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I should have stated what large breeds, like the Doberman, sorry peeps I don't consider 65-90lbs medium, live much longer than 9-13 years? I also think that while some want to rid of DCM what about cancer and everything else that's killing our breed?

It would also take a lot of science and medicine and knowledgeable breeders willing to outcross. While this is all good and well but what about those breeders with lines that are thriving? Even when my dobe passed away 25 years ago the ave lifespan was 9 so. When she passed after that we were as OK with it as you can be. Maybe some people that have owned the breed longer can speak to if that stat has changed. Was it longer 50 years ago? Also do we currently know what gene makes up the sudden death DCM gene? I 95% believe we know the one for CHF but I'm not sure if it's the same one that causes sudden death, so we do all this outcrossing and the dogs are still dying, then what?
 

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the average age was not 9-13 - it was 9. which means that for every dog that lived to 11, 12 or 13 there was another that lived to 5, 6 or 7.

there are lots of similar sized dogs that live long lives. pointers, GSHP, coonhounds, hell, labradors and GSDs! but even if we look at large dogs that have shorter lifespans - why use those as a justification that its ok to have our dogs drop dead at 4. doesn't make malignant histiocytosis in Berner's any more ok, doesn't make Osteo in Rotties ok. Those breeds need help too!

why is the answer that we need to settle?
 

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I also think that while some want to rid of DCM what about cancer and everything else that's killing our breed?
Theoretically, as long as you're breeding to other breeds that don't have the same health problems as the ones you're trying to fix and the problems are the result of recessive alleles then you can kill two or more birds with one stone. Plus, wouldn't you agree that fixing one problem is better than doing nothing?

Also do we currently know what gene makes up the sudden death DCM gene? I 95% believe we know the one for CHF but I'm not sure if it's the same one that causes sudden death, so we do all this outcrossing and the dogs are still dying, then what?
This actually brings up a good point that supports the idea of outcrossing. If we were to outcross the Doberman with another breed, it could actually help pin down the causes of DCM. Having genetically similar dogs from these crossed litters that do or don't develop DCM can help mitigate the genetic diversity in a sample and can help point out the key genes that are different between affected and unaffected dogs. And I'm not sure why you're so pessimistic about the possibility of this helping our breed. If we outcrossed dogs and removed the suspect DCM alleles and we still have dogs dying, then it's not genetics, it's an act of God and there's nothing we can do about it. But at least we would have tried.
 

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While I totally agree and would want to see our dobermans living healthier lives, it also scares me. We all have our things that bother us or that we accept. I can't imagine the people, who scream bloody murder, about how awful it is to leave ears and tails, accepting any "trespass" into their dobermans type. On the other hand there are people, like me, who really would not be that concerned over the possible changes we would see physically, at least over the short term. I however would be devastated if we lost what is left of the temperament that allows them to do IPO and other sports. It is hard enough to find a dog that can do the sport with any kind of skill and courage. It would horrify me to lose even more of what, to me, truly identifies a doberman as a doberman. We have already lost so much. I know, though, that it means nothing to have it all in the package if it dies at a young age.
What a mess we doberman lovers have found ourselves in. How to preserve them? Really we actually need to recover them.
 

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Theoretically, as long as you're breeding to other breeds that don't have the same health problems as the ones you're trying to fix and the problems are the result of recessive alleles then you can kill two or more birds with one stone. Plus, wouldn't you agree that fixing one problem is better than doing nothing?



This actually brings up a good point that supports the idea of outcrossing. If we were to outcross the Doberman with another breed, it could actually help pin down the causes of DCM. Having genetically similar dogs from these crossed litters that do or don't develop DCM can help mitigate the genetic diversity in a sample and can help point out the key genes that are different between affected and unaffected dogs. And I'm not sure why you're so pessimistic about the possibility of this helping our breed. If we outcrossed dogs and removed the suspect DCM alleles and we still have dogs dying, then it's not genetics, it's an act of God and there's nothing we can do about it. But at least we would have tried.
So I'm calling BS on your recessive gene. Mostly bc DCM is dominant, but also bc recessive a are EASILY bred out. As I'm waiting for a few companies to get back with me where did you get your stat test most hereditary diseases are recessive? It doesn't make sense that 1) it's not bred out 2) so many dogs die from a gene that's recessive.
 

