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  • This is the third post I have read tonight, as I didn’t realize this information even existed. It is beginning to make sense, Great stuff !

  • Dear R. Zurbrugg,

    After reading above article I want to share my thoughts with you. Being involved and particpate in the Genetic Diversity Testing Project for the Dobermann I’m aware of their Status Quo and for me as a owner it is shocking to see and read how inbred this breed is. We know the reasons and why the breed needs a preservation plan. By testing through the UC DAVIS project you get even a more better insight in figures. It is great to see that the amount of members and participaters grow and with this you can see a little difference in the figures because of some varieties. If I understand it correctly you want to breed for low mean kinship, so more diversity and prevent more genetic erosion.

    If the theory is correct that the diversity in a breed/population can not be more than the amount of founder is been used. Translate it in my own words, studbooks are closed so the diversity will not grow. As we know the founder population is very small and it is one of the main reasons why the breed is so related/inbred and with this there we see the many consequences. I’ll understand that we still can breed for lower relatedness but will this be enough and when will you know and see the result.

    After reading the article Why Purebred Dogs Are Sick, Miserable and Ugly by G. Dvorske he interviewed Dr. Pedersen I like to refer to some of his words and try to place it into the context for the breed Dobermann.

    In cases of genetic bottlenecks and low diversity, the only viable answe is outcrossing that is-bringing in the genes from a other breed.
    “I think that pure breeders should reallize that all breeds started as mutts ( do we have a better example than the Dobermann ? ) by crossing other pure breeds and/or random bred dogs from the environment.

    These above two lines I quoted from Dr. Pedersen are for me important in relation to preservation, so why is this also not suggested for the Dobermann. Maybe it is but I’m not a paid member so don’t know about further research and if this is proposed.

    A long term breeding management plan with option to a crossbreeding project needs a lot of effort from the genetics, breeders, clubs etc. If it seems after 5-10 years that there were no significant changes and the breeds health and longevity is even worse what do we do than…….final option crossbreeding or the breed becomes extinct. Why is it not possible to work at a plan B……for me it would be plan A but I have less knowledge and I’m only a owner.

    With my sharing I don’t have the intention to make a statement, it’s about concern.

    Thank you in advance.

    Daniëlle Termijn
    the Netherlands

    • Hi Ruben-

      You are very correct that new diversity does not come about within a population within a couple hundred years! The diversity that exists from the original founders is all that will remain in that population and selective pressures and choices by breeders with each generation affects those genetics. Testing the breeding population will tell us what remains, and re-dispersing it is all that can be done without an outcross. For instance, there may possibly be pockets of different diversity in different lines due to breed splits (performance vs show lines, for example). Mean kinship (in the BetterBred database, this is similar to Average Genetic Relatedness, using the UCD VGL genetic diversity testing) is helpful to maintain the diversity that remains within a breed.

      Opening stud books is not easy, nor done without great consideration of a breed. Once an outcross is done, this testing would be needed to maintain the influx of different genetics in to the population, because rapidly those genetics can be lost in a couple generations.

      The first step, however, is for any breed to be analyzed to see where they are. From there, decisions for management and maintenance of the breed, and its diversity, can be made.

  • Hi Rebekah,

    Thank you for the explanation and I’m aware of the procedure and the need for the first steps to take. Without it you can not not draw up a report and have a further study what to do next or not.

    I will never assume that opening the stud book is a easy task, outcrossing for the ourcrossing only isn’t a option. Just like you mention genes can be lost in a couple of generations and you can start over again and there is even a possibility that you did more harm. This is closely linked to the all the disciplines who must be involved with such a long term management plan. This being said it is not impossible and we have seen some examples from other breeds in the past, one thing is for sure it is a hot topic these days. I have the feeling that in relation to share the possibility and or study for a outcross plan has also much to do with the mindset from the culture of the breed and it’s community.

