I've been considering a doberman in a few years as my next dog. I've been seeing things about DCM and people tell me how it's going to make the breed extinct. Is DCM that dire? Some have told me to avoid the show/working crowd as DCM is more prevalent to their lines and stick to pet bred dobes, but I am so confused by that statement.
In a word, yes.
DCM kills an estimated 40-60% of dobermans depending on exact line and sourcing. American dogs are at 40-50% and European dogs are at 50-60%. It is thought that the cause of DCM in American dogs may be different from European dogs, due to American dogs aligning very strongly with the two known DCM markers for the most part but majority European dogs still developing DCM even without having the markers present. Pet or byb dobes are signficantly harder to track- there are a fair few that have made it to 12-16 with no issue just like in the well bred dogs, but there’s also a fair few that haven’t. Since those are less likely to be tested for heart issues in the first place, it’s a bit like playing with fire.
A follower of mine @placesmydogsleeps commented on one of my posts on the subject stating pretty much the same thing, and I certainly agree with some of the points she brought up there. Additionally, I personally agree that if we really want to start caring about genetic diversity, we may have to- as a breed- buck up and abandon searching for the best show or the best working dog and start breeding to byb/pet bred dogs that have a decent track record for producing decently healthy puppies with not-trainwreck structure or temperament that make it to 10, even if they’re a little ugly or if they can’t get an IPO1 to save their life. We may even have to consider breeding to some exceptional Z dogs (albino carriers) if we want this breed to survive. Sadly, no one’s willing to consider those options and instead of getting things done, everyone’s just yelling at each other as always.
Sometimes it feels like these rescue not-fit-for-breeding dogs are the ones that are making it well past 10 with zero issues while the very well bred great at showing great at working dogs are dropping at 5, and it doesn’t seem fair. Understand that the 50% statistic is dobermans in ALL lines, across the entire world. Using pet/byb breeders that just don’t know when what they produce falls over and dies as a golden standard is a little… self-defeating.