Select Page
Home 9 The Doberman 9 Health


For more information on Doberman health issues, please visit our Public Education site and our Breeder/Exhibitor Education site.

These health conditions have been identified in the Doberman Pinscher. Items marked with asterisks (***) can be identified through testing. Screening tests are not currently available for the other conditions listed. It is important to know the status before breeding a dog or bitch – clinically affected dogs, dogs exhibiting symptoms for any of these conditions should NOT be bred.

You can learn more about health in our Public Education section here.

The text below is intended as an aid to those seeking health information and should not be used to form a diagnosis replacing regular veterinary care by one’s own Veterinarian.

CARDIOMYOPATHY – is suspected to be an inherited disease in Dobermans. Research is in progress in several institutions. An echocardiogram of the heart will confirm the disease but WILL not guarantee that the disease will not develop in the future. A 24 hour holter will record Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs)

*** HIP DYSPLASIA – is inherited. It may vary from slightly poor conformation to malformation of the hip joint allowing complete luxation of the femoral head. Both parents’ hips should be Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) certified – excellent, good or fair rating.  There are other hip labs that are qualified to certify hips.  Click here for more info.

*** HYPOTHYROIDISM – is probably inherited and means that the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormone to adequately maintain the dog’s metabolism. It is easily treated with thyroid replacement pills on a daily basis. Thyroid testing (T3, T4, TSH and autoantibodies) should be performed on an annual schedule. Finding autoantibodies to thyroglobulin (T4 autoantibodies) is an indication that the dog has “Hashimoto’s Disease”. Low thyroid dogs, manifested by a high TSH and a low T4, should be treated and monitored on a regular basis.

*** vWd (VON WILLEBRAND’S DISEASE) – is an autosomally (not sex linked) inherited bleeding disorder with a prolonged bleeding time and a mild to severe factor IX deficiency. Von Willebrand’s factor antigens of 70% 180% are considered to be within the normal range for Dobermans. When dogs are tested through the Elisa assay blood test for vWD, they are tested for carrier status only NOT the disease. It is believed that carrier status tests (Elisa assay) are inaccurate if a dog is ill, received any medication or vaccination within 14 days of testing, pregnancy, bitches in heat or lactation. Stress conditions (infections, parasites, hormonal changes, trauma, surgery, emotional upset, etc.) may have an effect on the outcome of the vWD blood test and might be a contributing factor for bleeding tendencies. vWD carrier status is quite common in Dobermans. A DNA test for vWD is now available – genetically: clear, carrier (inherited one disease gene), affected (inherited two disease genes) – results are not effected by stress conditions, etc.  Learn about DNA labs here.

WOBBLER’S SYNDROME – is suspected to be an inherited condition in Dobermans. Dogs suffer from spinal cord compression caused by cervical vertebral instability or from a malformed spinal canal. Extreme symptoms are paralysis of the limbs (front, hind or all 4). Neck pain with extension and flexion may or may not be present. Surgical therapy is hotly debated and in some surgically treated cases, clinical recurrence has been identified.

*** PRA (PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY) – is an inherited condition in Dobermans. Clinically, visual acuity is diminished, first at dusk, later in daylight. The disease progresses over months or years, to complete blindness. A screening test is available and can be performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist. CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) will certify eyes for 12 months from the date of evaluation.

*** ALBINISM – “white coated” and “white factored” Dobermans should NOT be bred. These dogs are *TYROSINASE POSITIVE ALBINOS*. In 1996, the AKC established a tracking system (the letter “Z” will be part of the registration number) allowing breeders to identify the normal colored Dobermans which may carry the albinistic gene. A list with all dogs tracing back to Shebah’s (the first Albino Doberman registered) parents is available here. All breeders should require an AKC certified pedigree with colors to check that “white coated” and “white factored” dogs are not present in the pedigree of the dog or bitch to be bred.

This is a list of Chapter Clubs and individuals who have a holter available for rent.

