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Canine Sense - Did You Know

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Tri To Bi

No I have not made a spelling mistake in the Title! Breeding the different colours our breed comes in, can really be, a daunting task. Over the years I've spoken to many breeders of totally different breeds who can't get over how we sheltie breeders have to consider 1st, the colour genetics of our breed, before selecting for all the other traits we try to improve upon based on the standard. We start with that, and then search out pedigrees, faults, looks, distance to the male ... just to name a few. Without getting in to all the colour genetics, let me put it very simply ... you could breed two dogs that are the sable in colour and not get any sables at all! Depending, you could (% wise is not likely) get a litter of all tris (black coat with tan face points), or, you could get bi-blacks (black coat with no tan points). Surprised??? well it's true. All shelties carry two colour genes, so in this case it means both parents carry the sable gene (coat colour you see) and the bi gene (usually making the sable what is called a shaded or mahogany sable). You could also get blues but that is another whole genetic lesson.

Bi-blacks are just harder to come by whether you try to buy one that is of quality to breed/show or to breed a dog with the potential to produce one. The genetic pool is less, there are less breeders who breed for this colour, and yes, I'd say in certain areas of the world the buying public isn't as interested in them ... people seem to still want that 'Lassie look', so breeders are careful in producing them so they aren't growing up a whole litter. Breeders will also say it can be harder to finish a Championship also that is this colour. Yes we've tried both, not tho with unrelenting ambition, not with much success.

Right at birth, it can be hard to tell the difference between a tri and a bi as the face tan points are not very visible. One clue is to look under the base of their tails to see if there are any brownish hairs. Well, wet black puppies with a flat coat can all look the same, and you just motor on, delivering the next, and when all is said in done, much needed rest for the mother, and you. Life tries to move back to normal. Busy! You eye ball every so often to make sure all are nursing. Fat puppies, I don't tend to weigh each day.

So where am I going with this?

On Tues, I had a better look at the two black girls as on the one the tan points were starting to show. I picked up the other girl to have a closer look, and nope I can't see any tan on her face; under her tail, NOPE! OH MY, I think this is a bi-black!!!!

Below is a picture of them taken on Wednesday, 4 days old.
On the top left is the bi-black girl, the bottom right pup yawning is the tri girl where you can just start to see a tinge of brown on her upper jaw area.
Here is a closer look at the tri girl this morning, Friday. You can see the tan points developing over the eyes also.
The blue boy and bi-black sister where you can really see the difference.
Am I ecstatic! You BET! Now we just wait and watch, crossing our fingers that she has the qualities we wish to carry on with and she stays in size.
So should we name her Shelamo Try to Buy ??? or Shelamo Tri to Bi ??? :)

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