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When I am ready for a puppy I will be at least training for agility and frisbee, and probably dock diving as well. However, some of my time will be spent kayaking, hiking, and camping in remote wild areas. I may hike or kayak to areas that haven’t been visited before. So there is the likelihood of running across wild animals like hogs, coyotes, etc, and even the possible mountain lion.

While I am always armed and vigilant, my companion needs to be steadfast and reliable. I would not be intentionally putting him in harms way nor would I be using him to hunt..

I have read various threads, and watched videos that give the impression that American Dobermans are more timid than Europeans. Is this a pretty good rule of thumb, and if so to what degree would it be of concern? We would be highly unlikely to come across anything that posed real danger as most would hear and smell us and go elsewhere. However, in the off chance we happen upon something with babies or an animal feeding I would need my boy to stand fast and follow instructions.

I want a Doberman either way, and we will train in the various dog sports, but I also feel he would make a wonderful companion for these adventures.

So what are the thoughts of those with actual experience?
 

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I've had mostly Dobermans since 1959 and found that a far as performance sports go they could learn (and mostly like) anything I had the time and patience to teach them. I don't do and never have done frisbee--not even in playing because I think it's a good way to "break" a Doberman. I've always thought that the shorter legged lighter weight dogs (Aussies and Border Collies come to mind) are better suiting for that one. Dock Diving wasn't even around when I had a Dobe who was truly a water dog--but he'd have had no problems with that sport. Tracking--I had Dobes that were good at it and Dobes who loved it and who were better at it.

From the time Agility became an AKC sport my Dobes have done that--they all seemed to enjoy it and were reasonably good at it.

But there are a lot of new venues to pay in as well along with the old standard--Obedience and Tracking. Rally is a good starting place for both dogs and owners who haven't done any of this kind of thing. Barn Hunt, Dock Diving and others--if it weren't roasting today I could probably think of a lot more.

I've never done any kayaking but at one time I did a lot of sailing (because we had a boat) and the Dobe I had and the Afghan Hound who followed him both went sailing with us and both learned to listen for the "Coming About" announcement and would change sides as if they were trained. And I used to take the Dobe out in a Sabot--a tiny little day sailer which could be easily tipped over.

When it comes to hiking and camping in remote areas--I think that you would want a solid two to three years of training and a dog that had bullet proof command like the one some folks I know use "Halt" which is supposed to stop them in their tracks. A standard recall--"COME" or whatever command you might use. But these thing take time to make sure the dog you are taking into area that may have life they've had no experience with--will respond immediately to such commands.

As far as American Dobermans being more timid than European Dobermans? Sure couldn't prove it by me. I never had a Dobe (and all of mine were either American or very recently North American/South American combo's) who was timid about much of anything once they were past puppyhood. I had some that weren't particularly friendly--but they were polite.

Some of my dogs have met coyotes (partly because Portland, Oregon has a couple of places within the city that have as permanent resident coyotes--this includes the vet clinic I've worked at for years--it's next door to a big, old cemetary and that's one of the spots that has coyotes as permanent residents. When I was the closer at the clinic my dog and I used to occasionally run into one of the coyote checking out big trash containers hoping there might be food. We scared the coyote more than they ever scared me or the dog.

And my dogs have encountered rabbits and deer often enough I know their reaction--rabbits always run and my dogs always want to chase them. Deer? I don't think most of my dogs have even figured out exactly what they are.

I have no idea what they would door about bears but I do know that females with cubs are very aggressive. Cougar tend to disappear before you or the dog even know they are there.

So good luck--whatever you decided to do--just remember that you will need to train your dog for what you want him to do in your encounters with other inhabitants on the wild side.

Good luck and have fun.

dobebug
 

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I would not buy into the many "Euro verses American" myths that exist on the internet. You can certainly find the temperament you are looking for in a well bred dog of any lineage.

I'd instead focus much, much more on seeking the right dog from the right breeder. That could be American, or European, but spend a lot more time making sure you're finding someone reputable.
 

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I don't do and never have done frisbee--not even in playing because I think it's a good way to "break" a Doberman.
Boy, am I with you on that one. I'm probably in a small minority in that I feel the same way about Agility. An ortho vet once told me the best dogs for Agility with the least risk of problems were ones the size and build of border collies, and of course the people I've known who do it have Rotties -- and they all seem to be very familiar with doggy chiropractors and masseuses. My beliefs are anchored in my years in horses, where I think we ask a whole lot of them that their bodies aren't meant to do, like show jumping. Yes, they can jump, but they aren't built to do it over and over and over at maximum height. And of course race horses....

