Another coat modifying gene is called the white factor gene in the Sheltie breed, or as near as I can figure out in other breeds, is called piebald. It is difficult sometimes to actually be able to tell if a dog has white factored gene.
A larger than normal white tip on the tail or white running up the front of the stifle (back leg) are sometimes an indicator. But not always, as in Hope’s case.
It is a dominant gene. When 2 dogs with a white factor gene are bred, puppies can sometimes inherit from both parents. This produces a puppy with a normal colored head and a mostly white body. Hence the name, color headed white sheltie!
This is quite different than the double merle discussed on another page. The puppy is completely normal in every way including hearing and sight.
It is a dog with a head that is normally colored: sable, tri, bi, or blue merle and the body is mostly white with a few splotches of the normal color on the body.
can also cause blue eyes as the merle gene can.
I had a litter a few years ago out of Hope, a tri-colored Sheltie. She was bred to a blue merle boy and produced 2 almost all white puppies as well as a few normal tri or sable puppies.
It scared the livin’ beejeebers out of me.
The sire was a white factored which was pretty obvious since he had the white coat going up his stifle.
But Hope, the dam was another matter. There was nothing to say she was white factored.
first both the sire’s owner and I thought Hope might be a cryptic merle and had
produced two double merle puppies. We saw a few stray hairs that might be
white, might be merle, it was hard to say.
Thankfully as the puppies matured, it became more obvious that they were color headed whites. You can see the blue merle color headed white sheltie all grown up here. (Talk about a mouthful!)
Again, it isn’t a color I strive for, especially since it would be disqualified from the conformation ring, but they are equally as sweet and healthy as any other Sheltie.
quite honestly I think the puppy from Hope’s litter grew up to be quite the
looker. What do you think?