Cardiovascular conditions

Atrial septal defect

• Uncommon disease

• Congenital

• Not yet proven to be inherited

• Some studies do not demonstrate a predisposition for this condition in this breed

Dilated cardiomyopathy

• Very common in this breed (relative risk 33.7, prevalance 5.8%)

• This breed accounts for 50% of cases of this condition

• Increased prevalence with age

• Approximately twice as common in males as females

• Thought to be familial, possibly inherited

• Some cases in this breed exhibit bradydys-rhythmias and syncope

Sudden death

• Uncommon

• Thought to be caused by fatal arrhythmias

Dermatological conditions

Muzzle folliculitis/furunculosis

• Also known as canine acne

• Local trauma, hormones and genetics may play a role in pathogenesis


• See under Infectious conditions


• See under Infectious conditions


• See under Infectious conditions

Pemphigus foliaceous

• Uncommon disease

• No sex predisposition

• Mean age of onset 4 years

Bullous pemphigoid

• Very rare

• No age or sex predispositions

Seasonal flank alopecia

• Occurs in spring or autumn

Primary seborrhoea

• Probably inherited as an autosomal recessive trait

• Signs occur early and worsen with age


• Rare

• Congenital

• Possibly inherited as an autosomal recessive trait

Colour-dilution alopecia

• Reported in blue or fawn Dobermanns and Miniature Pinschers

• Coat-colour genes play a role in the inheritance of this condition

Follicular dysplasia

• Affects black or red Dobermanns

• Age of onset: 1-4 years

• Affects caudal dorsum and flanks

Hypopigmentary disorders

• Inheritance suspected


• Presumed to be inherited

Nasal depigmentation

• Also known as Dudley nose

• Cause unknown

Mucocutaneous hypopigmentation

• Congenital in this breed

• Affects the lips and nose

Acral lick dermatitis (see plate 6)

• Occurs in males more commonly than females

• Can occur at any age, but usually over 5 years

Flank sucking

Callus dermatitis/pyoderma

• Usually affects the sternum in this breed

Zinc-responsive dermatosis

• Occurs in rapidly-growing dogs fed zinc-deficient diets

Follicular cyst

• No age or sex predisposition

Focal mucinosis Skin tumours

• See under Neoplastic conditions

Drug reactions


• This breed has been known to suffer cutaneous reactions and polyarthropathy following the use of this drug

Endocrine conditions


• Breed predisposition

• Often middle-aged (2-6 years)

Gastrointestinal conditions

Gastric dilatation-volvulus

• Breed predisposition

Parvovirus enteritis

• Breed predisposition

• Usually young dogs

Chronic hepatitis (see plate 7)

• Breed predisposition

• Middle-aged females are predisposed

• Very aggressive form of hepatitis in this breed. Copper accumulation may occur but is considered secondary to cholestasis

Congenital portosystemic shunt

• Breed predisposition reported in the USA

• Clinical signs usually seen in young dogs < 1 year of age

Haematological conditions

Neutrophil defect

• Related Dobermanns showed chronic rhinitis and pneumonia

• Only described in a single report from 1987

Von Willebrand’s disease

• Possibly inherited as an autosomal recessive trait

• Common in this breed in both the USA and UK

• Mainly type I disease in this breed

• Most Dobermanns with clinical signs of bleeding have vWF < 35%

• Most severe haemorrhage associated with vWF <20%

• Not all at-risk dogs will bleed

Infectious conditions

Parvovirus enteritis

• Possible breed predisposition


• Increased incidence in this breed possibly due to an increased likelihood of exposure

• Seen mainly in young male dogs

• Geographic distribution: California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Mexico and parts of Central and South America. Not reported in the UK


• Increased incidence in this breed possibly due to an increased likelihood of exposure

• Usually seen in dogs under 4 years

• Worldwide distribution, but favoured by warm, humid climates


• Increased incidence in this breed possibly due to an increased likelihood of exposure

• Seen mainly in young male dogs living near water

• Geographic distribution: around the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee and St Lawrence Rivers, the southern Great Lakes and the southern mid-Atlantic states. Not reported in the UK

