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Monday, February 7, 2011

Shades Of Blue

Some questions I was asked on Facebook made me decide to write this today.  A person I recently added as a friend was looking at some of the pictures I have posted there and she came across one of me with Morgan, Bunny and Blueberry at the dog park.  She wanted to know if the blue dog was mine.  I told her that all three of them were mine and that Blueberry is actually a blue brindle.

For those who aren't familiar with Greyhound colors, blue is the term used for a grey Greyhound.  It is one of the rarer colors for the breed.  Blueberry is actually a blue brindle.  She has mostly blue fur with some blue fawn stripes on her, but her brindling is very light and doesn't show much.  Bunny is also a derivative of blue -- she's a blue fawn.  Blue fawn dogs are a light fawn color, but instead of black tips on their hair and black masks or noses like a regular fawn or red fawn, they have blue highlights, masks and sometimes grey noses.  Blue fawns often have lighter brown eyes and can appear pinkish outside in the sun.

When this came up in the conversation, the woman asked if that also was rare.  It is.  The blue gene is recessive, so it tends to be seen less often.  It also tends to make a lot of Greyhound people a little obsessed.  There are many Greyhound adopters that I've seen post on message boards who are just determined to have a blue dog.  Some of them will even see a blue dog at the track and go to great lengths to secure it when its racing career is over. 

Rumor has it that many blue dogs used to be culled.  Trainers believed that they were unlucky and bad racers.  This was a long time ago, and I haven't heard of that happening any more.  I don't know if it has anything to do with how rarely they happen now.  I also don't know if it happened with the dogs who were blue derivatives.  By blue derivatives, I mean blue fawns, blue brindles and white dogs with blue patches.

There are also people who believe that blue dogs are a little off.  Some believe they're more prone to disease and genetic problems.  Blues are often referred to as quirky.  I haven't found that to be the case.  Blueberry was a handful when she was young, but some of that wasn't her fault.  She'd been taught some very bad habits by the woman who'd had her before she came here.  Now she's known as Miss Almost Perfect here at our house and I don't think her behavior is any different than that of any of the other Greyhounds we've had or met.  The fact that she ran down an intact male named Try at the adoption kennel who got fresh with her isn't something we hold against her or attribute to her blueness.

I haven't ever really understood the status that comes with the blue coloring and Greyhounds.  Yes, they are pretty, but looks aren't everything.  I've always said that the most beautiful Greyhound is the one on your own couch.  I think after you've had your own dog for a little bit, you always compare others to yours.  The blue mystique also fascinates me because it isn't the rarest color that you can find in a Greyhound.  The most unusual color that I've ever seen is liver.  I'm guessing that it's an extreme red dilute.  I've only heard of about a dozen dogs who are this color.  Of those, I have heard of a few with some odd diseases, so I'm guessing that the gene is recessive enough that it is pretty closely linked with some genetic oddities. 

I didn't choose Blueberry or Bunny based on their coloring.  I don't think choosing by looks is a good way to find a good match in a dog.  Maybe it speaks to my quirkiness that I've been drawn to two dogs with strong blue genetics.  The only part of Blueberry's color that played a factor in our decision to keep her here was that she was a young dog who needed a very strong hand and someone with a lot of Greyhound savvy to keep her in check, and we did worry that someone would choose her based on her looks only without being able to work out her issues.   I can't say that we've ever been sorry that we decided to keep her here.  When we went to the adoption kennel to choose a new dog after Treat died, I really just didn't want to get another brindle, because I didn't want to keep comparing that dog to Treat.  If Bunny had been brindle, though, it wouldn't have mattered.  She came in, leaned against me, and I was hopelessly smitten.

I suspect that all breeds have their color or other breed status symbols.  I just might not be aware of what they are.  Are there status symbols in the breed that you own, or would like to own?  Are there certain colors or traits that you'd add to your dream dog, if you could mix up your perfect dog?  I freely admit that I have preferences and things I'd like to have if I could just order up my perfect dog.  Nature doesn't work that way, but I am guessing we all speculate on it to some degree.

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48 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I hadn't realised Blueberry was a blue brindle, but I can see the brindling now that you've pointed it out:) Now that I've seen more Greyhounds blue brindle would be my favourite colour! But I chose Beryl on her 'look' (the mischievous twinkle in her eyes) rather than her colour. And I certainly wouldn't say my next Greyhound has to be blue. I doubt if it will be liver though, I don't know if there are any that colour in New Zealand. Great post:)

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  2. I think Bunny's soft coloring is gorgeous, but I have always wondered why you called her a BLUE fawn. Thanks for the explanation!