We humans beat up our own bodies to our own detriment in athletic endeavors, but we get to decide for ourselves. Our animals don't have that option.

Anyway, as to shyness. From watching a lot of Rottie litters go through the Volhard PAT test and seeing how many of them grew up since they stayed in this area, and also knowing how my own grew up compared to how they tested, I'd say a good breeder knows first of all what to expect in range of temperament from a particular litter and then which pups in that litter tend toward the shy or confident side.

As to off leash in the kind of wilderness areas the OP describes, I personally wouldn't ever do it, but for someone determined I'm again with dobebug, the dog would have to be mature with a lot of training in many environments. I had a 7-year-old I walked off leash around my own property during the Covid lockdowns. She had done a lot of AKC Rally and Obedience, and she obeyed even when we spooked deer (which I didn't know were down in a low spot I couldn't see setting out), but I know the OP doesn't want to wait that long.;)
 

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Sadly shyness (which used to be a DQ fault in the DPCA standard but no longer is, still is in the DPCC standard) is something that is present in every major gene pool in our breed. That is largely why you cannot make sweeping generalizations. I've met euros - and please note when people say "euro" they mean european showlines, not european working lines as those are referred to simply as working lines - who were shy, I've met euros who had poor recovery/little bounceback. I've met euros who were noise sensitive or environmentally sensitive. I've met americans who were rock solid in all those areas.

What it will come down to is a particular bloodline, particular pedigree and particular program. If a breeder breeding american lines is making temperament a priority or important factor and that a rock solid temperament (not just a "sweet") temperament is important to them, then generally they will produce dogs with that temperament. Additionally more and more breeders use rigorous socialization and exposure protocols like puppy culture, avidogs etc.

Now, it's also true that 70% of dobermans fail the Working Aptitude Evaluation, and typically they fail the last station which is the aggressive/threatening stranger portion. But it is also true that a lot of dogs aren't prepared for the WAE, have never been put in that scenario and haven't been taught the appropriate response. Which simply isn't fair to the dog when the average owner spends their life creating a dog that they WANT to see be friendly with strangers and gentle with children and essentially a "good boi" in all situations, now you're suddenly asking them without training to beat up the bad guy also? Tap in to something you've actively worked to suppress? Some dogs fail because they don't engage at all, not because they are spooked or run away, they simply remind beside their owner and quizzically wag their tail or tilt their head. I would consider these dogs steadfast even if they aren't per se protective.

Don't get me wrong, I don't train my dogs for temperament tests either, I don't prepare them for that specific scenario, but I also don't actively suppress my dog's stranger danger responses to the extent most people do. I teach them to be neutral if stranger is friendly, I teach them to be neutral if stranger is neutral. I never actively try to teach them to be friendly to strangers, if they choose to be, great. If not, even better.

But I digress. Going back to my first point it depends not on the genel pool (North/South American, vs Euro show, vs Working line) but moreso that particular breeder's program. Whatever expectations you have out of your dog, find a breeder that has similar expectations or a clientele with similar expectations.

As an example: if you expect obedience, go to a breeder who competes in an obedience-dependent venue or has every day need for excellent obedience (like for example they live on 26 acres of unfenced land yet never had a dog run away, run out etc.) if you want a dog that's very social with people, go to a breeder who is a social butterfly and includes their dogs in what they do. Want a good traveller? Someone who takes their dogs on vacation with them. So on and so forth.

That can be questions you can ask your breeder: what would a typical day with your dogs look like? Do you travel with your dogs often beyond showing/competing? What do you expect out of your dog in terms of every day skills and behaviour?
 

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Sadly shyness (which used to be a DQ fault in the DPCA standard but no longer is, still is in the DPCC standard) is something that is present in every major gene pool in our breed. That is largely why you cannot make sweeping generalizations. I've met euros - and please note when people say "euro" they mean european showlines, not european working lines as those are referred to simply as working lines - who were shy, I've met euros who had poor recovery/little bounceback. I've met euros who were noise sensitive or environmentally sensitive. I've met americans who were rock solid in all those areas.

