New studies have shown that the old information on canine color genetics contained some errors. I've updated this page to
reflect what I have learned of the latest information. It is now known that dominant black is not on the A locus and brindle
is not on the E locus. It hasn't yet been determined where they ARE, but for now they are both being assigned to the

NOTE: for some examples of breedings and the genetic color analysis of the parents and puppies click here

For examples of what you CAN'T get - click here

I've added a new page showing how a puppy's color can change from their birth color - click here

I've added a new page showing eye colors - click here

Dogs have two major types of pigment in their coats. One is red/yellow, the other is black. The color varieties have to be
formed by various genes controlling the amount, extent, and distribution of these pigments - individually, in combination, or
in competition with one another.

NOTE: in the following descriptions "Dark" refers to both blue and black, also "fawn" can range in shade from pale yellow to darkest red

(Click on the thumbnails to view a larger version)

A LOCUS: these genes influence the relative amounts and location of Dark pigment and of light pigment in both the individual hairs, and in the coat as a whole.

Ay - (dominant) - Fawn or Sabled-Fawn ('sooty') - also see e

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May be born very dark, and the red/Yellow pigment will clear from a darker birth coat to lighter juvenile coat.  
May develop greater or lesser extent of Dark tipping and/or intermixture of Dark hairs with growth of the mature
coat. In its most complete expression produces a clear red/yellow color (see PERSONAL OPINIONS #3)

ag (or aw) - (recessive) - Agouti Sable (characterized by banded hairs)  

This color pattern is apparently extremely rare in fact, I am not yet convinced it exists in the
breed at all. (see PERSONAL OPINIONS #3)

May be tan-point at birth.  As the puppy grow out of babyhood the hairs clear to a banded fawn with more or
less Dark intermixture.

as - (recessive) - Saddle marking

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Dark saddle with extensive tan markings on head and legs.  May be tan-point at birth. As the puppy grows the
color "clears" around the edges...sometimes called "creeping tan (or brindle)"

at - (recessive) - Tan points (may not be present at birth, but become apparent with growth)

This color pattern is apparently extremely rare or non-existent in my opinion it is non-existent in Whippets.

B LOCUS: (affects all Dark pigmented areas: eyes, skin, nose, hair) (NOTE: see CREAM below)

B - (dominant) - Black (full quality and quantity of Dark-pigment granules)

(also - SEE D LOCUS)

b - (recessive) - Liver dilute (reduced degree of pigment formation)

The liver recessive apparently does not exist in Whippets.  All Whippets are "BB" at this locus.

C LOCUS: (affects pigment in hair only)

C - (dominant) - Complete (full, rich expression of Red/Yellow pigment)

cch - (recessive) - Chinchilla (lightens Red/Yellow, Blue)

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cd - (recessive) - white coat with black nose (disputed, probably non-existent-see sw gene)

cb - (recessive) - Cornaz (pale grey) coat with blue eyes
extremely rare or non-existent in Whippets

ca (or c) - (recessive) - Albino (pure white with red eyes)
extremely rare or non-existent in fact, it is not certain that this gene exists in domestic canines at all

C gene is responsible for full depth of pigmentation. This is the condition observed in the deep rich pigmentation of golden
brindles, deep tans or reds, or deep, absolutely blue varieties. cch has a distinctly greater effect in reducing the red/yellow
pigment than it does in reducing the blue pigment.

In Chinchilla influenced hairs, pigment is reduced by the formation of both fewer and smaller pigment granules. Red/Yellow is
affected before, and more extensively than blue. The reduced degree of Dark-pigment formation in the dd (blue) as opposed
to the D (black) color allows the still further step toward less pigment (cch) to have visible expression.

D LOCUS: (affects all pigment: eyes, skin, nose, hair)

D - (dominant) - Dense pigment (complete expression of all pigment - 'intense' pigmentation)

d - (recessive) - Blue Dilute pigmentation

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The "blue" dilution gene affects all colors in the hair, skin and nose leather.  Its effects can be seen in the sabled-fawns,
producing the 'blue-fawns' in which the normal black tipping is seen as 'blue' by the action of the recessive at this locus and
the red/yellow shades have a "peachy" cast.  In the presence of the dominant K this recessive produces the solid "blue"

E LOCUS: (subject to incomplete dominance, affected by plus and minus modifiers)

Em - (dominant) - Superextension Mask (Dark face, ears, dorsal line)

E - (dominant) - Extension (allows expression of Dark pigment)

See the Ay pictures above - E (or Em), k, and Ay must be present for the fawn/sable colors to appear...if kbr is present the pattern will be brindle

e - (recessive) - Restriction, or Red (coat color is clear, even Red/Yellow with NO Dark hairs) - affects only the color in
the hair - also, see Ay

When a dog is AyAy (fawn or sabled-fawn), the E gene has little Dark pigment on which to work. Sabled-fawn dogs probably
represent a conflict between Em or E, which attempt to form or extend Dark pigment and Ay which attempts to restrict it.

It is possible to have AyAyEE dogs that are all shades of sabled-fawn, including clear red/yellow, that, when crossed with ee
K? Reds (genetically dominant black, but appearing as red because the "ee" double recessive prevents the formation of black
pigment in the hair) recreate a solid Dark coat - Ee K?.

