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The at-allele in the Eurasier

When, in August 1965, the E-litter in Charlotte Baldamus’ Jägerhof-kennel was born, it resulted in quite some raised eyebrows. This litter had been the result of a very close inbreeding, Brumbo vom Jägerhof was mated to his daughter/niece Cara-Lu vom Jägerhof and up until this time, the Jägerhof-line had only ever produced red, fawn, grey and wolfcolour. So far, all Wolf-Chows had been either red, fawn, wolfgrey, wolfcoloured or black. The coat colour of the E-litter had not been seen before – black and tan and so it’s not really surprising to hear, that there were serious doubts about the parentage. Yet, when the breeding was repeated, it resulted, again, in some black and tan puppies and from this time onward, the black and tan coat colour has been a part of the Eurasier breed. But where did it come from? Neither the Wolfsspitz, nor the Chow Chow come in black and tan, but one of those two breeds had to have the allele in the gene pool! For quite some time, I’ve suspected the Wolfsspitz. There are reports about dogs that were “black with grey legs”, which sounds a lot like black and tan, but then I happened to see a picture of Brumbo vom Jägerhof, which made me toss that hypothesis right out of the window – Brumbo was wolfcoloured! For the Wolfsspitz-hypothesis to remain vaild, both of his parents, the Wolfsspitz Asta von der Bergstraße and the Chow Chow Ko-San-Lo Pollo-Pong would have had to have an unusual genotype – Ay/aw for the Chow Chow, aw/at for the Wolfsspitz. Highly unlikely!

So I started looking for Chow Chows in black and tan. The first clue about the existence of those dogs, although circumstantially, came from a German booklet about Chow Chows, written by Elsbeth Busack-Hild in the 1950s, in which she mentions red Chow Chows with a dark saddle and black on their tails. While a “dark saddle” can be interpreted differently, it is a fact that the classic saddle pattern is simply a modification of black and tan. Meanwhile, I’ve found pictures of black and tan Chow Chows and so it can be said with quite some confidence, that the at-allele is present in the Chow Chow’s gene pool.

But why did it only show up in the Jägerhof-kennel and nowhere else? The answer, of course, is very simple: chance and inbreeding. Brumbo inherited the at-allele, his sister Berit the Ay-allele from Ko-San-Lo Pollo-Pong. The C- and D-litter vom Jägerhof, out of the mating of Brumbo and Berit, could only ever result in red and grey offspring. Not until Brumbo was mated to his daughter Cara-Lu was it possible for puppies homozygous for the at-allele to be produced.

Pedigree of the E- (and G-) litter vom Jägerhof:


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