The White Doberman Controversy
If you are thinking of entering the White Doberman world as an owner or breeder, be prepared to be subjected to, if not engulfed in, controversy. The White Doberman controversy centers around whether the dog is an albino is simply a Doberman that has white fur.
Is Partial Albinism Possible? - One argument put forth is that a White Doberman is not an albino although its fur pigmentation suggests that the hair portion of the dog is albino. While on the surface this may seem to make sense, the truth is there is no such thing as being partially albino. Whether we are talking about a human, a dog, or another animal, it is either albino or not albino, there is no in-between.
This would seem to be much ado about nothing, except that albino dogs (and other animals as well) often have certain medical problems, and often require special care. Another problem is White Dobermans are sometimes called albinos and therefore are presented in the pet trade as being rather exotic, and consequently can be expensive. The real issue here is whether anyone should or should not try to breed albinos. Breeders normally try to breed harmful traits out of a dog breed, rather than trying to perpetuate them, which would be the case when attempting to breed and sell albino Dobermans.
The Eyes Can Lie - The truth is, no one really knows for certain whether a White Doberman is an albino Doberman or simply "white". Every time something is presented which supports the argument that the dog is albino, something else pops up suggesting otherwise. For example, it is common knowledge that albinos have red or pink eyes. White Dobermans often have blue eyes. This is a case where common knowledge is not incorrect. Albinos can and often do have blue eyes, or eyes of a color other than red or pink, as the coloring of the iris in the eye is determined by the light it reflects and not necessarily by pigmentation. That simply means your White Doberman with blue eyes may or may not be an albino, so you're back at square one.
Anticipated Disorders Don't Always Yield The Facts - Albino dogs are often afflicted with one or more disorders, especially kidney or liver disorders. It is true that albino dogs are more apt to have those afflictions, but the problem with this argument is that all albino dogs do not have these problems, and non-albino dogs can have them, but are not as apt to. This applies across most breeds, and the extent to which it applies to the Doberman is an unknown, which only goes to say if your White Doberman has kidney problems it may or may not be an albino, and it doesn't matter what color its eyes are.
You May Never Know Quite What You Have - If there is a problem with owning a White Doberman it might be simply that one doesn't know whether it should be treated as an albino or not. An albino dog is usually a dog that is handicapped to some extent and requires special attention. A White Doberman, if not an albino, requires the same care as any other Doberman. You almost have to own one for awhile to know exactly what you have, and you may never know for certain whether you have a normal dog with some albino tendencies, or an albino that in most instances, except for color, seems like any other Doberman.
The controversy can easily extend across other breeds as well, but as we all know, there are plenty of white dogs around, few of which could ever be mistaken for albinos.