Understanding genetics , please help me understand. - Page 2

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by LuluEvans on 20 May 2021 - 16:05

He does infact have black tar heels.


by Hundmutter on 21 May 2021 - 02:05

Yes OP but there is no 'pencilling' on the toes. This is in my own experience a much better identifier, and even then it isn't perfect - some clearly Bi-Colour dogs (and some Sables) lack pencilling (and/or dark 'heels') and others do not.  Bi-Colour is really a vexed issue* anyway; the genetics are not that specific even in a pedigreed animal, and some of us believe it is just the darkest end of the black and tan spectrum.  And you are ignoring what both Hexe and I posted: that once you mongrelise, all genetic bets are off.


*And once again, the pros and cons have been debated here at length. Run a Site Search for 'Bi color'.


by hexe on 21 May 2021 - 02:05

Again, we go back to the fact that you're not dealing with straight GSD coat color, pattern and marking genetics, though.

Because the only color disqualification in Alaskan Malamutes is for a solid-colored dog of any color other than solid white, that breed carries a wider variety of coat colors, patterns and markings, and that has bearing on the genes that the pups in this litter received. Your dog is a good looking fellow, solid and sturdy, but he may well be marked via his Malamute genetics as opposed to the GSD genetics. Here's a guide that shows not only coat colors for the Malamute, but gives a good overview of the variety of markings and patterns that occur in the breed as well:
Coat Color Guide for Alaskan Malamutes

There's also the possibility that there was more than one sire involved in this litter, and the other pups may be sired by the GSD male you're aware of, while yours is the result of an unplanned, unexpected and perhaps even unknown mating with a drop-eared dog of another breed or mixture of breeds. The only way to know that for certain would be to have DNA run to confirm parentage of the entire litter, using the known GSD male's DNA, and seeing if they all come back with the same sire.

It's all academic, really, since none of the pups from that litter would be eligible for registration as a GSD, even if sired by the GSD male that reported to be the father. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it, and I personally can't see any reason to spend the money having DNA run to determine parentage on any of the pups--if they're all healthy, happy dogs with good temperaments, you can't ask for much more than that, purebred or not.

by LuluEvans on 21 May 2021 - 07:05

Thank you both for your responses. My questioning wasn't intended for German Shepherd, nor malamute genetics. Just color genetics in general. I don't have a great grasp on the subject and found his personal pattern compared to his littermates interesting. Also out of his tested littermates he is the only a/at as the other 3 tested are at/at .
I am 100% of his parentage as the female ( dam) was supervised at all times when outside and the mating happened inside my home. I went to the grocery store and left her inside , my malamute pup of only 10 months broke out of his crate and they were tied when I came in the door. She had no access to any other males at all.
I understand mongrels are frowned upon greatly. And perhaps looking for assistance on a German Shepherd forum was a bad idea.
Either way I appreciate your time and answers.


by Hundmutter on 21 May 2021 - 13:05

Really not a question of 'frowning upon' mongrels; its just facts is facts, you can't make something work to an absolute pattern for any one breed if you mix in the pattern for a totally different breed, even yet one from a different functional KC Group. I believe I'm correct in saying that Dog genetics have been mapped on a breed-by-breed basis, not a universal one. Because it is understood there are some patterns unique to some breeds. With some genes being completely inactive in some breeds, but some, while present, behaving in a markedly different manner to the 'same' (annotation) gene in another.

If a breed predominates in the ancestry of a mixed pup, that does not preclude the statistically lesser results being more to the fore in the individual. It really depends on just how the alleles 'shake out' and you cannot necessarily tell what is inside the dog from its outward appearence. Including colour.


You can still get assistance / ask questions here, even if it is a GSD Forum.  There's a great deal of info on GSDs available !  The main PDB is open to many different breeds, and there may be other Malamute people over on the Alaskan Malamute Forum too, if you select that as one of your breeds to follow. Some regular  GSD members here have, or have had, Malamutes or other Huskies as another breed,too;  they are not  exclusively 'only GSD experienced' people - and many of them are VERY experienced dog people, so have years of observation of many dogs of their breed(s) to offer.  Apart from repeating Hexe's good wishes, asking that you stop worrying about things you can't change and enjoy your dog (and I hope he makes the grade for you as an Assistance partner), I am really not sure what else we can offer this time, based on your original query.


by GSCat on 21 May 2021 - 15:05

One place DNA test that purports to reveal breed make-up of a mixed breed dog is useful is at shelters. Easier to predict with some accuracy the size and activity level of a puppy after he or she grows up than by paw size, etc. alone, so better matching of puppies and adopters and fewer returns/bad experiences for both animals and people.  Not needed if the dog is an identifiable breed or already grown up.  Also useful to proving to a landlord/prospective landlord the lack of inclusion of a "lease-prohibited breed" in a mixed breed dog.




by Hundmutter on 22 May 2021 - 02:05

Well I guess that might be useful GSCat, especially where the Shelter is staffed by those who do not have wide experience of different breeds; puppies may take a while to show 'what they are made of' whereas an older, at least part-grown dog can sometimes - but by no means always - physically look like any purebreds in their ancestry. However, if you can see it or make a reasonable guess at it, by eye, why bother to test ? How many rescue organisations have money to spare for testing anyway ? UK ones are unlikely to.


