Four years ago Aritaur were the first UK Dobermann kennel to ever publish health results for all our tested dogs, with only two other breeders who followed us to do this.

As of 31st December 2014 we have now gone even further; we have now published health and death records for every dogwe have bred.


The showing world is full of secrets because small minded point fingers and witch hunt whilst pretending their dogs don't have health problem. Rubbish. When you breed dogs you get good and bad and everyone is in the same position. It's up to others if they don't want to declare their results, but this is for our buyers and those who use our stud dogs, not for the people who offer no shared interest in health. The health of Aritaur dogs is generally good. As with human health there are good results and we bad results. We can only do our best whilst considering the overall health of the gene pool as well as the individual.

Inevitably there will be errors (mea culpa), and I'm always happy to correct those. When time allows I plan to include health result documents for each dog. Please mail me if you have details I have missed that we can include which we would very much appreciate.


Aritaur are now on our 4th generation of Cardio ultrasound testing.

We have lost 6 Aritaur dogs due to sudden death that we know of, with four from one litter, but interestingly two of that litter are now aged 11 and are still fit with no apparent health problems. In that litter of four sudden deaths, two were post-mortemed with no signs of cardiac dilation leading us to suspect arrhythmias or VPC's, so although they didn't die of DCM, the possibility is that they may have done eventually. Having seen the results of congestive heart failure from DCM with our import Ken-Ti's Babalouba aged just 7, thankfully no Aritaur dog that we know of has developed the condition as it is a horrible thing to watch a dog dying slowly.


With the exception of one bitch- Ch Aritaur Surprisingly Soba, who was vWD Affected (pre DNA testing) and who died at 13 years old, all Aritaur dogs are either Clear or Carrier. We use Finnzymes DNA testing service and our dogs are either tested, or are clear by parentage.

When we use an overseas dog, we pay for the test to be done as we did for Ger VDH Ch Ramonburg's Valdo, Int, Multi, Russ Ch Tamerlan iz Slavnoi Stai, Int, Multi, Fr Ch F'Hiram Abif Royal Bell and Int, Hung Ch Tom Dober Hagi all of whom were Clear.

NB We would, however, have no hesitation in using an Affected male to a Clear female. Offspring would be 100% Carrier, who in turn would later be put only to a Clear.

As with other health issues, if breeders only used Clear dogs and bitches, an estimated* 60% of the gene pool would be lost which in turn would bring even worse problems to the breed in terms of the results of inevitable in-breeding. *from US estimates 1998

Hypothyroidism - Aritaur results

We used to test all our dogs for hypothyroidism and TgAA (Thyroid Auto-immune Antibodies), but in recent years stopped doing so because the parents and other relatives of the very few - 5 or 6 that we know of who have developed the condition were all clear. We see no point in testing for a condition which has no genetic marker, or affected/carrier status as there is no advance warning we can take on whether progeny will become affected.

Hip Dysplasia - HD - Aritaur results

The breed average in the Aritaur kennel from the dogs tested to date is 16.4. To put scoring in perspective, that is out of a total possible score of 106. Our results are averaged on the basis of dogs scoring 4, (2:2) to 64 (32:32). Genetics, nutrition and early exercise are all contributory factors on hips. Whilst it can’t of course alter the shape of the socket, the degree of laxity could be altered. Many Americans use a system of Penn Hip Scoring which does measure the degree of laxity. There are two UK vets now offering PennHip.


What does all this actually mean? Does hip scoring matter or not? What does this magical figure 10 (or now 11.75) of the supposed breed average actually mean?! Provided you are able to take a wider view of health test results and relate them to what you actually see in reality, and not go off half cocked on one higher than average result, then yes. Although testing all Aritaur breeding dogs means we will undoubtedly bring up more good and poor results, we will continue to test in order to a) inform ourselves fully of what problems we have or don't, and b) in order that we don't combine two poor results.

