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Some merle in her?


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Dixie is ~3-1/2 years old. But folks think she's way older because she has so many greyish-white hairs on her face.

She has had them since we adopted her when the vet agreed with the foster that she was about 6 months old.

She has real white feet and front legs, neck, chest, and front of the belly. And she has those grey-white hairs in her face, around her neck, on the feathers of her back legs, and (a really big and dense patch) under her tail - the whole area under her rectum.

 

Not that it really matters, but I've been wondering if this could indicate some merle somewhere in he background.

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Genetically, a dog either is a merle or isn't. It doesn't matter if there are merles in the "background" if that dog hasn't inherited the merle allele from one of its parents.

 

For example, if two solid colored dogs, both with a merle parent, are bred, they can't produce merle pups because they themselves aren't merles and don't have the genes to [pass it on; they haven't inherited it from their parents.

 

There can be cryptic merles (aka phantom merles) where the spot of merle is so small (often bordering a white area) as not to be readily noticeable, but still that dog had to have had a merle parent.

 

I'm guessing you don't know anything about Dixie's parents. From what you're describing, though, she doesn't sound like a merle, just a dog with white hairs throughout. But it would help to have some more pictures. ;) Especially of the areas in question.

 

My male, btw, has a lot of white hairs under his tail, and a lot more as he's getting older, but he's definitely not a merle. And it's not at all uncommon for border collies to have a lot of white sprinkled in their faces. I suspect Dixie'll end up with much more of it as she grows older.

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Tessa has always had a lot of white hairs all in her face. It has always looked like premature grey, but it really is just white that's mixed in with the black. You can't really tell unless you look close, so that pure black face in the picture below really isn't all black!

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Do their hairs turn gray, white, or a mixture of both as they age? Kieran had white on his nose and chin when I got him; some of it looks like his pattern, but over the past couple of years it's gone up farther on his face, even on his eyebrows. He also has that random white (or tan?) under his tail, as well as white hairs sprinkled throughout his back. The hairs are completely white...none of them are gray. My parents keep saying he looks like an old man. He's estimated to be 4-5.

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Yes, they can turn grey, even in areas that had no white to begin with, as they age. I was just looking at a picture of my Twist as a youngster. The black mask on her face was completely black. Now, a little more than a month shy of 14, her black is full of white and she even has a white eyebrow where there was nothing but shiny black before. Lark, a tri, has turned grey, in both formerly black areas and also in the brown patches on her face.

 

J.

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My blue and white italian greyhound is not quite three years old, and her face is very grey (her teeth are also already shot to shit). My orange and white Aussie X is not *greying* so much as he is turning whiter and whiter. I imagine in a darker dog it would appear as greying, but in him it looks like his orange is both fading and shrinking at the same time. His tri coloured biological brother is not greying at all. They are just about 10 years old.

 

Tweed, a red and white, who died a month after he turned 15, never greyed or faded at all. He still looked like a 5 year old dog. Piper, who is 13, is not greying all that much. Dexter, who just turned six, is a tri but his tri bits are brindle. His eyebrows have gone completely Einstein and look giant, bushy and white!

 

We have a sheltie at work that is a cryptic merle. She is otherwise a black tri, but has a very small patch of merling on her head, otherwise there is none to be seen.

 

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In Aussies, the cryptic merle is sometimes located on the tail and since those often get lopped off shortly after birth, often nobody knows the dog is genetically a merle, which can lead to sad things when breeding the dog to another merle.

 

RDM

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In Aussies, the cryptic merle is sometimes located on the tail and since those often get lopped off shortly after birth, often nobody knows the dog is genetically a merle, which can lead to sad things when breeding the dog to another merle.

 

Another good reason not to dock tails. ;)

 

Although if the Aussie folks stop docking tails I'm not sure how we'd tell a lot of border collies and Aussies apart, especially the general public. :o

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