What it will come down to is a particular bloodline, particular pedigree and particular program. If a breeder breeding american lines is making temperament a priority or important factor and that a rock solid temperament (not just a "sweet") temperament is important to them, then generally they will produce dogs with that temperament. Additionally more and more breeders use rigorous socialization and exposure protocols like puppy culture, avidogs etc.

Now, it's also true that 70% of dobermans fail the Working Aptitude Evaluation, and typically they fail the last station which is the aggressive/threatening stranger portion. But it is also true that a lot of dogs aren't prepared for the WAE, have never been put in that scenario and haven't been taught the appropriate response. Which simply isn't fair to the dog when the average owner spends their life creating a dog that they WANT to see be friendly with strangers and gentle with children and essentially a "good boi" in all situations, now you're suddenly asking them without training to beat up the bad guy also? Tap in to something you've actively worked to suppress? Some dogs fail because they don't engage at all, not because they are spooked or run away, they simply remind beside their owner and quizzically wag their tail or tilt their head. I would consider these dogs steadfast even if they aren't per se protective.

Don't get me wrong, I don't train my dogs for temperament tests either, I don't prepare them for that specific scenario, but I also don't actively suppress my dog's stranger danger responses to the extent most people do. I teach them to be neutral if stranger is friendly, I teach them to be neutral if stranger is neutral. I never actively try to teach them to be friendly to strangers, if they choose to be, great. If not, even better.

But I digress. Going back to my first point it depends not on the genel pool (North/South American, vs Euro show, vs Working line) but moreso that particular breeder's program. Whatever expectations you have out of your dog, find a breeder that has similar expectations or a clientele with similar expectations.

As an example: if you expect obedience, go to a breeder who competes in an obedience-dependent venue or has every day need for excellent obedience (like for example they live on 26 acres of unfenced land yet never had a dog run away, run out etc.) if you want a dog that's very social with people, go to a breeder who is a social butterfly and includes their dogs in what they do. Want a good traveller? Someone who takes their dogs on vacation with them. So on and so forth.

That can be questions you can ask your breeder: what would a typical day with your dogs look like? Do you travel with your dogs often beyond showing/competing? What do you expect out of your dog in terms of every day skills and behaviour?
I laughed when you got to talking about the 70% of Dobes who take the WAE fail it and it's mostly the last section the "bad" guy that they fail.

I have never had a purebred dog (and most of them have been Dobermans) who didn't start out as a show prospect. And that means that you want that dog to go in the ring and deal with whatever comes along--judges who come in wearing cartwheel hats adorned with flowers, men with long scarfs wrapped around their neck which come unrolled and fall over the dogs head while the judge is examining the dog. I've seen it all... And then you take the dog into the WAE and because they've been expected for the last several years to put up with behavior from judges in the conformation ring and just live with it. I've had several dogs who managed to pass the WAE in spite of having spent their time in the conformation ring from 6 months until 3 years. But I knew those dogs would pass that section because they'd already behaved accordingly when they encountered strangers behaving oddly.

I should add that while my dogs aren't noise sensitive I am--and I don't let my dogs bark about most things that they hear and want to announce. So they start out with not one thing that causes them to not know quite what to do about this guy acting weird and coming toward them (and I learned not to take my own dogs through the WAE) I send them with a friend who hasn't been telling them no bark all their life.

And when one of my dogs fails hat part of the WAE--we have a routine that was taught long ago to several of us with show dogs and this problem--it sets the dog up with a situation where he's allowed to chase and bark at a person (preferably one he doesn't know)--and it works. Is this training? You bet.

I've stood with some of my dogs and watched someone else stand with others--while the dog looks at the mad man coming their way--the first thing my dogs do is look at the handler--"What is this?" they ask. Sometimes they step out in front of the handler but more often they stand, like rocks--clearly trying to figure out exactly what is going on and what they can do?

I do want to see what my dogs will offer without training but after the first WAE I've seen what they will do with no training--and then I do want to see what they will do with minimal training.

dobebug
 

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I have an American dobe and I don't think he's timid at all. He actually kind of has a problem with barking at strangers that try to touch him, loud strangers, and strangers that come on our property. I don't doubt he will try to bark and scare away any wild animals that get close and in fact he has done that for raccoons and coyotes and possums, but I would not trust him to follow my instructions well in that kind of situation. I always have to direct him away physically and not just through voice commands. If you are truly committed to training for that and you have a dog with the genetics for it, then maybe it is possible. I expect it would take a ton of work over years to get to that level.
 

