Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a progressive (advancing) heart muscle disease that, if left untreated, leads to deterioration of heart function or sudden cardiac death. In DCM, the pumping force of the heart decreases. Due to the powerless heart walls, the heart chambers sag - they dilate.

Affected by DCM are mainly large breeds such as Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane, Deerhound, Doberman, Newfoundland, Boxer, Saint Bernard, German Shepherd and others. Among the smaller breeds, the Cocker Spaniel is most affected.


Diagnosis is made by:

  1.     X-ray of the chest - assessment of the size of the heart, sequelae such as congested pulmonary vessels and water retention in the lungs.
  2.     ECG - clarification of cardiac arrhythmias.
  3.     Cardiac ultrasound - determination of the contractility of the heart and the size of the heart chambers.


  •     Loss of condition
  •     Weakness
  •     Cough
  •     Increased panting
  •     Collapse
  •     Weight loss


In many breeds, the mode of inheritance is not yet fully understood. DCM is probably multifactorial (genetics and environmental factors). In many breeds, multiple genes are involved in the development of DCM, so it is inherited polygenically.

Indirect markers indicative of DCM exist for Irish Wolfhounds and Doberman (European and American differ) thanks to intensive research .

The test for Irish Wolfhounds is offered at our institute.

Goals of the project

Establishment of a blood bank for different breeds with DCM

Hereditary analyses

Find regions in the genome that lead to DCM using SNP chip analyses

Practical application: development of a genetic test

Which breeds are we particularly interested in?

  •     Bernhadine
  •     Cocker Spaniel
  •     Deerhound
  •     Great Dane
  •     German Shepherds
  •     Irish Wolfhounds
  •     Newfoundland
  •     Retriever

and others

Non-European shipments require an import permit and may not be shipped to us without these papers. It is therefore necessary to clarify the import modalities with us before sending samples.