    I noticed that over 300 Dobermann are involved now, do you need more for a accurate analyse. I Understand that more dogs from different areas and bloodlines can give more variety or can show for example a subpopulation as in the case of the population in Austalia. I believe it depends also how much variety the individual dogs shows us. How far away the genes ( subpopulation ) are from the other population is interesting and if it has or can have a value in the matter of health and longevity. Variety alone will not say that the overall health and longevity has also a benefit from it. How a certain subpopulation is structured is interesting to study and the knowledge if it has a value.

    If you speak about the possibility of different pockets diversity in lines due the breed split, example show vs work. Has this also to do because of the fact of selection for other traits, show lines have other traits and abilities than you see in the working lines. The benifits for both lines are different and no secret so in the long term could have this selection also for appearance have a influence on the genotype and you create a different type and with this a influence at DNA and diversity.

    Sorry, the one question lead to another.

    I’m very curious about the future and further decisions that will have a positive influence for the breed.
    Will following with intrest.


  • Hi Daniëlle-

    My apologies for delay in responding to your questions.

    As far as the population sampled, I believe there have been close to 400 Dobermans run at UC Davis VGL lab at this point. Within that sample, there is a huge bottleneck as well as evidence of significant loss of genetic diversity. We have found a few purebred Dobermans with diverse genetics (not necessarily low inbreeding, but different from the typical population) but not many. I could see outcrossing being a topic that might be valuable for the community, and then appropriate management of the cross IF that is agreed upon by said community.

    As for breed divisions leading to diversity, we have seen it in some breeds that performance vs show has created different pockets of diversity, which in essence preserves that diversity. Within the Doberman breed, that has not shown to be true except with some geographical differences; some (not all) Australian Dobermans appeared to have some different genetics.

    Of course, the larger the sample, the better a picture we have of the breed status. I personally encourage breeders to test their litters, and consider keeping puppies whose genetic diversity (outlier index and average genetic relatedness) shows they are different from the typical population. This, like many advances, requires some culture change and work to understand the new terms.

    Overall, we applaud those who have worked very hard in all breeds to learn these new considerations and implement them in their programs.


  • Hi Rebekah,

    No problem and thank you for answering them.

    You mention that there was no divsion in the Dobermann Breed what lead to diversity in relation to show vs work.
    I’m a little suprised with this you would have hoped that there was a difference because of selection.

    Could you share what the exact reason is why this is relevant in some other breeds and not within the Dobermann.
    I have a thought and it could be because of the two main elements you also mention in your reply, huge bottleneck and less diversity because of the inbreeding.
    Or has the influence of the amount of founders in a breed a reason for it, or how long the breed exist from registration time.
    The Dobermann is a young breed, just sharing my thought.

    The area a dog is bred can like you mention have a influence on their genetic diversity.
    Yesterday we shipped a new kit test from our almost pure Dobermann female.
    I have test her also through EMBARK and the result was she is 8% non-Dobermann, for me as a owner to neglect.
    Speaking about area the vet was wondering if her result could be a reason of the area ( Poland ) she was bred. So the science team would compare her with the other Dobermann from the database. I’m curious what it shows us.
    For me as a owner both the test has a value, each in their own way. I’m only speaking as a owner in the matter of my rescue female.
    So maybe after her result I have some more questions.

    Again thank you.

    Best wishes,


  • Hi Rae- you got 100%. I think I have all the classes set so you can keep trying until you get them all right and it should I think give feedback on each question.

  • Hi Dee,

    The course is available to Full Members. You can access it by using the 3 day trial, but it will require the use of our payment system. You can cancel anytime in the 3 day trial if you do not feel the membership would be useful.

    Thank you,

  • Hi Avey-

    This information is public on the UC Davis website for each breed. If you click on your breed profile, you will find a link on the page to the STR table that will show you all these frequencies. But it is mostly informative as to whether your breed has a bottleneck, and our values on our website, OI and AGR, will help you breed away from bottleneck influence. You will learn about them in the next classes.

  • You’re right, OI shouldn’t be included in that question!

  • That should be fixed now. Thank you for the heads up! Sorry it wasn’t available before for you.

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