Doberman health issues are located on the DPCA website. 

New research shows.. 

% of dogs that develop the disease with DCM1 only (PDK4) 37%

% of dogs that develop the disease with DCM2 only 50%

% of dogs that develop the disease with both 60%.

The DCM2 mutation is in a gene associated with heart contractions. Every dog that Dr. Meurs has studied, that has the disease, had either DCM1, DCM2, or both.

Please Remember: At Garjan Dobermans you will know exactly what your getting, a vaccinated puppy with health tested parents.

NEW TESTING!!!  Results will be posted soon.. thank you for your patience. 

Doberman Pinscher Dilated Cardiomyopathy

We are delighted to announce that we have identified a second genetic mutation in Doberman pinschers with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and have a new test available!

We have discovered that there are two mutations that can lead to Doberman pinscher dilated cardiomyopathy, PDK4 (NCSU DCM1) and the newly discovered NCSU DCM2. Although both PDK4 (DCM1) and DCM2 can each independently lead to the development of the disease, the risk is highest when a dog is unlucky enough to have both mutations.

We now recommend that Doberman pinschers be tested for both mutations. To order a test for this disease, click here.

About Doberman pinscher DCM

Doberman pinschers are one of the most common breeds of dogs to be affected with Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). When a Doberman pinscher is diagnosed with DCM, the implication of subsequent abnormalities, such as congestive heart failure and sudden death become concerns.

We have previously demonstrated that dilated cardiomyopathy is an inherited disease in the Doberman pinscher and appears to be inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion. We previously identified one genetic mutation (PDK4; NCSU DCM1) for the disease and have now identified a second, NCSU DCM2. Dogs that carry both mutations are at the highest risk of getting sick from the disease, although dogs with a mutation in either gene can develop the disease as well.

About Doberman pinscher DCM

Doberman pinschers are one of the most common breeds of dogs to be affected with Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). When a Doberman is diagnosed with DCM, the implication of subsequent abnormalities, such as congestive heart failure and sudden death becomes concerns. We have previously demonstrated that dilated cardiomyopathy is an inherited disease in the Doberman pinscher and appears to be inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion. We have identified one genetic mutation for the disease that we can test for, a mutation in the PDK4 gene. However, we know that in human beings there are more than 20 different mutations that can all cause this disease and that Dobermans likely have more than one.

Can you help us identify a second mutation? We are currently looking for DNA samples from Doberman pinschers with dilated cardiomyopathy or a cardiac arrhythmia who are negative for the PDK4 gene. If you have an affected dog but do not know its genetic status and can send us the clinical information we can do the genetic test for you.

Webinar on Doberman Pinscher Dilated CardiomyopathyDr. Kate Meurs of the Veterinary Cardiac Genetics Lab at North Carolina State University presents FREE webinar on Doberman Pinscher Dilated Cardiomyopathy. The content is targeted to the dog owner/breeder but anyone is welcome to view the session.

Here are some important health issues you need to know. All though there aren't test for each, and even with testing there is no way to know for sure your puppy wont develop one of these health problems.
Health Overview
These health conditions have been identified in the Doberman Pinscher. Items marked with asterisks (***) can be identified through testing. Screening tests are not currently available for the other conditions listed. It is important to know the status before breeding a dog or bitch - clinically affected dogs, dogs exhibiting symptoms for any of these conditions should NOT be bred.

The text below is intended as an aid to those seeking health information and should not be used to form a diagnosis replacing regular veterinary care by one's own Veterinarian.

CARDIOMYOPATHY - is suspected to be an inherited disease in Dobermans. Research is in progress in several institutions. An echocardiogram of the heart will confirm the disease but WILL NOT guarantee that the disease will not develop in the future. A 24 hour holter will record Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs.  Drs Meurs' and Estrada's Cardiomyopathy presentations at the 2010 National can be viewed online at UStream.  Click here for details 

Garjan Dobermans have added two more cardiac test to their program.  NT-ProBNP and cardiac troponin. For more information please check out the following link:

*** HIP DYSPLASIA - is inherited. It may vary from slightly poor conformation to malformation of the hip joint allowing complete luxation of the femoral head. Both parents' hips should be Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) certified - excellent, good or fair rating.  There are other hip labs that are qualified to certify hips.  Click here for more info.

*** HYPOTHYROIDISM - is probably inherited and means that the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormone to adequately maintain the dog's metabolism. It is easily treated with thyroid replacement pills on a daily basis. Thyroid testing (T3, T4, TSH and autoantibodies) should be performed on an annual schedule. Finding autoantibodies to thyroglobulin (T4 autoantibodies) is an indication that the dog has "Hashimoto's Disease". Low thyroid dogs, manifested by a high TSH and a low T4, should be treated and monitored on a regular basis.

