Blue and Fawn (Isabel) Doberman Pinschers

The Dilute Colors

The blue and fawn coat colors of the Doberman Pinscher are a result of the recessive dilution gene, which effectively dilutes the expression of the coat’s color. Blue is the dilute of black and fawn is the dilute of red.

With the addition of the dilute gene in our thinking, Doberman coat color becomes more complex. Because blue is the dilute of the dominant black and fawn is the dilute of the recessive red. With simple logic one can draw the conclusion that fawn is the rarest of the four colors.

As with the black and red coat, a Doberman can carry the dilute gene in its genotype without expressing it as its phenotype. In plain words, a Doberman can carry the dilute gene and still be black or red. To display the recessive diluted color, it must receive a dilute gene from each of its parents.

The following chart shows the possible inheritance of coat color in the Doberman Pinscher:

Doberman Pinscher Coat Color Chart

As one can see from the previous chart, the logical assumption is that the fawn colored Doberman coat is an unlikely result, even when two red Dobermans carrying the dilute fawn gene are bred.

The chart may be misleading in the prevalence of blue coats. If one were to simply count the factor combinations that result in a blue coat, there are nearly as many as there are factor combinations resulting in red coats. The big difference is that carriers of the dilute gene are rare.

One can also see that if two fawns are bred they will produce only fawn puppies, which are rare and may fetch a handsome price. This is often a temptation and the cause of serious genetic problems.

Both fawn and blue Dobermans suffer from a high incidence of severe skin and coat problems in addition to every other prevalent genetic problem. Why is this?

To produce healthy Dobermans, the parents must be carefully screened and selected based on health and absence of genetic problems. When dogs are selected on any other basis, such as the color of their coat, health is not the main focus, which results in a less healthy parent and thus less healthy offspring.

Many entrepreneurial breeders have had the thought that simply seeking out fawn or blue colored Dobermans who are also healthy, and breeding these, with the hope of producing healthy fawn and blue puppies. If this idea were not so flawed, it would be a good one.

The fact is, finding and producing healthy breed quality Dobermans is difficult, even when using the entire gene pool. Selecting only a specific color, especially fawn, would limit the gene pool significantly, perhaps to less than a single percent. This leaves the prospective Blue and fawn breeder with very few Dobermans to choose from. This will almost certainly result in accepting a less than healthy breed quality Doberman in pursuit of his coat color.

Additionally, the limited gene pool of the dilute fawn and blue coats have either been directly produced by irresponsible breeding programs focused on color rather than health, or have used Dobermans from such breeding projects. This fact leaves nearly all fawn and blue Dobermans genetically affected by such flawed breeding philosophy.

For this reason, perspective Doberman parents interested in a healthy dog should avoid the dilute colors of fawn and blue, and any breeder who follows a breeding philosophy based on the production of them.

Despite the efforts of people like me making the above information available, there is still interest and demand for fawn and blue coat Dobermans. Where there is demand and the opportunity for profit, there will be people willing to breed Dobermans with an unhealthy breeding philosophy to chase a profit. Such breeding degrades the Doberman pinscher breed overall and produces poorly tempered Dobermans which further weaken the perception of the Doberman’s character.

A person willing to purchase a fawn or blue Doberman is seriously risking behavioral problems, expensive veterinary care, and heartbreak. This person is also actively encouraging irresponsible breeding practices and doing harm to our beloved Doberman Pinscher breed.