My Whippet Misty is a fawn brindle with a black mask, and when we first saw her we fell for her instantly. However, when we were first considering a Whippet puppy we weren’t looking for a brindle at all… what we really wanted was a blue Whippet.
The blue Whippet coat coupled with the Sighthound physique seemed to be the epitome of athletic elegance. Of course we realise now that the athletic elegance comes from the breed and that the Whippet coat colour has no bearing on this at all!
I still love the look of blue Whippets though… then again, I love the look of all Whippets.
I’ve written about Whippet colours previously as it’s interesting to understand the huge variance in coat colour and the patterns within it.
For today’s post though I’m focussing upon blue Whippets since, as with all blue coated dogs, the blue colour is actually not blue at all!
Curious? Then read on to find out what I’m talking about.
Table of Contents
- What is a Blue Whippet?
- Why Are Blue Whippets Rare?
- Is a Blue Whippet Likely to be Unhealthy?
- Related Posts
What is a Blue Whippet?
Curiously, a blue Whippet isn’t actually blue at all. In fact, all dogs described as having a blue coat are not actually blue either.
The colour associated with blue coated dogs is actually a genetic dilution of the colour black. Blue Whippets then are actually black Whippets with a dilute gene that “washes out” the black.
The dilute gene causes a coat that’s a kind of a gunmetal grey colour, which appears to be a grey blue… hence, blue Whippets or any kind of blue coated dog breed!
The important thing to note here is that blue Whippets are really black… it’s just that the dilute gene modifies the black colour turning it into a blue grey.
Interestingly, a blue Whippet’s nose will be blue!
But just because a specific Whippet has the dilute gene it doesn’t mean to say that it or its offspring will have a blue coat.
Why Are Blue Whippets Rare?
In order for a litter to contain blue Whippet puppies, both parents have to have the dilute gene. However, even if both parents carry the dilute gene it doesn’t guarantee that any of their litter will be blue.
If any puppy in a litter inherits two copies of the dilute gene from parents that each have the dilute gene and they are coloured black, then they will be a blue Whippet.
If any puppy in a litter inherits one copy of the dilute gene from parents that each have the dilute gene and they are coloured black, then they will be a black Whippet.
However, it’s also possible for a puppy not to inherit the dilute gene at all, even if both parents carry it.
Does that make sense?
Let me summarise…
- A black coated puppy must inherit two copies of the dilute gene to be a blue Whippet.
- A Whippet born with one copy of the dilute gene may create dilute puppies as an adult if they breed with another Whippet with the dilute gene.
- A Whippet born from parents each having the dilute gene may not inherit the dilute gene itself.
Is a Blue Whippet Likely to be Unhealthy?
There is some concern that puppies born from dilute parents can have health problems of a consequence, but my research has not found any scientific evidence supporting this.
Of course, I’m neither a breeder nor an expert in canine genetics!
The one thing I have heard is that blue Whippets (or any dilute dog as a matter of fact) can inherit a condition called Colour Dilution Alopecia.
Colour Dilution Alopecia is a genetic condition that affecting a dog’s skin and fur and can result in:
- Hair loss
- Broken, stubbly hairs
- Dry and flaky skin
- Infected hair follicles
- Blisters and pimples
- Itchy patches
In general, and aside from Colour Dilution Alopecia, a blue Whippet bred from healthy dilute parents will likely be no less healthy than any other Whippet.
Find out more about Whippet health problems.
A blue Whippet is not actually blue at all… it’s really a black Whippet that has a gene that turns the black colour to a blue-grey colour.
Blue Whippets are quite rare because both parents must carry the dilute gene… and even then puppies from dilute parents may not inherit the gene that leads to a blue Whippet.
Finally, a blue Whippet is no more likely to be genetically predisposed to illnesses than a non-dilute Whippet, though they can suffer from a fur / skin condition called Color Dilution Alopecia.
Do you have a blue Whippet or experience breeding dilute dogs? I’d love to hear about your experiences and I’m happy to receive corrections / improvements to this post. Please leave comments or suggestions in the comment section at the bottom of this page.
- Is a Whippet a Good Pet?
- Do Whippets Shed a Lot?
- 14 Facts About Whippets
- The Difference Between Whippets and Greyhounds
- What is the Whippet Temperament Like?
- How to Socialise Whippets
- Caring for a Whippet’s Teeth
- Whippet Skin Tears
- A Discussion of Dew Claws on Whippets
- Are Whippets Lazy?