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Because there are far more BYB euro breeders they try to sell to the uneducated that euros are better than Americans for this or that reason.... don't buy into it. All adolescent dobes go through fear stages, it's important that you train around that and keep properly socializing. I own a half euro and two americans and I've fostered several euro and I train in IGP with other dobes. I've actually seen a greater amount of original fear from euros but it's just a puppy fear that they grow out of. My dobes are all very outgoing and up for anything. I've climbed up 500 feet of open staircases, hiked 14ers,.... never any issues.
 

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You can find a lot of different personalities in both American and European Dobermans. In most of the western European countries, most of the working breeds including Dobermans, must pass a very rigorous temperament test. The Zuchttauglichkeitsprüfung or ZTP is the German standard for temperament testing, but other countries use similar tests. The translation literally means "fit for breeding." The test evaluates a dog’s conformation, sociability, character, and courage to determine if the dog is a suitable candidate in a breeding program in both type and temperament; most tests require a passing hip rating. In the USA, the United Doberman Club has a similar test called the Breed Survey. In many countries, a litter may not be registered unless both the dam and the sire have passed the ZTP or possess an IPO/IGP I title.

We have found that if you breed to dogs or procure a puppy from a pedigree where all of the dogs have passed this test, they have stronger nerves and the natural instinct to know how to behave appropriately in both threatening and non threatening situations.
 

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Hi Pointy

Over the years, we have had only American males. All taken strictly as companions/pets. Not one was trained in protection. Or, were they even expected to actually protect us. And, not one of them was remotely timid. The most intimidating was a very stoic dog, owned by my adult son. He never growled and very rarely barked. Nothing fazed him. His impassive attitude was very unnerving to both people and other dogs. His mere presence was enough to deter undesirables.

My recently deceased boy, once cornered an intruder trying to break into my house at 3 AM, giving me time to grab a shotgun and hold him at bay until the police came and took him away. This dog was also totally untrained in protection. And in fact was the most socialized and easy going dog the we have ever owned. This was just his nature. I doubt he would have attack or bitten the man. But the sight and sound of a visibly pissed off 85 lb. Doberman is a fairly decent persuader.

Years ago, I had a male Dobe, who was a bit leery of strangers. But he certainly was not afraid of them. We lived in a 5 unit apartment building in a pretty sketchy neighborhood. One day all the apartments were burglarized while everyone was at work. All except ours. And I never locked my door. That was because my boy would not let anyone that he didn't know enter the apartment without my OK. He could recognize the sound of familiar cars pulling into the parking lot and would go to the front door with his tail wagging. If a car pulled in that he did not recognize, he would still go to the front door, but on total alert. Ears up, tense, with maybe few guttural sounds.

Finally... All of our dogs have been outdoor recreation type dogs. I live in the Pacific NW and used to wilderness hike. We also have a fairly remote cabin in the Yellowstone area. In fact, my son's family and their 1 1/2 yo male Dobe were there this month. As a result, our dogs have been exposed to moose, deer, elk, bears, porcupines, skunks, rattle snakes and even bison. The only animals that I ever saw unnerve them were bison. But bison, in close proximity should unnerve any sane critter. LOL. I have coyotes in my neighborhood and they occasionally walk though my rather private yard. My most recent boy could not have cared less about them.

My one suggestion... If you are planning on wilderness hiking or camping with your Doberman, is that you perfect his (or her) recall command compliance. My son, for the first time, at the suggestion of his trainer, introduced a remote e-collar into his pup's training. With the assistance of the trainer, who specializes in working breeds, the collar has proven to be a very effective tool. Having it available in the remote areas of Yellowstone, where our dogs are allowed to be untethered, proved to be a great reassurance of his boys safety.

