Dancing Doberman disease

From Dog

Dancing Doberman disease is a neurological disease characterized by a peripheral sensory neuromyopathy primarily affecting the gastrocnemius muscles[1].

This disease is seen only the Doberman and the underlying cause is unknown.

Clinically affected dogs present from 6 months to 7 years of age with a gradual onset of abnormal flexing of one pelvic limb while standing.

As the disease progresses, alternate flexing of both hindlegs gives the dog the appearance of dancing. Although lameness is not evident, many patient are reluctant to walk and proprioceptive deficits are observed during examination[2].

Over years, gastrocnemius muscle atrophy develops with general hindleg wasting.

Diagnosis can be difficult and is one of exclusion of other causes through radiographic imaging of hindquarters, myelograms, muscle biopsies and electromyography.

A differential diagnosis would include myasthenia gravis, Wobbler syndrome, polyneuropathies, hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis.

Although there is no specific treatment for this condition, most affected dogs have good quality of life.


  1. Chrisman, CL (1990) Dancing Doberman disease: Clinical findings and prognosis. Prog Vet Neurol 1:83-90
  2. Dewey, CW (2008) A practical guide to canine and feline neurology. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell, Iowa State University Press, Iowa. pp:429-430