*** vWd (VON WILLEBRAND'S DISEASE) - is an autosomally (not sex linked) inherited bleeding disorder with a prolonged bleeding time and a mild to severe factor IX deficiency. Von Willebrand's factor antigens of 70% 180% are considered to be within the normal range for Dobermans. When dogs are tested through the Elisa assay blood test for vWD, they are tested for carrier status only NOT the disease. It is believed that carrier status tests (Elisa assay) are inaccurate if a dog is ill, received any medication or vaccination within 14 days of testing, pregnancy, bitches in heat or lactation. Stress conditions (infections, parasites, hormonal changes, trauma, surgery, emotional upset, etc.) may have an effect on the outcome of the vWD blood test and might be a contributing factor for bleeding tendencies. vWD carrier status is quite common in Dobermans. A DNA test for vWD is now available - genetically: clear, carrier (inherited one disease gene), affected (inherited two disease genes) - results are not effected by stress conditions, etc.  Learn about DNA labs here.

WOBBLER'S SYNDROME - is suspected to be an inherited condition in Dobermans. Dogs suffer from spinal cord compression caused by cervical vertebral instability or from a malformed spinal canal. Extreme symptoms are paralysis of the limbs (front, hind or all 4). Neck pain with extension and flexion may or may not be present. Surgical therapy is hotly debated and in some surgically treated cases, clinical recurrence has been identified.

*** PRA (PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY) - is an inherited condition in Dobermans. Clinically, visual acuity is diminished, first at dusk, later in daylight. The disease progresses over months or years, to complete blindness. A screening test is available and can be performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist. CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) will certify eyes for 12 months from the date of evaluation.

We do our best to only breed the healthiest Dobermans, trying to ensure the best health for our puppies, BUT Note DCM is a killer of the Breed. All the health testing can be done with no signs of the disease BUT the dogs can die from it.

This is just information for you the public..
I want you to know vWD can be bred out of our breed in 3 generations if breeders would just health test and breed accordningly.
We are not supposed to be throwing the baby out with the bath water, but the following can happen if 2 vWD effeted Dobermans produce a litter of puppies..
this is the Email..I took out the names to protect the breeder and they puppy owner..
My heart is broken. Last night, he began bleeding from his nose profusely. After finally finding a 24 vet, he had lost too much blood, and I was advised to put him to sleep, bc he had ruptured the mucous membranes in his nose and eyes, and was bleeding out, all because of Von Willebrand's disease. I never knew he had it. He bled out so quickly, and his lungs filled with blood. He struggled for every breathe. He was only 7 months old. I hated to see him in so much pain, struggling for each breathe. He stopped breathing twice in the car on the way to the vet. I tried to save him. I couldn't let him suffer anymore. I have lost my best friend. My heart. I am dying inside. How do you go through each day? I can barely breathe, let alone live my life. Sorry to bring up memories, but I am lost and you are the only one I know that would understand the love, and loss:(
this is another long sad story.. Please do not buy from a breeder who does not health test.
This is just one of many stories of why we want people to purchase puppies from GOOD Reputable Breeder, yes it is sad but it is also very true.

The Art and Science of Judging

Judging dogs is a combination of art and science, and the really good judges (and breeders) are blessed with and understand the perfect combination of the two.

By Gretchen Bernardi | Posted: May 19, 2014 10 a.m. PST

Dog Diagram
This illustration diagrams the information you should have about any breed you study. This is the science of learning about correct silhouette, which is created by a sum of correct proportions. Photo from Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type, by Richard G. ("Rick") Beauchamp.

Knowledgeable, competent and honest judges are essential to the showing and breeding of quality purebred dogs. (I know what you’re thinking: "Not more on judging; I can’t take it.” Bear with me, please.) Judges are an integral part of the very foundation of our sport upon which almost everything we do depends; depends, that is, if we are still interested in quality. Show committees need them to construct judging panels that will draw the most entries and hopefully the best dogs to the shows. Exhibitors need them to draw good entries to make up the points in the classes and also in Group and Best in Show points for national ranking.

Some still look to the show ring for evaluation of their breeding stock. But we tend to overlook the most important element in the judging equation: maintaining and/or improving our dogs and the breeds they represent. Excellence in our breeds is more important than show entries, majors or win records, and if we are not pursuing that, then just what are we doing? If we want excellence in our dogs, we need excellence in our judges.

The great Bull Terrier breeder Raymond Oppenheimer cared deeply about his beloved breed and understood this need. He said, "No breed can long continue to progress if it is consistently badly judged, because sooner or later a general air of confusion will grow so that neither the experienced breeder nor the novice knows what to do next. It is therefore of great importance that everybody connected with shows should understand clearly what the term ‘a good judge’ implies so that only men and women who qualify for such a description shall be appointed to officiate on important occasions.”

