Color Mutant Alopecia (Blue Doberman Syndrome)

This hereditary skin disease is seen most often in fawn and blue-coated Doberman Pinschers, and occasionally in blue Great Danes, blue Newfoundlands, Chow Chows, Whippets, Italian Greyhounds, and other breeds with dilute coat colors.

Affected dogs are born with a healthy hair coat. At 6 months of age or later, the coat becomes thin, brittle, and dry and takes on a moth-eaten appearance. The skin becomes rough and scaly. Blackheads, papules, and pustules appear on the involved areas. Some blue Dobermans do not manifest the disease before 3 years of age.

Treatment: There is no cure. Treatment is directed toward relieving the surface condition, which involves shampoos that rehydrate the skin, remove scales, and flush the hair follicles. These must be prescribed by your veterinarian. Because the affected hair is fragile and comes out easily, vigorous brushing and the use of harsh or inappropriate shampoos aggravates the problem and should be avoided.

The coat mutation has a genetic basis. Affected dogs should not be bred.