G LOCUS: (graying) - apparently does not exist in Whippets.  All Whippets are "gg"

G - (dominant) - Graying

born Dark - where Dark is expressed by other genes, progressively lightening with maturity

g - (recessive) - Normal Dark color

This is the gene that produces the born-Dark silver in Poodles and the blue of Kerry Blue Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers.

K LOCUS: (Black)

K - (dominant) - Dark

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This is the gene that produces the solid Dark colored dogs (black, or blue in the presence of the double "dd" genes

kbr - (recessive) - Brindle (partial extension)

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k - (recessive) - non-dark, non-brindle

This is the gene that allows the expression of other color/pattern genes to be visible - ie: not hidden by the dominant dark

M LOCUS: (Merle, Dapple, or Harlequin)- apparently does not exist in Whippets.  All Whippets are "mm"

M - (dominant) - Merle ('torn' darker spots scattered over lighter background)

m - (recessive) - Normal color

Usually expressed as 'Blue-merle' - black patches on a grayed or white background, but can actually act on any color
except the S Locus produced white.


R - (dominant) - Roan (born non-white areas gradually acquire an intermixture of White)

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r - (recessive) - Normal color

May be indistinguishable at maturity from a 'roan' produced by the action of the T gene on S Locus white areas
(see T Locus)

S LOCUS: (White Spotting)

NOTE: White is not a color, it is the absence of color

S - (dominant) - Self Colored (may have minimal white areas due to minus modifiers)

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si - (recessive) - 'Irish' Spotting (muzzle, forehead star/blaze, chest, belly, feet, tail tip)

(Click on the thumbnails to view a larger version)

sp -(recessive) - Piebald (more or less equal amounts of white and base color)

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sw - (recessive) - Extreme White (large amounts of white, with minimal, or NO, areas of base color)

All genes at this locus may overlap those above and below due to the action of plus and minus modifiers.

T LOCUS: (ticking)

T - (dominant) - Ticking

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(base color flecks and/or small spots that appear after birth in S locus produced White areas. There is both
"early" ticking which begins to appear as the puppy grows, and "late" ticking that doesn't appear until well after
maturity - even as late as 7 or 8 years of age.

t - (recessive) - Clear White produced by the S locus genes

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Ticking may be distributed on any S Locus produced white area.

Instances of two piebald non-ticked parents giving rise to ticked pups should prove to be examples of matings in which one
parent, at least, was genetically Tt while appearing somatically to be non-ticked. (see PERSONAL OPINIONS #2)


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There is also a CREAM gene in Whippets. I am not certain of it's inheritance, but it appears to be a recessive as 2 non-
creams can produce a cream. This gene produces a very pale, nearly white, cream dog with or without slightly darker
shading. These dogs will have light brown noses and eyerims. This color is sometimes called liver, but it is not a true liver as
it does not produce a brown coat, only brown skin.

UPDATE - discussions on the internet with several people who have bred true brown-nosed creams to fawns or reds and
gotten brindle puppies shows that the cream gene is a "masking" gene that can hide brindling. It could be that it could also,
therefore, mask black/blue as well - NOTE! I have recently received information about a CREAM dog bred to a blue fawn
bitch that had 3 blue puppies in it - HERE. So CREAM *can* mask black/blue.

Here's some colors/patterns for which I am not sure of the genetics - but they're interesting!

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Split Face

Split Face

white face

Watermarked brindle

greying face

greying face



"Deer" Fawn

"Deer" Red

"Deer" Brindle

"Deer" Blue Brindle

PERSONAL OPINIONS (subject to change!)

1. Roaning is defined as Dark areas that gradually acquire an intermixture of white hairs with maturity. 'Roans' that develop
from White areas that gradually acquire Dark hairs are expressions of Ticking.

2. The T (ticking) gene is one of two ticking genes: one early ticking (ticking begins at, or before, maturity) and the other
late ticking (ticking usually does not start until full maturity at four or five years of age); or else the onset of ticking is
controlled by modifiers with widely separate effects.

3. Sabling (allowed by as) is the darkest on face, ears, and along the dorsal line at birth, therefore some 'black-masked
fawns' with minimal masks, are actually ordinary sabled-fawns that did not completely lighten on those areas with the loss
of the birth coat. Perhaps they should be called SABLE-MASKED FAWNS


Dominant - a "strong" gene which masks the presence of other genes at it's own locus.  A dominant colored dog, at any
particular locus, which can produce a recessive at it's locus is an "impure" dominant - example: "Dd" produces a black dog
which carries, but does not display, the blue dilution.  A dog which only carries the dominant gene at any particular locus is
a "double" dominant - example: "KK" produces a black dog which only produces black offspring.

Recessive - a "weaker" gene which must be present in double combination in order for it's effects to be apparent - example
"dd" which produces a blue dilute.  A dog with a "double recessive" bred to another dog exhibiting the same double recessive
will produce only like colored offspring.

Homozygous - "pure" at any particular location for any one gene - example: "DD" - homzygous for black, or "dd" -
homozygous for blue

Heterozygous - "impure" at any particular location for any one gene - example: "Dd" - heterozygous black, carrying blue

Phenotype - the visible appearance of a gene's effects - example: "Dd" - phenotype is black

Genotype - the genes carried, but not necessarily with visible effects - example: "Dd" - genotype is black, carrying blue

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