Club/Indv. Contact Rental Details
Cavalier DPC (VA) Meejin Pike

• Rental for CDPC members $65 (includes shipping to renter and supplies for 1 dog, does not include Alba Medical data read or shipping back to CDPC)
• Non-Club members located East of the Mississippi rental fee: $85 (includes shipping to renter and supplies for 1 dog, does not include Alba Medical data read or shipping back to CDPC)
• Additional dogs to be tested fee: $6/per

All rentals include Alba Medical DR200 Digital holter monitor with leads, AA battery, Alba Medical large vest with monitor pocket and strap, SD card and reader, breathable cloth tape, unisolve adhesive remover wipes

Renter is responsible for Alba Medical reading fees

Renter is responsible for shipping costs back to CDPC contact and MUST BE INSURED FOR $1000

Renter is responsible for any and all damages to any of the equipment/items and agrees to replace any damaged/missing parts/items

Renter must sign and return CDPC rental contract and pay the rental fee prior to shipment/use.

Please complete the holter rental request form at and our Coordinator will send the rental contract and additional rental details.
Payment accepted via PayPal
Public rentals East of the Mississippi only!

DPCA See details in the DPCA Members Only area of this website.


For information on CHIC and CHIC requirements, see the links below.

CHIC Information

CHIC Requirements

Dobermans in CHIC database

Call for Proposals

The Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA) is requesting applications for its Doberman Health Research Grant Program. Preference will be given to proposals addressing Doberman-related dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), but other breed-related health conditions will also be accepted.

Qualifications of Applicant(s)

The program is open to investigators in both institutional and organizations. Investigators must have a DVM and/or PhD and a full-time, permanent position in a university, veterinary hospital, and/or veterinary organization.

Award Criteria

Award amount: variable up to $20,000 maximum

Duration: up to one year

Preliminary data: not required

Application Process

DPCA grant applications require the submission of both:

  1. Letter of intent (LOI)
  2. Full application

Letter of intent is due April 17, 2023

Full application is due June 3, 2023


Submission Information

Guidelines for the letter of intent and full proposal are available in the following sections:

Letter of Intent

Proposal Guidelines


For questions please contact:

Tracy L. Skaer, Pharm.D., FASHP, FASCP

Chair, DPCA Medical Research Evaluation Committee


Phone:  509-595-7095

Letter of Intent Guidelines

DPCA Doberman Health Research Grant Program – Letter of Intent (LOI) Guidelines

Deadline: April 17, 2023

Length: 2-page limit

Format: Single-spaced or greater, using no smaller than an 11-point Arial font with a minimum of 3/4-inch margins

LOI Content:

  1. Date
  2. Title of Project
  3. Amount Requested
  4. Brief Project Description
  5. Names and titles of the researchers and their research institution/affiliations
  6. Contact information (email and phone number) of the principal investigator


For questions and submission of Letter of Intent contact:

Tracy L. Skaer, Pharm.D., FASHP, FASCP

Chair, DPCA Medical Research Evaluation Committee


Phone: 509-595-7095

Proposal Information and Guidelines

DPCA Doberman Health Research Grant Program – Proposal Information and Guidelines

The call for proposals is open to investigators having a DVM and/or PhD and a full-time, permanent position in a university, veterinary hospital, and/or veterinary profession organization.

Investigators shall have appropriate qualifications and experience for conducting procedures on living animals per Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval. Each investigator on the study is required to provide a biographical sketch that indicates those qualifications and experience.

If selected for funding, the DPCA requires documentation of IACUC or equivalent institutional review board (IRB) approval from the submitting institution for all clinical trials even though such approval may not be a requirement of the institution.

The DPCA requires informed owner/responsible agency consent in all clinical/research studies. An informed owner/responsible agency consent form of minimum standards shall be executed by the Principal Investigator. A copy of the consent form will be submitted to the DPCA along with the documentation of IACUC or equivalent IRB board approval.

The DPCA shall appoint a committee to evaluate each proposal for scientific merit, relevance for optimizing Doberman breed health, and consideration of animal welfare (minimizing discomfort, distress, and pain).

Deadline: June 3, 2023

Proposal Format

  1. Single-spaced or greater, using no smaller than an 11-point Arial font with a minimum of 3/4-inch margins.
  2. The order of the written proposal should follow the outline described below, including the use of the outline numbering and headings.
  3. Technical terminology should be defined on first usage; acronyms and abbreviations may be used subsequently.