John L
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Now, it's also true that 70% of dobermans fail the Working Aptitude Evaluation, and typically they fail the last station which is the aggressive/threatening stranger portion. But it is also true that a lot of dogs aren't prepared for the WAE, have never been put in that scenario and haven't been taught the appropriate response. Which simply isn't fair to the dog when the average owner spends their life creating a dog that they WANT to see be friendly with strangers and gentle with children and essentially a "good boi" in all situations, now you're suddenly asking them without training to beat up the bad guy also? Tap in to something you've actively worked to suppress? Some dogs fail because they don't engage at all, not because they are spooked or run away, they simply remind beside their owner and quizzically wag their tail or tilt their head. I would consider these dogs steadfast even if they aren't per se protective.
I recently attended a WAE with a friend and the pass/fail rate was roughly 50%. When I took my boy through it 6 years ago, only 4 out of 14 dogs passed. So I would say at least from the two I've been to, I've seen a nice improvement. In the one Creed passed, there were both euros and americans represented about equally. Two european dogs passed: my dog and a bitch whose name I can't remember (I want to say Irene but I think that's wrong). Two american dogs passed: a big red dog named Trouble and a black dog named Wiley. There were euro dogs that failed and american dogs that failed and all of them were on the aggressive stranger. In the one where my friend's bitch took it, just recently, her american bitch did fail on the aggressive stranger. However, I'll note that the judge voiced surprise that she failed because she was rock solid on everything else. I know this bitch personally and have done since she was 6 weeks old, I would say that she is not as strong as my Creed was sure but not a pushover by any means.

However, as Artemis says, her owner has spent her entire life teaching her not to act like an idiot on the leash including barking or growling at strangers due to the very public nature of her job where she cannot act like that just because someone's being a creep. She initially went forward when the man came out but retreated when he ran at her. As he ran away she came forward again and barked at him. To me that shows mental conflict that she did want to show protection but was unsure how to resolve that with her prior training, and the challenge of a big loud man running directly at her was too much for her to stand strong. She also is young, just barely old enough to even take the WAE, so my friend will try again when she's a little older. Her breeder also does not work dogs in protection, the dogs do mainly conformation and performance sports, so I feel it's unfair to expect the same level of protection from a dog not bred with that as a priority vs one that is.

That being said, I have also been to other temperament tests, breed surveys, and protection sport venues and I have seen american dogs working alongside european dogs. I have seen european dogs run off the field at the sound of the whip or the gunshot. I've seen american dogs breeze through breed surveys like it's just another tuesday while the european dogs repeatedly fail over and over. I've seen american dogs get their IGP titles. So if you are looking for a good, protective dog... that is findable in american lines if you look hard enough.

My boy was european- both show lines and working lines- but I have yet to meet a good doberman of any breeding that did not enjoy performance sports or simply hanging out with their owner as an active lifestyle. I frequently camp in my car when going to trials and it was great to have Creed there by my side. I felt very safe despite sleeping out in the open and it's a feeling I miss even though I don't think many people will challenge my mountain dog. She doesn't have any sort of protective instinct in her outside of barking- towards humans anyway- so while I don't think many humans will see a 100lb dog barking at them and call that dog's bluff... I also don't think she's the one to rely on protecting me if push comes to shove. We did a lot of hiking, mostly offleash, and he did love the water, but the scariest things we encountered were black bears simply crossing our path, and I would recall him and hold him by the collar until they had passed. He did chase a coyote or bobcat or something of similar size off my property once late at night, but recalled off of those types of things when on a hike.

I think if you are in an area where there is a lot of wildlife traffic- or if you go to the wild yourself- you need a dog with a solid recall and a solid leave it or you won't have a dog anymore. I work at a vet job and see probably 3 quilled dogs per week pass through my clinic, recently a terrier survived a bear attack, and we had a rabies euth/test on a beagle that tangled with some coyotes. No matter what the breed, it is always your job to take whatever precautions you need to avoid your pet being injured or killed by the local fauna.
 

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When I am ready for a puppy I will be at least training for agility and frisbee, and probably dock diving as well. However, some of my time will be spent kayaking, hiking, and camping in remote wild areas. I may hike or kayak to areas that haven’t been visited before. So there is the likelihood of running across wild animals like hogs, coyotes, etc, and even the possible mountain lion.

While I am always armed and vigilant, my companion needs to be steadfast and reliable. I would not be intentionally putting him in harms way nor would I be using him to hunt..