Do landlords and insurance companies really want to go into detail if just told a prospective tenant's dog is "just a crossbreed" ?  I suppose the test might then be relevant; but frankly we hear so many stories about dodgy results that if I were a landlord I'd be extremely sceptical no matter what I was shown !  Can't imagine that request taking off over here either.


by Hundmutter on 22 May 2021 - 03:05

Luluevans  Perhaps this will help: 

Passages from "The German Shepherd Dog : A Genetic History of the Breed" by Malcolm Willis , a Genetics Professor @ Newcastle University AND a breeder & judge of GSDs.

'It is the usual policy when writing about genetics to use upper case letters for dominant alleles and lower case letters for recessives.  This can be illustrated by the B series which is found in all dog breeds and which allows the formation of black pigment.  It has two alleles, namely B and b, though not all breeds carry both. The B allele allows black pigment to form, and the b allele prevents black and thus gives rise to brown or liver colour. A dog carrying B may actually be white, depending upon what other genes it carries at other loci, but if B is present the nose, pads and eyerims will be black.'  

[Note: he wrote this in '91 before the widespread acceptance of the White Swiss Shepherd but I'm sure you can see how this holds good !]


' Agouti or A series: in order of dominance -    A         dominant black

( therefore = recessive)

                                                                                   a y          tan sable

                                                                                   a w         grey sable

                                                                                   a s          saddle-marked black & tan

                                                                                   a t           bi-colour black& tan

                                                                                   a            black.'

'There are (thus) several kinds of colour format. If the saddle and bicolour alleles are one and the same with the degree of tan caused by modifying alleles then one can for purposes of simplicity list as and asimply as at.'


Worth noting that in GSDs the recessive  a  is always present; the existence of dominant A is disputed. At one point it was thought definitely not to be present. Again, you could do another site search on this, or it may turn up under the Bi-Colour posts / arguments already mentioned; there are certainly many references to it in posts on PDB on 'matters genetic', if they have not been wiped while updating.

The statistical chances of your dog being genetically 'most like' his GSD side are obvious, given the numerical preponderence of Sheps over the one Malamute line, so its no surprise if he carries the recessive; would be much more surprising if he didn't.  But its the Agouti info that counts when it comes to the production of bi-colour.  In GSDs. So very likely in 'mainly GSD' mixes.  I note he is shown to also carry  " at ".




by Rik on 22 May 2021 - 06:05

LuLu, I think you are mistaken if you think anyone here "frowns" upon your question or "mongrels" in general.

you had a valid question and it seems quite a few folks put some effort into answering it to the best of their ability. I doubt they would do that for anything they frowned on.

if you have questions, ask away. to be honest, when I saw the pic of your dog, my first thought was "oops, looks like a Rottie got in there someway". since that obviously didn't happen, it's just some odd combination of genes. The puppy pic looks 100% typical GSD, to change so much as an adult is really strange.

also, just IMOO, I would not consider the dog to be a bi-color, but that's always kind of subjective,


by GSCat on 22 May 2021 - 06:05

Hundmutter- Here, it's easier to get an apartment with anything other than a German shepherd or German Shepherd mix, to include APBT, Tibetan Mastiff, Dogo Argentinio, etc., although they, and some other breeds, are often on "the list." GSD is on every "list" I've seen here. The problem is the insurance companies. If they/the underwriters won't write the liability, the landlord/management company won't take the risk, so the breed is banned or disallowed in the lease terms. Number of bites, to include provoked bites, LE K9 bites, and owner/property defense bites are considered when evaluating a breed for disallowing, and just the number of GSD means a higher number of bites. Never mind the circumstances or rate per capita or likelihood of a wrong bite, or that K9 bites are line-of-duty/employment, the insurance companies just look at the numbers and use it as an excuse. GSD are not politically correct here, and other protective and large breeds are getting more and more this way in the rental world. Service dogs and emotional support animals are the exceptions by law here, but police K9 are not.

It wasn't like this in Missouri, except APBT and mixes. In Missouri, it wasn't unusual for people to get breed DNA or veterinarian reports to prove to local government that the family pet wasn't APBT or APBT mix because many places had breed bans that prohibited them.

Testing and providing paperwork can mean dogs get homes faster, so the cost can be less than feeding and caring for the dog longer, less chance of euthanasia, and frees up space for another dog/puppy.  Sometimes, people donate $$$ just for the purpose of testing, or they pay for X number of tests someplace for the shelter.




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