Albino Doberman Pinscher - Characteristics and Care
Animal file: Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher is a very recognizable dog breed, known in particular for their short black and tan coat. Although the coat can also present in red and tan, a white Doberman Pinscher is not something many of us have come across. If we do find a white Doberman it is due to albinism, a condition due to a lack of melanin production. Since melanin is responsible for the coloration of a dog's eyes, nose, skin and hair, the dog will not be their expected color when born. While their hair will be white, it is not as common for their eyes to be a different color.
At AnimalWised, we look more closely at the albino Doberman Pinscher. We share their characteristics, care and specific considerations we need to make with albinism in dogs.
Why are there white dobermans?
In some other breeds, white is a recognized coat color. It is caused by genetics, with certain gene sequences resulting in particular colorations. However, the Doberman Pinscher does not carry genes which show a white coat color, unless they have the gene which causes albinism. This is the same as any other dog breed. It is a recessive inherited disorder, meaning that both mother and father need to carry the gene for albinism to occur.
Specifically, the cause of albinism in dogs is due to a problem with the metabolic pathway which transforms the amino acid tyrosine into melanin via the enzyme tyrosinase is interrupted. Apart from the physical appearance, there is little difference in an albino Doberman Pincher's characteristics. We show you what care differences they require below.
Are all white Dobermans albinos?
Yes. The answer to this question is affirmative as Doberman Pinschers do not carry the genes to allow them to be white without albinism. Unfortunately, regardless of albinism, white Doberman Pinschers are not accepted by dog competitions because they do not meet the breed standard. If you have a white dog of another breed and think they may have albinism, take a look at our article which asks is my dog an albino?
Learn more about the Dobermann as a breed with our comparison of Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers.
Characteristics of albino Doberman Pinschers
Regardless of the difference in color, the Albino Doberman has the same physical characteristics as the standard Dobermann. These characteristics are as follows:
- Large size: weight 30-40 kg (88-110 lbs) and height 60-70 cm (23.6-27.5") at the withers
- Stylized morphology
- Harmonious proportions: almost as long as they are tall, front and rear legs articulated at equal angles, chest depth corresponds to limb length
- Pointed ears
- Fine tail
- Short shiny hair
- Albino Doberman Pinscher: eyes and nose lack pigment, so eyes appear as a clear blue and nose is pink
Regarding temperament, the Doberman Pinscher has a strong character. They are intelligent, strong and resistant. They have a reputation for being a dangerous dog, but this is only if they are mishandled. Due to this possibility, they require experienced caretakers who have the time and ability to educate and train them properly. If this happens, along with proper socialization, they can be fantastic companions.
Albino Doberman Pinscher care
In general, the basic care of the an albino Doberman is similar to that of any other type of Doberman breed which does not have this genetic characteristic. General care guidelines include:
- Maintaining good tooth and ear hygiene to prevent ear diseases and dental problems, such as otitis and periodontal disease, respectively.
- Routine deworming to prevent parasitic diseases.
- Vaccination to prevent the main canine infectious diseases.
- Brushing and bathing when necessary.
- Routine checkups at the vet to monitor health.
- A complete good-quality diet that ensures they get all their required nutrients at their proper levels.
Skin care for albino Doberman Pinschers
One specific care needs for albino Dobermans, as with any albino dog, is special care of their skin. Due to the lack of melanin pigmentation, white Dobermans are at a greater risk of skin cancers such as melanoma. This is because the pigmented skin acts as a protective barrier against the sun's UV rays. Without it, they are prone to canine skin tumors.
Albino Doberman Pinschers can also suffer from eye discomfort due to the lack of pigment in their eyes. In these cases, it may be necessary to use special sunglasses for albino dogs to filter most of the solar radiation. They are usually only used when out in direct sunlight.
In general, to reduce the risk of skin problems in albino Dobermans we must take the following precautions:
- Avoid going outside during the hours of greatest sunlight, i.e. 12 pm to 5 pm in the summer. Ideally, it is best to take them for walks at dawn or dusk.
- Prevent their exposure to the sun for long periods of time. To do this, keep them in the shade where possible.
- Use a sunscreen that protects them from radiation.
- Use a special shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin for bathing.
Albino Doberman Pinscher Health Problems
Although the life expectancy of an albino Doberman is between 10 and 13 years of age, they do have a greater risk of certain diseases which can curtail this number. In addition to skin cancer, albino Dobermans are at greater risk of:
- Von Willebrand disease: a blood clotting disease caused by a hereditary deficit of von Willebrand factor, essential for the functioning of platelets. White Dobermans affected by this disease bleed excessively after injuries or operations. They also have frequent bleeding from the nose, gums or digestive tract, something we can see when they have blood in their stool.
- Wobbler syndrome: it is a characteristic disease of the breed in which compression of the spinal cord occurs due to a malformation of the spinal canal or an instability of the vertebrae of the cervical region. As a result, affected albino Dobermans have neck pain and wobble when walking. They may even become paralyzed if the disease progresses.
- Gastric torsion: as a large dog breed with a deep chest, they are more prone to eating too much food too quickly. This can result in their gastrointestinal tract twists, causing a blockage and prevent movement. The caudal vena cava can also be strangled, meaning blood cannot properly return to the heart. This lowers the heart pressure, the dog goes into shock and it can be fatal if not treated urgently.
- Progressive retinal atrophy: a disease characterized by the gradual degeneration of the retina in which photoreceptors (rods and cones) are lost. Dogs initially suffer from night blindness which, as the problem progresses, evolves into complete blindness.
- Hypothyroidism: endocrine disease occurs when there is a reduction in the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. These intervene in numerous functions of the body and are necessary for each of its cells to metabolize. This means the heart and other systems function improperly, resulting in a multitude of clinical signs in affected Dobermans. You can read our related article to discover the signs of hypothyroidism in dogs.
- Dilated cardiomyopathy: a disease of the heart muscle in which it becomes weak and elongated. The ventricles dilate and the heart is unable to pump blood to the body, which can cause heart failure.
- Narcolepsy: a sleeping sickness in which affected dogs have extreme drowsiness at any time or sudden bouts of sleep at any time of the day.
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- Nelson, R. W., & Couto, G. (2020). Small animal internal medicine (6th ed.). Editorial Servet.