About the project
The Doberman breed is known for its intelligence, loyalty, athleticism, and working ability. Unfortunately it is also known for its many serious health conditions, the worst and least understood of which is dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). It is currently estimated that 60% of the worldwide doberman population will contract DCM, with that number projected to rise in coming years. But even scarier than DCM alone are the ever-increasing diagnoses of younger and younger dogs affected by this fatal disease.
Research is ongoing to try to determine an accurate method of predicting whether a dog will be affected with DCM during its lifetime, but as of yet the method of inheritance is not understood. It is a fact that there are no known lines of Doberman free of DCM. So how can responsible breeders possibly breed away from DCM if it's everywhere and no one knows how it works?
The Doberman Preservation Project's answer to this question is that by increasing the average heterozygosity of the Doberman's gene pool, the occurrence of increased health issues due to lost genetic diversity should be reduced. Unfortunately the Doberman is one of the most homozygous of all surveyed dog breeds. The Doberman Preservation Project therefore seeks to re-introduce heterozygosity to the breed via carefully selected outcrosses, and then choose subsequent backcrosses using all available metrics for health, temperament, and type to ensure the production of a recognizably Doberman dog.