Monday, March 19, 2012

Guess the Genotype #58

Can you guess this dog's genotype? Its breed?

Image is from under a Creative Commons license

This is a borzoi named Kobold. He is an example of how long hair can muddy a color and make it a bit difficult to distinguish. He is brindle, but rather than the stripes being fairly crisp they look like they have bled into the surrounding red. The affect is quite interesting. If you were to clip this dog's coat short, the strips should appear as crisp as those seen on a breed that is naturally short coated, such as the boxer. The fuzzy appearance is thanks to hairs in the long coat laying in a way that only long hair can: all mixed together, feathering into the surrounding hair areas. So, what is Kobold's genotype? Let's have a look:

To begin, this dog appears to be sable. Since he has both black and red present in his coat, the Agouti locus must be in action. Sable makes the most sense for producing a dog of this coloration. However, it's also possible that he is expressing agouti, which may very well be present in the breed. Despite this, I still believe him to be AyAy sable.

Kobold's red is moderately intense and as such I suspect him to be Ccch moderately intense.

Next comes brindle. Since Kobold has stripes, he clearly must be brindle. The real question is whether or not he is homozygous for the brindle gene. The borzoi breed has all three variants of the K-black locus (black, brindle and non-black/brindle). Though he can't have a copy of the black gene since it is dominant to brindle, it is quite possible he carries non-black/brindle. For the sake of argument, I am going to say that he is kbrk brindle carrying non-brindle.

Next is the white seen on this fellow. White such as this is controlled by the Spotting locus. As with the K locus, borzois can be found with all variations of the S locus (solid, Irish white, piebald, and extreme white). This particular dog is in the piebald range. Since he is about in the middle of what may be expected of the piebald gene, I suspect that he is spsp piebald.

Last, but not least, I want to discuss urajiro. Urajiro is paleness in red coloration seen in similar locations to the placement of tan on a tan pointed dog. The term urajiro comes from the Japanese breeds where the phenotype is very commonly seen. However, other breeds will sometimes have urajiro as well, including the borzoi. But does Kobold have it? I don't think so. The paleness seen on his face appears to be from age rather than anything else. As such, I believe he is most likely UU non-urajiro.

So, that would be AyAy Ccch kbrk spsp UU or piebald moderate red brindle (carrying non-brindle).


  1. the genetic tests have now shown Grizzle/Sable to be in the gene,I doubt Kobold was a grizzle/Sable tho, i remember his breeder referring to his twin brother as a silver brindle. We refer to the grizzle version of dominant black as chinchilla, but also have a 'grizzled/domino/sable' colour in the breed also. We do have a sabling gene (black tipping) like a collie sable, as well as the grizzle/sable in the breed :)

    a picture pedigree of his brother is here

    1. Thanks for the information. It can sometimes be difficult to find out if certain genes have been confirmed in a breed or not. I still would like a genotypes explanation for coloration in a husky, for example.

      In addition, technically a dog has to be expressing either grizzle or sable to be a full-body brindle like Kobold appears to be under all of that white. Brindle is a gene that overlays black stripes over a base, and that base can be any of the genes on the Agouti locus: sable, agouti, tan point/saddled tan, or even recessive black (though the stripes wouldn't be visible). It all has to do with how the different canine color alleles interact with eachother. Some act with others, partially cover others, or sometimes even completely obscure them. In fact, all dogs genetically have some variant of the Agouti locus, no matter what their phenotype might be. My black Labrador could be sable under all of that black, you just can't tell because the dominant black gene is covering up the Agouti locus. I've been intending to work through the canine color genetics and do some explanation on what genes act with what others in which ways, since I've known even some very well versed people to become confused when it comes to how genes interact.

      Thanks also for the link. I found Kobold's pedigree through it and, lo and behold, he's described as a blue brindle! He doesn't appear to be in the picture, but dark blues can be quite hard to distinguish from blacks. This goes to show that these guesses are, indeed, only guesses and I can and will sometimes be wrong. I especially love to look at pedigrees as they can be very telling as to what a dog may be carrying.

  2. For working huskies with an open studbook, the only thing that makes them a husky is that they run like hell - kind of like border collies only need eye like a border collie to qualify in their registry. So, they can have hodgepodge or even unknown pedigrees when it's working ability and not "blood purity" that qualifies the breed so strange genes could easily creep in regularly.

    1. That's true, Ella. It's a bit different for dogs like this borzoi, though. Closed registries do make it easier to guess at what sort of color a dog will likely be and the genes behind it, if nothing else.

  3. he wasn't a blue brindle, as he had dark pigment, IMHO, he was probably a crème brindle.