I've been looking at albino dogs and have always noticed that they are deaf and/or blind. Why is this? I've noticed that every albino dog that I've seen is deaf and/or blind. What causes albino dogs to become deaf/blind? Why are they all white with pink noses?
on Apr 28th 2011
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Technically, there's no such thing as a true albino dog. The dogs you're talking about are probably either "leucistic" or are double merles.
Leucisism is what white doberman pinschers have - they are not devoid of color but are diluted. Double merles occur when a dog inherits two copies of the merle gene - this can only happen when two merle dogs are bred together. This usually, but not always, results in a dog with a high amount of white. These types of white dogs often have pink noses and blue eyes because the pigment there is affected as well.
Yes, these dogs often have vision or hearing problems. This is because when a canine fetus is in its very early stages of development, pigment is "linked" to the development of the retina and ear structures. If there is a lack of pigment, the dog's eyes and ears will often not develop properly.
Cricket answered on 4/28/11. Helpful? / 1
It's a genetic defect... basically a lack of pigmentation. That lack causes an extreme sensitivity to light, so vision can be affected as well as a tendency towards sunburn and skin cancer.
The first poster is correct in that these vision and hearing problems result from the improper development of hearing and vision nerves due to the lack of pigment. However, this can affect ANY breed that has a lot of white hair generally around the ears and on the head... pieds in Frenchies are an example as well as dalmations.
True albinos are an extreme rarity in dogs and usually never survive long enough to be weaned.
And, not all double merles or pieds or mostly white dogs are deaf and/or blind. Actually, the percentage that are blind or deaf is normally quite a bit lower than 50% of all white dogs.
Abinism is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of an enzyme involved in the production of melanin. Albinism results from inheritance of recessive gene alleles and is known to affect all vertebrates, including humans. While an organism with complete absence of melanin is called an albino or an organism with only a diminished amount of melanin is described as albinoid...these are special needs dogs and require NO SUN LIFESTYLES...and they require a more "delicate" care...they are not the type of dog's for a constant companion unless the sun is down...they need to be walked and exercised like all dogs however, they are "night walkers" all sun should be avoided and their entire environment must be shaded...same with any windows...I was a Melanoma Adviser by profession and thus I have adopted 2 abandoned albino dogs with 2 more with partial albinism...they should also be spayed or neutered.