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Hi all,

I have a question to pose to the breeders on this forum, in short, was sending the below e-mail to a breeder rude and/or out of line? My wife decided to "surprise" me with agreeing to get a doberman pup, and I had questions regarding health testing that was not answered on the breeder's website or in the e-mail that was sent.

Hi,

My wife requested that I contact you directly regarding health testing for the puppy that we've put a deposit down for (she's included on this e-mail).

Here's the list of health test results we'll need to see for the puppy before we complete the purchase.

- 24 hr test for Cardiomyopathy
- OFA certification for Hips, elbows and teeth (dentition). Preliminary report is ok if vet won't do a complete report due to age.
- Hypothyroidism
- PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) screening test

I know in the e-mail they said none of the pups have the below issues, however (Mom Dog, name redacted) doesn't show testing for Z-factor on her pedigree page, and since there isn't an AKC registration showing on her page, I can't look her up on the z-factor registration from AKC (Turns out the female is of european bloodline, breeder says albinism isn't an issue). I'd also like to see testing results for vWD for the pup since the father is a carrier.

- Screening for Z-factor (albinism)
- vWD (von Williebrand's Disease)

If any of the above testing is going to present an issue, please let me know.

Sincerely,
The breeder responded with the below and is supposedly in the process of returning the deposit.

Hi,

there is no testing for z factor required...it runs only in one line of Dobermans and all of those individuals are marked "WZ" on their AKC registration certificates and z factor is not found in European Dobermans.

As far as vWD goes carriers don't have the disease. vWD type 1 is a recessively inherited disorder with incomplete penetrance...and so dogs with one copy of the defective gene "carriers" are at zero risk of bleeding. A dog has to inherit a copy of the defective gene from both parents in order to be "affected" and have the disease. A carrier bred to a clear dog can't produce an affected puppy because the clear dog doesn't have the defective gene to contribute. None of our litters are vWD affected.

We don't have OFA on our imported dogs...they have a different system in Europe. We don't do elbows. Our vet looks at eyes but we don't pay for certification. Same for thyroid...a dog with low thyroid has obvious symptoms (infertility, no coat, obesity, cold intolerance, etc.) and we test only if we see symptoms...we've only seen two dogs with low thyroid in 30 years...and they weren't breeding stock. Low thyroid is not passed via simple inheritance and there is no genetic test for it. We don't have OFA certify teeth. We do Holters but the new/current ones won't be done till August.

Since we don't meet your testing requirements we'll just refund your reservation. Thank you for bringing you requirements to our attention before the litter was born.

Regards,
 

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Personally, I'd count it as a bullet dodged.

If you can tell us more about yourself, your plans for your pup, and where you are located, I know people would be happy to help you with finding a good breeder.
 

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Hmmmm--suddenly DT won't let me post anything...

dobebug

Very interesting--that was a test after the system wouldn't let me send anything--now it's working again and I'll repost what the system ate...
 

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Not a breeder Stephen

I would not bash the breeder! They responded back to you with answers to your concerns. They could only offer you pups that were not born , will hopefully return your deposit and recognized that you were not a fit for each other which seemed cordial to me.

It is wise to do the research when it come to health , especially with this breed.
Good luck.
 

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Did you put a deposit down before asking those questions? I would advise to not do that in the future. Not only ask but see all health testing before putting down a deposit.

Not a breeder that I would support.

FYI cardio is tested through a 24 hour holter AND an echo, which only takes about 10min.
OFA isn't the only certification organization, just an FYI, ask to see certification on hips, elbows...
Many breeders don't PRA their dobes as it's not rampant in the breed.
Most breeders don't vWD test puppies. Usually is one parent is a carrier then one isn't. At worst you would have a carrier which means nothing if you aren't breeding.
I would advise asking for a full blood panel as liver issues are fairly common in the breed.

If you're looking for a Euro. your best options are to reach out to the breeders in Europe and import. There are a few good euro breeders here but they're few and far between but few breeders in Europe health test like the US breeders do.