I have read various threads, and watched videos that give the impression that American Dobermans are more timid than Europeans. Is this a pretty good rule of thumb, and if so to what degree would it be of concern? We would be highly unlikely to come across anything that posed real danger as most would hear and smell us and go elsewhere. However, in the off chance we happen upon something with babies or an animal feeding I would need my boy to stand fast and follow instructions.

I want a Doberman either way, and we will train in the various dog sports, but I also feel he would make a wonderful companion for these adventures.

So what are the thoughts of those with actual experience?
<< I have read various threads, and watched videos that give the impression that American Dobermans are more timid than Europeans. Is this a pretty good rule of thumb, and if so to what degree would it be of concern? >>

Anyone that has been around Dobermans/Dobermanns for any period of time has most likely engaged in the conversation and debate at one time or another. To generalize on a breed temperament and tar the opinionated version with the broad strokes of a biased brush does neither the Doberman nor the Dobermann justice. Hopefully you see the direction where the discussion depending on opinionated bias can go.

Genetics that is governed by line-breeding and “Coefficients of Inbreeding” no doubt plays the major part in stable and resilient temperament. Doubling up on the stable temperament and innate requisite drive genetics provides a 'blueprint' for the breeder regarding potential in the outcome of breeding. Is it gospel and a guarantee ??? There is no absolute guarantee. Euro breeders do not hold a monopoly of breeding into their stock the requisite working drives. Working drives per se are contained in both South and North American bred Dobermans as well as Euro-breds.

One factor that is overlooked is “nurture” and the impact that it provides. The discussion then becomes “Is it possible to then 'make' the dog into something that it inherently is not”? IMHO I believe that with nurture, then in a consistent positive confidence-developing environment then the drives can be built —that is not to suggest that drive can be created. Drive cannot be created, yet by the Dobermans' very genetic makeup then drive is a given lest the Doberman then is no longer a true Doberman.

My opinion right, wrong or indifferent is based on the Doberman/Dobermann genetic makeup of the breed per se drive-specific of prey drive that can be developed within a nurtured training environment that can culminate favourably in defence/fight drive. Think in terms of the insecure reserved kid who is always getting bullied until the day he enrols in self defence and martial arts. So it is with nurture that changes in behavior and confidence can and ultimately do occur. Pfaffenberger discovered such — the value of nurture in exercising instinctive hunting drive — in his studies and work with Guide Dogs for the Blind. The innate instincts of the dogs chosen for service work needed to be used and exercised consistently.

Therefore then another question might surface regarding optimal choice for a suitable pup regardless of working or show lineage, and that is— “Do I need to choose or should I accept the breeder's choice of pup to suit my goals” ???? ...... Volhard's PAT ( Puppy Aptitude Test ) as well as others might be good 'yardsticks' to measure immediate and current 'drive' potential yet it is a proven ecological fact via Lackland MWD data and studies under Stewart Hilliard that 15 months of age is when the true potential of a canine is established. Thus by extension and then IMHO that leaves a great deal of opportunity in the interim of when a pup falls under the ownership of a capable handler and the designated time frame to develop — not create— a pup's potential drive.

In the grand scheme of the multitude of canines that one can never experience, yet I have and had been around— albeit only a very small cross-section — Dobermans/Dobermanns on both sides of the discussion and I have personally discovered that much more goes into the equation suggesting that one is superior or inferior to the other. The equation is a complex mix of innate Dobermans-per se drives + training consistency + positive environmental nurture (read into that all the variables fore-mentioned).

My current and my most recently departed Dobe is/was of North and South American show lines — a mix of Heartwood, Foxfire, Fabert and Marienburg/Marienburg respectively. They lacked of nothing regarding requisite working drives of prey, protection/combat/fight and social/pack. They are/were at home in venues of agility, water, distance endurance in sun, rain, sleet or snow bikejouring, good endurance recovery rate and SCH based OB, T and P. ......early Dobe ventures were with a few of vom Marchengarten lineage. Each, either Euro or NA/SA lived up to what the Doberman/Dobermann is billed to be. Perhaps nurture played as integral a part as did the innate given of 'drive'. My honest opinion is that it did.

