Tan points in French Bulldogs: obvious and HIDDEN facts
Genetic is a tricky and sometimes a mystical science. As more science will go forward as more new surprises we, breeders, will discover on practice. How many years took us to realize that there are 2 chocolate genes in Frenchies: the one that we cannot identify in lab and the one that we can, and that they are totally 2 different genes? If these 2 genes bred together probably we will not get chocolates at all. We may talk about it more detailed in other time, now we want to share our experience with tan points.
We all know that visible tan points will look in Agouti locus as : AtAt or Ata. But is it the only factor? Most of us know very well that it is not. Cream dog (locus MC1R- ee) will look cream; dogs with brindle gene
( KyKbr) may look solid color, sometimes 100% solid; and pied dogs ( extreme pied- SS) will look white or just as a regular pied. But genetically they will all be tan dogs with the Agouti gene Atat or Ata.
We get questions from our colleagues: how to get high and beautiful points and how to get them gold-red or better-pigmented color.
Some of us are pretty sure that Ata dog will look with darker, lower or almost invisible tan points. That theory is correct unless we start working with MC1R locus. (The cream gene, or Mask/ Mask less gene)
In case we have ATA kyky dog with EmEm (2 copies of mask)- our dogs will look dark tan pointed, almost no cheeks, almost no eyebrows, very dark
In case we have ATA kyky dog with Em/e (1 copy of mask and 1 copy of cream)- our dog will look with bright, nice tan points, probably with cheeks and eyebrows, very clear and clean points. (pic 2)
In case we have ATA kyky Em/E (1 copy of mask and 1 copy of maskless gene)- from our experience the dog will look almost the same as the dog ATA Em/e or there will be very slight difference. (pic 3)
Of course we had very different tan points with this DNA but from all the years of breeding the pattern is like we mentioned above.
In case of ATA kyky Ee (1 copy cream, 1 copy mask less) Totally bright, beautiful high clear tan points with eye brows and cheeks. Sometimes even better then AtAt, because we think the “a” (recessive black) “cleans” it out more. (pic 4)
Now the AtAt- same scheme:
In case we have AtAt kyky dog with EmEm (2 copies of mask)- our dogs will look dark tan pointed, very little cheeks, very little eyebrows. But it will be brighter then Ata EmEm kyky dog (pic 5)
In case we have AtAt kyky dog with Em/e (1 copy of mask and 1 copy of cream)- our dog will look with bright, nice tan points, with cheeks and eyebrows. (pic 6 + 7)
In case we have AtAt kyky Em/E (1 copy of mask and 1 copy of maskless gene)- from our experience the dog will look almost the same as the dog ATA Em/e or there will be very slight difference. (pic 8. )
Please note pic 7 and pic 8 are full littermates).
Of course we had very different tan points with this DNA but from all the years of breeding the pattern is like I mentioned above.
In case of AtAt kyky Ee (1 copy cream, 1 copy mask less) Totally bright, beautiful high clear tan points with eye brows and cheeks. (pic 9)
In other words-If our dog is: Ata EE or Ee the points will be just as beautiful as AtAt dog and sometimes better. In case of Eme or EmE the points still will look great!
Of course there are many-many cases of different outcomes with same DNA, but here we are talking on the most commons one.
Taking all the above to consideration, we must try to take out the EmEm (double masked gene) to get this nice colorful tan points. For American breeders the job is easy: historically USA fawn dogs are maskless or even creams, in Europe it was and it is still rare to find good quality fawns Frenchies with no mask and creams, specially now, when FCI regulations disqualify creams by changing standards drastically.
Gold or red color of tan points.
This issue is more challenging…
We learned that a dog that carries the cream gene would have higher & brighter tan points, which is great news! But the bad news is, that the cream gene, in most cases, will color change the tan points into pail, creamish color. UNLESS- the dog carries 2 copies of “Boxer red gene”, then this beautiful gene will show it’s magic.
Please see pic 14- (owner of the dog Robin DeYoung) He is a cream carrier with deep red tan points.
Because we don’t see a lot of dogs with such DNA and visual color- this is only our own theory which is hypothetical and based on our practice of breeding fawns, reds and now tan pointed Frenchies for over 17 years. We believe that there is another locus, still unknown to us and to the labs. That’s the deep red color. We would call it now: the Boxer red (pic 10).
And this color is responsible for a beautiful shade of the tan points and not only for them… Like the famous Shrinkabulls Blue Moon- (pic 11) or the dog mentioned above on (pic 14)
How can we bring it in and use? Just the old fashioned way: introducing red dogs into our breeding programs and recognizing them visually only. Problem with the reds (boxer red), that there are not so many … China bought few years ago the most of the gorgeous red dogs and exported them. Not many breeders have really good quality ones and who have them really knows the value for them these days.
So, lets look at possible formula of beautiful tan marked dog:
Ata combined with Ee or EmE or EE or Eme OR AtAt combined with Ee or EmE or EE or Eme KYKY plus 1 or 2 copies of the unknown Boxer red gene.
Lets be careful with accumulating cream (ee) because cream will “cover” the dog and points will be invisible. (pic 12)
But a dog that is ata ee kyky or atat ee kyky is very good investment as for a stud if don’t have cream carriers females at all.
No questions about brindle dogs: those should be out from breeding tan pointed program, BUT (and this is a very important BUT)… Brindle dogs usually are the best in type, health and anatomy, at least in Europe. Because this color was bred, improved, and inbred for over hundred years, we can say absolutely, that the consistency of quality (type, health, anatomy) of the brindle is incomparable to any other color in total. So, each breeder should really consider improving his breeding programs with the traditional brindles, because they are always the base. Don’t be scared of brindles ;) To build something you need very strong foundation – they are IT!
Pied locus is also not the best gene for producing beautiful tan dogs, because usually, in pied dogs (SS), the tan marks are covered by it (we don’t have a pic, but the best dog (our opinion) in such DNA and type is Ace – lilac tan pied boy owned by Dora Csikany)
Lets conclude: if your breeding program is planned for beautiful tan pointed dogs, look for dogs that carry the maskless gene and the cream gene (Don’t concentrate only on the Ayat or Aya gene).
BUT ALWAYS, ALWAYS Look at the quality & health first then at the color of your future dog!