This is an interesting article (received it in my inbox today), and I very much support what the Better Bred folks are doing and discussing. It's not an outlandish hypothesis. With extreme inbreeding, it seems like the immune system is one of the first things to be disrupted, no surprises there, but the possibility of a link between an autoimmune disorder and DCM is quite interesting. I'm quite hopeful in my confirmation bias with this, time and additional research will presumably provide a conclusive answer one way or the other.
FWIW, Kira is an outlier, probably one of those extreme outliers who the researchers would've wanted photos of due to doubts that she's really a Doberman. All it apparently took was (1) Not a lot of inbreeding even in the '70s and '80s show lines from her pedigree and (2) A 30-or-40-year break from show line breeding antics such as inbreeding and popular sire fads. Beyond that, she's not an outlier because of exotic bloodlines or anything, as far back as her extended pedigree goes, it all seems to be Canadian and US lines.
The real tragedy is that I don't believe that she is truly an outlier. She's probably just in the silent majority of Dobermans that all breeders ignore and folks on the breed-specific forums stare down their noses at. The folks getting the VGL diversity tests are folks who I honestly believe care enough about improving the health of the breed to spend the money and invest the time, but they're part of a culture which has been entrenched in bad practices for a long, long time, and one population is overrepresented as a result. I would bet the amount of money I paid for Kira that not a single one of her siblings from the 3 or so litters her dam produced has had a swab submitted for the purpose of the diversity test. Is an animal a "genetic outlier" simply because it's underrepresented in a study because most of the owners of its relatives are oblivious to the problems plaguing the breed? The thing that I see as tragic is that there are folks whose intentions are good, they are trying their best, but they are trapping themselves in the largely futile effort of attempting to recover genetic diversity from an extremely inbred population.
They're really out there, I guarantee if folks put aside some of the bias favoring "reputable breeders" and titles, and uses a very critical eye when evaluating animals from the silent majority of farm folks and the less-shady BYBs, there are gems to be found. Just don't throw common sense out the window. If a breeder is clearly motivated by greed and not the well-being of their animals or the breed as a whole, move along to the next. If a breeder clearly has little intelligence involved in their choices (breeding z-factor Dobes, convenient/pointless linebreeding, being obsessed with the monetary value of "rare" coloration and such), move along. If a breeder is trying to break-into the fancy named bloodline/kennels game to give themselves more credibility in their endeavors or to make more money on someone else's brand, move along. There will be a few breeders left who probably won't come close to sweeping all the boxes on a Reputable Breeder Checklist, but they'll have avoided enough of the wrong things that the pups they produce are correct enough, and have some of those time capsule genetic outlier genes.
It's a shame that, as Artemis mentions, some breeders are so full of themselves and bizarre bloodline royalty notions that they'd sooner let a breed die out than go slumming, but it's a good thing that they will mostly only hurt themselves and the other bloodline/show-ribbon snobs. There are a few breeders on here I consider to be extremely promising in terms of using off-the-beaten-path bloodlines despite getting ripped-on for their efforts, and they will hopefully keep the Doberman breed on the rails, too. Well, them and the folks like me who have no problem going slumming and are completely unapologetic for doing so.