The genetics of cream coat color in dogs

J Hered. 2007;98(5):544-8. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esm018. Epub 2007 May 7.


Cream dogs of several breeds require a genotype of e/e at MC1R based on 27 individuals in this study. All Akita, Caucasian Mountain Dogs, German Shepherd Dogs, Miniature Schnauzer, and Puli with this genotype are cream, suggesting they are fixed at a second locus which causes the phaeomelanin pigmentation caused by this genotype to be diluted or pale. Conversely, although all Chinese Shar-Pei and Poodles that were cream had an e/e genotype at MC1R, not all dogs with this genotype are cream. Today, many Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers with an e/e genotype are cream instead of the traditional yellow to golden color seen in the past. The second gene in these breeds must have multiple alleles, only one of which causes phaeomelanin pigment to be diluted or pale. Tyrosinase (TYR) and solute carrier family 45, member 2 (SLC45A2) have been shown to cause cream coat color in other species and were therefore investigated in dogs as candidate genes for this second locus. Although polymorphisms were detected in cDNA sequence from TYR and SLC45A2, no polymorphism was consistently associated with cream dogs or cosegregated with cream coat color in any of the families used in this study. A microsatellite was detected in a published BAC sequence (GenBank no. AAEX01017083) in intron 2 and was used to map SLC45A2 to CFA4.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Hair Color / genetics*
  • Male
  • Pedigree
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length