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


Merle Dog Coat Color 900x600 1

Merle causes irregular patches of diluted pigment in all eumelanin-pigmented areas. Merle creates random patterns but different allelic combinations can result in some distinct phenotypes. What is Merle? Merle impairs the ability of pigment organelles to function properly. This causes a random mixture of areas with lighter diluted patches and areas with normal pigment production. … Read more


Harlequin Great Dane 900x600 1

The Harlequin-Locus in Great Danes acts as a merle modifier. Harlequin turns the semi-random patches with reduced eumelanin found in merle patterns to white. This creates a white base color with dark irregular patches that match the dog’s regular pattern. Harlequin is not the same as harlequin merle (Mh)! What is Harlequin in Great Danes? … Read more


Countershading 900x600 1

If your dog has a lighter coat on his underside compared to his upper side he likely has some form of countershading. This is a pattern found in many animal species including dogs. What is Countershading? Animals with countershading have a much paler underside compared to the upper half of their body. This type of … Read more

Ticking, Spots and Roan

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Ticking and roan cause spots or hairs with normal color to grow inside areas that were white at birth. A dog can only develop ticking or roan if it has some form of white spotting. What are Ticking and Roan? Ticking, roan and even Dalmatian spots create similar patterns but the mechanisms behind these phenotypes … Read more