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  3. We didn't pick out Eagle and Larry. Their prior owner had a change in circumstances and couldn't keep them. We were interested in adopting a pair so our Greyhound group made the match. We were sweet on them from the beginning. Our only concern was that Eagle was 9 so her lifespan would be shorter. Their colors didn't matter. We just knew that we wanted Greyhounds!

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  4. I think Song is a pure Blue, but not sure. Anyway it doesn't matter to me.

    Over here in the UK black dogs are the hardest to rehome. It wouldn't bother me what colour the dog is.

    Can't say I particularly like the Red colour, but again it wouldn't stop me having a red dog.

    There was a story in our papers recently, about a women who took a Jack Russell back to the animal shelter because it's colour clashed with her curtains....I kid you not.

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  5. I like fawn brindle tiger-dogs... hehe

    I read somewhere that Black is by far the most common colour of dogs that come up for adoption in Australia, and almost all of the greyhounds I see in the neighbourhood are black. I kind of like that I have a stealth-hound ;)

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  6. Just like humans, it's what's in the heart that counts the most!

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  7. It is hard to believe that when I got my pug Ramises he was glossy jet black with a little pure white lighting bolt on his chest. It was just him and his sister in the litter and the breeder was hoping for silver babies as the father was silver and the mother black. Ramises is now 6 and is the most beautiful salt and pepper color you have ever seen. People ask if he is a brindle all the time. A black pug is rare as you mostly see fawns. Silver and peach coloring is extremely rare. I love my boy like nothing else in the world and it wouldn't matter to me if he were purple!

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  8. All of your dogs look healthy and happy. Now that's what I call beautiful dogs! :D

    Waggin at ya,
    Roo

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  9. I'm always fascinated to read about the colours of greyhounds, and I'm puzzled and a little bit saddened by the fixation some have with the blues, too. On a side note, I have a friend who had a dark red or liver brindle, who was a gorgeous dog! The colour looks very odd to me on a greyhound though.

    I've always called Sid a red fawn, because his fur is that real sandy colour, but .. he has a blue mask! It's not a full mask (my son calls it his 'Homer Simpson' moustache) but it's there, and he has some blue mixed in with his ears too. His trainer told me that many people consider dogs with blue masks to be unlucky or bad racers so it seems that particular prejudice is still going here in England - not that I think they're 'culled' these days. It's more entrenched in the betting public. I guess Sid was unlucky though, in the end.

    What colour would I want? Well for my first I said I didn't care what colour he was as long as he wasn't white and my beloved Jim was mostly white with red brindling. And the second was 98% white with ticking! When you get there, they choose you, huh?

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  10. I had no idea greyhounds came in so many colors. Fawn and variations of it are what I see most commonly.

    Do you believe there are temperament differences by color?

    In Golden Retrievers, it's the more reddish dogs that end up working with hunters and doing tracking. They seem to have a higher energy level and drive while the lighter Goldens seem better suited to being home companions first and foremost.

    Is there a "blue personality" in greyhounds?

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  11. I absolutely love this post today - I had no idea there were so many different colors in Greyhounds. Are they like Scotties and can throw several different colors in the same litter?

    With Scotties, it seems as everyone is searching for that perfect black female for their first one and then after that, they are open to other colors. Six different colors are recognized by AKC, but Dr. Tom Kirk states in his book, "This is the Scottish Terrier" that there are 10 distinct colors. Regardless of color, they are just like any other dog, they develop their personality depending on their environment.

    Lynn, aka The Rocky Creek Scotties Mom

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  12. WOW!

    Thanks for sharing all of that!

    I find the genetics of it all so very interesting!

    Khyra's Mom

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  13. I love the couch photo. She looks very happy.

    I have always been attracted to the fawns, but have two brindles. LOL

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  14. I think that Blueberry is gorgeous - but I think that my impression is as influenced by your stories about her personality as much as by her beautiful coat. That's the way that I am with all dogs - their personalities are what matter most.

    I've noticed over our generations of dogs that they still look very beautiful to me when they are old and probably not beautiful to anyone but our family. But, I see their hearts rather than their physical selves and their love shines through.

    Thanks for a fun post. Like others, I had no idea that greyhounds came in so many colors! They're gorgeous dogs.

    For me, I've had a preference toward chocolate labs because I love how the sun plays off their fur... but I love the other colors as well. Lab personalities suit me perfectly!

