Thursday, May 24, 2018

US Genetics

Print Email

Category: Schnauzer Facts

The genetics behind why there are only Three colors in the United States

ch dorem displayMiniature Schnauzer in the United States 1948 to Present.

What we have learned up to this point with colors and the dogs changed. Genes were lost and destroyed during the war, purposefully bred out, or culled from stock because dogs did not meet the correct type or fit the standard.  CH. Dorem Display had over six generations of all salt-and-pepper or "grey" parentage.  note: black-and-silver was not yet defined as a color and would of been classified a "black-and-tan".  This is worthy to note because an extremely high percentile of the American show lines trace their heritage back to this dog whelped April 5th, 1945. Also at this time the Miniature Schnauzer was officially established as a breed and its type was set. This means only minor changes happened in the breed standard after this point in history There was a section added to clarify allowed colors in the United States and the clarification of the black-and-silver color.



please read this article also:

Questions Of Color

by Catherine McMillan

The recognized colors are salt-and-pepper, black-and-silver, and solid black. All colors have uniform skin pigmentation, i.e. no white or pink skin patches shall appear anywhere on the dog


         awawE          awawEm                   


Close-up of salt and pepper coat

Salt-and-Pepper - The typical salt-and-pepper color of the topcoat results from the combination of black and white banded hairs and solid black and white unbanded hairs, with the banded hairs predominating. Acceptable are all shades of salt-and-pepper, from the light to dark mixtures with tan shadings permissible in the banded or  unbanded hair of the topcoat. In salt-and-pepper dogs, the salt-and-pepper mixture fades out to light gray or silver white in the eyebrows, whiskers, cheeks, under throat, inside ears, across chest, under tail, leg furnishings, and inside hind legs. It may or may not also fade out on the underbody. However, if so, the lighter underbody hair is not to rise higher on the sides of the body than the front elbows.

Salt and Pepper comes from the Agouti Gene marker. The images illustrate simplified color markers. All miniature schnauzers carry a  double recessive intensity marker (ii) that dilutes the tan or red points to a cream or silver color.more reading here:

  • aw - is the marker  for a Agouti (wild) color pattern. This creates banded hairs.
  • as - a saddle pattern that created an extension lower on the body. disproved
  • at - a pointed pattern that colors the legs skirt, chest, throat, eyebrows and face.
  • E - marker means that the dog will not have a mask coloration on it’s face.
  • Em - this marker creates a black mask on the dogs face.


Black-and-Silver - The black-and-silver generally follows the same pattern as the salt-and-pepper. The entire salt-and-pepper section must be black. The black color in the topcoat of the black-and -silver is a true rich color with black undercoat. The stripped portion is free from any fading or brown tinge and the underbody should be dark.

In the Black and Silver Dogs are a solid black color with Diluted tan points. Like was mentioned in the salt and pepper , all Schnauzer carry the Double Recessive intensity marker (ii), this marker dilutes all tan/red points to light cream or silver. The above images are a very simplified example of some of the Schnauzer color markers

 *note: all recently tested Schnauzers seem to be "aw", and a different gene seems to responsible for the black and silver pattern.*

  • *at - a pointed pattern that colors the legs skirt, chest, throat, eyebrows and face.
  • E - marker means that the dog will not have a "mask" coloration on it’s face.
  • Em - this marker creates a black "mask" on the dogs face.
  • Eg?- This gene has only been found in Saluki and Afghan Hounds ,but could create a black and tan pattern like we see in black and silvers without the "at" marker if it is present in schnauzers.

AAEE - solid black                                         


Black - Black is the only solid color allowed. Ideally, the black color in the topcoat is a true rich glossy color with the undercoat being less intense, a soft matting shade of black. This is natural and should not be penalized in any way. The stripped portion is free from any fading or brown tinge. The scissored and clippered areas have lighter shades of black. A small white spot on the chest is permitted, as is an occasional single white hair elsewhere on the body.

Black is the easiest color in the miniature schnauzer, it is Dominate and there are multiple variables that can create a  black dog.


Agouti  pattern-marker “A” dominant (solid) .

All Schnauzers are the Dominant “B” marker , the “B” is a the marker for Black color

(“b” is recessive brown, brown has been bred out of schnauzers)

The last marker for Black Dogs is the masking Marker “Kb”.

“Kb “ Black is a dominant marker that will hide the “A” markers. Even if at “A” a dog is "awaw" or  homozygous salt and pepper, if it has even one dominate “Kb” marker it will be a black dog:

  • AA :   solid pattern marker self color (Dominant)
  • aa  :  solid pattern marker  self color (recessive ) only exists in herding breeds
  • Kb :  Masking Black marker, masks marker at "A"
  • BB :  Color marker for Black.


one example:

awawBBDDEmEggiiKbky black-masked at K


aw- Agouti (wild)- salt & pepper

B-    Black

D-    no-dilute

Em- (dominate) black mask

E- no mask on the face

gg - no-graying

ii-     all tan points diluted to silver

Kb- Dominate Black Masks pattern gene at A loci

ky- (carries for "off", allows full expression of color art "A" loci)


for a full chart see link:


Disqualifications: Color solid white or white striping, patching, or spotting on the colored areas of the dog, except for the small white spot permitted on the chest of the black. The body coat color in salt-and-pepper and black-and-silver dogs fades out to light gray or silver-white under the throat and across the chest. Between them there exists a natural body coat color. Any irregular or connecting blaze or white mark in this section is considered a white patch on the body, which is also a disqualification.