DOBERMAN COLOURS

We thought long and hard before including this section because thankfully we still meet people in the street who ask what type of dog is that when we are walking a Brown and Rust Dobermann so the existence of the other colours is not as wide spread as it could and we do not want to promote these colours as something rare, exciting or desirable.

Dobermann actually come in 6 colours and thanks to our American friends I am sad to say that I expect we will see more in the future as they seem obsessed with trying to create new strains in every type of animal and breed they can.
The 6 colours are:

  • Black & Rust
  • Brown & Rust
  • Blue & Rust
  • Fawn & Rust (also known as Isabella)
  • White (or Albino)
  • Solid Black

Of all of these colours Lunascura only promotes and breeds to produce Black & Rust and Brown & Rust. You may ask why we do not breed the other colours as many breeders suggest the other colours to be rare or desirable. If you read through this page and look at some of the issues you will see why we disagree.

We will look at Whites and Solid Blacks later but for now let’s look at Blues and Fawns. As you can see from the puppy picture above and these next two, the blue and fawn Dobermann are actually “washed out” versions of the black and brown varieties that are more commonly recognisable (Black/Brown & Rust). You will often see pictures of Blue and Fawn pups but adult pictures are rarer. Why? Well this is because most Blues and Fawns suffer from Colour dilution alopecia. When I say most this is based on a study of a population of 57 blue or fawn Doberman Pinschers. This study was carried out to determine the incidence of colour dilution alopecia in this breed. Forty two dogs had hair loss, typical of colour dilution alopecia. Statistics show that as many as 90% of blue Dobermans and 75% of fawns suffer from this syndrome.

So what is colour dilution alopecia?

This condition develops in some, but not all dogs that have been bred for unusual coat colour, especially "fawn" or "blue" - affected dogs have a poor, patchy coat progressing to widespread permanent hair loss. Dogs with this condition are born with a normal coat. Those with lighter blue or fawn hair coats usually start to show changes by 6 months while in dogs with darker steel blue coats, the changes may not be evident until 2 or 3 years of age. Your dog will experience hair loss and dry skin. Sometimes the earliest sign is a recurring bacterial infection, generally on the back, where you will see small bumps which are infected hair follicles. This clears up temporarily with antibiotics, but the hair of the affected area is very slow to grow again, or remains hairless.

Hair loss is usually first apparent on the back and by 2 or 3 years has spread over all the light coloured areas of the body. The exposed skin is often scaly and is susceptible to sunburn or extreme cold. Affected dogs, their parents and siblings should not be used for breeding. The condition can be entirely avoided by the use of non-colour-diluted dogs or carriers in breeding programmes.

FAWN (Isabella)

Below are some pictures of fawn Dobermanns. You can see even these examples of adults that have maintained their coats do not have the thick shiny coats that the two normal colour of Dobermann have. I think the picture of the Fawn next to the black and Rust dog demonstrates the difference most.

BLUE

Below are some pictures of Blue Dobermanns. Again as with the Fawns it is clear that the coat even in these adults that have not gone bald (the 10% that don’t) are neither full, nor healthy looking like the two normal colour of Dobermann that we are used are. The picture of the dog with the water in the background again demonstrates this most.

WHITE

Another colour that exists in Dobermans is the white or light coloured cream dog. The white Dobermann was created from inbreeding and are considered partial albino Dobermanns. There are many alleged health problems in these dogs which may be true although we have seen or read no scientific evidence either way. However, all whites originate from one single female that has now had nearly 2000 white descendants that are inbred to create more whites. As a result you can guess what health problems from such a close gene pool might arise. In addition in line with what we have mentioned elsewhere, it is important to breed for health form and temperament, yet to achieve white Dobermann you must focus on breeding only for colour and as such you will see the examples of these dogs are often far from the breed standard. In other words they tend only to be bred for commercial gain of selling a white Dobermann not as a complete article that has the correct form, health and temperament. The white Doberman does look unique and interesting but again we believe that care should be taken that breeders avoid introducing these dogs into their bloodlines.

SOLID BLACKS

Solid blacks are a relatively new colour on the scene and as the picture posted below they again are far from the breed standard. They have been achieved breeding dogs with high levels of melanin (very dark rust or very little rust) until the rust markings are eradicated. Very little is known about these dogs, their health problems and if they are in fact pure bred Dobermann or if they have been crossed into other breeds. Again we strongly suggest that you avoid promoting the breeding or purchasing of these dogs so that they do not end up polluting our gene pool to unknown later detriment.

Testing for Dilute Genes.

While it is not yet possible to test for the white or solid black gene (if one exists) it is possible to test for the blue or fawn carrier gene. If both parents carry these genes blue or fawn puppies may result in a mating. Therefore if you are thinking of breeding and are worried that your bitch may carry a dilute gene then the below link may be of help:

http://www.healthgene.com/canine/C128_doberman_pinscher.asp

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