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Alapaha Connection Kennels

Channa Kelly
Alapaha Connection Kennels
San Diego, CA
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About the color

Coat Color

Dogs have a wide variety of genes that influence color. Dogs have two forms of melanin in their coats. One, eumelanin, is dark, though it can vary somewhat in color due to variations in the protein that forms the framework of the pigment granule. The base form of melanin is black. Melanin can also appear brown (often called liver in dogs) or blue-gray. The second pigment, which varies from pale cream through shades of yellow, tan and red to mahogany (as in the Irish Setter), is called phaeomelanin. There is at least two and possibly as many as four gene series that determine where, on the dog and along the length of the hair, eumelanin and phaeomelanin appear. The generally recognized color series (loci) in dogs are called A (agouti), B (brown), C (albino series), D (blue dilution) E (extension), G (graying), M (merle), R (roaning), S (white spotting) and T (ticking.) M, merle. This is another dilution gene, but instead of diluting the whole coat, it causes a patchy dilution, with a black coat-becoming gray patched with black. Liver becomes dilute red patched with liver, while sable merles can be distinguished from sables with varying amounts of difficulty. The merling is reportedly clearly visible at birth, but may fade to little more than a possible slight mottling of ear tips as an adult. Merling on the tan points of a merled black and tan is not immediately obvious, either, though it does show if mask factor is present, and may be discernable under a microscope. Eyes of an Mm dog are sometimes blue or merled (brown and blue segments in the eye.)

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