Albino dogs have an absence of the pigment melanin in their coats and eyes. This condition is caused by recessive genes. Affected dogs have pink skin, white fur and pink eyes.
Researchers at Michigan State University have found that humans and Doberman pinscher dogs share a gene responsible for causing one form of albinism. The defective gene results in a missing protein needed for normal coloration. Dogs with this form of albinism are vulnerable to developing skin tumors known as melanomas.
Dobermans that have one normal gene and one albino gene usually have normal coloration but can transmit the gene for albinism when they breed. In other forms of albinism, a dog that has one normal gene and one albino gene may have a paler than normal coat, an effect known as dilution.