Why? He goes on to explain, "If the wrong animals are put up consistently, they are liable to be chosen for breeding, which is likely to have a harmful effect on the breed concerned. So it is very important that a high level of judging be maintained, especially at important shows (the breed club and general championship shows), for unless this happens, the general standard of the dogs will almost certainly deteriorate.”

I want to make two points. First, the number of conformation dog shows, all-breed shows particularly, requires a frightening number of judges to fill the panels. Even without knowing that a relatively small percentage of our judges are actually officiating at these shows, we can see that this requirement sets us up for failure almost before we begin. Someone has to judge those shows, and reason tells us that they can’t all be top-flight and can’t all have availed themselves of the essential training and experiences.

Second, I really have no idea how to determine which aspiring judges will rise to the top and be the good ones, the people to whom we look forward to showing our dogs and whom we are eager to put on our all-breed panels. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure the methods we have been using for the last 20 years have not been all that successful, or else why would we keep changing those methods?

One of the reasons, probably the principal reason, why no satisfactory method of evaluating potential judges exists is the same one that makes educating them so difficult: Judging dogs is a combination of art and science, and the really good judges (and breeders) are blessed with and understand the perfect combination of the two. We seem to believe that we can measure everything and train everyone if we throw enough PowerPoint programs at aspiring judges and test them with SAT-type programs. And isn’t it the artistic part that renders the judges’ decisions subjective rather than strictly objective?


Having "An Eye for a Dog”

Why do we seem to forget that an important element for a great judge is that mysterious element we call "an eye for a dog.” All the great judges had/have it, usually without knowing it because it is so natural to them. Judith Anne Dorothea Blunt-Lytton, the 16th Baroness Wentworth, whom Arabian Horse breeders have always referred to as Lady Wentworth, understood this essential gift. In addition to her Crabbet horses, she was a respected breeder and judge of King Charles Spaniels and wrote a distinguished work on the ancestry of Toy breeds in 1911. She expressed her views on judging dogs in 1950 in the English magazine Country Life: "A good judge must have natural aptitude as well as experience. No amount of training can replace it, and a lot of nonsense is talked about training young judges. Nothing is worse than training in a bad school, and a lot of old judges would have to go to an elementary school themselves before they would be able to teach. Yet the worst judges are often the hottest advocates of Leading the Young Idea, and it becomes a case of the incurably blind leading the short-sighted.”

I can never read that statement without thinking that if a group of people heard her say that today, they would surely ask, in concert, "Why don’t you tell us how you really feel, Lady Wentworth?”

There was an interesting article that appeared in Sports Illustrated before the Westminster show in 1967. The great Percy Roberts, then 77 years old, was the Best in Show judge that year, and his comments on dogs and judging made the importance of that "eye” crystal clear. He was interested in all animals, including cattle and horses, observing them in order to hone his skill at finding quality wherever he could, going to the racetrack, not to gamble but to observe the horses at work. He recalled his Welsh father, a horse dealer, telling him to "never buy a horse that doesn’t impress you when he first comes out of the barn.” He worked as a kennel man for the best breeders, and observed animals of all species and breeds at every opportunity to improve his knowledge of dogs and refine his "eye.” He didn’t do it by looking at photographs and certainly would not by looking at digital images if he were alive today.

There is an entire book dedicated to this subject, An Eye for a Dog, Illustrated Guide to Judging Purebred Dogs, by the late Canadian writer Robert W. Cole. In the conclusion of the book, Mr. Cole writes, "Having an ‘eye for a dog’ combines both science and art. Knowledge of the science of the dog and the ability to develop an appreciation for the art involved are required for the successful judge and exhibitor. On the science side, you must know the purpose a breed serves. This provides the clues as to how the dog should be structured and move. The art involves the ability to recognize beauty, form, symmetry and style ... in other words the dog’s aesthetic appeal. One category complements the other.”

Other livestock judging requires this combination of art and science, even when more scientific qualities are more important, such as milk production, wool quality and the fat/lean balance in beef and other livestock. For example, this from the article "Alpaca Judging: Art or Science?” by Mike Safley: "I have judged 1,000’s of classes over the past 10 years, and I would like to suggest that each decision is not necessarily scientific; there is by necessity a certain art to judging alpacas.”

Tom Horner, the well-known English judge and journalist, is reported to have said that breed standards are like "The Lord’s Prayer.” Even a child can memorize the prayer, but it takes a lifetime to completely understand it. He was another admired judge who clearly understood the art/science balance in judging.

In his Take Them Round, Please: The Art of Judging Dogs, Mr. Horner writes, "Judging is both an art and a science: It is an art because the decisions with which a judge is constantly faced are very often based on considerations of an intangible nature that cannot be recognized intuitively. It is also a science because without a sound knowledge of a dog’s points and anatomy, a judge cannot make a proper assessment of it whether it is standing or in motion.”

