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Discussion Starter #1
How can one differentiate between the two? I recently got a pup whose sire appeared to me to be a Bi Color. When I got the pups AKC pedigree his father was registered as a black and tan, not bi color. He was an all black dog, only having tan on his legs and chest. From the little I have read, I thought that indicated a bi color. There is no bi color or black in his pedigree, all black and tan. I am just curious about this as I am trying to better understand German Shepherd coat genetics.

Thanks in advance!
Landon Baier
 

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Some people consider the blanket back black and tan as a bi-color.
Show a photo of your puppy, it should be easy to see what he is.
 

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A bi-color pup and Black and Tan or Red pup almost look identical when they're young. If you're sure the dad is bi-color there is a chance the puppy is too, but its hard to tell you for sure. I had a bi-color that came from a Bl and Rd female and a saddle male. The breeder should be able to tell you what the pup will be. A good breeder knows what they're breeding for even with color.
 

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Well the pup is a Sable... His mother was a sable. No question there. I am inquiring about his sire. Here is a picture from the breeder (it is not mine) of his sire. I thought the sire was a bi color when I saw him but the sire is listed as a black and tan in the pedigree. Thats why I'm wondering the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I guess I'm just curious as to if my Sable pup is carrying a bi color gene or black and tan... If that makes sense..:confused:
 

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In most paperwork it's color only, like "Black and Red", "Black and Tan" etc... regardless of the 'percentage'. For example, you won't find "Saddle Black and Tan" on most paperwork, or "Blanket Black and Tan".
 

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My pup's dam is a bicolor, she's listed as "black and tan" on the SV registry. I haven't turned in the papers for AKC papers yet, didn't know "bicolor" was an option on AKC. In Germany a bicolor is considered black/tan. Doesn't mean the pup will be a bi-color, the dam of your pup looks bicolor to me, although she doesn't have the toe penciling and leg penciling.

The top left is the father (sable) the right is the mother, bottom right is an uncle. My boy is bicolor because he has all the characteristics, but also his pedigree has bicolors and blacks. You should post a pic of your pup! Love puppy pictures, even better if he's a bicolor (I'm a little partial of course. :))

I think you can tell pretty early if it's bicolor, if the pup has tar heels and toe and leg penciling. Hope the pics and explanation help. :)
 

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OP, your dog's sire is a bi-color. The person registering him with AKC just picked the wrong color. It happens, as often it can be hard to tell a melanistic black/tan from a bi-color, especially when young as pups of both colors will often have what are considered "bi-color" traits like tarheels and toe penciling. The difference is that on the ones who are genetically black/tan those black markings on the feet will fade and the tan markings will enlarge as the pup matures whereas on a true bi-color those tarheels and toe penciling will remain and the tan markings will remain the same, may even recede a bit, as it matures. But when very young, especially at the ages when most puppies are being registered with AKC (8 weeks or younger) it can be practically impossible to tell which color a puppy is unless you know the genetics of the parents and only one of those colors is actually possible.

So while his AKC papers may list the wrong color, that isn't an uncommon occurrence with bi-colors and dark black/tans, and it isn't a bit deal. Genetically he's a bi-color.
 

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The SV does not recognize BI. They will have them and the blanket b/t the same way, usually black with tan/brown markings.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I guess I wasnt very clear... The dog im asking about is my pups father. When I got my pups pedigree from AKC it had my pups FATHER (the dog pictured in my LAST post) listed as a black and tan, but I thought he looked like a bi color...lol.

My pups is a Sable... His father was the blk/tan/bicolor im asking about... His mother was Sable.

Here is my 9 week old Ruger :D
(Picture at 7 weeks)
 

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Maybe my response was too complicated.

The sire is bi-color.
His papers are wrong.
Not an uncommon color mistake as both bi-color and melanistic black/tan pups look almost identical when young, including both often having the tarheels and toe penciling. So whoever picked his color when he was registered with AKC just messed up. Not a big deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Maybe my response was too complicated.

The sire is bi-color.
His papers are wrong.
Not an uncommon color mistake as both bi-color and melanistic black/tan pups look almost identical when young, including both often having the tarheels and toe penciling. So whoever picked his color when he was registered with AKC just messed up. Not a big deal.
Thank you, I understood your first post completely. I was referring to those who thought I was asking about my pup instead of his sire. Thanks for everyones input!

And here is MY Sable pup Ruger... Pic didnt show in last post
 

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Chris, when do non-bicolors lose the toes/penciling usually? What age can you generally tell pretty certainly, that it's one or the other? Just curious. :)
 

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Seems to depend on the individual dog and bloodlines. With Heidi and her melanistic black/tan littermates they were gone by 10-12 weeks or so.

With this little guy I seem to remember he was 5 or 6 months old before they totally faded.

 

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Blanket b/t (carries BI) at 7 weeks.




BI color at 7 weeks



Not the best pictures. Looking for more.
 

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I don't have any with the two together which would have been a better way to compare.
 

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Bi color at 3 weeks and 4 months. They tend to darken while the b/t lighten.
 

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