Historical analysis of Newfoundland dog fur colour genetics
This article makes use of digitized historic newspapers to analyze Newfoundland dog fur colour genetics, and fur colour variations over time. The results indicate that contrary to the accepted view, the ‘Solid’ gene was introduced into the British population of Newfoundland dogs in the 1840s. Prior to that time, the dogs were white and black (Landseer) or white and brown, and thus spotted/spotted homozygotes. Due to ‘Solid’ being dominant over ‘spotted’, and selective breeding, today the majority of Newfoundland dogs are solid black. Whereas small white marks on the chest and/or paw appears to be a random event, the historical data supports the existence of an ‘Irish spotted’ fur colour pattern, with white head blaze, breast, paws and tail tip, in spotted/spotted homozygotes.
Keywords: Fur colour genetics, Irish spotting, Landseer Newfoundland, MITF, Newfoundland dog