Genetics of a Sable...
COAT COLOR GENES
“E”= Whether to make it or not (extension)
Black= (A) E Buff= ee
“A”= (agouti) Where do we put it?
Black = (E)
A Sable = (E) ay
Blk/tan = (E) at
to wolf sable not seen in cockers but in Huskies, Malamutes etc. In most
breeds, fawn refers to ay yellows. Cocker reds may be either ayay
(clear sable red) or ee. If the whiskers are black, the dog is ayay. If
straw or cream colored, the dog is ee. Basenjis are clear red sable—ayay.
3. “B” = What
color do we make it? (black/brown)
Black=(AE)B Brown= (AE)bb
“D” = and do we dilute it? (the dark pigment)
Blue = (AE)B
dd Brown= (AE)bbdd
Merle is a patchy dilution
“C” = Should we dilute the light pigment? (Color to no color-albino
Red= C Cream=C
ch Silver= C
“S” = How much of the body should we cover?
(solid/ not solid, both light and dark
Black= (AE)S Parti little white (AE)si si p=parti
(AE) sw sw
s = spotting, i= irish spotting, p = piebald, w = extreme white piebald or
“R” and “T” = Roaning and Ticking “G”= Graying
Roan is dark hairs growing in a white coat. A second
type of roan is white hairs growing in a dark coat like a roan horse.
Graying is the replacement of colored by uncolored hairs as a dog gets
older. A dark puppy washes out with age due to interspersed white hairs.
Fading may start immediately after birth or after weeks or months and may
cease graying by the first adult coat or may continue throughout the dog’s
Where is controversy concerning the second type of roan
and whether a roan is merely heavy ticking. But roan is a simple dominant
gene. You can’t get it if you do not see it. A roan puppy must have a roan
parent. This means roan is a separate gene from ticking as ticking is not
Sable Explanations and
Answers to Often Asked Questions
Are there sable and tan dogs?
Ay is incompletely dominant to At, which may explain why
some sable dogs LOOK like they have tan points, or a tan mask. Some call these
‘tan points’ because it looks like it phenotypically. An Ay At (sable/tan
points) dog is usually darker, having more black hairs overall than ayay
What will be the genetic impact on the breed as a whole
if the sable becomes as popular as the browns?
As Terri Paschal points out about the 2003 stud issue of the leader, there
Blacks 99 dogs…….19 having brown in their pedigree
ASCOBS 131 dogs……39 having brown
Partis 142 dogs……27 having brown----------------Total=85 dogs with brown, or
Many of the
browns have sable behind them. So, to answer the question, the impact on the
breed could go as high as 25% but how high is it already? So far the impact has
been that some top producing and winning dogs go back to sable.
How many generations does the gene stay active and does
it ever go away? What do you do if you do not want the gene in your lines?
The gene will never go away. As Francis Greer said, “Genes don’t go away,
they hide.” If you do not want a sable to ever pop up in your line, breed tan
points to tan points. There are no sable genes in a tan pointed dog.
What about all the variations of sable?
There are no variations of sable. There is only the amount of sabling,
like the amount of ticking, or the amount of roaning, or the
amount of black on a parti-color, or the amount of tan on a black and
A serious breeder is not a ‘color’ breeder. What happens
when breeders choose color first?
Bologna! Everyone is a color breeder. Some kennels only breed ASCOBS, some
only Reds, some only Silver buffs. Some only breed Blacks and Blk/tans. Some
only breed parti-colors.Some kennels only breed brown. Even if you are one of
the few kennels that breed all varieties of cockers, you would be one of the
fewer still if you crossed color varieties. Because if we do not think about the
color we are breeding, we may end up with mismarks, and we then are truly adding
to the pet population.
Browns are common in the Sporting dog world, but how
will Sable be looked upon by group and other sporting judges. It is not a
Sporting Dog color.
Yes, it is. But most people have not seen it as such. There are sable
English cockers and sable Springer spaniels, and they used to be all the same
breed, remember? Below are links to look at these colors of spaniels. Some
argue that the color is not a good field color because you cannot see it. But
that argument holds true for the brown cocker, the Field Spaniel, The Wirehair
Pointer, and the Labs.
What would the breed gain, or lose, by adding another
A color gained (or regained). Nothing lost. Did we lose by adding brown to
the show-ring? Did we lose by adding black and tan? Did a color change your
Do we have to be open to all colors? What about merles?
Where do we draw the line?
Lines drawn in the sand are usually arbitrary. What we are saying is, “Don’t
mess with my territory/color/breed.” But you may continue breeding and showing
your color, your variety, your breed. No one will make you cross the line and
bring the other color in. If we accept a color, are we saying as a breed that we
are encouraging the breeding of colors as opposed to other determining factors?
(i.e. health and conformation) Of couse not. We all should be breeding for the
BEST QUALITY. A good dog does not rely on its color for its quality.
I am not debating the validity of Merles in this site.
The link for merles is:
What about the pet population and over population? Won’t
we be adding another color affect the numbers of pets bred?
