This page attempts to document how to create a Debian image for Docker.
The following is work in progress WITHOUT ANY WARANTY
The docker.io package ships the /usr/share/docker.io/contrib/mkimage-debootstrap.sh script which may be used to create a Docker image for Debian (or Ubuntu) using debootstrap, and with or without further tweaks.
Note that due to bug #740855 /usr/share/docker.io/contrib/mkimage-debootstrap.sh needs to be patched at the moment.
You may create an image for the stable suite (using the minbase debootstrap variant) with :
.../mkimage-debootstrap.sh $USER/minbase stable
The image may then be used with :
sudo docker.io run -i $USER/minbase:stable echo "hello world"
See also http://www.debian-administration.org/article/696/A_brief_introduction_to_using_docker#a2 if you want to use a manual debootstrap install (without the upstream's contrib script's tweaks).
A dockerfile may also directly the following directive :
See http://sfxpt.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/debianubuntu-package-developing-with-docker-continued/ for a description of using mkimage-debootstrap.sh.