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  15. Not previously knowing anything about greyhounds I shall now know what to look out for .

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  16. Wow, I didn't know there were so many different colors of greyhounds. I think they're all Most Beautiful but you KNOW I'm kinda partial to brindle. Heehee! My mom says if she had gone by looks, she prolly wouldn't have gotten me cuz she'd never been that crazy abouts brindle doggies before me (can you IMAGINE?). But now she thinks brindle is beautiful.

    Oh, and I've heard that lots of peoples really want blue pit bulls and that their temperament can sometimes be not very solid cuz the gene pool is so small and peoples are breeding for looks instead of temperament. But who knows.

    Up with Brindle!

    Wiggles & Wags,
    Mayzie

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  17. You have just given me an interesting lesson on Greyhounds. I don't know much about this breed and I don't think I've seen many in my life as it's quite rare over here.
    However, through reading your post, I'm learning more and more about this breed too.

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  18. They are all beautiful! The president of our group has a pair of littermates. One is a blue fawn and the other is a blue brindle!

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  19. Very interesting. Even knowing quite of few of them, I never realized that greyhounds came in such a rainbow of colors! "Blue" has gotten to have the same mystique in Frenchies, although it is not recognized by the FBDCA as an allowable color. Still it is pretty neat-looking!

    Michelle

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  20. How interesting, I didn`t realize grayhounds came in so many colors. Being lab owners we have yellow, chocolate and black to pick from.

    And yes, that Blue is a lovely lady indeed!

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  21. This is a very good post. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I didn't know greyhounds come in so many colors :) I kinda like Blueberry's color.. but as i have said before, they always choose us.. and not the other way around.

    Some people do have a "dream dog" portfolio or how they want their perfect dog to be like or look like.. but sadly these dream dogs don't usually end up in forever homes the first time they are bought as a dream.

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  22. We didn't know anything about the colors of greyhounds - very interesting to learn all of this. The all white siberian is often not seen as one of the better ones in our breed, but as you know, none of us would have parted with Dakota because of her color. In fact, Dad is on the hunt for another one:)

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

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  23. Can't judge a book by it's cover... can't judge a dog by it's color!!! Mom isn't very breed specific in anything, so she doesn't know much about other breeds and their rare colors. She does, however, just LOVE that first picture of blueberry on the couch -hehe.
    -Corbin

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  24. It's what's on the inside that counts! Mom and dad had no idea what a bi-color GSD was when they found me...now they have to explain to people a lot that I'm a GSD and not a doberman/rottie/mix or a wolf...and I'm also not a boy. I get that a lot too...even with all the pink! Gah!

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  25. VERY interesting info on the colorings.

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  26. I always like the white and brindle greyhounds. But, looking at your chart I might want one with some ticking. My two are what they are since their breed name dictates he color. (Bluetick coonhound, Black and Tan Coonhound).

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  27. How interesting! I like that colour chart. Blueberry is gorgeous (as they all are) but that pic of her laid out on the couch slayed me! :-) Tough life, girlie. The liver ghs were really intersting to see - I had no idea!

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  28. Okays, nows dat was very informative and I nevers thought an information post could be so interesting. I nevers knew there were so many Greyhound colors. There is many doxie colors too but some aren't recognized by da AKC.
    From what we has heard bouts doxies colors is dat red tends to be more feisty. Long hairs are very laid back. Now I am a very light red and as you can see, I am plagued with allergies. But, I am very loved so who cares.

    Puddles

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  29. Wow we didn't know you guys came in so many collars and sizes. Uncles greyhounds are hoooooo mungus
    Benny & Lily

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  30. Buddy has a new puppy coming.He is a very active tri-color. Full of mischief but very smart. He has that Corgi mind-meld capability that lets you know exactly what he thinking. We chose a quieter, more laid back puppy. The color is secondary but I did seek out a blue merle. They have a magic about them. The Bear will be our second Blue. The first was amazing! We hope he will be a calming effect on Buddy after puppyhood. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi in my opinion should always come in twos. Bottom line is we've never had a corgi we didn't love. I can tell you love your greyhounds like that too. They are magnificent! That's why we love your blog so much!

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  31. That was very interesting! I never realised that there were so many colours of Grethounds! You learn something new every day!

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  32. Great post! Greyhounds aren't the only breed with a coveted blue... happens all the time with Pit Bulls. From what I've heard, blue didn't exist at one point in Pits, so another breed that was mixed in somewhere is actually responsible.

