Is it a Dobe if it’s not Black & Rust?
The Dobermann breed according to the Kennel Club Breed Standard is acceptable in 4 colours only:
- Black & Rust
- Brown & Rust (sometimes called liver)
- Blue & Rust
- Fawn & Rust (sometimes called Isabella)
There are 2 other known ‘colours’ in existence – White and Black – more about these later.
The majority of breeders in the UK will breed Black & Rust and Brown & Rust dogs. This is because the Blue and Fawn colours frequently result in something called Colour Dilution Alopecia. This usually manifests as a thin coat, often with bald spots which is dull and without much shine. If you look at photographs of Blue and Fawn Dobes you will see they look like ‘washed out’ versions of the Black and Brown colours. They are however, otherwise healthy and perfectly acceptable dogs.
White Dobermanns – are actually Albino!
In the USA in 1976, two Black & Rust Dobes were mated and within this litter they delivered several black & rust puppies and one creamy/white coloured Doberman bitch. She had a pink nose, eye rims, pads and blue eyes.
She was then bred to a dominant black male, and produced a litter of black & rust. One male and female were kept by the breeder. Her next litter was a result of a mating with her SON and contained two Albino males. The daughter and son were also mated and this litter contained two Albino bitches. Later, these Albinos were bred together producing litters of all Albino puppies.
These dogs are often passed off as ‘rare’ and those who import them from the USA or who buy these puppies in the UK often don’t realise that they are genetic mutants. Albino dogs frequently have poor temperaments and health problems. They are known to suffer from sensitivity to sunlight – which can lead to skin conditions and cancer, poor eyesight – retinal problems, which can also trigger aggression.
Black Dobermanns – Do they exist?
There have been reports recently of ‘all black’ Dobermanns. Again, this is not an accepted standard in the breed which calls for very specific RUST markings on all colours of dog.
It is not known whether these ‘Black Dobermanns’ have again been bred purely for colour (as the albinos are) to the detriment of all other qualities, or whether they are infact crossbreeds. It is believed to be theoretically possible to rigorously manage matings of high melanin content dogs to mask the rust markings and potentially eradicate them leaving only a solid black. Again, if you are not breeding for health and temperament you will unavoidably end up with substandard dogs.
Sometimes people who want a puppy and who admire Dobermanns will be duped into buying a ‘rare’ puppy and frequently end up paying a lot more for a dog which is likely to be unhealthy, unstable and ultimately unhappy. These breeders are rarely Kennel Club Accredited or reputable and simply have £££ signs in their eyes.
If you’ve thought about a black or white Dobermann or haven’t considered WHERE your puppy comes from and WHO bred him/her for WHAT reason, ask yourself:
Is it fair to breed a dog for looks alone when its temperament could have it condemned to death at a year old?
Reproduced with permission from The Dobermann Trust