Black and Tan Coonhound: The Truth Behind the Colors
The color black is one of the most common colors found in dogs. There are many different shades of black ranging from light brown to dark brown.
Black is usually associated with evil or darkness, but it’s not always so simple. Some breeds have been bred for their coloring, such as the dapple wolfdog, which has a darker coat than other wolves. Other breeds were bred for their beauty, like the shaggy dog, which is often described as having a “wet” appearance.
There are several theories as to why some dogs are naturally black while others aren’t. One theory is that there may be genetic differences between breeds of dogs that affect their coloration.
Another explanation suggests that certain environmental factors influence the color of a dog’s fur. For example, if a dog lives in a hot climate where temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius), its hair will become lighter in color. If the same dog is kept indoors during those high temperatures, however, the fur will turn darker.
Another factor that influences a dog’s coloration is the environment in which they live. Dogs living under harsh conditions may develop darker coats because of their natural camouflage abilities.
Camouflage allows these animals to hide themselves in their surroundings, protecting them from predators. Dogs that are kept as pets and aren’t under any direct threat don’t require this ability and therefore may have lighter coats.
Some dog breeds are simply born with darker coats than others. There are also certain genetic mutations that cause the coats of certain dogs to change in appearance.
One such mutation causes the hair of a dog to have a salt and pepper appearance, with the muzzle and head being much darker than the body. Other mutations may lead to varied patterns of white hairs throughout the dog’s entire body.
Dogs in general tend to have black noses despite variations in their coats. The reason for this is that dark nose are able to absorb more heat from the sun, which is beneficial in cold climates.
In hotter climates, however, a black nose would act as a solar cooker and become uncomfortable. It is for this reason that dogs with lighter coats often have black noses. The texture of a dog’s fur may also influence its coloration, as some dogs possess softer fur than others.
The breed of a dog may also influence its coloration. Dogs bred for outdoor work in hot climates often have lighter coats to allow their bodies to remain cool.
Sight hounds, which hunt by sight rather than scent, are often described as having “dazzling” white fur. Other dogs like the Ibizan hound and the Pharaoh hound have been bred for their unique “mottled” coloring. The most common colors for dogs are black, brown, blonde, silver, and white.
While some dogs are simply born with black coats, others are dyed by their owners. In recent years, some dog owners have begun dying their pets’ fur in a variety of unnatural colors.
These colors may be in the form of solid patches or stripes, or they may cover most of the dog’s body. These unnatural colors are often attractive to people because they’re bright and unusual. The practice of dying a dog’s fur, however, is both damaging to the animal and dangerous to its health.
A dog’s skin is very similar to that of a human and therefore can be damaged by chemicals found in some dyes. These dyes can cause irritations and allergic reactions that lead to painful sores on the animal’s skin.
A dog may even develop an infection due to bacteria found in dyes used on its fur. It also stinks!
While one would think that dyed fur is easily removed with water and a little shampoo, this actually isn’t the case. Dying a dog’s fur is a permanent alteration and can only be colorfully washed away with strong chemicals that are even more harmful to the animal.
Owners of these dogs must constantly monitor their fur so that it doesn’t mat or tangle into dreadlock-like knots.
If dye is accidentally applied to a dog’s skin rather than its fur, then the animal may suffer burns or blisters. Even if the dye goes on properly, it’s still uncomfortable for the animal and can become a safety hazard as the unnatural color makes it easier for the dog to be spotted by predators or hit by a car.
The only “advantage” of dying a dog’s fur is that it makes it easier to notice the dog when it runs away. Dogs are not only man’s best friend, they’re also masters of escape, as this picture from an 1883 edition of the New York Graphic attests:
The owner of a canine “rufus boomer” sought the help of the police on Saturday to recover his dog, which he had tied with a string to a lamp-post on Third avenue, near Thirtieth street. The animal was recovered, but it is very evident that he had indulged in too much liberty, as he was nearly black all over.
Of course, the dog is now brightly colored and easy to see.
Some owners have been known to coat their dogs with other substances for decorative or protective reasons. One such substance is called “dip,” which is used to waterproof a dog’s fur.
Unfortunately, it also causes the animal to smell very bad. Another substance, motor oil, is used by some owners to give their dogs a “glossy” look. This can cause the animal to have painful skin reactions and make it difficult for the creature to stay warm in cold weather. It can even be lethal.
While dying a dog’s fur may be the desire of some owners, it is certainly not in the best interest of the animal and may even be life-threatening. Owners of animals that have been dyed unnatural colors may wish to have their pets’ fur restored to its natural coloring.
Such a process is called “depoding,” and it can only be done by a professional groomer or veterinarian.
Sources & references used in this article:
True Colors: Commercially-acquired morphological genotypes reveal hidden allele variation among dog breeds, informing both trait ancestry and breed … by DL Dreger, BN Hooser, AM Hughes, B Ganesan… – PloS one, 2019 – journals.plos.org
Colours of domestication by M Cieslak, M Reissmann, M Hofreiter… – Biological …, 2011 – Wiley Online Library
Genetics of coat colour and hair texture by DP Sponenberg, MF Rothschild – The genetics of the dog, 2001 – iwtf.ie
Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Risk Factors of Coonhounds by RD Clark – 2015 – books.google.com
Putting (Big) black dog syndrome to the test: Evidence from a large metropolitan shelter by J Sinski, RM Carini, JD Weber – Anthrozoös, 2016 – Taylor & Francis
Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat-E-Book by G Landsberg, W Hunthausen, L Ackerman – 2011 – books.google.com