The Doberman Pinscher, like every other breed, is susceptible to certain health issues. This doesn’t mean that your Doberman will necessarily have any of them. It means that the breed does see wobbler’s, bloat, dilated cardiomyopathy, cancer, von Willebrand’s disease, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, and“for blues and fawns“color dilute alopecia (CDA).

Albino Dobermans have additional issues, which is why the Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA) strongly discourages breeding them and bans them from conformation competitions. Albinism in Dobermans is not comparable to albinism in other breeds or species. In Dobermans, it doesn’t matter whether the dog is cream, whitish, or stark white, or whether its eyes are blue or pink or red. These coat colors in Dobermans mean that it’s an albino. Albinism in Dobermans is a genetic defect with often significant and painful health implications, including poor vision, photophobia (light intolerance) skin lesions, sun intolerance, and resulting skin cancer. The intense in-breeding required to produce more of them is also linked to troubling temperament issues. That is why it is unscrupulous and unethical to breed intentionally for albino Dobermans, and why DPCA opposes it vigorously.

However, all decent Doberman rescues do accept albino Dobermans. It’s not the fault of the dog that it’s an albino, after all. With proper screening and care, these individuals can be wonderful companion animals, but they should NEVER be bred. When DHDR accepts an albino, we try to find a home in a more moderate climate than Arizona because of these dogs’ serious sun sensitivity.

Make sure your vet is aware of the health issues known to affect Dobermans. For instance, before you consent to surgery for your Dobie, make sure your vet tests his or her clotting time. Some Dobermans have von Willebrand’s Disease, a form of hemophilia. Check online for lists of common Doberman maladies. Print one out for your vet, just to be sure.

To stay informed yourself, check out the many Doberman health resources online, including Healthdobes, a Yahoo-based e-list.