Proposal Outline

  1. Abstract (1-page limit). Abstracts should not contain information that identifies the investigators or any charts or graphics and must use the following headings:
    1. Title: limit 150 characters, including spaces; Do not use ‘all caps.’
    2. Rationale
    3. Hypothesis/Objectives
    4. Experimental Design and Methods
    5. Preliminary Data (if available, but not required)
    6. Budget
    7. Potential Impact on Doberman health
  1. Title Page (1-page limit), Name, Institution, and email address of principal investigator, mentor(s), and all co-investigators
  2. Study Proposal (5-page limit including figures, tables, and graphics). Please include the heading outlined below.
    1. Hypothesis and Objectives: Be precise and provide specific, testable hypotheses with realistic objectives to be met within the timeline and budget proposed.
    2. Justification, Significance, and Literature Review: Clearly describe the background of the problem, justify the need for the study, and state the importance of expected findings. The review of the literature should indicate the current status of available research, including the investigator’s contributions if any.
    3. Preliminary Data (if available, but not required): Briefly describe any previous results, if available, which support the proposed research.
    4. Experimental Methods and Design: Describe the experimental approach, including the design, methods, number of dogs, where the participating dogs and samples will be obtained, treatments, sampling schedules, potential limitations, and alternative approaches for each study objective. A thorough description of proposed data analysis methods including sample size calculations should be included.
    5. Timeline: Provide the sequence and schedule of experiments or testing across the duration of the project. Be sure to include adequate time to complete data analysis.
    6. Expected Results and Significance: Indicate expected results, your prosed plan for disseminating information generated to the scientific and public communities, and potential ways of translating the results into practice.
  1. Facilities and Equipment (1-page limit): Availability of necessary facilities and equipment to complete the proposed research should be documented. If more than one institution is involved, a letter of collaboration for the outside institution(s) must be included at the end of the proposal.
  2. Cited References (3-page limit): Include complete citations referenced numerically in the body of the proposal.
  3. Budget in US Dollars (1-page limit): Include the following:
    1. Wages: For students, fellows, or residents only. Stipend up to $3,000 annually.
    2. Supplies: purchase of a Holter monitor and its necessary supplies are allowed.
  1. Not Supported Budgetary Items: DPCA does not financially support the following expenses:
    1. Indirect costs: are not allowed
    2. Salaries: Faculty full time or part-time: salary requests for faculty are not supported
    3. Equipment: non-disposable laboratory equipment or repairs, computer software or other equipment (e.g., laptops, tablets, cell phones, desktop computers)
    4. Tuition
  1. Itemized Budget Justification (1-page limit): Specifically justify the cost of each item requested in the budget. Costs that are not justified will not be funded.
  2. Biographical Data (5-page limit per individual). For each principal investigator, mentor(s), and co-investigator(s) provide the following information:
    1. Name
    2. Position/Role on this project
    3. Current Position title, name, and address of institution
    4. Education/Training degrees, institution, year of graduation, field of study
    5. Personal Statement
    6. Positions and Honors including membership on any advisory committees
    7. Selected peer-reviewed publications complete reference
    8. Research Support ongoing and completed in the last three years

Other Information 

The DPCA does not support the purchase of dogs, projects involving euthanasia of healthy dogs, or induction of disease or injury.

The DPCA reserves the right to perform announced or unannounced site visits and/or independent audits for program assessment and/or to investigate concerns dealing with budgetary and/or animal welfare. Furthermore, DPCA reserves the right to cancel an award if a proposed project is altered or in cases of research misconduct. Upon cancellation, any remaining unexpended funds are to be returned to the DPCA.

Award checks will be distributed to the principal investigator once the DPCA has received confirmation of IACUC/IRB approval and consent forms. Project status reports shall be submitted to the DPCA biannually unless otherwise specified. The DPCA reserves the right to disperse funds using installments on a minimum of a biannual basis.

Announcement of Grant Recipient will be made on August 14, 2023

For questions and submission of proposal contact:

Tracy L. Skaer, Pharm.D., FASHP, FASCP

Chair, DPCA Medical Research Evaluation Committee


Phone: 509-595-7095