Sunday, May 2, 2010

Unusual dog coat colors

I was watching a pair of dogs play in the yard this morning, and marveled at their unusual colors. I thought I'd share them with you, and if you aren't familiar with coat colors, show you merle and brindle coloring. Willow on the left is an unusual merle color (diluted?), and Max, on the right, is a brindle. The brindle is brown with black stripes, while the merle is a combination of spots and patches.
It took there two almost 48 hours before they got used to each other and started playing. It was quite a relief when they decided to be friends!

The grey collie at left, Auggie, is a blue merle. And the Australian Shepherd is a red merle. The amount of merling can vary wildly. There can be just a little while the rest of the dog is a solid color (see Stormy, the black collie photo), or the merling can appear all over the body as in the red dog. A dog like Stormy is often referred to as a "cryptic merle."

Two dogs with the merle gene should never be bred to each other. Their pups may be deaf or blind or both. These pups often have white covering the ears or eye that is blind. Although a mostly white merle dog is beautiful, it could be severley handicapped. You will see white collies in the show ring, but they almost always have color covering their eyes and ears, and they are referred to as "color-headed white." See the photo of Tulip at left. She is a sable-headed white.

You will see the merle colors in many herding breeds, such as Collies, Shelties, Corgis, Australian Shepherds and border collies (no they are not all black and white!).

Brindle dogs are often Boxers, Pit Bulls, Bull Terriers, Mastiffs, Boston Terriers, and Bulldogs.Max, the brindle dog at the top of the page, is a mixed breed, and we'll never know where his brindle color came from.

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

~Kim~ said...

THANKS for this post!! Having mostly Goldens, it's interesting to read about the different pups, their coats and what they're called!!