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Information about Doberman Pinschers:

Whos in Charge - Are you the alpha dog?

What to Expect with the Doberman Breed

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Doberman Pinscher Temperament 

The Doberman Pinscher is often referred to by enthusiasts as "The Cadillac of Dogs." They've also been called "the dog with the human brain." Originally bred to be a guard dog, the Doberman Pinscher makes a protective family pet. Due to their erroneous reputation, the mere presence of a Doberman is sufficient deterrent to evil doers. However, a Doberman Pinscher in a loving, stable environment is also a loving, stable dog, and an obedient and loyal companion. This is not a dog you simply can chain outside to protect your property. A Doberman is a people dog and will show you unflinching devotion and will need to be by your side. They are incredibly intelligent, perceptive, intuitive, and sensitive, all of which makes them highly trainable. However, they require you to be a firm packleader, or they will assume the role. A Doberman will need to be obedience trained. The Doberman Pinscher is a versatile breed: family dog, agility champion, therapy dog, seeing eye dog, police dog. They are used to being very active. They are fearless, outgoing, and up for anything, anytime. They need vigorous exercise every day and they need to be mentally stimulated. Dobermans do best when they have a job to do. However, they are not fond of rain, so they will nap with you until the sun comes out. Speaking of napping, the Doberman is a cuddler! Be prepared to be watching TV, minding your own business, and suddenly finding a Doberman in your lap. They will also try to sleep with you. A Doberman will be lovey-dovey with you on the couch, but will be reserved with strangers. They have a natural ability to evaluate a situation and determine whether or not their family is being threatened.  Dobermans are prone to behavior issues because they are so intelligent and energetic, but a Doberman who is provided with exercise, care, attention, and training should be a perfect companion in the home. You just need to have the time and be able to make the commitment. As with many breeds, the Doberman is not for everyone. 

Doberman Health     

Over 350 inherited diseases have been recognized in dogs. Many are restricted to particular breeds but others such as hip dysplasia occur in a wide range of breeds. The different diseases affect almost every part of the dog's body including eyes, heart, skeleton, liver and skin.

The genes responsible for inherited disease are found in the complex DNA molecule which is the genetic blueprint for every individual. Over the last five to ten years scientists have begun to identify individual genes and DNA-based technology has been developed to test animals for the presence of disease-causing genes. At the moment there are only a few tests available, but tests for many more of the common inherited disorders will become available in the future.

Unfortunately there are many underlying health conditions AND genetic problems that can appear in the Doberman. All good breeders should test the parents for many of these diseases prior to breeding. 

Doberman Health and Responsible Breeding 

Dog breeding is a big responsibility. Good breeders are caring and knowledgeable about their breed and they invest significant time, thought and research into planning their breedings, they will test their dame and sire for genetic diseases so that they will not spread the defective gene should a breeding pair be positive. They will also put a great deal of effort into raising and socializing the puppies to prepare them for their new homes. 

For more information on genetic diseases in dogs 


Information on Good breeding and Genetics Information

is genetically predisposed disease of the heart muscle. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the term for advanced cardiomypathy with a failing heart muscle. In essence, it is the inability of the heart muscle to contract normally. The best way to identify this condition is with an ultrasound, xray and holter moniter of the heart. The exact cause of this disease is unknown. There are quite a few studies on this condition in Dobermans. 

For more information on Dilated Cardiomyopathy



Testing for the Cardiomyopathy gene:

is not as huge a problem in Dobermans as some other breeds. Reputable breeders have done a good job of testing and decreasing the numbers of Dobermans with hip displasia. However, it is still a concern. It may vary from slightly poor conformation to malformation of the hip joint allowing complete luxation of the femoral head.

is a fairly common problem and means that the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormone to adequately maintain the dog's metabolism. It is easily treated with thyroid replacement pills on a daily basis. Thyroid testing (T3, T4, TSH and auto-antibodies) should be performed by annually your vet. Finding auto-antibodies to thyroglobulin (T4 auto-antibodies) is an indication that the dog has "Hashimoto's Disease". Low thyroid dogs, manifested by a high TSH and a low T4, should be treated and monitored on a regular basis. 
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism include:
  • droopy eyes
  • “tragic” expression
  • muscle wasting (of head and/or body)
  • lethargy
  • fatigue
  • hyperactivity
  • weight gain (or loss)
  • thinning of hair along back – razor back hog look
  • reproductive seasons disrupted
  • bitches fail to impregnate, and/or carry to term
  • aggression
  • temperament changes
  • frequent link to to adrenal insufficiency
  • allergies
  • hives
  • dry skin
  • vomiting
  • intolerance to cold or heat
  • frequent infections
For More information on hypothyroidism: 


Testing your Dobermans Thyroid with Dr Dodds

is an autosomally (not sex linked) inherited bleeding disorder with a prolonged bleeding time and a mild to severe factor IX deficiency.  vWD carrier status is quite common in Dobermans. It is much like hemophilia in humans. Dobermans commonly affected by von Willebrand's, usually have only the milder form (Type I-mild form). Other breeds suffer from type II (mild-severe form) and type III (severe but rare). Under normal circumstances, type I means that bleeding will clot normally. However, in times of stress or with major blood loss during surgery, or as a result of trauma, the defect may become “clinically” apparent with the inability to clot. Bleeding tendencies can be exacerbated by medications or by stress such as illness, particularly viral disease since viral infections can prolong clotting times by impairing platelet cohesiveness and/or endothelial cell production in the blood vessel walls (the endothelial cells produce the protein called von Willebrand's factor which is necessary for normal clotting). Because Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract where it causes bleeding, this infection is especially dangerous to Dobermans. Live virus vaccines can have the same effect.

