Doberman Pinscher Color Dilutions

Inheritance and Health Issues

Available Colors

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Red
  • Fawn
  • White (albino)

Fawn, Red, Blue, and Black

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  • Blue is a dilution of black
  • Fawn is a dilution of red


  • Color is determined by B and b
  • B is dominant (black) and b is recessive (red)
  • Dilution is determined by D and d
  • D is dominant (not dilute) and d (dilute) is recessive


  • Black can be either BB or Bb (determines coat color) plus DD or Dd (determines dilution)
  • Red is bb (coat color) plus DD or Dd
  • Blue dobermans are either BBdd or Bbdd
  • Fawn dobermans are bbdd
  • Albino dobermans are any of the above, with two copies of the recessive cc attached

Which genotypes produce which color and dilutions?

  • BBDD Black dog that can only produce black
  • BBDd Black dog that can produce black or blue
  • BbDD Black dog that can produce black or red
  • BbDd Black dog that can produce black, red, blue, or fawn
  • BBdd Blue dog that can only produce black, or blue if a second d is inherited from other parent
  • Bbdd Blue dog that can produce black, blue, or red
  • bbDD Red dog that can produce black or red only
  • bbDd Red dog that can produce black, red, blue, or fawn
  • bbdd fawn dog that can produce black, red, blue, or fawn

Common health issues with dilute color

  • Hypothyroidism (which tends to run in the doberman breed anyway)
  • Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA), which is a follicular dysplasia that causes baldness
  • While not a dilution, it bears mention that albino dobermans commonly have their own health issues: vision issues (photosensitivity and blindness), sun sensitivity which can lead to skin cancer, conformation problems (sway back, narrow chests), unstable temperaments, and missing or small teeth

Color Dilution Alopecia

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Diagnosing Color Dilution Alopecia

  • First, a simple blood test should be done to rule out thyroid issues
  • A skin scraping needs to be done to rule out mites (mange) or fungal infections
  • In the absence of bacterial infection, hypothyroid, mange, or fungal infections, the cause is determined to be CDA

Methods of controlling health issues:

  • Since the health issues are not severe for dilutes, there really are not any controls in place. Affected or carrier dogs should not be bred. It is merely a cosmetic issue and is not associated with other health problems associated with doberman pinschers
  • For albinos, they can be registered since they are purebred Dobermans, but they cannot be shown in conformation shows. This in theory should limit breeding for those who only wish to breed the best dogs that have been proven in the show ring. Also, dobermans shown to carry the recessive c that can produce albinos are registered with a Z attached to their name, so that no one will unknowingly breed a doberman that can produce albinos.


Since there is really no harm in having a dog with color dilution alopecia, I see no reason to stop breeding for the dilute colors. The dogs that suffer hair loss can still make wonderful pets even though they cannot be a show dog. However, I think those affected with the condition shouldn't be bred, to help reduce the number of dogs affected.

I do believe that albinos should not be deliberately bred. There are too many health issues that can be completely avoided by not breeding for this trait. If one is accidentally produced (two dogs carrying the c bred to each other that produce a cc), I believe the puppy should be spayed/neutered. Also, those two dogs should not be bred together again.