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This is a devastating post to read, for anyone who loves dogs, for anyone who loves Dobermanns (and I do).

“in 2039, essentially 100% of European Dobermans will have DCM.”

Please read what Carol Beuchat of the Institute of Canine Biology has to say in her post titled

Does the following sound familiar?

“1) Dogs begin to turn up that suffer from some new disorder.

2) Breeders avoid breeding to dogs in the suspect lines.

3) Nevertheless, more dogs are afflicted and it becomes clear that the problem might be widespread.

4) Breeders acknowledge that there is a new genetic problem in the breed.

5) Breeders collect money and cheek swabs to initiate a research project to study the new disorder or to identify the faulty gene.

6) In the meantime, breeding continues and new cases continue to appear.

7) In the best case (but relatively rare) scenario, a single mutation is identified, a DNA test is developed, and a new test is added to the health screening list.

8) More often, a faulty gene is never identified, and study of the disorder does not offer useful insight into control measures.

9) The disorder is acknowledged as a “problem in the breed”.

10) Breeding continues. Individual breeders adopt the strategies they believe will reduce their risk of producing affected animals (e.g., remove affected individuals and their close relatives from breeding; avoid breeding outside lines that are believed to be free of the problem). But nobody really knows what to do.

11) Eventually, a new problem will emerge and the cycle will repeat.”

Alarms should be going off in our breed too. Great big alarms with red flashing lights and loud sirens. This is the most urgent matter right now. It wasn’t that long ago that the Dilated Cardiomyopathy percentage in Dobermanns was “only” 25% also, which is roughly where the Great Dane breed stands today. It only takes 50 years, from 25% to 100%. From now to extinction. It won’t happen in my lifetime. Should I simply not care?

The only reason hard-core breeders don’t want to outcross is “losing” breed type (it’s basically just lazy because you can get the type back very quick, but to someone who is addicted to winning, even one generation out of the show ring is insufferable). So, is “not losing” a minuscule amount of type, temporarily and only for minuscule amount of time,  more important than being alive? Seriously ?

In the regions of Europe where hypertype dominates, breeders are very reluctant to use a dog from Scandinavia, the Americas or other countries outside the continent, because those dogs are of different type. They are Great Danes, not pseudo-Danes. On the same token, breeders in other regions who need to outcross using European dogs can’t, because dogs that are reasonably unrelated to theirs are of the alien type that carries its own curses (unsoundness, eye defects, etc). So we are between a rock and a hard place.

We need an international forum of cooperation to tackle the problem NOW before it spreads further and to do that we need scientific – genetic – guidance. We need a coordinated plan B, because plan A (hope and pray) isn’t working. The Great Dane is a global distribution breed so this can’t be done without a worldwide effort. We need to act without delay and with the help of every body involved.This is too big a problem to be left to the individual breeder(s) or regional Clubs to solve. They can’t. It’s a global problem that affects the breed everywhere. And it’s not going away.

If we don’t act, what happened to Dobermanns will happen to our breed to: DCM prevalence in those lines that don’t or can’t outcross will predictably skyrocket. And the other lines will hit a wall too – because there will be no DCM-free dogs left to breed or ‘outcross’ to when the fatal disease will be in every pedigree and behind every breeding prospect. Our breed will be the next in line after the Dobermann. The Great Dane has a very widespread DCM problem (please click on the link, watch the video and share it everywhere). The prevalence of DCM in the British Great Dane population, for example, could be as high as 20-25% (i.e. one in five Danes could have the disease).

What is the DDC and the EuDDC doing about it? What is the FCI doing about it?

Are we still waiting for a miracle?

The time to act was yesterday, but all we’re left with is NOW.


continued in A conservation Movement for the Great Dane