Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guess the Genotype #35

I can't believe that I've forgotten to do a GtG in over a week! To make up for it, there will be a few coming your way.
So, can you guess this dog's genotype? What about its breed?

Image is from under a Creative Commons License

This dog is from Switzerland and is one of the purpose-bred Alaskan huskies used in dog sledding.  As such, there is likely some ancestry other than the "husky." Sledding dogs are often not any specific breed, but instead are purpose-bred mutts that may have bits of all sorts of breeds thrown in. A dash of pointer hear, a bit of sighthound here. Breeders often pick a certain trait that they like, such as speed or focus, and add whatever breed has that trait into their breeding program. Then, they will select for the desired traits. No name was given for this dog.

A lot of people find the "husky"-type coloring seen in such breeds as Siberian huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and other such breeds difficult to discern. I disagree. As with every attempt to guess a genotype, you need to know what to look for, have keen eyes, and take it in small steps. This is what I find the most likely explanation for this "classic husky color." From here on, when I say "huskies" I mean all of the dogs that exhibit the "classic husky color."

To begin, this dog is exhibiting some some form of the Agouti locus: either sable or agouti. It can be quite difficult to determine whether a dog is sable or agouti unless you can look at the hairs. The hairs on a sable dog will be tipped in black, while those on an agouti dog will be banded with black. To make it even more confusing, there is a color seen in huskies known as agouti, while the color on this dog would most likely be called "black and white." After a lot of consideration, including looking at sable and agouti dogs who have more red to them, I suspect that this dog is Ayat sable carrying agouti. I believe he is sable due to the last of black on his cheeks, and I am saying he carries agouti since dogs with more black on their cheeks are quite common in huskies.

The reason why this dog looks so different from the usual sables and agoutis is due to the dilution of the red pigment in the coat to a very pale cream. I suspect that he is cece extreme chinchilla since, though he is quite pale, there is still cream in his coat.

The central stripe seen going up the dog's face is actually caused by one of the genes on the Spotting locus. Irish white seems to be one of the most common marking patterns seen in the huskies, with solid and piebald also appearing, and even extreme white piebald in certain lines.  From the amount of white discernible on this dog (facial stripe, splash of white on chest), it is most likely that he is sisi Irish white.

Lastly, the striking, icy eyes are caused by genes well-known in the huskies, but of uncertain inheritance. It is not related to any of the other genes that are know to cause blue eyes, such as merle or one of the spotting genes.

So, that is Ayat cece sisi or pale cream sable with Irish white (and blue eyes, carrying sable).

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