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The Veterinarian's Minion
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It's so unfortunate for this wonderful breed to be in so much trouble and those who love the breed (breeders, breed clubs, etc) aren't exploring every possible avenue to save the Doberman. There's plenty of talk, but first the AKC would have to open the stud book, the breed clubs would have to insist on action (instead of screaming blue murder and digging in their heels, like the Dalmatian clubs with the Dalmatian Backcross Program), and the breeders would have to be on board. And this isn't an instance of one individual dog contributing one normal gene- it would probably take several generations of introducing several breeds.
Sadly I doubt there's much chance of breeders Holtering and Echoing their way out of this one- as I keep hearing time and again, no line is immune, no kennel is 'cardio free'. The only way to predict, rather than react, would be to somehow isolate every faulty gene responsible. But even if that were possible, to remove every carrier from breeding would severely bottleneck an already bottlenecked breed, if there were any lines left to move on with at all.
Clearly help needs to come from outside the breed, either by outcrossing or by completely recreating the Doberman from an approximation of the breeds used in its makeup. But either way, the dogs used would need to be physically and temperamentally healthy and sound- you can't just slap together any two dogs and assume your problems are over because "Hybrid Vigour!". Outcrossing needs to be done every bit as carefully as a pure breeding, so there would also need to be cooperation and collaboration with reputable breeders from other breeds to help with this undertaking as well.
But however the method, and whoever takes the first steps, I don't think anyone who loves the Doberman and wants to ensure its future can ignore the dire situation it's facing.
 

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Perhaps my ignorance leads me to believe that I don't see the point in outcrossing.
1)Does it not create a mutt?
It wasn't all that long ago that the Doberman was an upstart "mutt", bred by a town dog-catcher/tax-collector. Gotta start somewhere when creating a breed, and sometimes it's necessary to get back to those basics when the foundation needs some repairs.

2)Won't it just take health issues and multiply them because now you have the issues of 2 breeds?
It can, which is why it's a risk. There's always a risk of introducing an unknown, new problem while trying to remedy another.

3)What breed out there is 100% healthy and compliments the Doberman? I don't see much longevity anywhere.
It's not so much about perfect health, as trying to balance out a particularly bad trait by reducing its severity. DCM isn't a simple trait that's expressed or not, it has matters of degree. Healthier cardio genes could help suppress it or at least delay the average age of onset.

I also don't know if I believe the health is going downhill or are the stats just being reported more often now?
As with everything, the source must be considered. Where is most of the current data coming from?

It's somewhat unfortunate, but the bulk of the data is coming from conformation show breeders who dominate the dog fancy. There's a whole lot of linebreeding and Popular Sire Syndrome occurring, and it's a pretty tiny corner of the breed as a whole. They put the most effort into doing what they're doing, doing the health testing and keeping records, but there's no denying the fact that they indulge in higher-risk breeding practices.

I'm far from being convinced that the entire Doberman breed is such a wreck, though. I'd need to see more real data for that conclusion. When probably 90% of the members of the breed live and die without health screenings or any appreciable data being recorded aside from their parentage, who's to say that there aren't throwbacks to previous generations whose lines haven't been tightly linebred in a few decades, who haven't been unduly influenced by popular sire fads from the past 20 years, and that sort of thing?

Problem is, nobody knows, and few breeders with reputation to uphold want to take risks on them. It's pretty sad that when a respected breeder goes for a "vintage" litter, they get pooh-poohed by others in their circles. While that's not a guaranteed path to salvation, it has potential, and it's more within reach at this time than going for an outcross.

