Most common health problems in Doberman Pinschers, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your Doberman Pinscher

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Doberman Pinscher, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Doberman already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

My best-selling dog health book


Doberman Pinscher dog breed

Doberman Pinscher Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Doberman Pinscher health problems

The most serious disease facing Doberman Pinschers today is hereditary heart disease – actually a number of heart diseases. One in particular can cause a young- to middle-aged Doberman, who is romping and playing, to suddenly drop dead in his tracks. A European study found half of all Dobermans over 8 years old had an abnormal heart test.

All Doberman Pinschers should have their hearts tested annually for the ominous first inklings of heart disease. That expense should be factored into your budget if you're considering this breed.

Doberman Pinschers are the 2nd most likely breed to suffer from a serious disease of the neck vertebrae called Wobbler's disease. Dobermans are the most likely breed to have a blood-clotting disease. Up to 20% of Doberman Pinschers have thyroid disease. Hereditary eye diseases can lead to blindness.

Dobermans are at high risk for all kinds of skin diseases, cancers, and an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

Hip dysplasia causes pain and lameness and can require expensive surgery.

Oh, and beware of "white" Doberman Pinschers, which are actually albino and prone to even more health problems.

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Doberman Pinscher have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of heart diseases, thyroid disease, blood-clotting disease, hip dysplasia, and hereditary eye diseases, your Doberman has less risk of developing those conditions.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Doberman, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Doberman Pinscher puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!


Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Doberman Pinscher puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Doberman Pinscher lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Doberman
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Doberman Pinscher. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Doberman
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Doberman Pinscher. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Doberman Pinscher puppy really need? Does your adult Doberman need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.


Information on spaying your Doberman Pinscher. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Doberman Pinscher. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.


Complete list of Doberman Pinscher health problems

The most serious disease facing Doberman Pinschers today is heart disease, specifically cardiomyopathy, but also septal defects, valve disease, pulmonic stenosis, patent ductus arteriosus, and others. The heart is definitely a problematic organ in this breed!

The most serious orthopedic disease in Doberman Pinschers is Wobbler's syndrome, which occurs in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers more than any other breed. This disease of the neck vertebrae is similar to intervertebral disk disease, which also occurs in Dobermans.

Hip dysplasia causes pain and lameness. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 17,000 Dobermans and found 6-7% dysplastic.

Other orthopedic diseases in Doberman Pinschers include osteochondritis (especially of the shoulder and stifle), hypertrophic osteodystrophy, panosteitis, luxating patella, and occasionally craniomandibular osteopathy.

Carpal flexion syndrome is common in Doberman Pinscher puppies. Affected puppies have a "flexed" wrist, with the paws turned inward when standing. Fortunately, it usually goes away on its own.

von Willebrand's blood-clotting disease occurs in Doberman Pinschers more than any other breed. About 30% of the breed are affected, while another 50% are carriers. That means three out of every four Dobermans are either affected or carriers of von Willebrand's. Fortunately a simple DNA test is available for vWD so you can find out at any time whether your Doberman has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.

Hormonal/endocrine system diseases include diabetes and hypothyroidism. Up to 20% of Doberman Pinschers have low thyroid levels.

Skin diseases abound in Doberman Pinschers – allergies, bacterial skin infections (pyoderma), lick granuloma, color dilution alopecia (very common in blue Doberman Pinschers), demodectic mange in Doberman puppies, follicular dysplasia, sebaceous adenitis, seborrhea, pemphigus, vitiligo, calcinosis, and zinc-responsive dermatosis.

As with all deep-chested breeds, Doberman Pinschers are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

The most common cancers in Doberman Pinschers are histiocytic sarcoma, melanoma, and osteosarcoma.

Some odd neuromuscular diseases occur in Dobes, including head tremors, narcolepsy, and polyneuropathy, an inherited disease of the central nervous system. It's often referred to as Dancing Doberman Disease, because the misfiring nervous system creates "spasticity" in the rear legs, alternately flexing and straightening the legs so the poor dog looks as though he's shifting his weight back and forth. Gradually the muscles waste away, but the disease progresses slowly over several years, so affected dogs can often function pretty well.

Eye diseases include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), retinal dysplasia, cataracts, entropion, and cherry eye.

Other health issues in Dobermans include autoimmune hemolytic anemia, immunoglobulin deficiencies, kidney disease, pancreatic insufficiency, liver shunt, and a severe liver disease called chronic active hepatitis.

Let's talk about "white" Doberman Pinschers.

"White" Dobermans are not white like white Boxers or white German Shepherds. Truly white dogs have dark brown eyes, a black nose, and dark skin (under their white hair).

No, "white" Dobermans are actually albino. They have blue or yellowish eyes, a pink nose, and pink skin. Albino is the result of a defective pigment gene that also produces abnormal development of the eyes. Albino Doberman Pinschers squint and have vision problems in bright light. They're prone to sunburn and skin cancer. And frequently they have skittish, nervous temperaments.

So if you're researching albino Dobermans because you're thinking of getting one, please don't. You will only be rewarding breeders who are either ignorant or irresponsible. If you buy one of their puppies, they'll breed more of them, and it's cruel to deliberately breed dogs whose defective genes will make their lives uncomfortable.


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.