If idealists were heeded, they would eliminate all dogs scoring over 11 (even those at 12 one presumes?), all VWd carriers (although they can't bleed), all dogs with low thyroid and all dogs with even low grade PHPV/PHTVL. We have produced a dog hip scored at 32:32, whose sister is 3:4. How many dogs would be left in their ideal world?! Maybe those with weak characters and DCM. Not for us thanks!

The real test for us is how our dogs move, how healthy they are conformationally, how well they get around even in old age, and how old they live to, not that their score represents a particular figure.We always appreciate when owners have their Aritaur dogs health tested, as it enables us to understand the genetic health of our breeding in full detail.

Our 12 year old dog Caius. (A. Midnight Rave). Caius was the first dog we ever hip scored and his score came back at 21 (twice the breed average). He was put to sleep in Jan 2010 aged 12 + years old due to his awful tumour, but his back end was still strong and apparently healthy. Caius had a wide forechest and as you can see he walks on the outside of his feet putting great strain on his phalanges and carpus (toes and wrist). His score of total 21 never stopped him winning, producing a Champion daughter and fruitlessly chasing birds. He did not compensate for any apparent defect, he still charged around the field - a bit achy later, but at the equivalent of 80, so would we all be!
All the health testing in the world, and we still don't have a cure for cancer. This came up in the space of 3 weeks. Thankfully for Caius, he was still bright as a button and free of pain on his last day.

Why test if you are not going to heed the results is what we're sometimes asked? Well we do very much stand by the results because we know what we have. Unlike those who don't test, at least we know what we're dealing with and can make informed decisions about breeding combinations. We will continue to breed from dogs both below and above the breed average (WITHIN REASON) because whilst we do not wish to produce a dysplastic dog;.....

a) there are no statistics evidencing that a dysplastic dog is produced from using a dog in eg the mid 30’s to a bitch with a low score. Using dogs with low scores produces reduces averages in the litter and population. High scores are still thrown up from low scoring parents.
b) we test to ensure we do not put two sets of poor hips together (a risk posed by those breeders who don’t test at all). Beware of that when you would consider using a dog who hasn’t been tested. You could find it a great deal worse than the dog who you know is higher than ‘average’ but who at least excels in other aspects.
c) we test for our own information, for those who use our dogs and those who buy puppies from us; not for others with no interest and who do not test anyway. We publish ALL our results. Health testing is not a competition and if breeders mock other breeders less desirable results, they will succed in putting breeders off health testing or concealing their poor results. That is why only two other breeders have ever published health, results and death details often for any of their dogs, let alone all of them.
d) we test in order to take a total view of the dog. We would not breed from a dog who had a poor hip score, was badly PHPV affected, had poor character, poor thyroid and suspected DCM. We would breed from a dog with a poorer than average hip score (within reason) if it exceeded other aspects. Do not throw the baby out with the bath water.
e) with fewer than 1% of the population being hip tested each year there is no such thing as a breed average, only a breed average, and breed mean score for those tested who may well not represent the whole breed? Breeders still ask their vets to withold 'poor' results. Also pre 1984, the BVA form stated "I give my permission (as the owner) to allow the KC to publish the results if they are under a total score of 8!". Now that's not ad verbatim, but all the poor pre 1984 results are not included in the statistics.

Until every dog in every litter bred is tested no-one will know what the true state of the breed is. We would never breed from any dog so badly affected with a disease that there is a strong likelihood of inheritance of that disease. It is our aim to avoid health problems in a rational and considered manner.

PHPV - Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (Eyes) - Aritaur results

Testing for PHPV tells you only what the dog's clinical status is, not what he/she will produce. Nor can it do so unless a gene is identified and DNA testing exists.

A dog sired by one of our stud dogs was PHPV tested as Affected, despite both parents being Clear. All other FCI countries operate a grading system - quite rightly differentiating between a Grade 1 (low) and Grade 6 (high/blind). That dog has only one small thread of membrane on one eye which in John Goodyear's opinion would not even be a Grade 1 in Europe. Despite the BVA grading other breeds, they have no plans to introduce grading for other breeds (one panellist said it's too much hassle for them), and this draconian system places that dog in the same category as a PHPV blind dog.

