About Dobes


CARDIOMYOPATHY - is suspected to be an inherited disease in Dobermanns. Research is in progress in several institutions. An echocardiogram of the heart will confirm the disease but WILL not guarantee the disease will not develop in the future.

HIP DYSPLASIA - is inherited. It may vary from slightly poor conformation to malformation of the hip joint allowing complete luxation of the femoral head. Both parents' hips should be tested for - excellent, good or fair rating.

HYPOTHYROIDISM - is probably inherited 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 autoantibodies) should be performed on an annual schedule. Finding autoantibodies to thyroglobulin (T4 autoantibodies) 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.

vWd (VON WILLEBRAND'S DISEASE) - is an inherited bleeding disorder with a prolonged bleeding time and a mild to severe factor IX deficiency. Von Willebrand's factor antigens of 70%-180% are considered to be within the normal range for Dobermanns. When dogs are tested through a blood test for vWD, they are tested for carrier status only NOT the disease. It is believed that carrier status tests are inaccurate if a dog is

ill, received any medication or vaccination within 14 days of testing, pregnancy, bitches in heat or lactation. Stress conditions (infections, parasites, hormonal changes, trauma, surgery, emotional upset, etc.) may have an effect on the outcome of the vWD blood test and might be a contributing factor for bleeding tendencies. vWD carrier status is quite common in Dobermans. A DNA test for vWD is now available - genetically: clear, carrier (inherited one disease gene), affected (inherited two disease genes) - results are not effected by stress conditions.

WOBBLER'S SYNDROME - is suspected to be an inherited condition in Dobermanns. Dogs suffer from spinal cord compression caused by cervical vertebral instability or from a malformed spinal canal. Extreme symptoms are paralysis of the limbs (front, hind or all 4). Neck pain with extension and flexion may or may not be present. Surgical therapy is hotly debated and in some surgically treated cases, clinical recurrence has been identified.

PRA (PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY) - is an inherited condition in Dobermanns. Clinically, visual acuity is diminished, first at dusk, later in daylight. The disease progresses over months or years, to complete blindness. A screening test can be performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

ALBINISM - "white coated" and "white factored" Dobermans should NOT be bred. These dogs are *TYROSINASE POSITIVE ALBINOS*.and may carry the albinistic gene.


The reputable breeder is one who feels responsibility toward the breed itself, toward the dogs he breeds, the dogs he hopes to breed, and additionally, to all the people who have dogs of his breeding. He spends astounding amounts of his time and money on matters he thinks are of the best interests of his breed.

It is awareness of responsibility that marks the difference between the true breeder and the mere "puppy-farmer or backyard breeder" who is solely motivated to make money, through pet shops and to anyone who can pay the price. Whereas the breeder is there to create perfection in the breed.

The breeder tries to educate the buyers of today who may be the breeders of tomorrow; he instils the ideals and values on which he has built his reputation.

Fortunate is the novice buyer who boys his first dog from a reputable breeder, who insists on direct contact with those who buy his dogs, and sells only

after the most careful screening of a would-be purchaser in order to ascertain the mutual suitability of dog and buyer. While often not appreciated until AFTER the dog is bought, this screening by the breeder is the greatest protection a dog purchaser can have.

The puppy-farmer or backyard breeder may never ask questions - their only concern is to sell dogs and to get them off their hands as soon as possible in order to avoid additional expense and work. Their interest ends when the sale is completed.

The attitude of the reputable breeder is very different. The cost of properly caring for his dogs may cause untold worries, he will never let a single puppy or older dog leave to go to a home that is not as good or better than the one he is providing. Even when the dog is sold, the breeder's help and advice do not end but continue throughout the dog's life, a responsibility cheerfully accepted by him without expectation of compensation.


GENERAL APPEARANCE - Medium size, muscular and elegant, with well set body. Of proud carriage, compact and tough. Capable of great speed.

CHARACTERISTICS - Intelligent and firm of character, loyal and obedient.

TEMPERAMENT - Bold and alert. Shyness or viciousness very highly undesirable. Shyness: dog refusing to stand for examination, shrinks from the judge, or if it fears approach from the rear, if it shies at sudden & unusual noises to a marked degree. Viciousness: dog that attacks or attempts to attack the judge or it's handler. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards all other dogs, shall not be deemed viciousness.

