Dachshund Colors and Patterns
Dachshunds come in three basic colors - red, black and tan and wild boar from which all the other colors or shades of a color arise due to genetic color modifiers.
1- Red is a base color. a. This are genetic modifiers that lighten or darken the red color, but has no impact on the black color. This modifying gene can lighten the chocolate color as well. 2- Wild Boar which has a blackish red appearance to the hair which is most commonly seen in the wirehair coat, but not exclusively. 3- Black and tan is a base color
If these are the three basic colors in dachshunds, what about all the other colors?
It so happens that there are other genes which are capable of modifying these colors with some of these being: 1. The chocolate color which modifies the black color to appear chocolate, but does not modify the red color. This color modifies the black pigment in toenails, nose leather, pads on the feet, iris,etc. to appear as chocolate. Even red dachshunds with this modifier can have the red coat, but all the above mentioned black parts are chocolate colored (I call these chocolate reds). 2. The dilute colors which modify the intensity of all colors. Some of these dilute colors are cream-like reds (fawn), blue and tan dilute black and tan , Isabella and tan (dilute chocolate and tan). 3. Cream color
Pattern Type in Dachshunds
Dachshunds have four pattern types - solid (described above), brindle, dapple (merle) and piebald.
1. Solid - 2. Brindle - the brindle pattern exhibits a series of black striations in the base color as is quite attractive with the red base color. Obviously, it is not very noticeable when the coat is black and tan only becoming visible on the tan points. 3. Piebald - These dogs have a varying degree of white as the primary color with the colored patches being any of the colors described in the color section above. 4. Dapple (merle) - exhibits a coat where there are white blotches scattered throughout the base coat color and is the most attractive when there is a lot of contrast between the base coat color and the white blotches, as seen in the black and tan dapple. This effect is often hard to see in red dapples. a. The above dappling effect is evident when one dappled individual is bred with a solid colored individual. b. Double Dapple occurs when both parents are dapples. The dominant coat color is then white with the area of the solid color being in the minority. Another impact is that with both single dapples and double dapples the eye pigmentation can be totally blue or have wedges of blue.
At Vindachs we only breed for the three basic color and try to avoid most of the color modifiers, but an occasional chocolate and tan will appear. We do have the solid, brindle and single dapple patterns. We purposely avoid the dilute colors and the double dapple pattern.
There are some serious genetic health problems associated with the dilute colors and the double dapple pattern.
COAT COLOR ASSOCIATED ALOPECIA -The quality of the coat associated with the dilute colors often is quite poor with moderate to severe alopecia present in more than 50% of the individuals. This is very difficult to treat and easy to avoid by not breeding individuals who have the chance of producing this color of offspring.
DOUBLE DAPPLE GENETIC PROBLEMS - when both parents are dapples, the offspring show coat colors with a high preponderance of white which in itself is not a problem, but many of the offspring can exhibit deafness and/or blindness. In some cases, offspring may have greatly reduced eye size. Even if the eye appears to be normal in size, there may be other eye impairments. This problem is easy to avoid be not breeding two dapples to each other and if a white dachshund color is desired choose the piebald which does not exhibit these problems.
References which relate to the Genetics of Hair Color in Dogs
Little, Clarence C. 1957. The Inheritance of Coat Color in Dogs. Howell Book House.
Robison, Roy. 1990. Genetics for Dog Breeders. Pergamon Press.
Willis, Malcolm, B. 1989. Genetics of the Dog. Howell Book House.