There is a great deal of information out there about the health of our dogs these days. Everywhere we look we see the same words of wisdom repeated over and over. We are constantly being told that health testing is the only thing that will save our dogs from future health problems. We are told that this will somehow fix all the health issues we see today, but, sadly this just isn't true. 

The Doberman breed has fallen into a downward spiral. Health issues with this breed continue to rise despite all the health testing we do. The problem is the lack of genetic diversity. Inbreeding is a serious issue with this breed. We are constantly being told that the only dogs that should be bred are those that have been shown, titled, and pass every health test under the sun. This method of excluding large numbers of dogs from the breeding population only encourages inbreeding and increases the lack of genetic diversity. Unfortunately, much of the damage has already been done. The Doberman breed has become so inbred that trying to find unrelated bloodlines is a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

It should be noted that health testing today is only available for around 100-200 genetic disorders. There is thought to be around 600 genetic disorders affecting our dogs today and every day this number grows. While a low number of these disorders are more common, each and every time we inbreed we increase our chances of running into any number of other disorders, which there may be no health tests available for.  Health testing alone is not enough to save this beautiful breed. In the end, a responsible outcrossing program may be our only hope at preserving our beloved Dobermans. If you are a breeder, a Doberman owner, or would like to own a purebred dog in the near future, you owe it to your dogs to dig a little deeper. If we aren't careful we will literally breed these dogs to death.

Please check out The Institute Of Canine Biology . There is a wealth of information there to help us better understand the health problems we face with our purebred dogs and what we should do to fix it. We as potential purebred dog owners are just as responsible for the destruction of these breeds as the breeders themselves. If we believe that every breeder should only breed dogs that have been shown, titled, and pass every health test under the sun, then we are only contributing to the problem. We force these breeders into this "doomed to fail" practice. Health testing is meant to be a tool to help breeders avoid breeding two dogs "with the same health issues" together. It was not meant to eradicate every imperfect purebred dog from the breeding population. Our personal beliefs and opinions are not important. What is important are facts that have been proven through decades of scientific research. The Institute Of Canine Biology is a great place to get the facts and lose the hype. Please check out their blog titled ( Are We Watching the Extinction of a Breed?).


Dilated Cardiomyopathy is the number one killer among Dobermans. In fact, it is among the number one killer in many breeds. It is even on the rise in breeds that have previously not been known to have problems with DCM. This disease can be genetic, but, it can also be caused by environmental factors such as poor nutrition, obesity, lack of exercise, exposure to toxins, parasites and even infections. There are no health tests today that completely eliminate the risk of DCM. Two parent dogs that have tested completely clear for DCM can still have pups that develop this disease. Even if our dogs test clear for DCM it is still possible for them to develop the disease later in life. In most cases, it doesn't even show up till around 6 years of age and most breeding dogs have been retired by 6 years old. Currently, there are no guidelines that require a breeder to continue to health test or report on the health status of their retired breeding dogs. Currently, there is no method of breeding that has been proven to produce the perfect dog with perfect health, conformation, and temperament. Most breeding programs are based on personal belief, experiences, and opinions. The truth is that our decisions in our breeding programs have just as much potential to be detrimental to the breed as it does beneficial to the breed. Until science has shown conclusively that A+B = perfection, then we must continue to use our best judgment and hope for the best. We have no right to attack others for their beliefs or ideas that differ from our own. If we are incapable of communicating with one another in a respectable, civilized manner than we will accomplish nothing to save this beautiful breed.
The Institute of Canine Biology