it is good to know the actual alleles and terminology in genetics, we will
instead just attempt to explain the sable gene in as easy to understand
English as possible. The idea is to to learn the basics behind sable..we
can worry about the exact terminology later.:-)
Introduction to the
Sable American Cocker Spaniel:
always been a part of the cocker spaniel breed.
the beginning, there wasn't much ado about the color pattern. Most didn't
breed for it, but it did pop up now and again
can be found in the Springer Spaniels and English Cockers as well; which
is where our American Cockers derived from.
has also been one of the hottest "color" topics and color wars in the history
of the cocker spaniel.
sable pattern has been traced back into the early 1900's, where many were
registered as mahogany, and some were registered as sable.
the early AKC stud books, the breeder/owner could register a dog whatever
color they wanted to.
other words, there were no set colors or patterns as per the standard they
had to go by when registering a color or pattern at the time.
often, you would see many different colors and markings listed than what
you see today through AKC.
the AKC had their official color & pattern list from ASC, some of the
colors such as mahogany that were listed in the actual
AKC stud books, had been changed to red by AKC in a online pedigree search
is NOT a rare "color" like some say. It just isn't bred as often
as the normal colors by the show community.
show breeders still have and breed sables, even though they cannot be shown
in the USA.
Sables are still being bred
and can still be shown in conformation in Canada and other countries. But
because of the American Spaniel Club, the AKC will not allow the sables
to be shown in the USA. They can still compete in performance, and many
have achieved performance titles. Some show in conformation at United Kennel
Club (UKC) shows and others go up to Canada to get their conformation title.
Another problem, is sabling
is considered a pattern, like the roans etc. But it is listed as only a
color with AKC.
This needs to be addressed
and changed as there are red sables, brown sables, black sables and clear
sables. There are also sable roans.
there are still many sables around. And like all colors, some are very
nice representatives of the breed standard,
others are not.
your homework if looking to purchase a sable. Buy one from a responsible
breeder who has the overall health,
and quality first and foremost and not just the "color".:-)
(A quick, confusing course
on sable genetics by Connie Bliss, C'lestial)
are no health problems associated with the sable pattern.
Sable gene is on the same locus (genetic marker) basically as the tan point
gene. The dog has to have this sable or tan point gene or carry it in order
to produce sable. They are represented as "ay" and "at". If a dog has 2
ay "genes" it will be what people call a clear sable; and really won't
appear to look sable..it will basically look like a buff. If it has 2 "at"
genes, it will be tan pointed ( e.g.: Black & Tan); If the ay "gene'
pairs up with the "at" gene, then the dog will look and be sable. If a
dog only carries 1 "at" gene, it will not look tan pointed, but it WILL
carry for the tan point gene.
is why you can breed a sable to a solid dog or a dog that doesn't have
tan points, but does carry for them (e.g. has a parent who is tan pointed)
and be able to produce sable.
cannot breed 2 tan pointed dogs together and produce sable, as the
tan point gene will cancel out the sable, since the sable gene has to be
on the locus for "ay or "at". Not all dogs carry the "at" or "ay" gene.
So you have to study coat colors in your pedigrees to see. Just because
you have sable in your lines, does not mean you can produce it.
may have sable back in your pedigree, but if any dogs coming down from
that sable have tan points, (black & tan, brown & tan, tricolor
ect) then you have lost the sable gene..It's gone and you will not
be able to produce sable unless you breed your tan pointed dog to a sable
or a dog that is carrying sable.
instance, one of my earlier girls was black & tan. Her sire was a sable.
Because there was only room for either the ay or at genes to sit, she received
both "at" genes and was black and tan, canceling out the sable. Her littermate
got one of each and was a sable. The only way she would ever be able to
produce sable, would be for her to be bred to a sable. She would not be
able to produce it if she was bred to another tan pointed dog or a dog
carrying tan points, because she lost the sable gene because she was tan
In partis, it would
be the same; the dark areas would be sabled with a darker overlay on the
spots and the color of the dog would be the overlay over the spots, eyerim
and nose color.
This is a black sable parti
So to produce sable, breed
a sable to a dog with tan points or a dog known to carry tan points. You
can breed a tan pointed dog to a non tan pointed dog that has a sable parent,
or grandparent and so on, as long as there is no tan points gene between
sable in the pedigree and
the current non tan pointed dog.
See these pretend pedigrees
to see how to TRACE DOWN SABLE and also how you
can LOSE THE SABLE.
Sable to sable breeding of
course, produces sable too, with no health issues associated with the sable
not too hard to get the basics on the sable gene, once you figure it out
Bottom line,is to produce
healthy and bred to standard, then add the sable as the icing on the cake
Breed for quality..
and not just color/pattern.
To read more on sable genetics
with drawings, check out Marlys Gallagher's website on sables:
Cocker info from Artistry Cockers
story about her sables, including CH Artistry's Soot N Cinders, and sable
Here are 2 articles about
the tan points and sable genetics that were published in one of the old
Thanks to Rhonda Gillette,
Desert Rose for supplying this