HEAD AND SKULL - In proportion to body. Long, well filled out under eyes and clean cut, with good depth of muzzle. Seen from above and side, resembles an elongated blunt wedge. Upper part of head flat and free from wrinkle. Top of skull flat, slight stop; muzzle line extending parallel to top line of skull. Cheeks flat, lips tight. Nose solid black in black dogs, solid dark brown in brown dogs, solid dark grey in blue dogs and light brown in fawn dogs. Head out of balance in proportion to body, dish-faced, snipey or cheeky very highly undesirable.

EYES - Almond-shaped, not round, moderately deep set, and not prominent, with lively, alert expression. Iris of uniform colour, ranging from medium to darkest brown in black dogs, the darker shade being more desirable. In browns, blues, or fawns, colour of iris blends with that of markings, but not of lighter hue than markings; light eyes in black dogs highly undesirable.

EARS - Small, neat, set high on head. Normally dropped, but may be erect.

MOUTH - Well developed, solid and strong with complete dentition and a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and setsquare to the jaws. Evenly placed teeth. Undershot, overshot or badly arranged teeth highly undesirable. 42 correctly placed teeth, 22 in lower, 20 in upper jaw.

NECK - Fairly long and lean, carried with considerable nobility, slightly convex and in proportion to shape of dog. Region of nape very muscular. Dewlap and loose skin undesirable.

FOREQUARTERS - Shoulder blade sloping forward and downward at 45 degree angle to ground and meets upper arm at an angle of 90 degrees. Shoulder blade and upper arm approximately equal in length. Short upper arm relative to shoulder blade highly undesirable. Legs seen from front and side, perfectly straight and parallel to each other from elbow to pastern perpendicular to ground, muscled and sinewy, with round bone in proportion to body structure. Standing or gaiting, elbow lies close to brisket.

NOTE - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
July 2001

BODY - Square, height measured vertically from ground to highest point at withers equal to length from fore chest to rear projection of upper thigh. Fore chest well developed. Back short and firm, with strong, straight topline sloping slightly from withers to croup; bitches may be slightly longer to loin. Ribs deep and well sprung, reaching to elbow. Belly fairly well tucked up. Long, weak, or roach backs highly undesirable.

HINDQUARTERS - Legs parallel to each other and moderately wide apart. Pelvis falling away from spinal column at an angle of about 30 degrees. Croup well filled out. Hindquarters well developed and muscular, long, well bent stifle, hocks turning neither in nor out. When standing, hock to heel perpendicular to the ground. Visual from rear, legs are straight parallel to each other, wide enough apart to fit in with properly built body.

FEET - Well arched, compact, and cat-like, turning neither in nor out. All dewclaws removed. Long, flat deviating feet and/or weak pasterns highly undesirable.

TAIL - Customarily docked. Docked: Docked at 1st or 2nd joint. Appears to be a continuation of spine without material drop. Undocked: Appears to be a continuation of spine without material drop, or slightly raised when the dog is moving.

GAIT / MOVEMENT - Elastic, free, balanced and vigorous, with good reach in forequarters and driving power in hindquarters. When trotting, should have strong rear drive, with apparent rotary motion of hindquarters. Rear and front legs thrown neither in nor out. Back remains strong and firm. When moving at a fast trot, a properly built dog will single track.

COAT - Smooth, short, hard, thick and close-lying. Imperceptible undercoat on neck permissible. Hair forming a ridge on back of neck and/or along spine highly undesirable.

COLOUR - Definite black, brown, blue or fawn (Isabella) only, with rust red markings. Markings to be sharply defined, appearing above each eye, on muzzle, throat and forechest, on all legs and feet and below tail. White markings of any kind highly undesirable.

SIZE - Ideal height at withers: dogs: 69 cms (27 ins); bitches: 65 cms (251/2 ins). Considerable deviation from this ideal undesirable. The height measured vertically from ground to highest point at withers, equals length measured horizontally from forechest to rear projection of upper thigh. Length of neck, head and legs in proportion to length and depth of body.

FAULTS - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.