I have to say, i don't disagree! my "problem" becomes purely that the highest level of the sport i love the most, the best of the best, all happen in the AKC.
Yes, this is the biggest thing the AKC, FCI, and other studbooks use to maintain their stranglehold. I understand some of that, can't necessarily have everyone doing whatever they want and gaining competitive edges from coloring outside the lines, but competing studbooks and open events occasionally do gain critical mass when the old guard can't or won't fix their endemic problems. May someone correct me if I'm wrong, but clubs like the UDC may be a bit more liberal (?) and there are some working dog competitions that are more concerned with demonstrating ability than with pedigree. It's just going to be a lot rougher for folks in conformation showing circles to go out on the limb because they stand to lose access to just about every significant competition.
 

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So I'm calling BS on your recessive gene. Mostly bc DCM is dominant, but also bc recessive a are EASILY bred out. As I'm waiting for a few companies to get back with me where did you get your stat test most hereditary diseases are recessive? It doesn't make sense that 1) it's not bred out 2) so many dogs die from a gene that's recessive.
I'm not really sure that you can claim "DCM is dominant" when there have so far only been two genes isolated. The results of +/+, +/-, and -/- are all over the place for both of them, as far as dogs actually developing DCM.

A recessive gene can actually be harder to breed out, IMO, since without a DNA test for it, you don't know if a dog carries for recessive traits, since they aren't expressed phenotypically. Used to be that breeders who wanted to know if a dog carried a recessive, they bred it to a dog that was known to carry it (by having produced pups who expressed it). For example, in Dobes, dilution is a recessive. Two black Dobes can produce blue and fawn puppies.
 
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So I'm calling BS on your recessive gene. Mostly bc DCM is dominant, but also bc recessive a are EASILY bred out. As I'm waiting for a few companies to get back with me where did you get your stat test most hereditary diseases are recessive? It doesn't make sense that 1) it's not bred out 2) so many dogs die from a gene that's recessive.
Two interesting concepts here. They are not mutually exclusive, though.

I don't think it's too far off the mark to say that most hereditary diseases are recessive, because they would be so easy to breed-out if they were noticeable right off the bat. Nobody in their right mind would keep their hand on the throttle if their train was heading for a collision, right?

Generally speaking, it's not quite that simple-- recessive genes can become extremely commonplace and difficult to be rid of if a particular population had its gene pool throttled, with massive amounts of inbreeding occurring. It becomes nigh impossible to correct a particular trait if practically all members of the population possess it.

So, the biggest problem is when recessive genes aren't noticeable at first, but they start taking over, but nobody notices until it's a genetic disaster unfolding and it's too late to do anything about it. Too much linebreeding around a popular sire has great potential to lead to this situation.

Human eugenics and genetic counseling are extremely difficult and taboo subjects, but there's plenty we can learn as a result (due to great research funding). Good case studies involve diseases like Tay-Sachs, which are autosomal recessive, but found with extremely high frequency in a particular populations. Isolationist religious sects with relatively few patriarchs are incredible for incubating these sorts of horrible genetic diseases, as are royal families (as previously discussed). Here's another good example of what is likely a recessive hereditary disease ravaging a specific population: Genetic Disorders Hit Amish Hard - CBS News

I don't know about DCM, though. There are plenty of theories, but I don't think anyone has the first clue where it's coming from, and that's which is why it's proving so difficult to make any headway against it. It probably comes from multiple sources with various levels of dominance, and not a single definitive genetic source has been identified. There's no way to begin problem isolation without having a single "known" to work with. A known-positive can be avoided to work towards the next known. A known-negative can be used to isolate a positive factor. A jumble of unknown variables is nothing more than a crapshoot.
 

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I'm not really sure that you can claim "DCM is dominant" when there have so far only been two genes isolated. The results of +/+, +/-, and -/- are all over the place for both of them, as far as dogs actually developing DCM.