Good luck
 

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Can we help you learn more about the health issues in our breed, the type of testing needed on the parents before breeding happens, and how to find a good breeder? It sounds like your wife got a little excited and may have made an impulse decision. I think it's probably for the best that your deposit was refunded, simply because you may need to slow down a little. Buying a puppy before knowing what you're getting into is never a good thing. You should understand a little more about our breed and the health risks, and what you're really looking for in a puppy. We'd be happy to help you find a reputable breeder. What are you looking for in a Doberman? What attracts you to the breed?

When you are looking at breeders, are you looking overseas? Or "Euro" breeders in the US? What attracts you to that "type?"
 

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OK Stephen,

I'm going to try to answer this again. And first of all I pretty much agree with Alan J's take on it. What I have to say as a non-breeder but long time owner is basically a lot of FYI so that you've got a better handle on the various tests you wanted for the puppy.

Right off the bat some of the tests you are asking for are not done on puppies but should have been done on the adult parents. The 24 hour test for Cardiomyopathy is a 24 hour Holter which provides a long EKG of the electrical function of the heart. Not usually performed on dogs younger than around two years. It goes hand in hand with an echo of heart function--another one that is rarely performed on very young dogs. The vet cardiologists are pretty uniform about NOT recommending Holters and echo's on very young dogs--immature hearts give back results so bizarre they can scare the pants of of the owner.

OFA does not certify dogs hips or elbows younger than two years--even preliminary results are not usually done earlier than one year. What you usually would want to see is results on both of the parents--that will give you a reasonable expectation of what you might get with a puppy. Since the bitch is Euro and imported unless she was imported as an adult (in which case she should have had the Euro rating on hips and they should have record of that) if she was too young when imported they should have done OFA hips rating on her hips when she became 2 or older. A lot of breeders don't have elbows rated--it's less of a common problem for Dobes although it does sometimes show up but it's not like German Shepherd Dogs--that's a breed that should have elbows done in my opinion.

Teeth--I didn't even know that OFA collected data on teeth. But here's what I do know from breeders who do x-rays on puppies to make sure there are tooth buds in place for adult teeth. Even if you have a dental specialist vet doing those x-rays sometimes (illness, injury) are not entirely accurate. I would hope the parents adult teeth had been examined and they had full mouths.

Thyroid testing. Full panel tests are not performed on baby puppies--and while the symptoms the breeder listed as indicative of hypothyroidism and it's common in Dobermans it's not something I would rely on. At least two parts of the full thyroid panel are aimed at specifically the genetic forms of thyroid issues. Hypothyroidism is very common in Dobes. I can hardly imagine having only seen 2 dogs who were actually hypothyroid in 30 years. Since the beginings of testing for thyroid issues (I've had Dobes since 1959 and there really weren't any thyroid tests available then) since some time in the 70's I think I've rarely had a Doberman who didn't eventually end up hypothyroid. Some younger and some very old (as opposed to my Australian Shepherd whose thyroid levels on yearly blood panels showed T4 results at 2.54 --reference range was 1.0 to 4.0--every year and even the very last of the blood panel's which was done when he was dying from lymphoma just weeks shy of 13 years--the T4 was still the same. But Aussies typically don't have a lot of problems with thyroid. The parents status via tests is a better way to try to have no issues with offspring. I do a full thyroid panel at around 2 years and keep an eye on the T4 values and on the dog watching for symptoms and retest if necessary then.

PRA--with a European bitch in the combo I'd want that test. It used to be that PRA which seems to have originated with dogs from the Netherlands and spread through the Euro dogs from there. American dogs evidently didn't have those Netherlands dogs in their background breeding and were virtually never affected by it. The vet opthamalogist who has done CERF (it isn't called CERF any more and what it is called escapes me this morning) tests on my dogs --I do at least one and since my males are rarely available at public stud I only do more if they are scheduled to be bred--but the opthamalogist told me close to 20 years ago that he never used to find PRA in the American dogs but he was starting to see more cases every year. Probably because more Euro dogs have been imported in recent years.

