Most people are familiar with black and rust Dobermans and red and rust Dobermans, and maybe even blue or fawn and rust Dobermans. Since the 1970s, a fifth Doberman “color” has been established. In 1976, Padulas Queen Shebah was born to 2 black and rust Dobermans, as the first all White Doberman. She was registered by the American Kennel Club ( AKC) in 1979. The AKC allowed the registration because Shebah was in fact a pure breed Doberman, however, because the white Dobermans are of a disallowed color according to the breed standard, they are not allowed to compete for AKC titles.
After the birth of Shebah, the owner and breeder began to breed her with her her offspring in order to produce more of the white Dobermans. All white or albino Dobermans are descended from this one dog. Naturally, close inbreeding produces less than quality characteristics in the dogs. In 1983, the American Kennel Club bought 2 albino bitches to do a breeding study. They determined that white or albino Dobermans have conformation problems, such as sway backs and narrow chests. They all had vision problems and skin problems. They are very prone to skin cancer and have temperament problems because of the close inbreeding.
White Doberman breeders will try to convince people that their dogs are perfectly fine representatives of the breed, they are just a different color. The truth is, albinism is a genetic mutation. The white or cream color comes from a lack of the color gene. It is a recessive trait that is caused by a decreased number of melanocytes, which are pigment granules. An albino Doberman has a pink nose and pink eye rims, blue eyes and pink foot pads.
The genetic mutation that causes the lack of color also causes other problems such as photosensitivity, and even blindness. They are extremely prone to sunburn and skin cancer. They have missing teeth or very tiny teeth as well as the conformation problems mentioned above. The AKC decided to keep track of all the Dobermans from this line so they started designating the registration number with a “Z”. This will guarantee that no one will unknowingly buy a standard color Doberman with an albino gene. Blue and fawn Dobermans are not from a genetic mutation. Their color comes from dilution of the black and red color.
Many white or albino Doberman owners, though they love their dogs have an extremely difficult time keeping them healthy. The dogs really cannot tolerate the sun and if they must be outside, they have to have lots of sunscreen, t-shirts and even sunglasses. These dogs have a much shorter life span. They rarely live to the age of 7. Their blindness causes them to injure themselves and causes them to be very fearful. This fearfulness often causes unstable temperaments and behavior problems. There are many accounts of owners having to put their beloved pet down because of incidents of biting.
Today, there are approximately 8300 Dobermans that are descended from Padulas Queen Shebah. The Doberman Pinscher Club of America tries to minimize breeding of these dogs because ultimately, most do not have a good quality of life.
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