@GretchenRed pretty much summed up the hype surrounding Euro bred Dobermanns. I invite OP to search YouTube for Dobermann ZTP Courage test and discover that “all that supposedly glitters — regarding Eurodobes —is not all gold”. Albeit there will be some very impressive looking and engaging Dobermanns during the test, just as there will be highly impressive looking Dobermanns with nothing more than looks and disappointing low drive requiring the trial helper to 'throttle back' pressure when resulting in avoidance and culminating in failure. Simply offering some food for thought and an eye-opener to sidestep the hard sell pushing Euro-breds as the be-all end-all’s.
 

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In the one where my friend's bitch took it, just recently, her american bitch did fail on the aggressive stranger. However, I'll note that the judge voiced surprise that she failed because she was rock solid on everything else. I know this bitch personally and have done since she was 6 weeks old, I would say that she is not as strong as my Creed was sure but not a pushover by any means.

However, as Artemis says, her owner has spent her entire life teaching her not to act like an idiot on the leash including barking or growling at strangers due to the very public nature of her job where she cannot act like that just because someone's being a creep. She initially went forward when the man came out but retreated when he ran at her. As he ran away she came forward again and barked at him. To me that shows mental conflict that she did want to show protection but was unsure how to resolve that with her prior training, and the challenge of a big loud man running directly at her was too much for her to stand strong. She also is young, just barely old enough to even take the WAE, so my friend will try again when she's a little older. Her breeder also does not work dogs in protection, the dogs do mainly conformation and performance sports, so I feel it's unfair to expect the same level of protection from a dog not bred with that as a priority vs one that is.
And by the way what you're describing with your friend's dobes is very typical of most adolescents in the 12 month to 24 month age with the UDC YTT almost foot for foot what you describe, it's a REALLY tough ask for a doberman at that age because the majority do not have the maturity or experience to deal with the situation. Most of them back away unsure or startled but recover. Whether they pass or not depends on the judge and how quickly they recovered. Most of them pass on their next attempt with no additional training.

My current and my most recently departed Dobe is/was of North and South American show lines — a mix of Homewood, Foxfire, Fabert and Marienburg/Marienburg respectively. They lacked of nothing regarding requisite working drives of prey, protection/combat/fight and social/pack. They are/were at home in venues of agility, water, distance endurance in sun, rain, sleet or snow bikejouring, good endurance recovery rate and SCH based OB, T and P. ......early Dobe ventures were with a few of vom Marchengarten lineage. Each, either Euro or NA/SA lived up to what the Doberman/Dobermann is billed to be. Perhaps nurture played as integral part as did innate given of drive. My honest opinion is that it did.
My bitch who passed her WAC, ATT, TT from the Temperament Test Associates of Canada and her Breed Survey Advanced is essentially built on the same - She is Tiburon Demolition Man ex Fabert's Living in Sin so her ped is built on Lex Luthor (South American) goes back to Marienburg, and her second dam was Reece, the Heartwood import Françoise bought. She did have some European dogs mostly by way of Marienburg further up in the pedigree, Dexter v Franckenhorst and Gravin Onyx v Neerlands Stamm. She's 7.5 years old.
Her two daughters who have the WAC and one who also has the ATT and the TT were from breeding back to South American lines through a Trotyl son.

May I ask who was/is your dobe?
 

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@OP I finally dug up the kennel names of the dogs and it looks like I misremembered, the bitch I saw pass her WAE was not euro but American as well. That's what happens when you get a brain injury in between I suppose.

Irene from SharJet, Wiley from Dabney, and Trouble from Cambria. Out of the three I would also like to point out that Sharon at SharJet has been at UDC events I've attended several times with her American dogs, and that her dogs usually don't have any trouble passing temperament tests. Some of them have titled in IGP. From my understanding she is a conformation person that understands the true working doberman temperament and I think that's a great thing. I have liked every single one of her dogs that I've interacted with, and she's been exceptionally kind to both myself and my aforementioned friend when we've run into her at events. I know you didn't say that you specifically wanted a bitework dog but if you're looking for a good, solid, American line dog I think that Sharon's breedings are a good place to start. Sadly to my knowledge she doesn't have a website so it's a little more complicated to get ahold of her.
 

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I will start off by saying I didn't read every response, so if I repeat what's been said, I apologize. I don't see this as a Euro vs American issue. I see this as a 2 fold issue. First would be to find a breeder that understands what you're looking for and the other is proper training of your dog. It sounds like you will be a great Dobe owner, your dog once properly trained, will have a very adventurous life, best of luck.
 
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