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In my current litter, I have one boy with two black spots in his coat, just above the croup and going down his left side (see pictures).

Having asked around I have heard of at least six other combinations where this has occured and I have also had a particular dog's name mentioned in connection with this. This dog lived in the UK 35-40 years ago ... and yes, I have checked and the combinations (including mine) I have heard of are all doubled (at least) on this dog.
However, in my database I have a total of 2798 litters (= 18010 dogs) that are doubled on him, so I don't know if you this is something you can deduct anything from - I mean it would be more unlikely that the combinations I was checking would NOT have him than that they would!!!

Considering the amount of dogs, avoiding doubling on this dog would also be totally impossible (unless you use non-European lines), and in all my previous litters I have done so, just as a majority of other breeders in Sweden, the UK and the rest of Europe, so I am only wondering if black pops up more than is known in general, or is it so highly uncommon and rare as it seems?

Would be interesting to have any info you might be able to provide.

Of course, I am not looking to "blame" any particular dog, this is just pure interest - although the first thing I heard was that the black must come from the American lines in these puppies' pedigree, which I definitely do not believe having heard about other combinations.

Looking forward to your comments!

All the best from a now quite cold Sweden.

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just playing the devil's advocate here - what about the lack of type? isn't the rich red color of the IS a breed type? And the variation on it would be a digression?
If I am correct, FCI standard ( at least in ex-Yu translation) states that no amount of black is to be tolerated. Isn't that just like a DQ?

I'm back at my computer... after a long break! I've been missing uot on a lot of discussions ...

Lena, your question and the pictures of the black on your puppy started a bell ringing in my mind - I had seen a similar picture elsewhere. I found the small book I have about the genetics of colour in the Labrador Retriever. Mine is in german but the original was in dutch and is called 'Genetica van de vachkleur bij de Labrador Retrieve' written 1997 by Dr. Isabella Kraft.

In the booklet is a photograph of a yellow Labrador with a splash of black between the eyes. The explanation given (by the genetics expert) is that this effect is NOT caused by inheritance but rather by a so-called somatic anomaly where a mutation occurs within the DNA of a cell (I hope I'm getting this right;-)) During a stadium in the developement the gene that codes the colour 'red' suffers a 'chemical' accident during the stage of 'copy & split' that the cells go through.
The chapter is pretty complicated (for me!) but ends by saying that this type of mutation is not hereditary. Maybe you could find a contact to Mrs Isabella Kraft via our dutch friends?

I think all the other black setters we see are generally produce of mixed matings. I have seen some beautiful 'black setters' in the past, all mixed breeds of english x irish / irish x gordon / irish x flatcoat ... all lovely dogs!

I did read about a black Welsh Setter once upon a time, but I do not think the black dogs we see are throw backs to these. If so, we should, as you say, see many more of them.
as a matter of interest... the same booklet mentions a 'shower of hail' labrador...
That is very interesting Susan. I do think I've heard that before, and it makes perfect sense. Seems if producing black was inherited we'd see more of it. Would be interesting to see if the Momma of this puppy with black spots ever produces it again, or if any of the litter mates does in the future.

The book you spoke of sounds intriquieing.

Susan also intresting is captain G.J.Verweij Setter en Pointers (Amsterdam, 1947) by the way written while he was put in prison by the Germans during WWII.

Verweij was one of the first on color-genetics. So you can read why the Irish red setter is ...genetically black:-))) And why it becomes red. Also lots of info on onther color-mixing.

Anyway this book WAS translated Setters and Pointers and was a much valued work in many cultures seen as a standard. So you see a prison is sometimes not bad at all...:-)
My parents, before I was born, had an accidental litter between mother and son. (Both from American/Canadian lines.) This litter produced several pups with black on them. Since the litter was quite large and they were worried about the bitch not being able to handle all the puppies they culled some of them. The first ones culled were the ones with black on them. I do know this was her second and last litter and that the first litter did not produce any with black on them.

Maybe this is a little off-topic, but several years ago a very old (1920s) black and white photo was published showing a string of dogs being trained for field trials, among them about 6 Irish Setters. It intrigued me, so I called the then still-living son of the man in the photo to ask if I could have permission to use that photo in an article. We had a wonderful chat, he invited me to come to his plantation any time I was "in the neighborhood" (about 1,000 miles away!) and then dropped this bombshell - "several" of those Irish Setters were ALL BLACK, which didn't show up in a black and white photo! Having only once in my life seen an all-black Setter (and determined in my own mind that he was probably cross-bred), I was amazed! But since it had been 70+ years, and he was a kid at that time, he couldn't remember who the dogs were, or who owned them - so we'll never know now. But it appears that 'way back then black Irish Setters were in this country.

Hi Londa,

thanks for re-activating this interesting topic! I wonder if these setters you mention had anything to do with an ancient form of the Llewellin Setter? In an early edition of the 'Observers book of Dogs' (1945) Clifford L.B. Hubbard mentions an original strain of old Welsh Setters named after R. Purcell Llewellin. The colour is said to have been black, black-and-white, tan, orange, liver, white and all flecks and beltons.

Lena - have you come across anything new? I'd assume 'your' black to be more likely the mutation I mentioned earlier. Maybe you have found out more - or maybe you are just too busy with all those puppies... have fun!
>....Interestingly the average Irish Setter dog was 24 1/2", the average bitch was 22 1/2."<

Which is why I call my dogs "traditional" Irish Setters!!!!! Although even I have not had either a dog or a bitch that little - they have all been 24+" bitches and about 25-26+" dogs.

In Finland we have had a couple of setters with black spots. One of them is pictured below. This littel guy is from mid-european lines, but not hungarian :D
I personally think he looks very cute, but I quess it must be considered as a disqualifying feature. Nevertheless, this is a very interesting phenomenon.
Hi Vilja - he really does look cute! Reminds me of 101 Dalmatians, where Pongo & Misses and all the puppies have to roll in the soot to escape from Cruella Deville:-))
Thanks all for all your interesting input. I can only conclude that this simply can pop up without no apparent reason.

The mother of these puppies has had two litters before, with 8 + 9 puppies with no trace of black, and the sire has also had three litters before - of course I have not seen all these puppies, but at least I have not been told of anything similar. The bitch's mother also had three litters (26 puppies in total) and her sister had a litter of 12 - again without any black spots.

Of all the cases I have heard so far, one was from a bitch with a sister with black, otherwise they all seem quite unrelated, at least for many generations, so again I assume that this can not be very strongly inherited because then we would see a lot more of it.

The little boy is now anyway living with his new family, where he will be a loved member, and also trained for agility and obediance, so I am convinced he will have an active and perfectly normal life.

Again, thanks all for your answers and discussions.
All the best, Lena




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