Albinism. Unless you are getting this puppy with hopes of breeding it I personally don't think that test a normal colored puppy for albinism is necessary. As far as it being found in only one line of dogs--very recent data indicates that there are some dogs carrying the albino gene (very recently there has been available a genetic test for albinism) but a breeder would be unlikely to have tested the adults or the puppies--and it generally means not much unless the dog is going to specifically used as breeding stock.

vWD. In this case the breeder is correct--if the sire is a carrier and the bitch is clear (either by a gene test or by parentage) the only possible vWD results in the puppies would be either clear or carriers) Genetically they can't be anything else--but I'd want to see the certification or test results. Carrier don't have a bleeding problem because they don't lack vWD factor. And even affected dogs (because of the leaky gene aspect of vWD in Type 1 dogs) are mostly not clinical (don't have symptoms or problems of bleeding out because they can't coagulate the blood they have).

I hope that this clarifies how and why testing works--some just isn't valid on puppies but the genetic tests are the ones I always do and I start doing things like cardio testing, and thyroid testing at around two since there is no genetic test for those two but looking at pedigrees and asking for information on parents and grandparents is helpful.

I don't really like the idea that some of the testing they don't do is because they don't think they need to.

But then--I test for everything you can test for and my last Dobe lived to be a healthy 14 (but he also comes from lines that have a fairly good number or long lived dogs.)

So I wish you good luck

dobebug
 

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Bug...I had always heard that albino dobes can have an iffy temperament because of the inbreeding that was done to fix the trait, without paying attention to the temperament of the dogs that were being bred. I suppose an albino dog could also have temperament problems because of the way vision problems/eye discomfort in bright light might affect him too?

Anyway, are those temperament problems also present in normal puppies out of a Z breeding?

Have you been around an albino much? What are they like compared to normal dobes--differences and similarities?
 

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Bug...I had always heard that albino dobes can have an iffy temperament because of the inbreeding that was done to fix the trait, without paying attention to the temperament of the dogs that were being bred. I suppose an albino dog could also have temperament problems because of the way vision problems/eye discomfort in bright light might affect him too?

Anyway, are those temperament problems also present in normal puppies out of a Z breeding?

Have you been around an albino much? What are they like compared to normal dobes--differences and similarities?
I would personally care about whether it was out of albino lines simply because that's a hallmark of bad breeding.

To address Melbrod - I've known several albinos, and they all had iffy temperaments. They have been pretty reactive dogs. I've known another dog that was out of WZ lines that was somewhat reactive, too.

I don't want to generalize that to all of them, that's just been my experience.
 

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I'm glad to hear the breeder responded to your questions and offered to refund deposit. So many have not had that courtesy extended to them, that have shared their experiences here.
 

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Bug...I had always heard that albino dobes can have an iffy temperament because of the inbreeding that was done to fix the trait, without paying attention to the temperament of the dogs that were being bred. I suppose an albino dog could also have temperament problems because of the way vision problems/eye discomfort in bright light might affect him too?

Anyway, are those temperament problems also present in normal puppies out of a Z breeding?

Have you been around an albino much? What are they like compared to normal dobes--differences and similarities?
I wouldn't claim to have been around albino's a lot--there really aren't all that many around. I ran into one in a PetCo that stuck in my memory though--he was somehing like 11 months old--and he was very attractive--for a Dane puppy--he was huge--Toad was a big puppy who had most of his full height when he was in 6-9 classes--28"--ultimately he grew another 1/2 inch and joined the other two males I've had who were 28-1/2 " boys. But this puppy was Dane size--I'd bet that he would wicket at right around 29-1/2". The only other albinos I've even seen were in a yard in Southern California--they were dirty and a little thin and looked basically like they weren't well taken care of--it was also a fairly sleazy neighborhood in Los Angeles proper.

Yes, I had occasion to talk to Judy Doniere between breed and groups at a show at length about the albino dogs and their highly inbred pedigrees. She said the early albinos often had very poor temperaments--tend to be fear biters a and their conformation not at all good but they tended to be stricking just because of the color (or non color). I was telling her about the young male I'd seen recently and except for the excessive size he was basically pretty correct and decent looking--had a really good show crop and I could probably guess the cropper but won't. He final comment is one I will always remember--she said that given a few more years and she was hoping that they would have a gene test for the albinism by then and we'd be seeing albino offspring who were indistinguishable from the better breeding of dogs from non-z lines. I was greatly pleased when they released the Albino gene test--one of the things that has worried me all along was the possibility that the albino gene would end up in the general population and without a genetic test we'd kind of be up the traditional creek with no paddle.

I talked buy email at length with a guy who was on a defunct Dobe list with me who had adopted a scheduled to be put to sleep albino--he said if the dog was in the house or if it was a cloudy day or night he was fine--met people without qualms but if it was a bright sunny day he really didn't want people to get near him unless they were people he knew and even then they had to approach slowly so he could ID them by scent.

As far as normal colored Z line dogs go--on two occasions in Oregon there have been normal colored dog entered in conformation--one a black bitch was a little scetchy about being approached but wasn't bad looking at all--unfortunately she was in a class with a bitch who would later be a BOB winner so guess who won. Several years later a black dog with a WZ registration was shown in AM Bred--he was OK, nothing special and his temperament seemed to be pretty outgoing and friendly. So that pretty much the extend of my direct experience. The dogs that I got to meet tended to be like Dobes--a couple of them wanted to lean on me--since some of them that were normal colored dogs I met at shows they wanted to inspect my pockets for bait. The huge albino puppy--he play bowed to me sniffed me up and down and looked in my pockets--his owner said he wasn't usually that friendly but I suspect that to all dogs I generally smell likes dogs and cats to say nothing of treats.

I would personally care about whether it was out of albino lines simply because that's a hallmark of bad breeding.
I agree with you about that MeadowCat. But just as I've never had a problem with Albino Dobe's adopted from rescues, pounds and shelters--as long as they are neutered I don't care that they are still alive. It is what it is and it isn't their fault that they are albino and have dubious temperaments and they didn't opt to be here. That was just bad luck and stupid people who are fine with doing anything that looks like a money maker.

To address Melbrod - I've known several albinos, and they all had iffy temperaments. They have been pretty reactive dogs. I've known another dog that was out of WZ lines that was somewhat reactive, too.

I don't want to generalize that to all of them, that's just been my experience.
Basically I don't want people breeding albinos--because of what they are and how there have been exploited and from what little I've seen I agree with Judy Doniere--as far as conformation goes--the dogs from the WZ lines are better than they used to be and from the very little I've seen as far as temperament goes I think that has improved too. But if it's a normal colored puppy I don't really thjnk anyone really needs to spend the money to do a gene test for an albino gene. And heavens knows there are plenty of less that wonderful temperaments on dogs from BYB breeders who don't have any WZ dogs they are using to provide puppies to the unwary.

dobebug
 

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Thank you all for the replies. I purposely did not include any identifying info about the breeder as I wondered if I had stepped over the line in the requests.

About myself and why I'd like to get a Dobe. I grew up with Dobermans as a kid all the way into college, and in addition to thinking they're a beautiful breed, love the intelligence that comes with the breed. My wife and I have a 5 year old daughter, a 6 year old daschund, fish and a baby tortoise, with plans to get chickens at some point as well. We're in a single family home with a fenced yard (1/3rd acre), with the possibility of moving to a larger place. I'm located in North Central Florida, and looking for breeders for the area.

As far as the situation, yes, my wife jumped the gun before discussing it with me, and while I knew the breed was subject to some health issues (vWD and wobblers), I wasn't aware of the other issues until I did a bit of research. The list of testing I requested is based in large part off of the sticky at the top of this forum. What I really need help with sorting out is what health testing should I see for the parents, and what should I see for the puppy?

Thanks in advance!
Stephen
 

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I agree with you about that MeadowCat. But just as I've never had a problem with Albino Dobe's adopted from rescues, pounds and shelters--as long as they are neutered I don't care that they are still alive. It is what it is and it isn't their fault that they are albino and have dubious temperaments and they didn't opt to be here. That was just bad luck and stupid people who are fine with doing anything that looks like a money maker.



Basically I don't want people breeding albinos--because of what they are and how there have been exploited and from what little I've seen I agree with Judy Doniere--as far as conformation goes--the dogs from the WZ lines are better than they used to be and from the very little I've seen as far as temperament goes I think that has improved too. But if it's a normal colored puppy I don't really thjnk anyone really needs to spend the money to do a gene test for an albino gene. And heavens knows there are plenty of less that wonderful temperaments on dogs from BYB breeders who don't have any WZ dogs they are using to provide puppies to the unwary.

dobebug
To clarify, my point was that buying a non-albino (as in, a black or red pup) that is a WZ puppy is a poor choice, because it's supporting a less than ethical breeder. It's buying a puppy from albino lines. I suppose if the parents have been tested and they somehow do NOT carry the albino gene we could look at why they're being bred, but...in general, I don't see a puppy with a WZ registration number as one that I'd pursue. There could be an exception, I suppose. Just unlikely.

And, I agree, a rescue situation is a whole different ballgame.

I, too, am very happy there is an albino gene test. I, in fact, would love to see more breeders using it, simply to verify that the gene is not carried. The WZ list, as we all know, isn't perfect. But that's a digression... ;)

Thank you all for the replies. I purposely did not include any identifying info about the breeder as I wondered if I had stepped over the line in the requests.

About myself and why I'd like to get a Dobe. I grew up with Dobermans as a kid all the way into college, and in addition to thinking they're a beautiful breed, love the intelligence that comes with the breed. My wife and I have a 5 year old daughter, a 6 year old daschund, fish and a baby tortoise, with plans to get chickens at some point as well. We're in a single family home with a fenced yard (1/3rd acre), with the possibility of moving to a larger place. I'm located in North Central Florida, and looking for breeders for the area.

As far as the situation, yes, my wife jumped the gun before discussing it with me, and while I knew the breed was subject to some health issues (vWD and wobblers), I wasn't aware of the other issues until I did a bit of research. The list of testing I requested is based in large part off of the sticky at the top of this forum. What I really need help with sorting out is what health testing should I see for the parents, and what should I see for the puppy?

Thanks in advance!
Stephen
I'm glad you've found the forum, Stephen!

I'm going to recommend, personally, that you stick to a breeder that can be a good mentor/friend for you and help you learn with your first Doberman. Ideally, it will be someone reasonably local. Sometimes you do have to wait a bit for a puppy from someone reputable. Good breeders don't always have a pup immediately available.

Alison McDonald has a litter in Florida - you might want to contact her to see if any are available (https://www.facebook.com/alison.n.mcdonald)

What I look for in health testing:
Both parents should have had:
-an echocardiogram in the last year
-a 24 hour holter monitor exam in the last year
-I want to know the vWD status of both dogs to know whether puppies might be affected (and if they might be, I would want the puppy tested)
-I would like hips and elbows tested
-I want to know what their thyroid results are; are they normal, or normal only with medication?
-liver and kidney tests normal?

I also want information from the breeder on ancestors further up the pedigree. Are they still alive, and, if not, how old were they at death, and what did they die of?

What other health issues are common in the pedigree? Any issues with allergies? How about things like obsessive licking or other obsessive behaviors?

What are the temperaments like? Here is where I am also looking at the titles on the dogs. Have they earned any titles, and what does that tell me about their temperaments? Why did the breeder choose these two dogs to match together? What do they expect the puppies to be like?

