Dobermann (Doberman pinscher)
The Dobermann is a large, strong and agile dog. He is usually keen and alert and has been used for guarding and tracking. He is sometimes used as a police dog and responds well to obedience training. He will adapt to family life but needs firm handling. His short and shiny coat means that he is easy to keep clean and needs only occasional grooming. He needs a house with a garden and loads of exercise. He can be fussy about where he sleeps and likes his creature comforts. Average lifespan 8 years.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 5.2% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS133.40
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
- Gastric dilatation volvulus (Bloat/Torsion) (stomach fills with air and can twist, causing extreme pain and requiring urgent vet treatment) associated with deep chested conformation.
- Panosteitis (bone inflammation) (a self limiting disease affecting young dogs in large, rapidly growing breeds)
- Hip Dysplasia (malformation of the this hip joints causing pain and disability): breed mean score 9.6 (parents should be lower)
- Eye Disease: Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV ) (litter screening) (lesions which can lead to visual impairment); Multi-ocular defects (MOD) (litter screening)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
- von Willebrand’s disease type 1 (vWD) (a bleeding disorder)
- Narcolepsy (sleep disorder) (very rare)
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) (test now available in the USA)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) (heart chambers enlarge and walls of ventricles become thin, causing heart failure – very prevalent in this breed). There are three tests available:
Echocardiogram – must be done by a cardiologist and needs to be repeated regularly;
DCM Troponin 1 test (needs to be repeated annually: www.dobermannbreedcouncil.co.uk/troponin.html ;
DNA (Kate Meurs): www.dobermandata.com/DCMgene.html
Further health information: www.ukdobermannassociation.com/health2.htm
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Doberman Hepatitis
- Urinary incontinence
- Cervical Vertebral Malformation Syndrome (Wobbler syndrome) (compression of the spinal cord in the neck, causes chronic pain, loss of co-ordination in back legs and wobbly gait – can lead to paralysis if not treated)
- Von Willebrand Disease
- Alopecia (hair loss in blue or fawn coloured dogs)
- Hypothyroidism (underactivity of thyroid gland – leads to increased susceptibility to infections and can effect various organs)
- Dancing Dobermann disease (progressive pelvic limb weakness)
- Familial renal disease (Kidney disease)
- Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD) Flank sucking (considered to be an obsessive compulsive disorder – can lead to skin damage but is only a real problem in a small proportion of affected dogs)
- Cancer: osteosarcoma; cutaneous histiocytoma
- Ligneous conjunctivitis (autoimmune disease)
- Pemphigus foliaceus (skin lesions) (autoimmune disease)
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: