10 Doberman Health Issues (Warning)

Doberman Pinschers are a popular breed of dog known for their loyalty, intelligence, and protective nature. However, like all breeds, they are susceptible to more than 10 certain health issues that owners should be aware of. Understanding these health issues can help owners take preventative measures and seek treatment early on, improving their dog’s quality of life.

doberman health issues
The most common Doberman health issues

Some of the most common health issues that Doberman Pinschers may face include dilated cardiomyopathy, canine hip dysplasia, and von Willebrand’s disease. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart becomes enlarged and weakened, which can lead to heart failure. Canine hip dysplasia is a painful skeletal condition that can cause lameness and arthritis. Von Willebrand’s disease is a bleeding disorder that affects the blood’s ability to clot properly.

While these health issues can be concerning, it’s important to remember that not all Doberman Pinschers will develop them. However, being aware of the potential risks and taking preventative measures, such as regular check-ups with a veterinarian and proper exercise and nutrition, can go a long way in ensuring a happy and healthy life for your furry friend.

Top 10 Common Health Problems in Dobermans

  1. Hip Dysplasia: A genetic joint disorder affecting the hip joint, causing pain and mobility issues.
  2. von Willebrand’s Disease: A hereditary bleeding disorder that affects blood clotting, leading to excessive bleeding.
  3. Dilated Cardiomyopathy: A heart condition causing the heart muscle to enlarge and weaken, affecting its ability to pump blood.
  4. Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid gland, resulting in a deficiency of thyroid hormones, affecting metabolism and energy levels.
  5. Cervical Vertebral Instability (Wobbler Syndrome): A neurological disorder affecting the neck and spinal cord, causing unsteady gait and weakness.
  6. Gastric Torsion (Bloat): A life-threatening condition where the stomach twists, trapping gas and blood flow, requiring immediate veterinary attention.
  7. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A genetic eye condition causing the retina to deteriorate, potentially leading to blindness.
  8. Color Dilution Alopecia: A genetic skin condition more common in blue and fawn Dobermans, causing hair loss and skin irritation.
  9. Degenerative Myelopathy: A progressive neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord, causing loss of coordination and weakness in the hind limbs.
  10. Canine Hip Dislocation: A condition where the hip joint becomes dislocated or unstable, causing pain and mobility issues.

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian and appropriate preventative care can help manage and mitigate these common health issues in Dobermans.

how long do dobermans live
How long do Dobermans live? Doberman lifespan

Common Health Issues for Dobies Explained

Doberman Pinschers are generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they are prone to certain health issues. Here are some of the most common health issues you should be aware of:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a painful skeletal condition that affects many large dog breeds, including Dobermans. It is caused by a hip joint that doesn’t fit together perfectly, which eventually leads to arthritis. Symptoms of hip dysplasia include limping, difficulty getting up, and reluctance to exercise. While there is no cure for hip dysplasia, there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s disease is a bleeding disorder that affects both humans and dogs. It is caused by a deficiency in a clotting protein called von Willebrand factor. Symptoms of von Willebrand’s disease include nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and prolonged bleeding after injury or surgery. While there is no cure for von Willebrand’s disease, it can be managed with medication and careful management.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart becomes enlarged and weakened, making it difficult for it to pump blood effectively. Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include coughing, difficulty breathing, and weakness. While there is no cure for dilated cardiomyopathy, it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.


Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, lethargy, and a dull coat. Hypothyroidism is easily treatable with medication, and most dogs with the condition can lead normal, healthy lives.

Gastric Torsion

Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening condition in which the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself. Symptoms of gastric torsion include restlessness, vomiting, and a distended abdomen. If left untreated, gastric torsion can be fatal. Treatment for gastric torsion usually involves surgery to untwist the stomach and remove any damaged tissue.

Preventive Measures for Doberman Health

what is the doberman personality
What is the Doberman personality?


One of the most important preventive measures for Doberman health is proper nutrition. A balanced and nutritious diet can help prevent health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and joint problems. Dobermans require a high-quality diet that is rich in protein and low in fat. It is recommended to feed them a diet that is specifically formulated for large breed dogs. Owners should avoid feeding their Dobermans table scraps and human food, as it can lead to weight gain and digestive problems. It is also important to provide fresh water at all times.


Exercise is another crucial preventive measure for Doberman health. Regular exercise can help prevent obesity, joint problems, and other health issues. Dobermans are an active breed and require daily exercise to stay healthy and happy.

Owners should provide their Dobermans with at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, such as walks, runs, or playing fetch. It is important to gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise to avoid injury or exhaustion.

Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are essential for maintaining Doberman health. Owners should schedule annual wellness exams for their Dobermans, which can help detect and prevent health issues.

During a wellness exam, the veterinarian will perform a physical exam, check for parasites, and recommend any necessary vaccinations or treatments.

Owners should also monitor their Dobermans for any changes in behavior or appetite, which can be signs of underlying health problems.


Vaccinations are an important preventive measure for Doberman health. Owners should ensure their Dobermans receive all necessary vaccinations, which can help prevent diseases such as distemper, parvovirus, and rabies.

Vaccinations should be administered according to the veterinarian’s recommended schedule, which may vary based on the dog’s age and health status.

Owners should also keep their Dobermans up-to-date on flea and tick prevention, which can help prevent the spread of diseases and parasites.

Other Health Issues


Doberman Pinschers are prone to several types of cancer, including osteosarcoma, lymphoma, and hemangiosarcoma.

  • Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that often affects the limbs and can cause swelling, lameness, and bone pain.
  • Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system and can cause symptoms such as enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss, and vomiting.
  • Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer of the blood vessels and can cause symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, and abdominal swelling.
man looks at Doberman
This happy Doberman LOVES his owner!

Wobbler Syndrome

Wobbler Syndrome is a condition that affects the spinal cord and neck of Doberman Pinschers. It can cause symptoms such as weakness, difficulty walking, and neck pain. Wobbler Syndrome is often caused by a malformation of the vertebrae in the neck and can be treated with surgery or medication. (OSU University Guide to Wobbler Syndrome)

Dobies DO get Wobblers more than any other breed except for Great Danes. Be on the lookout!

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a genetic condition that affects the eyes of Doberman Pinschers. It can cause progressive vision loss and can eventually lead to blindness. There is no cure for PRA, but it can be managed with medication and lifestyle adjustments.

Skin Issues

Doberman Pinschers are prone to several skin issues, including allergies, hot spots, and skin infections. Allergies can cause symptoms such as itchiness, redness, and hair loss. Hot spots are areas of the skin that become inflamed and infected, often due to excessive licking or scratching. Skin infections can be caused by bacteria or yeast and can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, and discharge.

Ear Infections

Doberman Pinschers are prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears and the buildup of wax and debris. Ear infections can cause symptoms such as itching, redness, and discharge. They can be treated with medication and regular cleaning.

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.