamed as King of Toys for a reason!
The German Pinscher is also playful and lively, but more alert and watchful, That is why their utilization is companion and watchdog. This is even more energetic breed than the Min Pin and because of their intelligence, they need a lot of mental and physical stimulation.
And than, we have the Doberman. Their utilization is more versatile, they are not only companions and watchdogs, but they serve as protectors, police or military dogs as well. With Doberman it is all about the training and socialization, because they can be bred as loving and spoiled family companion, but also as sharp, fearless and alert personal protectors.
I would also say, that the Doberman is little bit more patient and tolerant than the other two dogs. The German and Miniature Pinscher tend to be little bit more strong willed and independent dogs.
If there is something, these three dogs have in common, than it is that they are highly energetic, lively and extremely intelligent fast learners.