Showsight Presents the Shiba Inu

GENETIC TESTING FOR COAT COLOR AND LENGTH IN THE SHIBA INU

(photos from NSCA website at shibas.org)

There is another gene in the agouti series for recessive black labeled “ a ” which is recessive to black & tan. This is not the dominant black seen in most breeds like the Labrador or Chow, but is the black of the uncommon black German Shepherd, black & white Sheltie, or the very rare black Samoyed or American Eskimo. The Shiba does not appear to carry the reces- sive a . The lab will test for the A series and look for the three things that are known, Ay sable, at black & tan, and a recessive black. If the dog only has one of these, then it is assumed that the other is aw , the wild color. Very few Shibas have been test- ed that are suspected of carrying the aw gene, but those that have been tested are aw/at sesames. By appearance, the aw/at sesames have a wider distribution of dark hair than the ay/at sesame, the dark hair extending down the bridge of the nose without a widow’s peak. It is also possible for a Shiba to be aw/aw , but no dog that has been tested has had that color. It is possible for a Shiba to appear to be sesame but actually not carry the at gene, as Ay/ Ay , the gene for sable, allows for black hairs. Of course, if a dog has a black & tan parent, it will carry the at recessive. Four cheek swabs were submitted to VetGen for testing, with the following results: • Dog A was a red with no known black & tan in his pedigree and never known to have produced one, and his test results came back EE , Ay/Ay , and negative for a . • Dog B was a sesame and his test results showed him to be EE , with only one copy of Ay , and negative for a , so he was Ay/at by process of elimination. At the time of submis- sion, there was no test for aw , and at was done by a process of elimina- tion. Since then, the test for at has become definitive. • Dog C was a red known to have produced cream, and his test results were Ee , Ay/Ay , and negative for a . • Dog D was a cream and her test results were ee , Ay/at , and negative for a . Although this is a small sampling, the genetics bear out what is seen in the Shiba breed. These basic coat colors and modify- ing factors that cannot be identified genet- ically at this time influence the expression of the genes. Nowhere is this more appar- ent than in the urajiro on the Shiba.

234 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MAY 2022

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