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When we talk about the color of the toy poodle, we could take a pen, or rather a box, and end up in an encyclopedia. There are so many genetic and phenotypic elements that come into play that sometimes we feel overwhelmed. Toy poodles can come in a wide range of colors, including white, black, brown, gray, apricot, red, and many other amazing shades. However, it is important to understand that the color of the toy poodle and its intensity in adulthood may depend on a multitude of genes, some of which are known to science, while others are still a mystery to us.

We are going to focus on the main color red and we are going to ignore such interesting topics as the I Locus, recessive merle layers, or hypopigmentation of the chin, legs or chest.

The coat color of a toy poodle is determined by the interaction of different genes. There are really only two colors in dogs. Black and Brown-Apricot, from their combination they all emerge. Some of these genes are well known, such as the gene responsible for the color black (B) and the gene responsible for the color brown (b). These genes determine the basis of the color of the toy poodle. For example, a toy poodle with the BB or Bb genotype will have a black coat, while a toy poodle with the bb genotype will have a brown coat. Now in the case bb we have many other genes that will determine the intensity of the pigment, from white to intense red or brown, and many other genes that determine brightness, saturation...

As we have seen, the color of the toy poodle is not limited to these two basic colors. There are additional genes that influence color intensity and tone. These genes can make the coat lighter or darker based on their interaction with the genes responsible for the base color.

It is important to note that the color genetics of the toy poodle can be complex and there are still aspects that we are completely unaware of. When we do genetic tests we study everything available, which is a lot, but even with genetics in hand there are times when we do not understand the phenotypic expression of the genes we are reading.

For example, there are genes that affect color dilution, which can result in lighter tones such as gray or white. Other genes may influence the distribution of color in the coat, such as the genes responsible for particular spots or patterns. In our case, the interesting thing about doing the test is that we avoid reproducing with parents who have those genes that we do know can dilute or change the distribution. Let's say that the risk of losing color will be there, but we minimize it. This year we have incorporated two more genes into the study that were classically linked to other breeds and that we have seen can also be found in poodles. We never tire of improving.

In addition to genetics, we must also keep in mind that the color of the toy poodle can change as the dog grows and matures. Some toy poodles may experience changes in their coat tone as they age. For example, a toy poodle may be born with a light apricot coat and, over time, develop a darker shade or vice versa. These changes are part of each dog's individuality and should not be a cause for concern. They are generally related to issues not only genetic but even hormonal, females during the mating season seem to have less pigment and neutered males lose their intensity sooner.

Getting more technical. And for those who want to delve deeper into this world, which as we usually say: you will never finish it. The color of a dog's coat is determined by the interaction of two main pigments and some secondary pigments, two of the most important being eumelanin and pheomelanin. These pigments are responsible for the wide variety of colors we see in different dog breeds, including toy poodles.

Eumelanin is a dark pigment that can generate colors such as black and brown. Eumelanin is divided into two forms: black eumelanin and brown eumelanin. As explained before, the gene responsible for the production of black eumelanin is known as the "B" gene, while the gene responsible for the production of brown eumelanin is called the "b" gene.

When a dog has two copies of the "B" gene (genotype BB) or one copy of the "B" gene and one copy of the "b" gene (genotype Bb), black eumelanin is produced in its coat. On the other hand, if a dog has two copies of the "b" gene (genotype bb), brown eumelanin is produced in its coat. Note that something so simple can get complicated: it can be brown with black reflections and vice versa, chocolates are of different intensities and can have fire variants.

Pheomelanin, on the other hand, is a lighter pigment that can generate colors such as red, apricot and cream. These will only be important in BB dogs, which pheomelanin modulates. If it is Bb or BB it will be black, and the modulation is less. That is why black has less color variability than, for example, apricot or fawn, which ranges from intense red to Champagne. Pheomelanin production is regulated by different genes than eumelanin. However, the presence or absence of eumelanin can influence the final appearance of the color. For example, a dog with black eumelanin and pheomelanin will produce a darker color, while a dog with pheomelanin without black eumelanin will have a lighter color.

We now delve into the fact that color genetics in dogs can become even more complex when we consider the influence of other genes. For example, there are genes known as "diluters" that affect the distribution and intensity of pigment in the coat. These genes can make the coat lighter or darker, and can even cause patterns such as merle or brindle, which while not accepted in the toy poodle standard, have been introduced in recent years through mutations. and crosses.

It is essential to keep in mind that color genetics is complex and there is still much to discover. Scientific studies continue to reveal new genes and mechanisms that influence dog coat color. We are preparing a paper for scientific publication about our experience on the subject. The truth is that there are few published studies on genetics and the bulk of them are on diseases, we want to go one step further. As the field of canine genetics advances, a greater understanding of the factors that determine color is gained and genetic testing can be performed to identify the specific genes present in each dog.

Remember again that the expression of a gene can be modulated with age. A perfect example is the Weimaraner, which has puppy-like blue eyes that turn amber. The genotype has not changed, but the phenotype has. The same is true for dogs' coat color, which is something that can change and evolve as the dog grows and reaches adulthood. It is important to understand that the color of a puppy's coat may not be an unequivocal indication of the color it will have as an adult. Some puppies may be born with a light color that darkens over time, while others may be born with a dark color that lightens as they grow.

This change in coat color is due to a number of factors, including the production and distribution of pigments in the hair. Genetics plays a key role in determining coat color, but there are also other factors such as sun exposure, hormonal changes, and coat care that can influence how color evolves.

In some cases, dogs may develop more pigment as they mature, which can result in a darker coat in adulthood. This can be especially noticeable in breeds that have a light undercoat, such as apricot or cream-colored toy poodles. Dogs of these colors often experience gradual darkening as they grow, which can make their coat deeper and more intense.

On the other hand, some dogs may experience a lightening in their coat color as they mature. This can occur in breeds that have a dark undercoat, such as dark red and chocolate toy poodles. As these dogs grow, their coat may lighten, revealing lighter shades or even lighter colored spots in their coat.

It is important to note that these changes in coat color can be subtle and can vary from dog to dog. Some dogs may experience more pronounced changes in color, while others may have minimal changes. Additionally, how coat color evolves can also depend on each dog's specific genetics and bloodline.

For Toy Poodle owners, it is interesting to watch how your dog's coat color evolves as he or she grows. It can be exciting to watch the color develop and discover new shades and shades in their coat. However, it is important to remember that coat color does not define the quality or health of a dog. The most important thing is to make sure the dog is well cared for, healthy and happy, regardless of its coat color.

In conclusion, dogs' coat color can change and evolve as they grow and reach adulthood. From a lighter color to a darker color, changes in coat color are common and can be influenced by genetics, sun exposure, and other factors. Watching a toy poodle's coat color evolve can be fascinating, but the most important thing is to make sure you give the dog the care and love it needs, no matter its coat color.