A recessive gene can actually be harder to breed out, IMO, since without a DNA test for it, you don't know if a dog carries for recessive traits, since they aren't expressed phenotypically. Used to be that breeders who wanted to know if a dog carried a recessive, they bred it to a dog that was known to carry it (by having produced pups who expressed it). For example, in Dobes, dilution is a recessive. Two black Dobes can produce blue and fawn puppies.
I know they're dominant bc the good Dr. Said so in her webinar. 😊
 

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Two interesting concepts here. They are not mutually exclusive, though.

I don't think it's too far off the mark to say that most hereditary diseases are recessive, because they would be so easy to breed-out if they were noticeable right off the bat. Nobody in their right mind would keep their hand on the throttle if their train was heading for a collision, right?

Generally speaking, it's not quite that simple-- recessive genes can become extremely commonplace and difficult to be rid of if a particular population had its gene pool throttled, with massive amounts of inbreeding occurring. It becomes nigh impossible to correct a particular trait if practically all members of the population possess it.

So, the biggest problem is when recessive genes aren't noticeable at first, but they start taking over, but nobody notices until it's a genetic disaster unfolding and it's too late to do anything about it. Too much linebreeding around a popular sire has great potential to lead to this situation.

Human eugenics and genetic counseling are extremely difficult and taboo subjects, but there's plenty we can learn as a result (due to great research funding). Good case studies involve diseases like Tay-Sachs, which are autosomal recessive, but found with extremely high frequency in a particular populations. Isolationist religious sects with relatively few patriarchs are incredible for incubating these sorts of horrible genetic diseases, as are royal families (as previously discussed). Here's another good example of what is likely a recessive hereditary disease ravaging a specific population: Genetic Disorders Hit Amish Hard - CBS News

I don't know about DCM, though. There are plenty of theories, but I don't think anyone has the first clue where it's coming from, and that's which is why it's proving so difficult to make any headway against it. It probably comes from multiple sources with various levels of dominance, and not a single definitive genetic source has been identified. There's no way to begin problem isolation without having a single "known" to work with. A known-positive can be avoided to work towards the next known. A known-negative can be used to isolate a positive factor. A jumble of unknown variables is nothing more than a crapshoot.
You are too smart!
 

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I know they're dominant bc the good Dr. Said so in her webinar. 😊
I'm assuming you are talking about the PDK4? That is one gene. One. How many others are there? Are they all going to be dominant? Or are there going to be a lot of ressecive one? Is the DCM-2 gene supposed to be dominant or recessive? I don't think I've heard which.
 
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So I'm calling BS on your recessive gene. Mostly bc DCM is dominant, but also bc recessive a are EASILY bred out. As I'm waiting for a few companies to get back with me where did you get your stat test most hereditary diseases are recessive? It doesn't make sense that 1) it's not bred out 2) so many dogs die from a gene that's recessive.
vWD is a simple recessive and we never bothered to rid the breed of that... not so easy when people aren't willing to make it a priority. fact is, there are clearly multiple genes involved with doberman DCM and there is clearly incomplete penetrance that result in varying expression - we just don't know enough yet. or more importantly, we know we don't know it all.

and recessives can easily be brought out when you have a breed has heavily inbred as the doberman. thats precisely the point. you do such tight breeding and you create the perfect storm where something that SHOULD have been a mild recessive gene becomes a huge factor, and in fact is overrepresented.





and kaloric - i don't play in the breed ring. i do obedience - but either way, it still ends up being AKC has long been my goal as the ultimate. maybe in the future that will change, and certainly with herding that is far from the ultimate (though i will herd with them as well). and UDC obedience is good for the dobe, but my border collie cannot - and i won't do UDC open or utility because of the higher jump hight in tiny rings - too much.
 

