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I wasn't sure if this is the right category to post this in, feel free to move if necessary.

I have a question about color / color patters on my Jaz

When we got him, he was mostly black, with some tan - but all black on his back (Pic 1)

At four months, his back was still all black, but lighter everywhere else (pic 2)

Presently, he has some tan markings where he was all black before (pic 3, 4, and 5)

One thing I should mention is that up until last month, he was scratching / biting, until we changed his diet. The areas where he was biting were practically bald. Most of the bald areas are where the fur is now lighter on his back - not all though. I asked the groomer about this and she said it could be his summer coat coming through (what exactly is a summer coat??)

Anyways, just outta curiousity, I'm wondering what his color pattern would be classified as? Black and tan (saddle back?) or is he growing into a sable pattern? Also, will the tan hair on his back return to a black color? (they are still a little shorter than the rest of his fur, from when he was biting at it)

P.S. sorry about the thumbnails, I don't know how else to insert pics into my post. Thanks
 

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I am in the same boat as you Diana! My molly looks the same, in fact Jaz looks like her twin lol( she is nearly 6 months) and I dont understand what 'colour' she is either. Molly is my first pb shep so I hope somebody can explain to you (and me) !
 

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black and tan with a possible "bitch stripe" coming in. The black will fade more as the dog matures, so a saddle back, not a blanket.
 

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Thanks for the replies! And onyx'girl, since we practically have twins, I'm sure your's is a beauty too :)

I see you're in MI... me too! Where about are you?
 

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Black and tan, the first puppy picture is a dead giveaway. The easiest way to tell a sable is how they look as a puppy. The black and tans are always a blanket black like that and the sables will have a black mask but no saddle or blanket.

Sable puppies look like this, they can be lighter or darker but you can see there is no black saddle or blanket:


Black and tans have solid black


Many, if not most black and tan dogs end up with some "salt and pepper" in their saddle, also known as bitch stripe (but males get it too). The dog will not return to black in those areas, they lighten with age.
 

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Zeva doesn't have the 'bitch' stripe yet. Infact, she's still sportin' the blanket back. Some red has filled in but not much. I will see a few redish hairs in her black from time to time. Her face has gotten a lot redder since we got her, that's for sure. Her red doesn't go up that far on the side of her face/shoulders or ribs like your pup. How old is he?

I can't imagine her as a saddle back at this point, I'm so used to seeing all this black now and before I wasn't all that in love w/ the darker dogs but she's just so **** pretty. :D

Either way, they are all beautiful!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for these replies. I love the saddle back and sable looks alike. I guess I'm just wondering about the tan on his back because it is still shorter than the rest (from where he scratched and bit it from the itching) and as you can see in his baby pics, it was solid black.

My boy is still beautiful regardless :wub:
 

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Christen, that is a great link :)
 

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I wouldn't have a clue but Zeva is so pretty!
 

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I think black and red vs black and tan are really the same thing, not sure if they are genetically any different.
 

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Great link! Still confused about the sudden salt and pepper look to his back. On a side note, I love the look of black and RED!
 

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Black/red, black/cream, black/silver are all just black/tan with various hues of tan pigment. One set of genes govern the overall color of the dog (black/tan, bi, sable, etc..) then other sets the extension of black pigment in certain areas (saddle vs blanket for example) and yet another set the hue of the tan pigment (whether it's rich tan, reddish, or faded to cream/silver).

The salt/peppering on the spine, neck and shoulders is very common in black/tans as they mature and is called a bitch stripe (even though it also occurs in males).
 

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Great link! Still confused about the sudden salt and pepper look to his back. On a side note, I love the look of black and RED!
Most dogs get this, some more than others. Kinda like gray on the muzzle. It doesn't change the pattern of the dog, it just happens over time.

I'm not sure how all the genetics work but many people observe in German show lines that the more rich the "red" color of the dog, the more likely the dog is lacking black pigment or has a lot of fading. Not sure if this is true, but there are an awful lot of WGSL dogs that are nice and red but lack black, compared to American show lines (which usually are more tan, but often have much more black on the face and a rich saddle or blanket).
 
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