Updated: Mar 6
I've had a few folks ask lately the "secret" to Mithril's color. It took a little digging and a couple of litters to prove theory, but here it is:
The recipe to the "blue" color is: Eg + Ay or Aw + Ky + S/sp + ii
With Mithril, he's Peppered Blue, a shade of Grey with white and light brown bands interspersed through out the coat. (see gallery below)
All these loci have to line up as dominant in order to produce "Blue"
Eg = "Grizzling" of all blacks in the coat, by degrees. The highest degree is an
Ay or Aw or a* means they are "Sable" - the hairs (NOT of the undercoat but the guard hairs) will have black and red banding throughout the hairshaft. Aw = Wolf Sable traditionally has more blacks distributed throughout the body. The ability show sable genetically, depends on the "K" locus. Ky means lots of switching between red and blacks will show.
* I have no information if Eg will modify a/a (recessive black) as well.
Kb = means the coat is primarily black, having no or little reds in the coat. Including the undercoat.*
The "K" locus controls how much blacks show on a sable (see gallery) dog. Dogs like Mithril and his brother Otto are solid black genetically. Kb. If there are any reds in the coat, they are very small bands or just on the tips of the hair shaft on some parts of the body (This is Ky). *One of the only ways to "see" what the dog holds on the K locus. If the undercoat is light, it is more than like Ky. If the dog has a black/off black undercoat, it is more than like Kb
ii = means the reds of the coat (if any) are washed out to a white or almost cream.
The "I" locus (like eye) modifies reds only. From the rich reds of an Irish Setter down to the creamy color of a Mastiff or Yellow lab. Mahogany>Golden>Platinum>Silver>White
This is referred to as "INTENSITY". High intense red is REALLY red. Low intensity reds can be almost white. This is what adds the "peppering" to Mithril's coat. (See gallery)
S/Sp The "S" locus controls white spotting. White spotting can be compared to a white blanket covering the dog. Holes in the blanket will show the dogs true color underneath the blanket. No white spotting is S - Some white on legs, blazes, belly and chest possibly white, is capital Sp. Mostly white with colored patches is sp. This is probably the hardest genetic modification to get away from. If all loci are lined up, but it just gets covered up by white....you will never see the marvelous Blue color we love.
Eg works best on the blacks if it has "e" or "E" as a recessive. Eg is dominant over "e" and E but not Em. At times I think it acts as an INCOMPLETE DOMINANT or CO_DOMINANT with it's recessive on the "E" locus. The blue dog will have to be bred with a phenotypical white or red dog (e/e) dog in order to throw blues with Dominant Eg. Breed any two Eg's together and will lighten the grizzling, possibly to almost white.
This pup is likely Eg/Eg. As this pup grows the Blacks in the coat will develop. The grizzling will go through varying shades of change until the dog is three years old. Note the face and head are solid white. Common to other breeds carrying Eg such as Irish Wolfhounds . (See gallery)
Innovating this special color recipe into a breed of dog that has been primarily white for generations is going to take time and labor of love. Bringing as much black into carefully selected lines will be necessary. Always with health and temperament in the forefront of our breeding programs, a collection of responsible dedicated breeders will be forever in Blue genes.