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What you need to know about Doberman health.

Unfortunately, our breed is prone to a number of diseases. When we choose this breed, we knowingly accept the risk of our dog developing health problems. Despite your breeder's best efforts towards the health and longevity of the breed, there is a probability that your dog will develop a breed-specific disease, whether genetic, congenital or environmental. In 2018, the life expectancy of a Doberman was estimated at 10 years.

Here's a list (unfortunately a little long) of known Doberman problems. 

Diseases that are difficult to predict or avoid


Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)


Dilated cardiomyopathy is the expansion of the heart muscle, leading to congestive heart failure. It often gets the better of the dog, either through sudden cardiac arrest at an age that is often too young, or through the slow development of the disease, generally at a more advanced age. When the disease is detected early, it is possible to treat the dog with medication and limit its activities so that it can continue its life in the best possible comfort. This avenue often prolongs affected dogs by several years.


DCM, these are the three letters that scare people the most with Dobermans, it's a sword of Damocles over everyone's head. We cannot predict by genetic testing whether our dog will have it, or whether he can pass it on to a future generation. We can observe some trends in terms of pedigree, but to date we have no clue allowing us to say with certainty how the disease travels through generations, and therefore how to avoid it. For example, offspring from a marriage of Male of lightning form at 60% prevalence, despite the fact that the female Z has a pedigree free of deaths from this disease. Everything points to a genetic lottery that is extremely difficult to understand to this day by the scientific community. However, as a precaution, none of our dogs that do not pass the criteria established by ( the European society of Veterinary Cardiology screening guideline for dilated cardiomyopathy in Doberman pinscher ), are bred.


This disease affects other breeds, but according to recent statistics, 58.2% of Dobermans are affected by DCM throughout the world. It is recommended that Dobermans be evaluated by a cardiologist (specialist veterinary doctor) every year from the age of 2 in order to detect the slightest change in the size of the heart, in its functioning, and in the heart rate. The combination of a 24-hour echocardiogram (Holter), where all beats and their rhythm are recorded, and an examination and cardiac ultrasound performed by a cardiologist, is the best way to determine if the dog's heart health has changed. and if something needs to be addressed.

Suggestion to our adopters: follow up with cardiology every year, starting at the age of 2


Cancer in Dobermans is spreading fast, taking second place as the leading cause of death in Dobermans worldwide. It's a silent killer that's hard to spot until it's too late. There is no genetic test to detect a predisposition to cancer in Dobermans. 

We adopt a few reflexes at breeding to ensure that our breeding dogs are exposed as little as possible to substances recognized as carcinogenic. Fresh food (raw), traceable ingredients and organic whenever possible.  We minimize exposure to pesticides and other pre-processed products. This goes right down to the cleaning products we use in the home, from maternity care to laundry detergents, and our water comes from a tested and filtered well.

Dysplasia (Hip and elbow)


Although quite rare in our breed, hip dysplasia is multifactorial, but the main factor is genetic.

Hip dysplasia is a condition that develops in young growing dogs with abnormal laxity and conformation of the hip. This abnormal laxity and conformation are responsible for the eventual onset of pain symptoms, locomotion problems and degenerative changes in the joint. The continuous abnormal movement of the femoral head in the acetabulum will lead to progressive loss of articular cartilage, the development of fibrous tissue around the joint and the formation of osteoarthritis in the joint. All our breeding stock has had x-rays of the hips and elbows analyzed by orthopedists, and the results are posted on (ofa).

Thyroid (Hypothyroidism)

Thyroid hormone deficiency. Dysfunction of the thyroid gland when it does not produce enough hormones to maintain the dog's metabolism. Diagnosed by blood test analysis.

Hypothyroidism is easily (and inexpensively) controlled with daily medication.

Wobbler syndrome (CVI cervical vertebral instability) 

Wobbler syndrome is specific to the cervical vertebrae - a compression of the spinal cord that can lead to neck pain and paralysis. CVI (Wobbler) is identified only after a dog shows signs of the disease.


