The Genetics of Breed Color In The American Pit Bull Terrier
by Amy Greenwood Burford B.S.
One of my responsibilities as a member of the staff of the American Dog Breeders
Association is to be the ‘color expert’. I believe that my many years of experience in the breed,
as well as the opportunity to have grown up in a true ‘American Pit Bull Terrier’ family. has
given me the exposure that it requires to know the descriptive terms to describe the many diverse
colors in our breed. The color description that is placed on your ADBA registration papers does
not in any way attempt to depict the genetic makeup (genotype) of the individual dog. Instead it
is a description of the dogs actual color that you see (phenotype). This color description is used
for identification only and in many cases does not predict what color combinations the individual
dog will produce in its offspring.
Over the course of the last few months, I have received a surprising number of questions
concerning color and the genetic inheritance of color. Questions such as: 1. The blue color in the
APBT in the past was very rare. How are so many kennels now producing blues in such
numbers? 2. It is possible to produce a puppy with a black nose, when both parents have red
noses? 3. Where does the chocolate coloring come from? 4. How did I produce a brindle from a
line that has never had brindle dogs? In my review of the genetics of color in the American Pit
Bull Terrier, I will review a few of the principals of genetic inheritance in general and look at the
research that has been done in the field of color genetics in our breed in an attempt to give our
readers a better understanding of color genetic as well as provide answers to the above questions.
Each offspring inherits one half of their genetic make-up from their sire and one half
from their dam. All members of the genus canis, to which all dog breeds belong have 78
chromosomes. They appear in pairs and consist of chains of DNA material. Small