For More information on VW



Testing your Doberman for VW

(Cervical Vertebral Instability) can also occur in Dobermans. In this disease, the vertebrae in the neck (usually the base) become unstable and move around, pinching the spinal cord. The compression of the spinal cord then produces the awkward wobbling movement that gives this disease its call name. Wobbler’s rarely strikes young dogs, and can cause pain and/or paralysis. Surgical therapy is hotly debated and in some surgically treated cases, clinical recurrence has been identified. Treatment starts with corticosteroids and rest. Surgery is prescribed for these dogs. Newer, less invasive, controversial therapies that have been used with some success, includes gold bead implantation, a special neck wrap, and accupuncture. Diagnosis is usually via a procedure called a myelogram, a fairly invasive procedure. An alternative, less invasive, imaging therapy is the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is now available through most large specialty veterinary practices.The more severe 
the case, the less chance for the dog to recover.
More information on Wobblers


Gold Bead Therapy

Some of our Dobermans will get cancer during their lives. We don't have a genetic test nor do we know the mode of inheritance for cancer. This is a cause of grief for many owners and causes the early deaths of far too many of our beloved animals. If you find your Doberman is limping, has a growth, a wound that won't heal or any unusual sign, the sooner you get to the vet's office to be examined the better. Some owners choose to pursue aggressive chemotherapy for their Doberman. Others pursue herbal treatments. Early detection will, of course, help your odds as you and your veterinarian decide which course to choose. Many Veterinary teaching hospitals have cancer treatment programs. The outcome can be more positive as it may have been in years past.

is diagnosed by the presence of continually elevated ALT values, and then by liver biopsy. The incidence of occurrence tends to be high in Doberman Pinschers. It is viewed as being a progressive inflammatory state that causes the liver to degenerate to the point of liver failure and the dog dies. In Dobermans, the disorder is called chronic hepatitis, copper associated hepatitis or Doberman hepatitis (DH). The name copper associated hepatitis is used since copper typically accumulates into the liver cells. Not a lot is known about this disease. There are no studies that prove CAH to be inherited. Low fat, low protein diets can help, and some have used steroids with a degree of success. The steroids were originally given when researchers thought this was an autoimmune disease, because humans do have a form of CAH that is autoimmune, and liver comparison was visually similar. Leading researchers in the field no longer view CAH as an autoimmune disease in the canine. According to current research, there is usually an elevated level of copper found early on in the liver, but this seems to be a side effect, and not the cause. Symptoms usually show when a large proportion of the liver has been destroyed (at least half). The dog is usually very sick by that point in time, and demonstrating the clinical signs of CAH. This means that the dog is in the final stages of CAH. Symptoms of CAH include: vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice (yellow tinge to skin and whites of eyes), weight loss, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites), and elevated alanine aminotransfersase (ALT). One of the first symptoms to show is, excessive drinking. It may be intermittent. The next common symptom to show is lack of appetite. Vomiting and weight loss may soon follow. As the disease progresses, the gums may begin to turn yellowish in color. It is easy to see in the white's of the eyes. This jaundice stage is brought when the liver is dysfunctioning and allowing bilirubins (bile pigments) to accumulate in the blood stream. Weight loss will begin to increase, and body condition will lesson. Fluid will behind to distend the abdomen. 

The goal is to not wait, excessive drinking is enough to talk to your vet about. CAH is nothing to wait on. The earlier it is caught, less damage has been caused to the river. Annual testing after you Doberman is 2 years old is advised.

CAH Symptoms include Intermittent recurrent abdominal or gastro-intestional upset with:

    • Loss of Appetite
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation
  • Lethargic
  • Fluid Accumulation in the Abdomen, Abdominal distension
  • Pale or Gray Feces
  • Orange Urine
  • Jaundice to skin, gums and white of eyes
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Weight Loss and loss of body condition
  • Excessive (Increased) Thirst and Urination
  • Anorexia

For More information on CAH



is a disease only seen in Dobermans and it primarily affects their gastrocnemius muscle. DDD can mimic many other conditions such as lumbosacral disc disease, cervical vertebral instability (CVI), inflammation of the spinal cord, spinal arthritis, cauda equina syndrome, some nervous system maladies, and spinal tumors. It is likely the condition is more prevalent than previously recognized because there is a general lack of awareness on the part of veterinarians and breeders, and therefore, the condition is often overlooked as a diagnosis.