Clinical signs are the result of compression and degeneration of the spinal cord. They are characterized by neck pain (inconstant), gait abnormalities (ataxia with a shuffling gait, paresis), ... sometimes more marked on the hind limbs. Initially with a choppy gait on the forelimbs, before these too appear ataxic and paretic. Clinical signs generally appear after several years of life and evolve over several months.

Diseases easily preventable by genetic testing 

Some diseases can easily be avoided by careful selection of the parents of a litter. For example, if a female is a Carrier (or Carrier-Attenuated) of a disease gene, we will never cross her with a Carrier (or Carrier-Attenuated) male of the disease, as all the puppies will automatically be Affected by the disorder (and therefore with a health problem, disease, etc.). Ideally, we cross two Clear parents, or one Clear parent with a Carrier, so that only Clear and Carrier dogs are sired (i.e., dogs that will never express the disease).

von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)

This is an inherited bleeding disorder caused by a lack of certain proteins (von Willebrand factor protein) responsible for blood clotting. VWD is easily identified by DNA testing, carried out once in a lifetime. The disease only appears if a dog has two copies of the gene. It's a well-known disease, easily controlled by selective breeding. In the Doberman, vWD type 1 is the mildest of the 3 forms of vWD.

Degenerative myelopathy (DM)

Degenerative myelopathy is a hereditary neurological disease caused by a mutation in the SOD1 gene carried by Doberman pinschers. This mutation is present in many breeds of dog, although it is not clear for Doberman pinschers whether all dogs carrying two copies of the mutation will develop the disease. The variability of presentation between breeds suggests that there are environmental or other genetic factors responsible for the altered expression of the disease. The average age of onset of degenerative myelopathy in dogs is around nine years. The disease affects the white matter of the spinal cord and is considered the canine equivalent of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) found in humans. Affected dogs generally present in adulthood with progressive muscle atrophy and loss of coordination, usually starting in the hind limbs due to nerve degeneration. The condition is generally not painful for the dog, but progresses until the dog is no longer able to walk. The gait of dogs with degenerative myelopathy can be difficult to distinguish from that of dogs with hip dysplasia, arthritis of other hind-limb joints or intervertebral disc disease. Towards the end of the disease progression, dogs may lose fecal and urinary continence, and the forelimbs may be affected. Affected dogs may completely lose the ability to walk 6 months to 2 years after the onset of symptoms.

Albinism (OCA)

Albinism is a genetic disorder in which melatonin, the pigment that gives color to animal tissue, is not produced in normal quantities, or is prevented from being distributed in normal quantities.

An animal with albinism can produce pigments in quantities ranging from almost none to only slightly different from normal. Albino Dobermans usually have a totally white or cream coat, blue eyes, pink paw pads, nose, mouth, skin and mucous membranes. Albino Dobermans lack the pigment in their bodies to protect them from the sun. 

For this reason, the skin of albino Dobermans can easily be burned by the sun, and their eyes are very sensitive to sunlight. They can suffer from photophobia/photosensitivity (abnormal intolerance to light) and many have temperament problems due to their lack of visual acuity.


The consequences of this disease are mainly related to the skin and skin cancers.
An increased risk of tumors, the main localizations of which are the skin, lips, eyelids and iris.

And an increased risk of melanoma-type tumors.

Color dilution alopecia

Fawn/Isabella and blue Dobermans are prone to Color dilution alopecia. 

Like other forms of alopecia, dilute-coat alopecia is an abnormality of the skin covering (skin + hair), resulting in a complete or partial absence of hair in an area that normally has hair.

There is no cure: the only possible treatment is symptomatic, based on shampoos and dietary supplements (zinc, vitamin E, etc.).

Prolonged exposure to the sun must be avoided, and any pyoderma must be carefully treated.

Some experimental treatments for other types of alopecia can be used: they may enable temporary hair regrowth (partially or totally).

This disease is more frequent and appears earlier in puppies from parents with diluted colors. It can't be identified by DNA testing, but we do test for the dilution gene (D), as European standards only accept brown/red and Rust and black/Rust coats.

Accidents and other disorders

Gastric torsion / Bloat

Cruciate ligament rupture

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