Monday, October 31, 2011

Guess the Genotype #30

Can you guess this dog's genotype? What about her breed?

These images were provided to me by a reader, Susie, and are copyright to her.

This is Mouse, and she is a whippet/Bedlington terrier lurcher who is 3/4 whippet. Since she is mostly whippet, it is likely that the majority of the genes affecting her color will be coming from that stock. So, what's her genotype?

First off, since she has both black and red in her coat, the Agouti locus is in effect. It is most likely that she is expressing the sable gene. The owner was intrigued by the distinct dark line that Mouse had when she was small, but this is one of the normal expressions of the sable gene. It does appear to be most noticeable on younger dogs, however (one, two, three). This sort of phenotype is also seen in the whippet breed. The loss of black hairs as she ages is also quite characteristic of sables, as when you have a "clear sable" dog, it will be born with a black overlay that will disappear with age. Anyway, it is also possible that she is carrying one of the other alleles. There is no indication from the parents, since the father was gray and the mother Irish marked brindle. The alleles that she could be carrying are the black and tans: saddle markings are seen in whippets, and tan point is seen in Bedlingtons. However, I suspect that she is AyAy sable.

It is also quite possible that Mouse could be carrying the liver dilution as liver is commonly seen in Bedlingtons. She is clearly not expressing the gene, but I am going to say that she is probably not carrying the gene since she is only 1/4 Bedlington and is thus BB black.

As for the intensity of her red pigment, she is rather pale. It is suspected that this intensity of red in whippets is caused by the chinchilla gene in the homozygous form. If this is true, it would make her cchcch pale red.

As for the blue dilution, which is often seen in whippets, Mouse is again clearly not expressing the gene. However, since she is mostly whippet it is very possible that she is carrying the gene. I am going to say she is, and that would make her Dd black carrying blue.

Mouse definitely has a black mask, something that is quite common in whippets and I believe to be nonexistent in Bedlingtons. I suspect that she is EmE masked carrying non-masked.

Mouse is also expressing the graying gene, which is what makes Bedlington terriers so pale as adults, even though they are born quite dark. You can see this in the fact that the dark hairs are far paler in the images of her when she is older. Since the gene is nonexistent in whippets, she can only be Gg gray carrying non-gray.

Mouse is also not expressing either black or brindle, despite the fact that her father was black and her mother brindle. It is possible that she is an extremely minimal brindle, but I do not believe that this is true. As such, she must be kk non-black/brindle.

Last, but not least, this little lurcher is also carrying one of the white spotting genes. Since her father was solid and her mother Irish, and she has little white herself, she must be Ssi solid carrying Irish white

So, that would be AyAy BB cchcch Dd EmE Gg kk Ssi or graying masked fawn sable with residual white (carrying blue, non-maked, non-graying, and Irish white).

I do believe this is the most comprehensive GtG example that I have done thus far.


  1. Wow. That's an amazing analysis. ANd what a GORGEOUS little dog.

  2. I agree. She is a beautiful little thing. :)

  3. Thankyou :3 this was super interesting! Mouse is currently in training to be a hunting companion; if she is successful in the field I may breed from her in a few seasons' time. It would be interesting to see what phenotypes cropped up in that scenario!

    I have another couple of photos you may find interesting :). My family keeps a pack of working beagles and some of the rarer 'pied' colours crop up fairly regularly in our lines. This colour is known as 'hare' pied, which seemes to be a straightforward sable and white

    'Badger pied' appears more grey, so I'm guessing it's just a sable with a heavier black overlay? Here's the best picture I could find (this isn't one of our hounds)

    Finally, a case which has always confused me is cairn terriers. Cairn terriers are renowned for 'changing colour' as they age, typically darkening. The differences in coat colour over the years can be quite striking. Here is my dog Dandy as a puppy.

    A slightly older puppy

    Older again

    He is a 'red brindle', but at this age not much brindling was evident. You can see a few stripes on his rump here, when he was half stripped out

    About 6 months old here

    About a year

    Two years

    Two and a half years

    As he gets older, I'm expecting him to darken and darken until he is almost black. But why do cairn coats do this? Is there a colour-genetics reason? Is it to do with texture? Any insight would be most welcome

  4. I agree that the hare pied is likely just sable, and badger pied appears to be the same with paler red, or possible with the blue dilution.

    That is the first time I've seen a brindle darken with age! I looked into it, and it does appear that this sort of phenotype is common in Cairns and rare elsewhere in the doggy world. Other breeds with a similar coat type don't appear to have the darkening happen as they age.

    If you don't mind, I will use several of these pictures for future guess the genotype posts. :) I'm working on a post featuring Dandy right now.