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How do I tell if a dog is a Doberman puppy or a Miniature Pinscher?

Hey everyone,

I recently adopted a puppy from a rescue shelter, and the staff there told me she is a Doberman Pinscher mix. However, as she is growing up, I am starting to notice that she looks a lot like a Miniature Pinscher. I am a first-time dog owner and don't have much experience with different breeds, so I am having a hard time figuring out what breed she actually is. I have compared her pictures online, but I'm still not sure.

Is there any way to tell if my dog is a Doberman puppy or a Miniature Pinscher? Are there any distinguishing features that I should look out for? Any advice or guidance on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

All Replies



I can empathise with your situation as I had a similar experience when I adopted my dog, who was meant to be a German Shepherd, but was much smaller, had pointy ears, and was a darker color.

From my experience, the best way to determine a dog's breed is through genetic testing. Such tests can accurately determine the genetic composition of your dog, including its breed or breed mix, so you can be certain of its actual breed.

If you're interested in understanding more about your dog's heritage beyond its breed, such tests also provide additional insights into potential health conditions, traits, and behaviours specific to its breed(s). Not only can this information be useful for your puppy's health but can also help you prepare better as an owner.

Genetic testing is something that you can discuss with your veterinarian or breeder, who can recommend tests available and explain their implications. This way, you'll have an accurate understanding and a more comprehensive picture of your puppy's genetic makeup.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your new pup!


Hey there!

I can understand your confusion as sometimes it can be tough to distinguish between different breeds, especially when they are still puppies. I actually had a similar experience when I adopted a puppy that was supposed to be a Labrador Retriever but ended up looking more like a Golden Retriever.

In my experience, the best way to tell if your puppy is a Doberman or a Miniature Pinscher is by looking at their size and body structure. Miniature Pinschers are much smaller in size and have a more slender body compared to Dobermans, which are fairly large dogs with broad shoulders and a muscular body.

If you are still unsure, you can always take your puppy to a veterinarian who can help you determine their breed based on their physical features. They may also be able to give you more insight into any genetic conditions that are common in either breed, which can help you take better care of your puppy.

Hope this helps, and congratulations on adopting a new pup!



I had a similar experience when I adopted my dog. The shelter had told us he was a Black Labrador Retriever. But as he started to grow up, we began to notice that he looked different from other Labradors, and we couldn't tell whether he was a Labrador or a Great Dane.

From my experience, another difference between Dobermans and Miniature Pinschers is their ears. Dobermans have pointed ears that stand erect and are typically cropped, while Miniature Pinschers have ears that are naturally floppy or pointed, and they don't need to be cropped.

It's also useful to look at their snout. Dobermans have a longer snout, while Miniature Pinschers have a shorter one. Typically, Dobermans have a more serious and alert expression, while Miniature Pinschers have a cheerful and lively one.

My advice would be to consult with an experienced and qualified veterinarian who can help you accurately identify your puppy's breed. A vet will also be able to provide you with recommendations specific to your dog's breed or mix, to help you provide your puppy with the best possible care.

Best of luck!


Hi there,

I totally understand your confusion when it comes to differentiating between two similar breeds. I had a similar experience while adopting my dog, which was supposedly a German Shepherd mix, but over time, we started noticing that she looked more like a Siberian Husky.

From my personal experience, I would suggest paying close attention to their coat and color. Dobermans have a short and hard coat, usually with a black or tan color mix, whereas Miniature Pinschers have a smooth and shiny coat with a mix of black and rust or chocolate and rust colors.

Another thing to look out for is their temperament. Dobermans are known for being loyal, protective, and fearless dogs, while Miniature Pinschers are playful, energetic, and fun-loving dogs.

If you're still unsure, I would suggest taking your pup to a breed-specific trainer, who can give you a better idea after observing their behavior, mannerisms, and physical features.

Hope this helps!

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