Actually, just the reverse would be true. The reason pet breeders want to
breed the color is that it is considered a RARE color. If we allow the color to
be standard, we will be taking the glory out of breeding the color.
What have sable breeders done to establish themselves as
serious breeders? Do they agree as to the genetics or modes of inheritance?
Sable breeders have not developed a leadership that can speak for the color, nor
do they seem to offer to help pay for the mailings etc. that ASC has to do for
It is difficult to defend oneself as a serious breeder of sables when the
color is not acceptable by the standard as a valid color. If dog shows validate
that one is a serious breeder, then how are sable breeders to be thought of as
serious? An inference must be made that a breeder who shows good dogs might also
have good sables at home, but in the end, who cares because they can’t be shown.
The leadership question is bothersome. Did each color of
cocker have a ‘leadership’? There are excellent sable web sites available with
correct explanations of sables and their genetics for anyone to view.
I would gladly pitch in money for mailings and I am sure
others would too, but there could be a political backlash for that instead of
having the vote carried by the club as all other matters would be.
Since ASC is actively supporting research into genetic
health issues, is it in the best interest of the breed to introduce another set
of genes, and will that introduction proliferate as quickly as the brown genes
did and add to the confusion of genetic profiles? Will old problems surface tied
to the sable gene after so many strides have been made in other colors?
There is no such thing as ‘old problems’ within the breed or within a
particular color. We still have all of the; cataracts, hip dysplasia, thyroid,
epilepsy, etc. These are a BREED issue, not a COLOR issue. Also, to ask a
question such as this is to assume that sables are not out there being bred and
have already become part of all varieties of Cocker. Furthermore, sable is not a
‘new’ color, just as roan is not new. These are old colors that have been
I truly believe that the way to make progress on health
issues is to listen to what other breeds and countries have done to wipe out a
defect. Have dogs Penn-hipped instead of using OFA. Not only can it be done
earlier (4 months) but dogs can be bred according to the defects shown in each
dog thereby never doubling up on a defect. Shiloh Sheperds completely wiped out
hip-dysplasia in the breed this way. Have the stud dog be permanently cleared
before use, etc.
sable-cocker.com to see names
of sable cockers from AKC stud books back to 1924.
Other Sable Definitions and Facts
ENGLISH SPRINGER SPANIELS
Following is an older standard for English Springer Spaniels showing some
similarities between Springers and Cockers. Remember too that the Fawn color has
black and sable was often called fawn. From “THE BOOK OF THE ENGLISH
SPRINGER SPANIEL” by Anna Katherine Nicholas pp 12-13; “Somewhere preceding
the turn of the century [17th century], England’s Sporting Spaniel
Society drew up the following standard for them.
Colour; liver and white or black
and white (with or without tan), fawn and white, yellow and white, also roans
and self colours of all these tints. The pied colours are preferable.”
COAT COLOR GENETICS IN LHASA APSOS by
Catherine Marley, MD
SABLE (red, gold, cream, or gray). This is the commonest Lhasa coat color. It is
composed of a mixture of light and dark hair in varying proportions. The color
of the dark hair is usually black but can be liver.
The parti-color gene can change any of the 4 basic coat
colors (sable, clear tan (buff), black, black/tan, by adding white.
The A series controls the PATTERNING of the dark
BOOK OF POMS…….Official
Standard, Oct. 14, 1980
12 colors: Black,
brown, Chocolate, Beaver, Red, Orange, Cream, Orange-sable, Wolf-sable, Blue,
white, and Parti-color.
Sable colored dogs must be shaded
throughout as uniformly as possible with no self-colored patches. Shaded muzzle
on sables permitted. Black mask is a minor fault.
MARCH 1971 revised to state--
Any solid color, any solid color
with lighter or darker shadings of the same color, any solid color with sable or
black shadings, parti-color, sable, and back and tan.
SHADED SABLES; (definition in Pom
Shaded sables are dogs whose coats
are shaded throughout with three or more colors. This shading must be as uniform
as possible with no patches of self color. Sables generally have the best
texture and length of all coat colors.
1924- THE COLLIE IN AMERICA
Showed that black & tan is recessive to sable.
1935- A study by Al Mitchell on
Collie color concluded that a pair of clear yellow sables cannot produce black &
tan puppies. [clear sable is AyAy. B/tan is At]
1966- DOG BREEDING
REPRODUCTION AND GENETICS by .A. Asdell, M.A.,PHD, talked about
sable. Agouti. Ticking, and roan as being a PATTERN .
The series of genes being
responsible for a color pattern is As, ay, at, aw.
produces dark pigment.
restricts the amount of it.
produces tan points in certain areas or patterns.
causes hairs to be banded with color (wolf-sable)
1979-THE GENETICS FOR DOG BREEDERS by Roy Robinson
shows that the A, a and their mutant allele superscripts, s, y, t, sa, are
dominant for the PATTERN of black pigment..
Oakridge Cockers has a
very thorough site on color genetics:
Coat Color genetics in Lhasa Apsos;