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White Doberman Dog Breed Facts and Information

Is there such a thing as a White Doberman Pinscher? Are White Doberman Pinschers albino dogs? Find out here.

The White Doberman Pinscher is a color variation of the Doberman Pinscher. The White Doberman has the same build and appearance as a Standard Doberman Pinscher but instead has a white coat with pink paws and nose. This breed is considered controversial because of its tendency to have multiple health issues.

In this article, I’ll present all the important facts and information about the White Doberman. I’ll begin with discussing the history of the breed and how it was first developed. Next, I’ll discuss the controversy that surrounds this breed. You’ll also learn about this breed’s personality and appearance. Finally, I’ll discuss how to take care of a White Doberman and the common health issues that it faces.

The History of the White Doberman

The first White Doberman was born in 1976 and her name was Padula’s Queen Sheba. Sheba was born from two Black and Tan Doberman Pinschers and she was the only white puppy from her litter. Sheba was the first White Doberman registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and her color was initially labeled as “albino.”

The AKC later updated Sheba’s registration, claiming that “albino” was not a color, and so she was instead labeled as a White Doberman. Sheba was bred with her son; another Black and Tan Doberman Pinscher named Tarzan and they produced a litter with two White Dobermans. To this day, all existing White Doberman Pinschers are descendants of Sheba.

Why Are White Dobermans Controversial?

The controversy surrounding White Doberman began when a Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA), Judy Doniere, started to bring attention to its breeding. Doniere brought attention to the White Doberman because she wanted to preserve the Doberman Pinscher’s breed. She believed that the White Doberman’s genetics were too risky to be included among the registered variations of the Doberman Pinscher.

However, the AKC noted that Sheba’s line, and White Dobermans were in fact purebred Doberman Pinschers. They observed and noted that White Dobermans were sensitive to light and possible issues with depth perception. At this point, both the DPCA and AKC believed that White Dobermans had no issues that needed action.

After years of research, the DPCA realized that the White Doberman had health problems that were considered notable. The members of the DPCA then asked the AKC to request limitations on the White Doberman. The AKC disagreed and refused to place any restrictions on registering White Dobermans.

In June 1994, the AKC decided to all track all the dogs that descended from Sheba and identified what’s called as the “Z factor” which causes the coloring of the White Doberman. The AKC decided to do this in order to inform breeders and buyers that the White Doberman’s coat color is caused by a certain gene. Although they still refuse to place any restrictions on the breed, they are at least transparent about what causes the coat color and that this breed has health problems.

According to the DPCA’s research, White Dobermans have sensitivity to light, the tendency to develop deafness, behavioral problems, and are more prone to tumors than other Doberman Pinschers.

Are White Dobermans White or Albino?

The short answer is yes, White Dobermans are albino. The difference between albinism and leucism is that albinos lack pigmented cells while leucistic animals still have pigmented cells. Some White Dobermans argue that their dogs aren’t albino because they have blue eyes. However, albinism is the reason why these Dobermans have blue light-colored eyes instead of the typical brown, black, or golden eyes that Doberman Pinschers have.

It’s important to note that albinism is a spectrum with multiple forms and subtypes. The White Doberman is what’s known as a “tyrosinase positive albino” which is also called oculocutaneous albinism type 4 (OCA4). This type of albinism is evident in the White Doberman’s pink skin, white fur, blue eyes, and characteristic health issues.

According to years of study, biologists and pathologists have found that to produce a White Doberman, a dog must carry two of a gene called SLC45A2. This means that both of its parents must have the gene to produce puppies with a white coat. Some Doberman Pinschers carry this gene but have normal colored coats.

Many advocates of the White Doberman deny that White Dobermans are albino because they believe that white is simply a coat color. They also deny the breed’s albinism because they don’t want the stigma of the breed having health issues. However, it’s important to know that White Dobermans are albinos because having the albino gene does, in fact, come with health problems. This fact is based on years of research conducted on the breed by various certified pathologists, geneticists, and dog breeders. It cannot be denied that the White Doberman is an albino dog because dog owners should know how albinism affects this breed’s health.

The White Doberman’s Personality

While there isn’t a lot of data on the White Doberman’s personality, you can safely assume that it will have the same personality as a Standard Doberman Pinscher. The Doberman’s personality varies from dog to do but it is known to be a loyal and protective dog.

Dobermans were originally bred to work for police departments and militaries and eventually even became popular among junkyard owners, drug dealers, and dogfighting rings. The breed was initially popularized by its aggression but thanks to responsible breeders, the number of aggressive Doberman Pinschers has significantly reduced.

Today, Doberman Pinschers are great family pets that only act protective and sometimes aggressive and necessary. This breed functions better as a family pet, showing great affection for its families. Doberman Pinschers even get along great with small children but should still be supervised because it is a large breed.

However, since I’m talking about White Dobermans, you should know about this specific breed’s personality traits. A White Doberman owner named Evie Foggy once wrote a letter to the DPCA and AKC about her own experience with owning a White Doberman.

