Canine Color Index

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Canine Color Index

Canine Color Charts

A-Locus (Fawn, Sable, Black-and-Tan/Tricolor, Recessive Black)

This chart explains what a dog's phenotype will be based on his genotype. This chart assumes the dog is "n/n" for the K-Locus. Adding in one or more copies of the KB-allele will modify the pigment that is being produced.

Coat Color Genotype
Sable ay,ay
Sable (Black-and-Tan/Tricolor hidden) ay,at
Black-and-Tan/Tricolor at,at
Solid Black/Bicolor a,a
Sable (Solid Black/Bicolor hidden) ay,a
Black-and-Tan/Tricolor (Solid Black/Bicolor hidden) at,a

B-Locus (Brown, Chocolate, Liver)

The black (B) allele is dominant to the brown (bs, bd, bc) alleles. In this gene are 3 common mutations (bs, bd, bc) which result in brown instead of black eumelanin production. In some breeds, such as the French Bulldog, additional mutations not identified may affect eumelanin production. Below are the known "b" alleles in different breeds of dogs. Please note that there is no difference between these alleles in the coloration of a dog; for example, a dog that is bsbs will not appear different than a dog that is bdbd or bcbc.

Breed Breed color Possible Alleles Present
Australian Shepherd Red bs, bd
Border Collie Brown bs, bd, bc
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Brown, Sedge, Deadgrass bs, bc
Chinese Shar-Pei Chocolate, Lilac bs, bc
Cocker Spaniel Brown, Liver bs, bd, bc
Dachshund Chocolate bs, bd
Dalmatian Liver bs, bd, bc
Doberman Pinscher Red bd
English Setter Liver Belton bs
English Springer Spaniel Liver bs, bd
English Pointer Liver bs, bd
Field Spaniel Liver bs, bd, bc
Flatcoated Retriever Liver bs, bd
French Brittany Spaniel Liver bs, bd
German Shorthaired Pointer Liver bs, bd, bc
German Longhaired Pointer Liver bs, bd, bc
German Wirehaired Pointer Liver bs, bd, bc
Italian Greyhound Isabella, Chocolate bc
Labrador Retriever Chocolate bs, bd, bc
Large Munsterlander Brown bs, bd, bc
Newfoundland Brown bs, bd, bc
Poodle Brown, Cafe-au-lait bs, bd, bc
Portuguese Water Dog Brown bs, bd
Pudelpointer Liver bs, bd, bc
Small Munsterlander Brown bs, bc
Weimaraner Mouse-gray bs, bd, bc

D Locus and B Locus

This chart explains the phenotype or appearance of a dog based on the genotype. In this case, the term "basic color" refers to areas that are self-colored, and would be black without any additional modifiers such as the chocolate and dilute loci. For dogs that are fawn or sable, it should taken into account that this may only refer to the nose and foot pads of the dog.


Dogs that are "ee" will only express yellow pigment, so this table holds true for all dogs of that genotype, regardless of the A- and K- loci.

Chocolate Dilute Basic Color
B/B D/D Black
B/B d/d Blue
b/b D/D Liver/Chocolate
b/b d/d Faded Liver/Lilac
e/e D/D Yellow
e/e d/d Champagne

E-Locus (Recessive Yellow) and B-Locus

This chart explains the phenotype or appearance of a dog based on the genotype of the dog for "self-colored" areas of a dog. This refers to areas of a dog that would be black without other modifications (ie a solid Labrador Retriever, or the black part of a black-and-tan dog). It does not affect areas that are colored otherwise, such as fawn or sable.


Dogs that are "ee" will only express yellow pigment, so this table holds true for all dogs of that genotype, regardless of the A- and K- loci.

B-Locus E-Locus Basic Color
B/B E/E Black
B/B E/e Black carrying yellow
B/B e/e Yellow
B/b E/E Black carrying brown
B/b E/e Black carrying brown and yellow
B/b e/e Yellow carrying brown
b/b E/E Brown
b/b E/e Brown carrying yellow
b/b e/e Yellow with a brown nose

(S Locus) Parti, Piebald, or Random White Spotting

There is no single basis for white spotted patterns that occur in animals like cats, dogs and horses. In horses random white spotting, or deletion of color, has been determined to be caused by more than half a dozen known genetic factors. In more than 25 different dog breeds, a mutation found in a gene called

 

Microphthalmia Associated Transcription Factor- (MITF) is associated with a piebald spotting. In many breeds piebald behaves as a dosage-dependent trait. This means that dogs with a single copy (Sn) of the MITF variant will express a limited white spotting pattern, while dogs that have 2 copies (SS) of the variant will exhibit more white with very little color. In some breeds dogs that are (SS) are completely white while dogs that are (Sn) have what is referred to as mantle.

Breed Breed Color  
Basset Hound Parti  
Beagle Parti  
Border Collie Piebald  
Boxer White or Flash  
Bulldog - English Piebald  
Bulldog - French Piebald  
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel White  
Chihuahua Piebald  
Chinese Shar-Pei Flowered  
Cocker Spaniel - America Parti  
Cocker Spaniel - English Parti  
German Shepard Piebald  
Dachshund Longhaired Piebald  
Dachshund Smooth Piebald  
Dachshund Wirehaired Piebald  
French Brittany Spaniel Parti  
German Shorthaired Pointer and White  
German Longhaired Pointer and White  
German Wirehaired Pointer and White  
Goldendoodle Parti  
Havana Silk Parti  
Havanese Parti  
Labradoodle Parti  
Newfoundland Landseer  
Pointer and White  
Poodle Parti  
Portuguese water dog Parti  
Shar Pei Flowered  
Saint Bernard Piebald  
Whippet Spotted  
Yorkshire Terrier Parti