It's about more than just health tests. You want a dog with a stable temperament, predictable, acting like a Doberman should.

There really aren't tests that a puppy gets. Here, you focus more on what the breeder DOES with their puppies. What socialization do they do? Do they use things like Puppy Culture? How are they making sure their puppies have good experiences with the world, and experience a wide variety of things? Breeders are KEY to making sure puppies are confident and ready to join a family.
 

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OK Stephen,

PRA--with a European bitch in the combo I'd want that test. It used to be that PRA which seems to have originated with dogs from the Netherlands and spread through the Euro dogs from there. American dogs evidently didn't have those Netherlands dogs in their background breeding and were virtually never affected by it. The vet opthamalogist who has done CERF (it isn't called CERF any more and what it is called escapes me this morning) tests on my dogs --I do at least one and since my males are rarely available at public stud I only do more if they are scheduled to be bred--but the opthamalogist told me close to 20 years ago that he never used to find PRA in the American dogs but he was starting to see more cases every year. Probably because more Euro dogs have been imported in recent years.

dobebug
Just a clarification, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) is virtually unknown in Dobermans. The eye disorder that dobebug is referring to is PHPV/PHTVL (Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous/persistent hyperplastic tunica vasculosa lentis). This is the eye disorder that Dobermans are evaluated for and a single test is sufficient to determine whether the dog is affected. PRA is a progressive disease that required periodic evaluation in the breeds affected by that disease. If you are interested, here are a couple of articles, https://www.indyanimaleyeclinic.com/veterinary-information-network-publications/persistent-hyperplastic-primary-vitreous-canine/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2021051/
 

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Just a clarification, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) is virtually unknown in Dobermans. The eye disorder that dobebug is referring to is PHPV/PHTVL (Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous/persistent hyperplastic tunica vasculosa lentis). This is the eye disorder that Dobermans are evaluated for and a single test is sufficient to determine whether the dog is affected. PRA is a progressive disease that required periodic evaluation in the breeds affected by that disease. If you are interested, here are a couple of articles, https://www.indyanimaleyeclinic.com/veterinary-information-network-publications/persistent-hyperplastic-primary-vitreous-canine/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2021051/
Oooops. Sorry about that--I actually do know the difference but evidently anything that started with a 'P' was going to be OK when I was writing this. Thanks for the correction and for the links to the articles.

dobebug
 

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While there isn't really much in the way of testing for puppies, some breeders, including myself, are running an Embark Panel on their puppies. The Embark Panel gives you vWD, DM (Degenerative Myelopathy), Coat Color, Dilution, Albinism and the highly controversial and non-predictive DCM1 & DCM2 gene status. Good luck with your search and kudo's to you for doing your research!
 

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While there isn't really much in the way of testing for puppies, some breeders, including myself, are running an Embark Panel on their puppies. The Embark Panel gives you vWD, DM (Degenerative Myelopathy), Coat Color, Dilution, Albinism and the highly controversial and non-predictive DCM1 & DCM2 gene status. Good luck with your search and kudo's to you for doing your research!
Yup. I Embarked my entire litter and I forsee continuing to do so in the future, although this is less for my buyers and more for myself in terms of gathering data for the future. It's also a good way to crosscheck that no mistakes were made on the parents' tests.

As a bonus though I do think it's a useful thing for the buyers, as it proves/confirms your claims about the parents' DNA status, and some of the info can be useful for the future veterinarians of said puppies. (The amount of vets who immediately want to get their clients testing for vWD even when told the parents were clear/carrier or clear/clear never ceases to surprise me). But I wouldn't necessarily expect a breeder to do this, nor would I write off a breeder who doesn't. I do think that if you ARE rolling the dice by breeding vWD carrier to carrier, it is the breeder's responsibility to test all puppies before they go to their new homes at the very least for vWD. Unfortunately I have recently (like in the past year) seen such breedings and the breeder didn't even mention it to prospective owners, of course didn't test the puppies.
 
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