A simple description would be that of a progressive disease, usually presenting with a holding up of one rear leg while standing. The age at onset can be anywhere from 4 months to 10 years. Both males and females are affected. Most affected dogs have normal findings on other tests, including blood counts, biochemistry, x-ray, and thyroid function. Over several months the condition progresses with a wasting of rear leg muscles, and a more constant shifting of weight on the rear legs to resemble a dog "dancing", hence the name "Dancing Doberman Disease". Frequently these dogs will knuckle over with their rear paws and ultimately prefer to sit or lie down rather than stand. The dogs show no sign of pain and are perfectly capable of running in the yard, chasing a ball or a squirrel, etc. Generally they live out their lives comfortably as pets although the condition is progressive, incurable, and at present, untreatable. It must be considered a genetic disease because it has never been reported in any mammal, let alone any dog breed other than the Doberman Pinscher. 

Just because most breeders and many veterinarians are unaware of DDD doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Although it may not be widespread at this time, it represents a diagnostic conundrum because its symptoms are easily confused with other diseases stated above. Recognition that there is a condition known as DDD is important so that a proper diagnosis can be made. Accurate diagnosis of any disease is the key to treatment and prognosis and can only be made if there is an awareness of all possibilities. 



(Blue Doberman Syndrome) is a hereditary disease of the skin, seen most often in fawn and blue coated Doberman Pinschers.It is a form of follicular dysplasia (FD). The symptoms include bilateral balding that usually starts on the flanks or along the top line and spreading down the back. Typically, the coat will begin to thin between the ages of one and three years. In severe and rare cases, all of the blue or fawn hairs will fall out. Most often, however, a dog with CDA will end up with a very thin coat along the back and flanks but will not go completely bald. Despite the thin coat, the dog will remain healthy. It is almost always just a cosmetic problem resulting in a varying degree of hair loss. If you are interested in adopting or buying a blue or fawn Doberman, you should learn more about CDA.

Puppies are born with normal hair and skin, but at an early age (as early as 4 months old), the dog's skin becomes rough and scaly, the coat becomes dry, brittle, thin, and looks "moth eaten", and acne-type pustules appear on the skin. Some dogs do not exhibit these symptoms until several years old. 

Treatment: There is no cure, so any treatment is aimed at relieving the skin conditions and keeping the dog comfortable. Specially formulated homemade diets and warm water/peroxide baths can be helpful. Due to the hereditary nature of this disease, affected dogs should not be used in a breeding program.

More information about alopecia


In the mid 1970's, there occurred a spontaneous MUTATION in a litter sired by RASPUTIN VI and the dam DYNAMO HUMM---this was a "WHITE APPEARING" female that was eventually registered by the AKC as a "white", named PADULA'S QUEEN SHEBA. Sheba was the first "Albino" Doberman ever registered by the AKC. Testing on Sheba's hair and test breedings with Sheba's offspring have proven that she is "A TYROSINE POSITIVE ALBINO" and NOT WHITE at all. The AKC erroneously registered her as such. A "WHITE" dog has dark eyes, skin, nose and dark pigment. The "ALBINO" has pink skin, nose, blue eyes (or light yellow in a few specimens). The Albinos have "photosensitivity" to sunlight. They have problems related to sight due to this problem. This can be reflected in temperament or insecurity problems. The DPCA has the warning and recommendation that these Dobermans with blue eyes, pink skin, nose and pads, are "ALBINO'S" and should NOT BE BRED, and the trait not be proliferated or propagated. Albino is a "Deleterious Genetic Mutation" and carries with it many traits that are harmful and not conducive to proper Doberman temperament and health. REMEMBER---ALBINO is not a color---it is a GENETIC CONDITION that is not now, or ever has been in the past---including back to the formational years when the breed was being developed by Louis Dobermann---something that is desirable, sought after or considered good for a Doberman guard or personal protection dog. There are breeders that seek to "make money" and "exploit" the Doberman by telling the "PUBLIC" that the Albino is "RARE" and WORTH MORE THAN NORMAL COLORED DOBERMANS-they are not and in fact may cost you a lotmore in vet expenses with their on going health problems. Please study information about the Albino Doberman, before you make an uninformed choice and possibly a mistake in choosing an Albino.  
Poor temperament is a significant concern. Due to the intense inbreeding to obtain the mutation, the temperaments are totally unstable. These problems range from fear biting to outright vicious attacks. Shyness is prevalent. Most are not suitable for homes with small children. Yes, there are exceptions, but hardly enough to make them acceptable to most families. In addition to the above problems concerning health and temperament, these dogs have a total lack of breed type.




Genetic Disease common to Doberman Pinschers:

Doberman DNA study for OCD and lick granulomas

For thyroid testing/ vaccine titer testing and more (Doberman Rescue uses and recommends this lab for all Doberman thyroid testing)

Thyroid Problems


General Doberman Pinscher Information:



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