Residual White

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Residual white describes any minor white pattern. Typical markings include a small white patch on the chest, white toes, or a tiny bit of white on the muzzle or forehead. The white pattern is caused by incomplete pigmentation of the coat at birth. Small white markings like these may shrink or disappear as pigment continues … Read more

Fake Tan Points In Puppies

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Let’s talk about tan markings on puppies. There seems to be some confusion about which patterns come with tan points or how to recognize agouti, sable, or tan point patterns in puppies. The tan points in a black and tan pattern (at/-) are the defined clear phaeomelanin markings on the cheeks, chin, throat, forechest, lower … Read more

Sable vs. Agouti: What’s The Difference?

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What is the difference between a sable and an agouti pattern in dogs? It’s not always easy to tell sable and agouti apart. Both patterns come with some amount of hair banding on their upper body and a lighter underside. However, the type of banding and the distribution of banded hairs throughout the coat vary … Read more



Watermarks are only found on sable and white dogs with an extended melanistic mask. It causes any sable shading to pool at the edges of the sable patches, creating a striking pattern. However, no one knows what causes watermarkings, also called etching or color pooling. What Is Watermarking? Imagine a dog with a sable pattern, … Read more

Red vs. Brown: What’s The Difference?

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What exactly is a red dog? How is he different from a brown dog? In terms of color genetics, the difference is easy to explain. Brown always means chocolate-colored eumelanin. And red always means orange-red to red phaeomelanin. Sounds quite simple, doesn’t it? The confusion about red coat in dogs originates from breed terminology, which … Read more

Irish Spotting In Dogs

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Irish spotting is a type of white spotting pattern. Both piebald and whitehead can cause phenotypes that closely resemble Irish-type markings. What Is Irish Spotting? Irish spotting is a white spotting trait that causes a distinct pattern. Typical Irish markings include some white on the chest, some white on the underbody, four white paws, and … Read more

Solid White Coat in Dogs

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There are two mechanisms that can cause a solid white coat in dogs. So… what’s the difference? Some dogs have a pigmented coat but with a very pale pigment color. Meanwhile, others have white a coat because they don’t produce any pigment at all. Both, low pigment intensity and white spotting can produce a fully … Read more

Dog Color Genetics Summary: Genes & Alleles Overview

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This page is a quick reference to show you the possible alleles at each locus. Summary A list of variants and genes affecting coat colors and patterns in dogs: B locus The B locus determines if a dog has black or brown eumelanin. B: Black Eumelanin in B/- dogs. b*: Brown Eumelanin in b/b dogs. *There are several variants … Read more

Ticking vs. Merle: What’s The Difference?

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What is the difference between ticking and merle in dogs, you ask? Well, ticking adds pigment to white spotting while merle removes pigment from areas with black or brown coat. Both patterns can create blueish or grayish coat and are some of the most easily confused color patterns. For beginners, it can be difficult to … Read more


Urajiro Markings 900x600 1

Urajiro is a type of countershading caused by a very light pigment intensity on a dog’s underside, forechest and muzzle. Urajiro markings cause light beige, cream or off-white areas on a dog’s underside while the pigment on the upper body keeps its original color. What is Urajiro? Urajiro is a term originally found in Japanese … Read more