36: Pomeranians in Chocolate and Merle
This write-up is really major rehash from our web’s TIDBITS section(“Chocolates are sweet” and “Merles are exotic”) and it is also an article that will be coming out of the December 2009 issue of the magazine Animal Scene wherein our championship pointed chocolate Janesa Lindt Excellence and our homebred show merle Canton Blue Calico will be featured in its front cover.
One of the most interesting aspect about pomeranians is the rainbow of colors that they exist in. Here in the Philippines, you see a lot of the creams, reds and oranges. On some occasions, you see the whites, black and parti-colors; but rarely do you see the chocolates and merles.
One hundred years ago, a lot of Pomeranians were in the chocolate color; ie, at that time, they were either white, black, chocolates or parti-colors until they tried to kill this color because of the emerging popularity of the new oranges at that time. More recently, the chocolates are starting to be active in the show ring active again and thereby increasing its popularity. Despite the color prejudices of judges, come chocolates have made it easily to the championship titles. Pictured below are some of the chocolate champions American and Philippine Champions in the Pomeranian Breed history:
- Am Ch Starlite Legacy Choco Bear (behind our chocolates)
- Am Ch Heartland’s In the Nicatime (behind our chocolates)
- Janesa's Lindt Excellence (imported by Canton Pomeranians)
- Ph Ch Showins Chocolate Choo Choo (imported by Canton Pomeranians)
- Ph Ch Yingyang Twix (bred by Canton Pomeranians using Yingyang suffix for chocolates)
- Ph Ch Janesa’s Raisenet of Canton (imported by Canton Pomeranians)
Just like sweet chocolates, the chocolate Pomeranians can be addictive to many people…like me! They come in different shades…from light chocolates, medium chocolates, and dark chocolates. They could more of the red chocolates or the black chocolates. They could also come in chocolate and tan, parti-chocolate(choco and white), or even chocolate sables.
Chocolate is a dilute color. It is also a recessive gene which means that to be able to produce it, both parents should either be chocolate themselves or a chocolate carrier. A chocolate carrier means that at least one parent is chocolate, and if not, one ancestor carries this chocolate gene and the said gene has not been washed out over generations of breeding to non-chocolates. There are some ways of finding out whether a non chocolate dog is a chocolate carrier. There are turtle tail signs such as: (1) The eyes or nose may be chocolate ; (2) The black could be a diluted carrying some hue of chocolate, something like a cat color; And of course, there is Test Breeding wherein to find out, you breed the test case with a chocolate partner. If they produce chocolates, then, they are chocolate carriers. Since Pomeranian litters are usually not big, you may have not any chocolates at all in the first litter. Since the sample size is so small, this would suggest more breedings. Unless this non-chocolates are chocolate factored, their puppies will not be chocolates.. And so, the chocolate probability goes on and on as long as both parents continue to be chocolates or chocolate carriers.
If you have a chocolate female and you cannot find a suitable chocolate male, what will you do? Or maybe, the chocolate male or chocolate factored male that is available is not good enough since you want nicer puppies? Then you next option, will be to breed to the best quality dog, and you will most likely produce non-chocolate puppies which will be in turn be chocolate carriers. In the next generation, bred to a chocolate or chocolate carrier they may be able to produce chocolates.
Because of the very limited chocolate gene pool and the fact that chocolates are recessive, their breeding becomes more difficult. Many have to tried to improve the quality of this color by mixing in the more advanced colors like oranges, reds, sables or blacks. Blacks will be the best color mixture because they would make the chocolate color richer and deeper.
Our high school biology teaches us the Medelian Theory. When we apply this knowledge to our chocolate breeding, we get a pretty good idea of the probabilities of producing chocolate puppies. Hence, for a chocolate breeding program, the following are the equivalents in our Mendian Chart:
DOMINANT GENE: Blacks, Creams, Oranges, Reds, and generally, most any color except chocolates
RECESSIVE GENE: Chocolate
CARRIER GENE: The color appearance of the dominant gene except for the fact that at least one parent is
a chocolate or at least has an ancestor whose recessive chocolate gene remain intact.
Merle Pomeranians are exotic. It is only for those with a certain discriminating taste, for the different and the unique. It is a sporty color having gained popularity in recent years…so popular and so controversial.
In the Philippines, we are not aware of anyone who has this color except us. Because of the newness of this color in the show ring, there are very limited US champions in merles. This proves that the Pomeranian merle can hold their own in competition with the more known and standard colors. We hope to have our own Philippine and foreign Pomeranian champions in merle some day. We hope that judges become more informed about this color and become aware that the AKC Pomeranian Breed Standard allows all colors and states that they should be judged on equal basis. Pictured below are:
- Am Ch Pomebreden Kauai Blue O-Ce-Ann
- Am Ch Honey Bear’s Tybo Express
- Showcase N Bluemoon 501 Blues
- Showcase Blue Diamond at Canton (our import)
- Yingyang Blue Calico(our breeding using the Yingyang suffix)
- Yingyang Casanova of Canton (our breeding)
It has been rationalized that this particular color is not historically and genetically supported by the Pomeranian breed history. It has been alleged that some 30 years ago, somebody cheated resulting in this color. After the N-th generation, we have the merle Pomeranians as we see them today. Personally, I do not find this a big issue at all because this is what has also been done in a lot of other breeds in their initial years. For example, I remember, the Shih Tzu was bred to the Pekingese for lack of Pekingese gene pool. After several generations of breeding, the mix has been integrated to the purebred Pekingese. The same was done for the Shetland Sheepdog; Collies was infused to the Shelties to give them a better look, ie more coat, more bones, more Collie looking in a more miniaturized size. Similar arguments could be used to say that merle Pomeranians are now purebred Pomeranians.
Personally, I do not mix my merle breeding program with my other colors. Once any of my Pomeranian get mixed with the merles, it will forever for merle breeding forever. I do not want any of my breedings of other colors to carry the merle gene. Why? Just like the other purebreds with merle colors, like the Collie, Shetland Sheepdogs, etc, merles is a healthy color provided certain color combinations are NOT done. Just like the other breeds that has this color, breeding merle to merle OR merle to whites MAY cause blindness and deafness.
Since merles is a dominant gene, you need only one merle partner to produce merle puppies. Merles ideally should be bred to:
SOLID COLORS: Blacks, Blues, Chocolates, Lavanders
PATTERNED COLORS: Partis in Black, Blues, Chocolates, Lavanders; Black and Tan, Chocolate and Tan,
Blue and Tan
For those who like the sable merles, then, they can breed them to oranges, reds, and sables but I prefer the pidgeon blue merles which is silver blue grey just like their color equivalent in the other breeds. Chocolate merles are also quite interesting too.
If you apply the Mendelian chart to merles, breeding merles to blacks must produce merles. However, from my experience, you get a lot of blacks; there will be many merles too. Nevertheless, you only need one partner to produce merles. It would seem to me that merle breeding is more complicated than the simple Mendelian Theory. There is a booklet entitled “Sheltie International presents…COLOR INHERITANCE CHART FOR THE SHETLAND SHEEPDOG by Jan and Peggy Haderlie(Summersong Shelties)” which itemizes all the color possibilities for merles.
Merles is not for everyone. But like Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, provided the color rules (mentioned above) are followed, the health issue becomes academic.
November 26, 2009