color genes A, E and K

color genes in dogs: the A, E and K loci

A: Agouti series

 ay = red (ranges from light to dark red), suppresses dark pigment, somtimes red with dark hairtips
 aw = wolf color, suppresses dark pigment into red and cream, the hairs have bands of red, cream and black.
 at = black and tan, suppresses dark pigment into red as well, but in other areas so the coat is black, except around the eyes, muzzle, chest and lower legs
 a = recessive black, this is the black in the German Shepherd dog and some other breeds
  In the Chow Chow, the allele ay is found and maybe a.

E: Extension series

 EM = melanistic mask
 EG = grizzle, found in Saluki and Afghan
 E = both dark and light pigmnet can be formed
 e = recessive red, suppresses the dark pigment, ranges from red to cream
  In the Chow Chow two alleles E and e are found.

In Chow Chows ee is probably the cream color
The EM (mask) is certainly not the allele that couses the black mask in young Chows, because the mask in Chow Chows fades away when they get older while EM stays dark.

K: blacK series

 KB = dominant black
 kbr = brindle, this is not a Chow Chow color, although I have seen photos of a Chow Chow in this color
 k = other
  In the Chow Chow two alleles KB and k are present.

connection between the loci E, K and A

1 - if the E-locus is ee and the A-locus is aa, the coat black
2 - if the E-locus is ee, the coat is cream (can look like light red)
3 - if the E-locus is EE or Ee and at the K-locus is a KB allele present, the coat is black
4 - if the E-locus is EE or Ee and at the K-locus either kbrkbr or kbrk is present the coat is brindle, with the lighter stripes colored in the present A-locus color
5 - otherwise, if the E-locus is EE or Ee and at the K-locus is kk, the A-locus determines the coat color.
In the Chow Chow rule 4 does not apply, as the brindle color is not a recognised color.

It is very rare, but sometimes there comes a black pup from red parents.
This can happen when a cream Chow Chow is mislabeled as a red as ee suppresses KB.
It might also be that recessive black (aa) is present in the Chow Chow breed and that this is the genetic explanation of a black from red parents.

color and coat

this page was updated at
March 4th, 2012
© Anita Meulstee

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