In acknowledging the essential gift of talent, he writes, "Knowledge, decisiveness, integrity and the rest of the necessary qualities are useless without one vital possession — ‘an eye for a dog,’ which is the ability that every good judge has to recognize at a glance whether a dog is right or wrong, good, bad or indifferent. A priceless gift, without which no one can make a real success of judging, it is acquired by long and painstaking study of anatomy, breed standards, high-class dogs and poor ones, breed books, photographs and so on, until it becomes an instinctive skill to weigh up the merits of a dog, almost on first sight.”

And once again, who can ever say it better than Raymond Oppenheimer? (And what does it say about the world of dogs or, now that I think about it, me, that most of my references are to English men and women, and deceased English men and women?) In the chapter on judges and judging in McGuffin & Co.: A Bull Terrier History, published in 1964, he describes a good judge. "He must have that flair which recognizes quality, style, symmetry and balance at a glance.” This requirement "is one that can never be learned unless the judge has an artistic sense, and it is the one which will always mark out the first-class judge from the second-class. If a man can see quality, style, symmetry and all-round balance, he has what it takes to make both a great breeder and a great judge.”


Obtaining the Eye

If we can accept the proposition that science and art are both necessary parts of the good judging equation, how do we try to achieve that in our judges, the ones in our future who are just entering the approval process or applying for additional breeds? Most of the people quoted above agreed that these qualities can be attained or, at least, our natural talents can be improved upon. The question is, how? I have a few suggestions.

Does anyone read anymore? There are excellent books in print that would add to everyone’s existing knowledge of dogs, written by people who have talent and experience. In his excellent book, Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type, the author/judge Richard Beauchamp discusses the value of reading expertly written books for both breeders and judges and gives examples of specific ones that he has found valuable in his judging career. Why is reading one of these books not an acceptable component, even a requirement, in the application process? Is having aspiring judges write book reports such a bad idea?

There is nothing to compare with getting your hands on dogs, and on as many dogs as possible. We’re all at dog shows, and it takes very little time and effort to ask an exhibitor outside the ring if we can go over a dog. It may not be a breed we are at that moment interested in judging, but may still enlighten us as to structure or coat texture. And it doesn’t have to be a great dog, or even a good one. How a dog feels under our hands, and learning by experience what that feeling means is enlightening, even as we try not to listen to the owner tell us about the dog’s wins and rankings.

To say that I am not a fan of PowerPoint or slide presentations is a great understatement because both are so often the refuge of the lazy or worse. I am reminded of several breeders I know who will sit in front of their computer or television watching a litter of puppies on video when the very puppies are outside in the yard. Nothing replaces touching and watching the actual dog in living flesh. Otherwise, why don’t we just send photos of our dogs to judges to be evaluated?

Could we require all aspiring judges to write a critique of the dogs judged during the permit phase of the approval process? Writing a critique requires the judge to focus on what he or she saw and forces that judge to prove or disprove his or her actual knowledge of the standard. Of course, writing a critique takes time, and yes, it might slow down the ring a little. But couldn’t we allow fewer dogs to be judged per hour in the pursuit of better judging, better dogs and better breeds? It is a valuable tool for learning as well as evaluating, and I have known some of our best judges to sit ringside and write critiques on the dogs being observed, even dogs they are currently approved to judge, because our best judges always want to know more and to do a better job.

Finally, we need more intelligent conversation about our dogs and our breeds. The talk at club meetings, shows and even specialties is more often than not about a specific dog’s winning record or national ranking, or who has bred to what dog, or what horrible health issues a popular sire is producing. I am always impressed at the high level of discussions ringside and in the dining areas at Scandinavian shows, where there seems to be a more intellectual approach to all aspects of dogs, especially breeding and judging. Is it possible that this approach is at least partially responsible for the consistently high quality of their dogs and, dare I say, their judging?

As a group, we are particularly resistant to change. But if we are truly interested in better judging, in the product and not the process, there are many options we could consider. May I suggest that the proposed AKC Canine College, which would provide online educational opportunities, might be an acceptable method to train some architects or some engineers, but not those seeking the art in judging dogs?

All judges are not created equal and do not approach judging with the same talents, with that natural understanding of balance and beauty, that "eye for a dog.” And, in the end, we are all going to have to be satisfied with a wide range of expertise in our judges. But can’t we do a better job in finding those especially talented ones and give them every assistance possible to advance? I know we can be more creative in helping to develop that essential "eye” in all aspiring judges who are willing to put in the time and effort to that end. 

From the May 2014 issue of Dogs in Review magazine. Subscribe to receive 12 months of Dogs in Review magazine, or call 1-888-738-2665 to purchase a single copy.



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