In Doberman Pinschers, 4,081 base pairs deleted in the SLC45A2 gene (a gene that controls melanoma, a skin pigment) causes a recessive form of Oculocutaneous Albinism (OCA). OCA is an autosomal recessive trait. Autosomal recessive traits are traits that can be passed from either parent and require two copies of the gene to show symptoms. OCA causes a deletion in pigment from the dog and causes albinism. Albinism is characterized by a “white” coat color and pale eyes.
Dogs affected must have two copies of the mutated gene, one coming from each parent. Dogs with one copy are considered carriers. They display normal coat colors but can pass the mutation onto 50% of their offspring.
The mutated SLC45A2 gene that causes Oculocutaneous Albinism is also associated with additional health problems. These include photophobia (light sensitivity) and melanocytic tumors.
The American Kennel Club registered the first white "white factored" Doberman Pinscher (WDP) in 1976. The first registered white Doberman was Padula's Queen Sheba. Sheba inherited two copies of the "white" mutation, one from Rasputin VI and one from Dynamo Humm. The popularity of the white coat color resulted in extensive line breeding to develop White Doberman Pinschers.
The AKC established a tracking system called a "Z list," in 1996. The letter "Z" became part of the registration number. This allowed breeders to identify normal-colored Dobermans that carried the albino gene.
People interested can view a public list which tracks back to Sheba's (the first Albino Doberman registered) parents is available here. This list is not 100% accurate and may not be complete. Genetic testing of a dog can confirm a carrier state.
|Affected: Dog has two copies of the OA mutation and will be affected. The gene will always be passed on to every offspring.
|Carrier: Dog has one copy of the OA mutation. Dog will not be affected by OA but may pass the mutation to offspring.
|Clear: Dog is negative for mutation associated with OA.
Winkler PA, Gornik KR, Ramsey DT, Dubielzig RR, Venta PJ, Petersen-Jones SM, Bartoe JT. A partial gene deletion of SLC45A2 causes oculocutaneous albinism in Doberman pinscher dogs. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 19;9(3). [PubMed: 24647637]