Understanding genetics , please help me understand. - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by LuluEvans on 19 May 2021 - 22:05

The dog in question is a crossbreed, German Shepherd 87% Alaskan Malamute 13%. Dna tested. The dog is a bi color carrying recessive black. Parentage as follows. DAM -Black and tan saddle pattern, light mask . Out of a black and tan German Shepherd dam ( both her parents also black and tan GSD) & a black and white Alaskan Malamute sire ( his sire is black and white, dam agouti and white) . Sire black and red ( heavily blanketed & heavy masking ) Out of 2 black and tan/red GSD) All litter mates are black and tan saddle pattern . Question what is going on with the genes in my dog? This dna test has me so confused. It states he's not black in color, but he is. It says he carries 2 copies for prick ears yet his ears were up at 4 months but fell down and it almost looks like lab ears. If someone can explain how to post images I would happily.

by hexe on 20 May 2021 - 02:05

Keep in mind that as soon as you start crossing breeds, much of the coat color and marking genetics rules no longer apply, so it becomes nearly impossible to predict what colors and markings or patterns the offspring will display.

As for your dog's ears, you don't mention his age, but if he's as heavy-boned as I would expect a GSD/Malamute cross to be and he's still a youngster, it's not uncommon for GSD ears to go up and down during their growth phases. Combine that with the possibly heavier ear leather from the Malamute genetics--their ears are smaller in size but tend to have thicker leather--and the fact that it's also not unheard of for Malamutes to have ears that don't stand, and you've got a recipe for the potential to produce ears that are too heavy to stand permanently.


by Hundmutter on 20 May 2021 - 02:05

Not sure I would rely too much on the DNA test you had done; AFAIK the only really reliable DNA tests are those which tell you whether the (tested) parents of your dog ARE the parents of your dog. ID, no more no less. All the others which purport to tell people what percentage of their mixed breed dog come from one breed and how much from another are open to question about validity. Their main purpose seems to be to attract customers' money. Some people have reported results which are okay, & conform to expectations - but many have received versions so inaccurate as to be laughable. Results on colour genetics can be a bit more reliable, provided the testing lab you dealt with is at least trying sincerely to give you correct results.

So setting the test aside, what do you need ? Let's look at what you tell us in your post: you know the sire and the dam of your dog; the sire is a B&R GSD out of two B&R (AKC Registered ?) GSD parents. You don't tell us any more about them, but let's assume their lines are purebred. Black & red GSDs can be carriers for other colour patterns in the breed, e.g. they do not have to present as all-Black themselves in order to be genetically capable of producing black pups.

The differences come in with the background to your dog's mother. This dam presents as a 'GSD mix' because her own GSD mother was crossed to an Alaskan Malamute. Hardly surprising that the GSD / black & tan pattern was prevalent in your dog's littermates, since there is a heavy bias towards those genetics being inherited. Genetics is not as simple a discipline as the public often interpret it to be, however, and apart from the probability that, if there had been more puppies in that litter, at least one of them might well have been born black, or white (or in the case of this litter possibly black AND white, or even tricolour, because all those genes can be in there, waiting for a shuffle of the biological dice to reveal them),  there was no guarantee some of them will not have ended up looking much more 'Malamute' (or at least more 'spitzy') than others, because of the mix - even though its only one bloodline of these dogs. Its just Chance if they all look like pure B&T/Red GSDs.

For the question of the soft ears I refer you to another current PDB thred (see lower down this page, if its not there it will be one page back) to find out what causes dropped ears in a prick-eared breed.  Please remember that this is just in ref. to GSDs;  but its worh noting that while the Malamute has smaller, usually pricked ears, cases of soft ears in them are not unknown.  Having a gene for something does not always mean that phenotype will match genotype.  Or we would all be achieving perfect specimens of our breeds.

PS Edit to add : yes its still on this page, or top item on the 'GSD Forum'  -  see "Floppy ears in German Shepherds : genetic issue ?"

mrdarcy (admin)

by mrdarcy on 20 May 2021 - 06:05

For uploading photos choose Enable editor that allows images 21 then click on small bow with 24, hope this helps.

by LuluEvans on 20 May 2021 - 06:05

by LuluEvans on 20 May 2021 - 06:05

by LuluEvans on 20 May 2021 - 06:05

by LuluEvans on 20 May 2021 - 07:05

I guess I'm just trying to figure out how he became a bi-color and where he got the recessive a?
With every German Shepherd dog being at/at ( or at the least presenting at/at) typical saddle patterned for at least 3 generations back. No bicolor or black.
Each dog gets a single copy from each parent, so by the time it reached him genetically it is safe to assume the at portion came from them.
With the Malamutes blood mixed in I have to assume the recessive came from him ? Do Malamutes carry recessive black ? I have found nothing to support they do.
I owned this dogs grand parents and parents .From the accidental litter of my gsd and my malamute. The litter was very mixed with half looking like saddle back German shepherds half looking like Malamutes agouti , black and white even a red and white.
He is heavy bodied , huge head, 25 inches at the shoulder and 102 pounds of muscle. His ears are folded to the extreme. All parents and grand parents had prick ears. His dad's ears were rather large though. However all this dogs littermates ears were prick and set nicely.
I've been training him in sent work and he is a service dog in training for epilepsy, seizure alert for myself.
He is amazingly intuitive and not a aggressive bone in his body.

by cbaird on 20 May 2021 - 15:05

Your dog is not a bi-color he is black & tan. The back hocks of bi-colors will be black as adults; on dark black & tans they are not black.

These two dogs are bi-colors:

This one is a dark black & tan-as a puppy she looked exactly like a bi-color (she had to be black & tan due to parents genetics) but as she matured the black faded/she got more tan:


by LuluEvans on 20 May 2021 - 16:05