Hair Sheep Color Genetics

Margali

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I am still falling down the rabbit hole of genetics on sheep. I can not get my head wrapped around the whole Black or Brown only thing. All the many, many articles I've read state Black is dominant to Brown and imply you will not get both colors on a sheep.

Sound okay when I look at Dash. She's obvious black sheep with white pattern. The older wool on back is just sun bleached.
Dash Closeup.PNG

But then I look at Aria. She's all short hair with very distinct light caramel brown and black patches. So both colors or is the darker areas on her just a really dark brown somehow? :he 🤯:he
Aria CloseUp.PNG
 
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Mini Horses

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Do sheep have dilution genetics? Horses do and that makes for some strange :he :he :barnie:he:he visuals. Often, only a few offspring can finally be the thing that makes you realize why/how you see what you see. You can go nuts on your journey to learn. :lol::hugs:old
 

Margali

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As far as I can tell, there is no dilution allele that people recognize. All the articles seem to agree on B-A-S-E genotype ie BlackBrown - Agouti - Spotting - Extension. So confused...
 

Mini Horses

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I used to really get into the colors with the minis...goats?...I just go with the flow. 😁. Its milk or meat. Still interesting to see the surprises but, more an identity now. Like 10 white goats, who has the dot on her nose, speckles on her udder, color of collar? Multi colored gives you an edge.

Some things surprise me with the dominance, both color and traits. The saanen white has been over powering dominant when bred to a black buck, in some years. This yr a different black patterned buck -- spring will be interesting. I've used markers on several white kids to identify with moms some years. Visual for ME to identify whose who. 😁. 10 white kids in a pile asleep.
 

SpotTheCat

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I don’t know about sheep genetics but presuming it’s similar to others I might be able to try and explain. so if your sheep has the brown gene (brown based) will remove all of the black pigment so you can’t have any black, they can have very dark brown but no proper black. But if your sheep has the black gene (black based) then it can have black, but unlike the brown based it can have brown since a different gene can remove the black pigment from patches which then turns it brown

I hope that helps!
also do you have a link to any of the websites? I would be interested in reading it
 

purplequeenvt

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So the only sheep breeds that have had any research done into color genetics that I’m aware of are Shetlands and Icelandics.

All Shetlands genetically are either black or brown based. Every other color variation is determined by modifying and pattern genes.

The main/known pattern genes are:
1) solid
2) gray (turns the fleece of a black sheep gray and a brown sheep oatmeal)
3) katmoget (dark face with badger markings, belly, and legs with a light colored fleece),
4) gulmoget (dark body with a light strip under the chin and belly)
5) white.

There’s other modifying genes such as spotting that aren’t as well understood, but those seem to be separate from the 5 main patterns.

Each sheep has 2 color genes. A sheep with 2 black genes will be black, a sheep with 1 black and 1 brown will be black that can throw brown, and a sheep with 2 brown genes will be brown.

They also have 2 pattern genes. The most dominant pattern is white. It covers up everything from other patterns and spots to the base color of the animal.

Most commercial/modern breeds are either black or white. There are a few breeds that can also be brown (moorit).

Katahdins come in all kinds of colors and patterns, but as yet no one has been tracking them. Your Aria would be called a badger face. Her base color is probably brown. The black legs and face markings are part of the badger face pattern. The white is probably either spotting or some variation of the badger face pattern.
 

Margali

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@SpotTheCat That explanation helps SO MUCH and explains what I'm seeing. (_ = superscript)
Dash phenotype: B?AaAas?ED?All black with white splash/spotting/zigzag
Aria phenotype: B?Ab?s?ED? A black based badger face pattern with spotting

For people joining me down the rabbit hole:
 

Mini Horses

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Confusing and yet, so interesting!

Enjoy it while you can😁. CRS happens and it's a mess...

They also have 2 pattern genes. The most dominant pattern is white. It covers up everything from other patterns and spots to the base color of the animal.
Well....that might be some of my Saanens genetics. Goats and sheep are somewhat "similar". 🤔
 

SpotTheCat

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@SpotTheCat That explanation helps SO MUCH and explains what I'm seeing. (_ = superscript)
Dash phenotype: B?AaAas?ED?All black with white splash/spotting/zigzag
Aria phenotype: B?Ab?s?ED? A black based badger face pattern with spotting

For people joining me down the rabbit hole:
I am glad it helped! Thank you for the links!
 

Finnie

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I don’t know sheep genetics. I know a tiny bit about dog color genetics, a little rabbit, a LOT of Budgie, and some chicken and Turkey.

Based on dog genetics, I would say the “caramel” colored areas on Aria were “red”, not brown. That would be pheomelanin instead of eumelanin. I did not read the links above. I do not know what they say about sheep having pheomelanin or not. But it’s something to consider.
 
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