Breeding / The Inheritance of White Markings / By Theresa Garton

The series of genes that are responsible for the white markings 
or lack thereof in boxers, and many other breeds of dogs are as 
follows: / S - Solid, or self color / si - Irish marking pattern, 
typical flashy boxer / sp - Piebald, saddle type markings, etc. /  
sw - extreme white, piebald, color restricted to round tail or head

Further, there are various "plus" and "minus" 
factors, that can modify the amount of white in any of these patterns. 
So, detecting the genotype of any particular phenotype is difficult, 
and boxers with similar markings may be quite genetically heterogenous.

Boxers are described by Little in his "The Inheritance Of 
Coat Color In Dogs" as having only the S, si, and sw genes. Some 
believe that boxers only have the S and sw.

Indeed, the inheritance of white markings, IN THE SHOW POPULATION, 
is most easily explained by the influence of two genes. The question 
I raise is which two?

I have been made aware of two litters. One was out of two very 
plain fawns, the result was two very plain puppies, and two whites. 
Another litter was sired by a very plain brindle, and out of a white 
mother. Result: four very plain puppies, and five whites. No flashy 
markings in either litter, only the two extremes. The plain 
individuals in question here were from the pet population.

When these results are repeated using plain individuals from 
the show population, there are completely different results. Plain to 
plain always gives 100% plain, plain to flashy gives 50% plain and 
50% flashy, and plain to white gives 100% flashy.

So, I assert that plain in the pet population and plain in 
the show population are different genotypes. I think we have been 
wrong in assuming that our flashy show boxers are Ssw. I think the 
two genes involved in this population are si and sw, and strong 
plus factors for more color have resulted in the sisw individual 
appearing to have the typical irish marking pattern, also causing 
the homozygous sisi individual to appear "plain" in our 
show population.

On the other hand, I think that plain individuals in the 
pet population have the dominant S gene, which disguises, or is 
dominant over any of the other marking patterns. So, we could have 
a plain appearing individual, genetically Ssw, who when bred to 
another plain appearing Ssw individual produce SS and Ssw individuals, 
both of which appear plain, and swsw individuals, who are white.

Therefore, I also believe that it is possible to develop a strain 
of true breeding flashy individuals, who produce a minimum of 
"plain" markings, and no whites, by breeding two plain 
individuals from the show population, selecting their flashiest 
offspring, and continuing on in this fashion. Of course, unless 
someone else with a different line was doing the same, you would 
have to start over again every time you did an outcross.

(c) Copyright 1997 Theresa Garton
Winmere Boxers
Oklahoma City, Ok.

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