Her letter described her White Doberman as initially being a timid and lovely dog when she first purchased it. However, as time passed, the White Doberman began showing aggressive behavior. It would snap at her husband often and even exhibited food aggression.

The White Doberman eventually developed issues with its vision requiring regular topical treatment. When Foggy’s husband attempted to treat the White Doberman himself, it attacked him. The following day, Foggy tried to treat her White Doberman herself and it attacked her ferociously. It bit her arm and shook it from just below her elbow down to her resist. It released her and attacked her a second time.

After this attack, Foggy had to go to the emergency room to get stitches and have her puncture wounds treated. Foggy and her husband then decided to have the White Doberman put down due to its aggression. Due to these incidences, Foggy wrote to the AKC and DPCA and made it clear that she believed that the White Doberman should not be bred and should not receive AKC standing.

What Does the White Doberman Look Like?

The White Doberman Pinscher looks like a Standard Doberman Pinscher except it has a striking white coat. White Doberman Pinschers are medium to large-sized dogs that grow up to be anywhere between 60 to 100 lbs in weight and 24 to 28 inches in height. Male White Doberman Pinschers are also normally larger than female ones.

White Dobermans have short and slick coats complements their strong builds. Their fur is glossy and shines in natural light. Their heads are wedge-shaped, and their skulls are flatter than most breeds. Your White Doberman will have pointed triangular ears and a long tail that curls upward. Based on AKC standards, the tail and ears should be cropped but most Doberman owners choose to leave their dog’s ears and tail intact.

Unlike most Dobermans, your White Doberman Pinscher will have blue eyes, a pink nose, and pink paw pads. It will also have pink skin which shows in the ears and underbelly. The White Doberman Pinscher has almond-shaped eyes that typically have an alert expression.

Take Care of a White Doberman

If you intend to have your own White Doberman, it’s important that you know how to take care of one. This breed has special needs when it comes to its health. This breed might not be suited for first time owners not just because of its health issues, but also because it’s a large breed that can be hard to manage.

Grooming

The White Doberman Pinscher is a low-maintenance dog when it comes to grooming. Since they have short and smooth coats, they don’t shed often. At most, you will have to brush your White Doberman once every three days. It’s best to use a slicker brush to avoid harming your White Doberman’s sensitive skin.

Thanks to their short coats, the White Doberman isn’t prone to any dirt or odors. You should only be bathing your White Doberman once every few months. It’s also important to check your White Doberman’s ears and teeth regularly. It’s best to clean their ears using a cleaning solution once every two or three days to get rid of any dirt that can lead to infections.

Feeding

Since White Dobermans are large dogs, they will need to eat a lot of food every day. A White Doberman puppy normally consumes about 0.5 lbs of dog food a day while an adult White Doberman consumes about 1 lbs of dog food a day.

Below is a table comparing different brands of dog food to feed your White Doberman puppy:

Puppy Food BrandQuantity per bagBags per yearUnit pricePrice per year
Royal Canin35 lbs5$77.99$390
Wellness30 lbs6$59.76$360
Purina47 lbs4$67.98$272
Blue Buffalo24 lbs8$56.98$456
Hill’s Science33 lbs6$145.99$876

Below is a table comparing different brands of dog food to feed your adult White Doberman:

Dog Food BrandQuantity per bagBags per yearUnit pricePrice per year
Royal Canin35 lbs10$88.18$882
Wellness30 lbs12$59.87$720
Purina34 lbs11$59.36$653
Blue Buffalo24 lbs15$56.98$855
Hill’s Science30 lbs12$60.99$742

Dental Care

You should regularly brush your White Doberman’s teeth. Ideally you should brush it with a pet-friendly toothbrush once a day, but once every two or three days should suffice. If your White Doberman is averse to toothbrushes and you want to avoid triggering its aggression, you can use water additives. Simply pour a capful in your dog’s water dish. Water additives help break down plaque in your dog’s teeth and gums and keep its breath fresh.

Exercise

Since the White Doberman is a large dog, it will need lots of regular exercise. White Dobermans typically need about 90 minutes of exercise a day. These dogs love to play outside so you can easily get your dog to exercise by taking it for long walks, hikes, or trips to the dog park.

However, you must be cautious when introducing your White Doberman to unfamiliar dogs. It’s important that your White Doberman is leashed when interacting with new dogs because it can be a stressful experience. If left unleashed, your White Doberman might get into a fight, especially when it meets other large dogs.

You will also need to make sure that your dog is protected from the sun. White Dobermans are prone to sunburns because of their albino condition. You can use a skin protector spray whenever you take your dog outside. The skin spray will help protect your White Doberman from the sun’s harsh rays. Your White Doberman should never go outside during the early afternoon because that’s when the sun is at its hottest.

White Dobermans are also prone to eye issues when exposed to too much sunlight. To prevent this, you can have your White Doberman wear a baseball cap for pets to keep the sun out of its eyes. Make sure to get it in the size that fits your dog. Your White Doberman might not like the cap at first, but it will get used to wearing it over time.