Infectious skin diseases

• See under Dermatological conditions

Musculoskeletal conditions

Carpal ligament weakening

• Affects older obese dogs

• Tarsal ligaments may also be affected

Bone cyst

• Uncommon

• Usually affects young dogs

• Males are predisposed

Von Willebrand heterotopic osteochondrofibrosis in Dobermann Pinschers

• Young to middle-aged dogs affected

• Suspected that low levels of von Willebrand factor lead to microvascular bleeding which initiates the condition

Congenital elbow luxation

• Uncommon

• Severe disability in this breed (type I)

• Present at birth or in the first 3 months of life

Gastrocnemius tendon avulsion

• May lead to rupture and subsequent hyper-flexion of the hock and digits

Neoplastic conditions


• Breed predisposition

• Average age 8-9 years


• Possible breed predisposition

• Most common in middle-aged, obese female dogs

• Infiltrative lipomas can be seen in this breed

Canine cutaneous histiocytoma

• Possible breed predisposition

• More common in young dogs, 1-2 years of age


• Affects older dogs

• Females predisposed


• Affects older dogs

• Females predisposed


• Affects older dogs

• No sex predisposition

Primary brain tumour

• See under Neurological conditions

Neurological conditions

Congenital vestibular disease

• Signs seen < 3 months

• Occasionally seen with congenital deafness

Congenital deafness

• Autosomal recessive inheritance suggested

• Signs seen from birth

Intervertebral disc disease

• Breed predisposition to cervical disc disease

• Common condition

• Age of clinical onset: 5-10 years


• Autosomal recessive inheritance suspected

• Age of clinical onset: < 1 year

Atlantoaxial subluxation

• Congenital

• Has been reported in this breed

• Age of clinical onset: < 1 year

Cervical vertebral malformation (wobbler syndrome)

• Breed predisposition

• Common in this breed

• Age of clinical onset: 3-9 years, occasionally before 1 year

Primary brain tumour

• Higher incidence noted in this breed

• Older dogs affected (mean 9-10 years)

Dancing Dobermann disease

• Seen occasionally

• Age of clinical onset: 6 months to 7 years

Arachnoid cysts

• Breed predisposition

• Age of clinical onset: < 1 year

Hyperaesthesia syndrome

• Possible breed predisposition

Ocular conditions


• Breed predisposition


• Breed predisposition; polygenic inheritance likely

Eversion of the cartilage of the nictitating membrane

• Breed predisposition

Medial canthal pocket syndrome

• Breed predisposition due to general head shape

Congenital tumours of the iris and ciliary body

• Breed predisposition

• Age of presentation 6 months to 2 years


• Inheritance suspected

• Localisation: posterior sutures

• Age of onset: 1-2 years; slowly progressive

Persistent hyaloid artery

• Inheritance suspected

Persistent hyperplastic tunica vasculosa lentis and persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous

• Breed predisposition reported in the Netherlands but rare in the USA

• Dominant inheritance with incomplete penetration suggested

• Schedule 1 of the BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme

Generalised progressive retinal atrophy (GPRA)

• Autosomal recessive inheritance suspected

• Clinical onset at 1 year; end stage at 3 years

Multiple ocular defects

• Autosomal recessive inheritance suspected

• May include microphthalmia, anterior segment dysgenesis, congenital cataract and retinal dysplasia

• Schedule 3 of the BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme

Physiological conditions


• Mean gestation period reported as 61.4 days

Renal and urinary conditions

Familial renal disease

• Mode of inheritance unknown

• The condition is believed to be a glomerular basement-membrane disorder which may progress to glomerulonephritis

• The disease presents at 1-6 years with pro-teinuria and chronic renal failure

Urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence (causing urinary incontinence)

• Possible breed predisposition in female dogs

Reproductive conditions

XO syndrome

• Congenital abnormality of chromosomal sex which has been reported in this breed

Penile hypoplasia

• Rare congenital condition which has been reported in this breed

• May be seen as part of some intersex states

Respiratory conditions

Chronic rhinitis and pneumonia

• Thought to be due to a neutrophil deficiency

• See Haematological conditions