The Problem With White Dobermans

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.

Joseph M. Sabol is a world class Doberman breeder. Please go to or to for further information

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Joseph Sabol

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    are white dobermans bad?
    I would like to see how many people out there know a little more about White /Cream colored Dobermans…Has anyone had problems with them temperment wise? How about some good stories too!! I have a 5 month old male that is white, he was a rescue, He seems like the typical doberman,,hard headed and stubborn..just wondering what others thought about "Whites"
    Thanks to everyone who answers~ in advance!! I know the "White Dobe" is actually a masking Gene that "masks" the true color. He is very healthy (so Far) and has a beautiful coat..we have him on holistic food, so I think this helps!

  • joe E

    thats dumb the color of any dog wouldnt matter, only thing is if it ws bread wiht another type of dog… i mean it could be a problem with all dobermans hough
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  • Bense

    What’s that? Inverted Doberman-human-real-life-racism? ;-)
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  • Almost Bulletproof Heart

    They aren’t bad, they just aren’t standard and should not be bred for. As far as I’m concerned, aside from possiblities of deafness or blindness, they’re pretty much normal dogs- just watch out for bad temperament since poorly bred dogs tend to have poor genetics.
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  • Love’s Death

    Well, if you are trying to register the breed for showing then yes I suppose it’s ‘bad’ they wouldn’t consider a white doberman apart of the breed standard and he would be disqualified.

    If your not looking at them from that perspective then it really doesn’t matter what color your dog is as long as temperament wise they are good.
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  • MamaBas

    I can do no better than post something I found on the Champdogs forum …

    "There is no such thing as a rare white Dobermann they are a genetic mutation which has been deliberately bred in (by originally mating son to mother and sister and those offspring back to each other) by a few people with $/£ signs in their eyes and no care for their dogs.

    The so called white is actually albinism – there are many types of albinism and all are a health defect (with apologies to any albinos reading this but it is fact).

    They are more prone to cancers due to the lack of melanin in their skin that protects them from the sun. Also due to the lack of melanin they can have eye problems resulting in poor vision which can lead to agression. Some albinos also have behavioural problems/learning difficulties, again due to lack of melanin

    Dobermanns come in black, brown, blue and fawn (isabella). Responsible breeders aim only to breed blacks and browns due to the coat problems of the blues and fawns"
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  • Bett

    Dogs are colour blind they only see black & grey.

    Only people seem to forge opions on colour. Dogs arent racist they love or hate other dogs equally.
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  • howldine

    I assume that as your dog is a rescue he is neutered… that’s good because you don’t want to pass on any undesirable traits through breeding- and a dog breed in which white is a fault is an undesirable trait. If not neutered, please do it ASAP. For most breeds white is a problem because it is directly linked to deafness and in some cases blindness.

    If your dog is fully sighted and can hear then his color is really not an issue except that his skin may be overly sensitive to sunlight and he may experience sunburn on the tips of his ears, back, top of his head, tip of his tail. Ask your vet if there is a safe sunblock to put on him.

    If any other people ask about him, stress that he is a rescue and that white Dobes are not the standard and should not be bred.

    Congrats on your rescue.

    EDIT: a ‘masking gene’ is still a color fault that would make this dog not only unshowable but unbreedable in the professional eye

    ~and just a Q: More TD’s for telling the truth? God, people really hate reality, don’t they?
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    shelter volunteer

  • Lizzie

    I’ve only owned three Dobermans, all black & rust females, and neither of them were hard-headed or stubborn. I have found this breed to be easy to train and very biddable. Maybe the males are a tad more"difficult"? I have never heard of any one color being associated with different or more/less difficult temperament traits than the other colors.

    That said, the AKC recognizes four colors in Dobes, all with rust; black, red (which is actually a brown color), fawn and blue. The fawn is a dilute of the red and the blue is a dilute of the black. So where did the cream or white Doberman come from? Is it a dilute of a fawn, which is already a dilute? Is it an albino? I don’t know.

    I have heard of cream Dobes with excellent hips that excelled in obedience and more, and also of blue-eyed Dobes that had to squint in sunlight and had other troubles but I never checked the stories out to see if they were true. The cream Dobes, like the fawn Dobes, are a color that most people don’t immediately associate with Dobermans. They are eye-catching. People stare at them as if they are thinking, What kind of dog is that? It looks sort of familiar. It reminds me of a… hey, it’s a Doberman!

    I hope your rescue cream Doberman has many happy years to share with you and helps to change the prejudice against his color.
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  • Langley

    The white doberman pinscher was created from inbreeding and are considered partial albino dobermans. It’s common knowledge that these white dobermans have health problems and behavioral issues. They commonly have skin and eye sight problems like photo sensitivity. As a result of not being sure of it’s surroundings at times, this leads some dogs to fear biting. Some countries have banned the breeding of this dog mutation and breeders are encouraged not to breed for this color. It is seen as inhumane to the dog due to the serious health concerns.
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  • ? Memphis Belle ~ Black ‘N’ Sassy ?

    Good Dobermann breeders breed tightly to the standard for dogs that are as sound in mind as they are conformation & health, & with the potential to be trained to do some type of real work in its everyday life.

    The cream/white Dobermanns are the proverbial hot potato in the breed because of the serious health & behavioral problems associated with the albino Dobermann, & dog with a weak temperament & health conditions should not be allowed to pass its genes to progeny.

    Salmon oil is fantastic for keeping a Dobermann in good coat, & I particularly like Taste of the Wild because its grain free, with no cheap bulking ingredients with little or no nutritional content that are hard for a dog to digest.

    I don’t support the deliberate breeding of cream/white Dobermanns, but those that are born that are mentally sound & without life impairing health conditions should be rehomed & enjoyed as companions dogs.
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    They are not white they are albino. (tyrosine positive meaning they have some pigment which is why the have blue eyes and cream markings) Often they have temperament issues due to poor breeding as responsible Doberman breeders do not produce albinos (easily avoidable as every Doberman that is descended from the original albino line has a Z in their registration number) They also tend to have poor vision especially in bright lighting and are prone to skin cancer.

    It is fine to get one from rescue if you so choose however be sure you are prepared to deal with temperament issues from poor breeding that may occur as well as the special needs of the dog (not being in the sun etc)
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