This puppy is a black and tan golden retriever/Labrador cross.
Remember, I said that in neither parent is black and tan a standard color, but it is never seen in one of the parent breeds.
Black and tan pops up in Labradors, as does chocolate (liver) and tan.
Black and tan was once very common in retrievers. Stonehenge (John Henry Walsh) would write in 1872:
An English retriever, whether smooth or curly-coated, should be black or black-and-tan, or black with tabby or brindled legs, the brindled legs being indicative of the Labrador origin. We give the preference, from experience, to the flat-coated or short-coated small St. John’s or Labrador breed. These breeds we believe to be identical. The small St. John’s has marvellous intelligence, a great aptitude for learning to carry, a soft mouth, great strength, and he is a good swimmer. If there is any cross at all in this breed it should be the setter cross (pg. 89).
“English retriever” was a euphemism that included all the wavy and flat-coated type of retriever, the smooth and long-haired St. John’s water dog (also known as “the Labrador”), and the curly-coated retriever. English retrievers became four distinct breeds, but at the time, they were quite muddled, and it depended upon the context on whether the dog was called a retriever, a Newfoundland, or a Labrador. The modern Labrador is a derived from two very specific strains within this basic type.
In modern Labrador retrievers, black and tan puppies still pop up.
Tan markings come from one of the agouti alleles. In Labradors, it is recessive to dominant black and solid liver (chocolate), which means that it can be hidden for generations within Labrador strains. Only when two parents carry the recessive allele are black and tan or chocolate and tan puppies produced.
Now, the other parent breed also carries black and tan.
Yes. Golden retrievers can come in black and tan.
But you never see it.
That’s because goldens have another genotype to prevent black pigment from ever appearing on the coat. The e/e genotype produces the cream to yellow to reddish coloration that gives the breed its name, but because it prevents any black or liver coloration from appearing on the coat, it can mask other genotypes.
Most goldens are dominant black dogs that have the black coloration masked through the e/e genotype.
However, there are goldens that are sable and brindle, but these colors only become evident when they dog is crossed with another breed, like a collie or a malinois. If the golden carries the genotype that allows for liver instead of black, the brown hair will replace the black in the markings, but because the vast majority of goldens are black-skinned dogs, we will leave this discussion there.
Sable and black and tan are both agouti alleles and are recessive to dominant black. But because goldens have these colors masked throug the e/e, we never see how these colors are inherited– until we have a crossbreeding.
This puppy’s father was probably a typical dominant black masked by e/e golden that carried the recessive black and tan, and the black Labrador mother also carried this recessive trait. If the golden sire had been an e/e masked black and tan, then more puppies would have had this coloration, but it was the only puppy in the litter that was of this color.
In case you were wondering, I got the photos from this thread on this forum.
Here’s the puppy at seven months. It looks like a smooth-coated, working-type golden retriever that for some reason is black and tan. You can see the golden in the eyes. He is also rangier than one normally sees in Labradors.
I think that at least one of the wavy-coated retrievers at Guisachan was a black and tan. This is the famous photo of Nous, the founding sire of the Guisachan strain, which became the basis for the golden retriever breed. He is holding something in his mouth. The other yellow dog in the photo may be Belle, the Tweed water spaniel or Tweed water dog. The Guisachan strain was founded by mating Nous with Belle.
The dog on the far right is a deerhound of some sort, but the second dog from the right appears to have been a black and tan wavy-coated retriever.
It could have been a Gordon setter, but this dog possess really strong retriever features.
However, this dog has not been identified. The only dog whose identity is fully certain is that of Nous.
But this black and tan dog could have contributed to the Guisachan strain,and then had its coloration masked through selection for the e/e in the Guisachan dogs and the golden retriever breed.
Perhaps this black and tan dog’s coloration would have only been revealed when a many, many generations removed descendant mated with black Labrador that just happened to be carrying this color.