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I'm assuming you are talking about the PDK4? That is one gene. One. How many others are there? Are they all going to be dominant? Or are there going to be a lot of ressecive one? Is the DCM-2 gene supposed to be dominant or recessive? I don't think I've heard which.
To add to this, if PDK4 is coming-up, it's also NOT A DCM GENE. It is not a DCM test.

(A splice site mutation in a gene encoding for PDK4, a mitochondrial protein, is associated with the development of dilated cardiomyopathy in the Do... - PubMed - NCBI is the abstract for Muers' study)

What that abstract says, in plainspeak, is the following:

"We took a bunch of genetic tests for known genetic mutations, ran them against a bunch of Dobermans, then looked at samples of their heart muscles under a scanning electron microscope. Only the test for the PDK4 mutation occurred alongside heart muscles exhibiting the signs of DCM at a frequency greater than random chance."

It's a coincidence that may only exist in the North American cohort of Dobermans. A 16-bp deletion in the canine PDK4 gene is not associated with dilated cardiomyopathy in a European cohort of Doberman Pinschers

It has nothing whatsoever to do with DCM, all it really points to is an import which happened to have one type of DCM and also that PDK4 mutation.

It is bad science to read more into this coincidence than is there. All it is to us is a starting point, geneticists may have a slightly more refined population of Dobermans to run more detailed genetic analyses on to identify the actual genes responsible. It's a very promising lead, but very, very far from conclusive, much less a slam-dunk.

More data points are helpful, so I would not discount the value of PDK4 tests, but their primary value is in furthering research.
 

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While I totally agree and would want to see our dobermans living healthier lives, it also scares me. We all have our things that bother us or that we accept. I can't imagine the people, who scream bloody murder, about how awful it is to leave ears and tails, accepting any "trespass" into their dobermans type.
This was the first thing I thought of as well. We have a large amount of breeders--people who have lived with this breed for DECCADES--who have openly admitted they will leave the breed should cropping and docking become illegal. I cannot imagine these same breeders satying in the breed (or at least participating in this outcrossing project) should the studbooks be opened. Sad to say but I oredict this very much dividing the Doberman community, with an elitist attitude going along with "truly purebred" Dobermans.
 

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In my opinion too little is known about the disease and its genetic inheritance to consider outcrossing at this point. Crossing breeds has the possibility to help eliminate or lessen the prevalence of genetic disorders and diseases as evidenced by dalmatians, but it can also introduce new problems in a breed. Then there's the consideration of what breed would even be compatible with the doberman as far as temperament, conformation/type, and overall health. I don't think there is one.

There is no denying there is a huge problem in our breed and we need to do something. I just don't think outcrossing is the answer... at least until we know more about DCM. I hate "telling" breeders what to do, but I will support breeders breeding older dogs more often or trying frozen AI from males who didn't die of DCM with good longevity. Most importantly there needs to be more breeder collaboration with Dr. Muers and others in the field, fund raising, and pet owner participation in these studies.
 

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What I like most about this thread is that people are disagreeing but no ones saying "you're wrong", "you're stupid", or being disrespectful.
I don't know, I find this post pretty condescending and rude. Calling breeders elitist because they would leave the breed for what many consider a compelling reason. Take away something essential to breed type and to many, myself included, you just have any other large black dog breed but with a hell of a lot of health problems. That "final straw" is why many will leave the breed. This attitude only creates problems when we need to be coming together to discuss how to make our breed healthier. It can already be argued we have 2 or more "breeds" within the breed so why push people away more. Also there's only one "C" in "decades".

This was the first thing I thought of as well. We have a large amount of breeders--people who have lived with this breed for DECCADES--who have openly admitted they will leave the breed should cropping and docking become illegal. I cannot imagine these same breeders satying in the breed (or at least participating in this outcrossing project) should the studbooks be opened. Sad to say but I oredict this very much dividing the Doberman community, with an elitist attitude going along with "truly purebred" Dobermans.
 
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