Idiopathic head tremor

Cases of idiopathic episodic head tremor have been reported is some dog breeds, such as Dobermans and English Bulldogs.

The affected dogs present with either vertical or horizontal head movements. There is a lot of variation in the duration and frequency of occurrence of the episodes, but they typically last for a few minutes and occur a couple of times per day. Consciousness is not impaired during a head tremor episode, and there are no other alterations in the behaviour associated with this condition. There is a lot of variation in the age of onset: dogs less than one year of age can have head tremor episodes, but older dogs can also become affected. Based on pedigree analysis, it is likely that the disease has a genetic contribution.


Study breeds:

Dobermans, and other breeds with episodic head tremor.


Dogs eligible for study:

We collect samples from dogs with episodes of idiopathic head tremor. Our priority is in Dobermans, but we are interested in hearing about this condition in other breeds as well.


Copies of diagnoses and other information needed:

Case report, results from clinical examinations, possible post-mortem report.



Further information on sending blood samples.

A sample form to be sent along with the blood samples.

An electronic form for details and updates of dog's health and owner's contact information.

We collect detailed information from all sampled dogs with episodic head tremor using an epilepsy questionnaire. Please download the questionnaire from this web page, fill it out and answer to the relevant questions and send to us by e-mail.


Contact person: Tiina Heinonen (tiina.heinonen(at)



Wolf et al. 2011: An Inherited Episodic Head Tremor Syndrome in Doberman Pinscher Dogs. Movement Disorders, Vol. 26, No. 13, 2011

Guevar et al. 2013: Idiopathic Head Tremor in English Bulldogs. Movement Disorders, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2014