We have previously used a PHPV (again Grade 1 equivalent) Affected dog on a PHPV Clear bitch. The opinions of two of the BVA eye panellists were consistent that as it was a very low grade in the dog, any Affected progeny would be unlikely to be affected to any greater degree. On that basis, we felt confident that even if we did produce any affected progeny, it would a) not be of major significance to the progeny and b) we would have the litter tested to identify their status. The litter were tested by John Goodyear, and all 9 were Clear, as were every puppy in every litter he produced.

LESSON! Don't take everything at face value.

HEALTH/LONGEVITY of Aritaur Dobermanns

One of the best indications of health of a dog is the longevity of the relatives. Pedigrees of our dogs can be found on each dogs page on our site. Relatives of our dogs who have died, are:

Ch Holtzburg Mayhem - died aged 9

Ch Sallate Ferris - died aged 10

Ch Tamerlan iz Slavnoi Stai (Tamer) died June 2005 aged 8 (stomach cancer).

Crislea Centrefold of Aritaur (Juno) - died in January 08 aged 12 (DCM tested clear on 27 Dec 06 age 11). Just got old but always stayed beautiful throughout. The most gentle of ladies - still makes us smile thinking about her and how she was with her babies. They wouldn't dare not toe the line but she never had to even lift a lip to them.

Holtzburg Dior From Crislea (Freya) - Juno's Mum - died in June 06 aged nearly 13. A huge loss to us all, especially her 'mum' Pat.

Holtzburg I'm a Hooligan Too (Lucy) Litter sister to Freya above - died in August 06 aged nearly 13, owned by Toni & Ian Norman.

Aritaur Flip Fantasia JW (Java) died April 2006, aged 8 (liver failure/possible tumour). Still missing Java Binks every day.

Aritaur Sweetest Taboo (Kenya), died January 2009, aged 11 (possible stomach tumour). As with all our dogs when they die, we have their ashes box. Kenya is for once quiet - her Baskerville type scream - instead of a bark - made us all jump out of our skins! I half expect her box to start jumping when someone comes down the drive!

Aritaur Giovanna (Paige) died aged 5 (possible kidney failure). Too young and badly missed.

Aritaur Cavera Cobra (Edmund), died 12th June 2008 aged 7 (copper toxicosis). PTS on the same day as his friend Lucy. Very much missed.

Ch Aritaur A Little More Soba (Riva), died Sunday 8th November 2009 (aged 10). Riva developed pregnancy induced (or hormone related) diabetes during her last litter. She had thick cataracts, but still charged around the fields chasing down moles. Following a sickness she went into a diabetic crisis and we lost her over a weekend. Maybe she did finally get that mole and he had his revenge! We miss you very much Riva.

Aritaur Midnight Rave (Caius) put to sleep aged 12 on 12th January 2010. He had an aggressive lymphosarcoma that despite our best efforts couldn't be controlled. He was munching happily on cheese with us both at his side when he went.

Aritaur Valentina died on August 6th aged 6 1/2 from cancer of the spleen. 'Easter' was owned by Katja & Jan Henrikssen who miss her very much, as does her sister 'Bailey'.

Ned Ch Aritaur Dominatrix (Asia) died on 16th October 2013 aged 12 1/2. Healthy to the end and never a sad day in her life. xx


From Linda, who lost her and Roberts beloved boy

Tribute To A Best Friend ....

Sunlight streams through window pane, unto a spot on the floor,.
then I remember, it's where you used to lie, but now you are no more.
Our feet walk down a hall of carpet, and muted echoes sound,
then I remember, it's where your paws would joyously abound.
A voice is heard along the road, and up beyond the hill,
then I remember it can't be yours.... your golden voice is still.
But I'll take that vacant spot of floor and empty muted hall
and lay them with the absent voice and unused dish along the wall.
I'll wrap these treasured memorials in a blanket of my love
and keep them for my best friend until we meet above.

All text and images Copyright Aritaur Dobermanns.