Even non-albino Dobermans may carry the mutation, but because they "show no signs of the disorder, this has posed serious problems among breeders," says Joshua Bartoe, a veterinarian at Michigan State University, in a press release. Now that the gene has been identified, veterinarians can check to see if breeding Dobermans would result in pups with albinism. Breeders should absolutely avoid breeding dogs that carry the albino gene, due to the increased risk for tumors.
Doberman pinschers aren't the only dogs that suffer from diseases linked to inbreeding. Bloodhounds, for example, have a propensity for eye infections, and dogs with shorter snouts, such as pugs, may have difficulty breathing.
Although a mutt isn't always healthier than a purebred pooch, a 2013 study in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association found that 10 genetic disorders, including cataracts and hypothyroidism, were less likely to occur in mixed-breed dogs.