Sable or Fawn?
Most labs consider Sable and Fawn to be the same. For purposes of Color breeding, for many years Rare Color Breeders have agreed to Specify a difference between Sable and Fawn. This difference lies on the Agouti Gene. FYI: Many people refer to the Agouti Gene as Black tri, Black and Tan, and just Tri.
If a dogs DNA is ayay at agouti, we call this dog a Fawn.
If a dogs DNA is ayat at Agouti, we call this dog a Sable.
In doing this, we hold down confusion for breeding purposes and to know what the dog is capable of producing. For instance, a Fawn dog can never produce anything but fawn or sable. When bred to a mate that is either Sable or Black Tri (black tri is atat at agouti), the Fawn dog can produce Sable offspring, but can never produce Black Tri offspring.
Agouti aka ASIP gene interacts with the MC1R gene to control red and black pigment switching in most dogs. Dog coat color is further complicated when other genes restrict agouti expression for example the dominant black gene-K. There are 4 known alleles of agouti. They are listed in order of Dominance.
1. ay- fawn or sable which expresses in shades of yellow to red with some dorsal black tipped hairs.
2. aw-Wild Sable expressing as banded hairs of yellow and black.
3. at-Black and Tan black expressing as dorsal hairs with tan hair on cheeks, eyebrows and undersides.
4. a-Recessive Black expressing as all black
The agouti test can help determine the color of dogs that have white patterns that may obscure the distribution of the colored pigment.
ay / ay 2 copies of fawn
ay / aw Dog is fawn and carries 1 copy of wild sable
ay / at Dog is fawn and carries 1 copy black and tan
ay / a Dog is fawn and carries 1 copy of recessive black
aw/ aw 2 copies of wild sable
aw/ at Dog is wild sable and carries 1 copy of black and tan
aw/ a Dog is wild sable and carries 1 copy of recessive black
at/ at 2 copies of for black and tan
at/ a Dog is black and tan and carries 1 copy of recessive black
a/a 2 copies of recessive black
In Red/Yellow (Fawn) dogs, the hair is not affected by the 2 DILUTE genes [bb & dd] nor the Merle Dilute Gene. The nose, footpads, and eyeliner is the only thing affected by these color genes. Therefore, you can have a dog with it's original hair color, but with diluted pigment as noted. These dogs are correctly referred to as Lilac Fawn/Sable, Blue Fawn/Sable, Chocolate Fawn/Sable and Ghost Merle. There is no Black Fawn/sable, this is the same as the standard fawn/sable dog with a black nose.
For any color dog to be TRUE color rather than Fawn/Sable Color, it has to have a FULL Black Base or at least one dominant seal gene base. The 2 black Bases are the SEAL gene [Kb] needing only one since it is a dominant gene, and the Black and Tan gene [atat].
Visit our Sable vs Fawn Study Page for more info.
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