Bolonka colors are incredibly deceptive because what you see is not what you get. This post is not an attempt to go into color genetics, it is just a friendly post to explain why your Bolonka puppy is changing colors!
We try hard to determine what color each puppy will be as an adult but sometimes that is nearly impossible. There are certain base colors that we can determine, but how each individual puppy develops as an adult is not known. And what makes matters worse is that 2 puppies that look alike may end up being totally different as adults.
The breed club (AKC) standard reads: "All colors are permitted except solid white, spotted, parti-color or merle. Small white markings on the toes and forechest are permitted. A solid white, spotted, parti-color or merle coat color is a disqualification."
The term Havanna Brown is NOT official terminology for the Bolonka, it is a name that we borrowed from the Havanese breed to describe this particular color pattern. When looking at AKC papers the color BROWN is used to depict a chocolate colored dog, not a "brown" colored dog.
Keep in mind that the AKC puppy registration paper does not list all the variations of color possible. When registering a Bolonka puppy your color choices are: Black, Brown, Cream, Fawn, Gray, Red, Silver, Wolfgray, so if your puppy is what we call Havana Brown or Tobacco your puppy will most likely be registered as black, even though as an adult your dog will not be solid black. No matter the color of your puppy, when you register with AKC you can only choose 1 color, so you have to attempt to "name that color"! Hence why many Bolonki that are registered are listed as the wrong color, the dogs that are imported from overseas often have incorrect color labels due to language barriers and differences of color meaning. In Russia a dog can be registered as "brown" because in Russia it is "brown" but here in USA we would call it a fawn, or it may even be a chocolate brown. Genetics are swell ...... are we having fun yet?
Most of our bloodlines carry the sable and/or the tan point gene, which can really reek havoc when determining the final color outcome. Sable and tan point genes have the ability to skew what would normally be considered a solid colored dog. The puppies carrying these genes can be born a solid color but they may not stay solid!
The photos below are of the same puppy. The 1st photo shows what appears to be a black puppy (4 weeks old). The 2nd photo shows what looks like a black puppy with sun bleached hair (10 weeks old). The 3rd photo was taken the very same hour as the 2nd photo, it is in fact the same puppy. The 3rd photo shows the color change that is occurring, this is what we call a Havana Brown color/pattern. We do not know what color this puppy will be as an adult, but it will be fun to watch the color changes as she grows into an adult!
Here is where it gets tricky, do you register this puppy as black? Well she did look black, but now she doesn't. Is she a brown? No, brown pertains to what we might call chocolate, and brown dogs ALWAYS have brown noses and foot pads with lighter colored eyes. This puppy clearly has a black nose and dark eyes so brown is not her color. Is she a fawn? Right now she is not fawn but possibly when she is 2-3 years old she might be fawn colored like her sire, or she may possibly be a fawn sable. Fawns do have black noses and footpads with dark eyes so that fits. This puppy could even turn a silvery gray color when she is older!
Here is a link to an incredibly informative website that details the particulars of the Havana Brown coloring, it includes some interesting photos as well. havaneseabc.com/gallery8.html
Owner and Breeder of the wonderful Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka
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