WHAT COLOR IS A HUSKY?
The striking dark blacks or dark reds with facial markings are the pet buying publics choice. Interestingly enough, the most common color in the show ring right now is gray-and-white or red-and-white with brown eyes. This does not mean anything as far as preferred or not preferred; it just seems to be what breeders are getting nowadays.
The Husky breed standards says, "A variety of markings on the head is common, including many striking patterns not found in other breeds." Unless you know what a Siberian Husky looks like, you could not pick it out of a group of dogs by the standards description of color. Could they be more specific?
The AKC dog registration application lists six color categories. If a dog does not fit any of the six categories, the breeder may write in another color in the category listed as "other." Colors listed are: agouti and white, black and white, gray and white, sable and white, white and other. The colors of the majority of Siberians are black and white, gray and white and red and white. The head, ears, body and top of the tail are the base color, which is black, gray or red. Typical Irish spotting patterns of white muzzle, chest, legs, belly and tip of the tail provide the drama and contrast associated with the Siberian.
The majority of Siberians in the 1940's and '50's were gray-and-white; black-and-white ran a close second, Red-and-white Siberians were a rarity, and reds appeared sparingly in the 50's.
The coat is a double coat. The outer coat, usually with banded hairs, exhibits the black, gray or red base color. The majority of the base color is expressed in the tips of the hairs. The depth and intensity of the color varies, depending on how far down the hair shaft the color goes. The blacks range from a dark, shiny black to a dilute black that may look gray. The dilute black has a black head and ears and a black stripe down its back. The grays can range from a black overlay of guard hairs, on to a gray-to-light-platinum silver color. The reds cover the same range of shadings, from a dark, coppery red to a peach or pink cast.
The undercoat on the black, gray or red dogs is usually gray or white. Combined, the colored outer coat and the lighter undercoat produces infinite shadings.
In some dogs, the outer coat is not made up of banded hairs, but rather the hairs are a solid color from tip to shaft. The solid coat often has an undercoat of the same color. The combination of solid outer coat and solid undercoat produces a dark, almost solid-colored dog. Siberians with this type of coat color tend to have a shorter, plusher coat.
Spotted Siberians, sometimes called piebalds, have a white base coat with solid spots or patches of color. White Siberians are all white with no spots of color. Some white Siberians may exhibit cream shadings. Some of the first Siberians registered were all-white dogs, and white was a desirable color during the early years of the breed.
One of the most often asked question is, "What color is agouti and white?" The name agouti is used to describe the color of wolves, coyotes and some rodents. Bands of color appear on each hair, usually black and yellow. The overall look of a dog of this color is a dark, yellowish gray shading. Contributing to the color will be the effects of the depth of the pigment in each hair.
Sable-and-white is sometimes confused with agouti. In the few Siberians that are sable-colored, black-tipped guard hairs are found on a dog that has a base color of rich golden or reddish brown. Sable dogs have black points, noses and eye rims.
The agouti and sable Siberians are unusual colors in the breed. The typical agouti or sable puppy is born almost one color, and very little white is evident at birth. The legs and muzzle lighten up as the weeks go by. If the face clears to white, it is usually a cream white. In some agouties, the entire dog may be aqouti, with little or no white markings. A rare pattern in the agouti family is a gray-to-cream dog with a black saddle, in past years known as a saddle-back Siberian
Black, gray, agouti and sable dogs have black pigment. Red Siberians have liver pigment. White Siberians may have black or liver pigment. If a white Siberian comes from red stock, it will most likely have liver pigment. Spotted Siberians with red spots will usually have liver pigment.
The wide diversity of color and markings in the Siberian has allowed breeders to take advantage of a broad range of bloodlines. No color is offlimits, which is a healthy option for dog breeders. Siberians have no "lethal" color genes working against them, so they have the freedom of practically limitless color options.
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