|Image provided to me by J. Burns of Ghostfire Photography, and are copyright to him|
This is Merlin and he is believed to be a German shepherd mix. Mixed with what? It's difficult to say, though he does look a bit like a coyote and as such it's possible he may have some wild canid ancestry. He is shy and was found by a road, so who knows? Though at first glance he appears to be sable, his hair is actually banded. so, what's his genotype?
Due to the banding of the hairs on Merlin's body, he must be agouti. Agouti is often confused with sable, such as "sable" German shepherds actually being agouti. Both genes can vary a great deal, from dogs with virtually no black to ones with extremely heavy black. The two can be easily distinguished by comparing individual hairs. Sable dogs will have red hairs tipped in black and the occasional solid black hair, while agouti dogs will have hairs with more bands of color, often black-red-black or other patterns. Since Merlin is thought to be a German shepherd mix, there is potential for him to be carrying saddled tan, tan point, or recessive black. Since saddled tan is the most commonly seen color on the breed, I am going to say he is awas agouti carrying saddled tan.
The red seen on Merlin is moderate in shade. I suspect that he is cchcch moderate red.
The last gene that can be confirmed from his appearance is the presence of urajiro. Merlin has the paleness on his cheeks, legs, chest, and other areas that is associated with the coloration. Though the inheritance is uncertain, the paleness seen in numerous breeds is though to be caused by the same genes that cause the consistent presence of urajiro in the Japanese breeds, such as the Shiba Inu and the Akita. From what is know, the gene is some sort of recessive, either simple or polygenic, and only affects the red seen in a coat. For GtG I am working with the theory that urajiro is caused by a simple recessive. This would make Merlin uu pale urajiro pointed.
So, that's awas cchcch uu or moderate red agouti with urajiro (carrying saddled tan).