Health Issues in White Dobermans

Unlike other Standard Doberman Pinschers, the White Doberman faces its own variety of health problems. Most of these problems come from the breed being albino and exist only in this breed. This is one of the most prominent arguments against breeding this dog and it’s important that you are aware of the different health problems that a White Doberman can have.

Common health issues that White Dobermans are susceptible to:

  1. Skin sensitivity
  2. Photophobia
  3. Sun burn
  4. Skin cancer
  5. Tumors
  6. Deafness
  7. Neurological problems

Skin Sensitivity

Since White Dobermans lack melanin in their skin, they have extremely sensitive skin. Melanin protects dogs from solar radiation which can lead to sunburns and skin cancer. The common symptoms of skin sensitivity include fur loss, dry patches, and excessive scratching.

You can help with your White Doberman’s skin sensitivity by keeping it from sun exposure. It’s good to have your dog go outside only when it isn’t bright out. It also helps to dress your pet in bodysuits and hats to protect its skin from the sun’s rays. As mentioned earlier, you can also use sunscreen for pets.

Photophobia

Photopohobia is also known as light sensitivity. White Dobermans have blue eyes and clear irises that make them hypersensitive to light. If left unmanaged, your White Doberman can develop vision problems and even blindness.

Even low lighting affects your White Doberman’s depth perception, visual accuracy, and binocular vision. The best option to protect your White Doberman is by equipping it with pet goggles. It may take some time for your White Doberman to get used to wearing these goggles, but it will protect them from retinal problems in the long run.

Sunburn

Sunburn occurs when your White Doberman has been exposed to too much sunlight. It is a skin condition wherein your dog’s skin becomes inflamed, itchy, and sensitive. The main symptom of sunburn is having a pink spot on the dog’s coat that isn’t usually there.

Like with skin sensitivity, the best way to protect your White Doberman from sunburn is by applying sunscreen. You can also have your White Doberman wear bodysuits and hats to protect its skin. Otherwise, try to limit your dog’s exposure to sunlight.

Skin Cancer

When a White Doberman is left unprotected from sunlight, it can easily develop skin cancer. Skin cancer, also known as melanoma, is a form of cancer that controls the pigment in your dog’s skin. The symptoms of melanoma include raised lumps in the skin or mouth and swelling on the mouth, toes, or skin.

The treatment for skin cancer varies depending on the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian may recommend chemotherapy for your dog if it’s found in the early stages. However, if it’s found in the later stages, your dog’s chances of survival are much lower and it will probably need some form of surgery to remove the cancer.

Tumors

According to research, White Dobermans are more prone to cancerous tumors than other Doberman Pinschers. The study found that 12 out of 20 White Dobermans have at least one tumor on their skin. The types of tumors that affect White Dobermans are normally squamous cell carcinoma and mast cell tumors.

The treatment for tumors in White Dobermans will depend on the type of tumor and where it’s located. Squamous tumors are normally treated using surgery. Mast cell tumors are often treated using chemotherapy. Unfortunately, if your dog is found to have a tumor, you can expect that your dog’s prognosis will be bad. Treatment for cancerous tumors is also awfully expensive so most owners cannot afford to have it treated.

Deafness

Studies have found that there is a strong correlation between deafness and the White Doberman’s albino condition. George Strain was able to determine the exact pigmentation patterns that related to hereditary deafness in dogs and it includes albinism. The symptoms of deafness include not responding to sounds, being easily surprised, and low awareness of surroundings.

It is unsure when your White Doberman might develop its deafness because some develop it as early as its puppy stages while others develop it well into adulthood. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for deafness in dogs so if your White Doberman is found to be deaf, it will be deaf for the rest of its life.

Neurological Problems

The White Doberman’s brain functions are affected by their lack of melanin. Having a melanin deficiency also gives these dogs a lack of specific receptors in their brain. The symptoms of neurological problems include unpredictability and sudden aggression.

Neurological problems normally occur in White Dobermans along with some of their other health issues such as photophobia and deafness. Once a White Doberman develops either of those health issues, it is likely that it will also develop neurological problems. Based on Foggy’s story, you can say that White Dobermans can become aggressive because of their neurological problems. Members of the DPCA also believe that these neurological problems are due to the history of inbreeding in the development of the White Doberman.

Final Thoughts

Although the White Doberman is a beautiful dog, I believe that it’s a shame that it continues to be bred. Multiple studies have shown that the White Doberman has a long list of health issues and yet breeders continue to produce these dogs just because of the rarity and appearance of its coat.

I completely agree with the DPCA’s decision to ask the AKC to remove the White Doberman’s status as an official color of the Doberman Pinscher because White Dobermans are albino and not just white dogs. These irresponsible breeders prioritize making a profit rather than producing dogs that can live long and healthy lives. Although the AKC has admitted that they are in fact albino and actively trace all the White Dobermans that descend from Sheba, they should put more limitations on the production of this breed. Today, there are still White Dobermans that are available for purchase from different breeders.

If you are interested in having your own White Doberman, you should at least know about what it takes to take care of one. These dogs should not go to just any pet owner because of their specific health needs. Just as one of its owners described, these dogs can easily become aggressive because of their health issues and that is something that all dog owners should consider.