Interesting Fact: White Doberman come in two shades: Dondo - a dirty, grey shade, Cornaz - a sandy shade
Judy Doniere, DPCA member, breed enthusiast and breeder, was the voice sounding the alarm on the white Doberman trend. She fought hard to bring attention to the matter and to preserve the standard. The first investigation into the white Doberman by the DPCA was to talk to the breeder and record/photograph his white dogs. Bill Garnett, AKC judge, Breeder, and Exhibitor Education, was certain they were purebred; noting they were of good conformation, but had observed sensitivity to light, and possibly depth perception issues. Many of the DPCA Board of Directors felt the whites were not an issue worth acting on. After years of research and much prodding from a few concerned members the DPCA finally moved against supporting/ignoring the white/albino. The DPCA then went to the AKC to request limitations be placed on the breeding of white Doberman. The first attempt to limit breeding/registration of albino Doberman was in 1994; the AKC refused to restrict registration of the whites. The AKC, although unwilling to stop the ability to register any white or dog related to Sheba, agreed with the DPCA that the Sheba line was too risky to the breed's reputation and overall disposition. In June 1994 the AKC agreed to track all dogs originating from Sheba; the Z factor was born.
"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. There are three potential causes of a "solid" Doberman;
The Em on the E lotus causes a melanistic mask (muzzle or face). 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. In Doberman em displays as a dark muzzle and darker penciling (black markings on legs and feet). Not every dark muzzle/legs has a Em mutation though! 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. Extreme masking can also "hide" tan points.
Genetically, all dogs simplified have either a solid black coat pigment or red/brown coat pigment (phaeomelanin). A solid black is called eumelanin. "Whether a dog has a solid eumelanin (black) coat or a coat with red/tan markings (caused by phaeomelanin) depends almost entirely on the K locus. K consists of three alleles:
Because black is dominant, a dog with even just one KB gene will be solid black. A dog with two ky genes (i.e. homozygous for ky) will be able to show tan markings. These tan markings are determined by another locus, A (agouti). So basically, a genotype of ky/ky allows a dog to show whatever it has on the A locus. A Kb/ky or KB/KB dog may be genetically tan-pointed or sable on the A locus, but won't be able to show those markings because of its dominant black allele/s. Dominant black dominates the whole of the A locus, but it can be modified by other genes, such as liver, dilution, greying, and merle. All of these will alter the way a dominant black dog looks, but the one thing they cannot do is add phaeomelanin (red) to the coat. The only way phaeomelanin can be added to the coat of a dog with the dominant black gene is through the e gene (E locus) - recessive red. This turns a dominant black dog (or indeed, any dog) into a solid red dog with black nose pigment. ... Most black dogs have the dominant black gene, but there's also another, less common gene that can cause solid black too - recessive black (a on the A locus)."
To be recessive black a dog must inherit a/a on the A lotus. Appearance is identical to that of Dominant Black. The only difference being Dominant Black only needs one K allele to be solid black.
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.
Fun Fact: Doberman are one of a few breeds that carry only the tan point allele on the A lotus. That means all Doberman are born genetically tan pointed - though this can be overridden by the K Dominant Black or E lotus Extreme Masking.