    I must say, those livers are striking. I've never seen a greyhound like that before. My personal favorite is probably brindle, though. Go Blueberry (I can see those faint stripes on you)!!!!

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  33. Heeey!!! Thanks for your post in regards to Billy... it means a lot... THANK YOU!

    I'm a sucker for blue dogs.... hihi.. When I saw James' dad I was like "I have to have a puppy from him"... :D

    Blue is not the most common color on Amstaffs either, which means that according to some people they are more desirable. However, here in Sweden, I'd say most breeders do not prefer the blue color. As a matter of fact, on some Amstaff forums (in Sweden) they often discuss whether or not the color should be discouraged or even viewed as a fault. But in the breed standard it says nothing about that. This is actually what it says: Any color, solid, parti, or patched is permissible, but all white, more than 80 per cent white, black and tan, and liver not to be encouraged.

    I was "an all Rottie Chick" when I lived in LA so I can't say what the general take is on the blue color among Amstaff breeders in the States. I know pit bulls are sold at a higher price when being blue, but if that applies to Amstaffs too... I have no clue...

    I know this much though - I LOVE blue dogs. ;)

    Stinkin' kisses from James

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  34. We have a Blue Kitty and I am a Blue merle. We found your post very interesting and educational. Thanks!

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  35. Blueberry is definitely beautiful! Sammy-Joe is a Russian BLUE too. But you're right, you can't choose a petjust for their color! :)

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  36. sorry, what I meant was .. .thank you for the COMMENTS you left on our blog in regards to Bily. thanks!

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  37. I loved reading this and found it so interesting! Thanks for uploading the greyhound chart, I had no idea so many varieties existed. Actually the only Greyhound I have met, is a rescue that works at my pet store, a blue! So I assumed most were that colour, I will have to ask if she is a blue brindle though.

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  38. Great post...but my favourite line is where you say:

    " I've always said that the most beautiful Greyhound is the one on your own couch. "

    So true...xx

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  39. Great post!
    Very interesting!
    I had no idea that there were so many Greyhound varietes!
    I love the line, "I've always said that the most beautiful Greyhound is the one on your own couch."
    Yes, she is really BEAUTIFUL!!!
    All your girls are! Congrats!

    Cristina

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  40. thank you for that information, I know very little about Greyhounds and it is nice to learn new things!
    I thought there were like two types!

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  41. Wow
    Thank you fow all that infowmation..I nevew knew that about Gweyhounds I think they awe all bootiful
    The bloo is soo unusual.
    A pawfect Wiwe Fox Tewwiew has to be mostly white wif a little black and gingew. I think the white is the only weally impawtant pawt you'we supposed to be. I think the gingew pawt is bootiful on the face , but my face is only peachy in colow.
    Mommi thinks I'm pawfect and doesn't cawe
    smoochie kisses
    ASTA

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  42. Wow!
    Now I know a lot more on Greyhounds!
    Thanks for sharing your pawesome post with all the info!
    Kisses and hugs
    Lorenza

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  43. I think I have to agree that the most beautiful dog is the one on your couch. :) I didn't feel strongly about red fawns before we got Argos, but now I'm smitten with them. I would happily adopt any color greyhound, when the time comes, if we found one that "clicked" with us, personality-wise.

    That being said, I recently blogged about a large white male that I almost snuck home in my car. He was gorgeous!

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  44. I have always loved Blueberry's coloring! She reminds me of the color of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine - OK, mama told me to write this as I have never actually been to the ocean.

    My coloring is pretty typical for a yorkie, however, I am a pretty big (no laughing)so some suspect I may have something else mixed in. For example, if you look at me next to Neeko, I am much bigger.

    Your pal, Pip

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  45. Always so educational, I never knew that about greyhounds. Like Mayzie said, Blue pitbulls are the hot item now. Mr. B is a "blue nose", and many people stop us on the street and ask about him. Though now they are being way overbred by backyard breeders and just contributing to the problem more.

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  46. I had no idea of all the great colors of the Greyhound. They also have a Blue Basset that is very rare and last year we seen our first long haired basset at the waddle. That was a sight to see. LOL Sniffs, The HoundDogs

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  47. I love that Greyhounds come in so many different colors, they are stunning dogs!

    My favorite coloring set of three chocolate colored dogs...but this may have something to do with the face that I love chocolate!

    Jenny @ Poochieheaven

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  48. Fascinating. We have similar color ranges in Siberian Huskies and I always enjoy talking about our "reds". If interested, you can see the variety at http://www.huskycolors.com/ .

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