The issue with the “white” Doberman is mostly an ethical one, where breeders started breeding for color to produce more whites. The "white" Doberman scientifically is an albino. 1)They originated from a kennel in TN but were not registered. A pet-line breeder Virginia was the first to register and breed for albinos, per the official record. In 1974 Padula’s Queen Sheba (registration number WE166747), incorrectly labeled a white bitch, was the first albino Doberman to be registered. She was the only known albino at the time and thus far no other lines have produced albinos. She was bred to her son Tarzan, a black dog, to produce the whites (albinos) after he was bred to his sister and they produced a litter with two whites.
"We purchased our White Doberman about two and one half years ago. We’d had him for several months and he was the sweetest dog so we begged the breeder’s name from the pet store where we bought him and wrote a nice letter to the breeder. We never received an acknowledgment.
In June of 2000, a few months after we got him, he quit eating and we noticed how sensitive his eyes were to sunlight. Eventually his eyes became so bad we thought he would go blind. We took him to a dog eye doctor and had a specialist working on his immune system. We had to force feed him according to our vet’s instructions and finally we discovered he would eat braunsweiger sandwiches and peanut butter sandwiches. He had gotten down to 58 pounds. He was put on prednisone some time during this time and eventually gained to 90+ pounds.
All through this he was a sweet dog. I took him to obedience school and considered myself the Alpha – he obeyed every command I gave him, on or off lead, and continued to for a long time after obedience school was finished. But I began to notice that he was getting slower (or perhaps stubborn) in obeying. It occurred to me that he was having trouble understanding. He’d cock his head from side to side and just didn’t seem to understand new things. He became very skittish; afraid of a grocery bag out of place. Same with clothes
on the laundry room floor. He was never afraid or timid with people though. He loved everyone he met.
About six months ago he began to show aggressive behavior. He snapped at my husband and we chalked it up to the fact that he could not see well. He became food aggressive (I have two other dogs) and bit my husband when he was feeding them. My husband was laying on the bed with him and Lugar’s paw was resting on my husband’s hand. My husband asked himself, “should I wake him before I move my hand” – he did not, and the dog attacked him and left many puncture wounds in his hand.
Night before last my husband was showing me a place on Lugars face that he thought needed attention – perhaps a washing and hydrogen peroxide. I didn’t get to see the area because Lugar suddenly attacked him. My husband was able to jump out of his way but it was awhile before the stare-down and the curling lips subsided.
At this point my husband was a little apprehensive about the dog. We treat his eyes every day and my husband decided, since I was the Alpha that I should perhaps do the honors. I was doing just that last night, treating the second eye, when he attacked me ferociously, biting and shaking my arm from just below my elbow to my wrist. He released me and attacked me a second time. I had to go to the emergency room and have stitches and the other punctures seen to. We locked him up for the night. My husband is now at the vet having him put down, as we would never pass off an animal like that to any one else.
We were told this animal was “albinistic” – but NOT Albino. We were told he can’t be Albino because he has blue eyes, as opposed to pink eyes. We believe they should not be bred nor able to receive AKC standing. I will write a letter to AKC also. Thanks.
Published at the request of the writer,
New Port Richey, FL, USA"
5)Melanism in Doberman is due to a genetic mutation on the E m lotus. It is called a melanistic mask. Normally, a Doberman has two normal gene, represented as N/N (N for normal). When there is a mutation it is represented as em/N or em/em. A dog with em/N will be a standard color but be able to pass on the em gene to 50% of its offspring. A dog with em/em will be "affected" for the melanistic mask and will pass at least one em gene on to all of its offspring.
Melanism is a genetic mutation and not a variation of coat color. Research in 3)mice and 2)cats has proven it to be genetic.
1)Studies on wild melanistic animals has shown that their are healthier and longer lived. The reasoning behind this is they are 2)more difficult to spot thus having a greater chance at survival. A melanistic prey animal is more difficult for a predator to find. A melanistic predator is more difficult to spot making it more successful at hunting. The exact reason to their better health is not well understood but may be linked to lower stress levels and better immune health. 4)Melanisim is correlated with better vitamin D synthesis.
The aim of a breeder is to preserve and to improve the breed. The standard is a guideline, a blueprint for the integrity of the breed. I am of the persuasion to maintain the standard and to focus on the health of the breed. Most studies on melanistic animals are on nocturnal animals (such as cats and mice). Studies into domestic animals such as dogs is limited. To say definitively that melanistic Doberman are healthier than their standard counterparts is misleading. There is limited research into melanistic animals none of which proves melanistic domestic dogs are healthier or longer lived. Seeing how the melanistic Doberman is not part of the established standard and the national breed club (the DPCA) doesn’t accept the melanistic as a valid coloration, I do not support the breeding of or for melanistic Doberman. The Em mutation is fairly rare, occuring in a limited gene pool of dogs. Breeding for this mutation is to breed within a small number of lines which is not benefiting the breed. Breeding like that produces dogs with higher COI (inbreeding ratios) and is not aiming to improve the breed, rather it is breeding strictly for color. Until the DPCA accepts melanistic dogs as part of the breed standard they should not be bred. Ethical breeders who sincerely care for the breed and its future will breed to the standard and for the betterment of the breed.