Eurasier Coat Colours

Genetics are FASCINATING. With consumer tests like Embark and Wisdom Panel, we now have the ability to detect and identify the specific genes that define the characteristics of each individual dog. These DNA tests are typically used to reveal genetic diseases, however, they can also be used to identify physical characteristics.

In a breed like the Eurasier, which can come in a multitude of colours, if the parents have been genetically tested, we can use this information to approximate what colours may appear in a litter.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. It is important to note that a reputable breeder will not breed exclusively for colour. Colour should be the absolute last consideration when assessing a possible breeding combination as other factors like temperament, health, and structure should be prioritized. With that said, get ready to learn all about genetics!

With Eurasier coat colours, there are four possibilities for this gene, the A locus:

  • Ay (sable)
  • aw (agouti)
  • at (black & tan)
  • a (pure black)

Each dog has two versions (also known as alleles) of each gene, one inherited from each parent. In this gene, Ay is the dominant allele, which means that it will always be expressed regardless of what it is paired with. The A in Ay is capitalized to indicate it is the dominant trait. Conversely, a (pure black) is a recessive trait which means it is never expressed unless the dog is homozygous (has two of the same alleles) with a/a.

The combination of alleles (also known as the genotype) determine what colour the dog will turn out:

 Genotype Phenotype (how it's expressed)
Ay/Ay red to cream
red to cream
red to cream
red to cream
aw/aw wolf-grey or agouti
wolf-grey or agouti
wolf-grey or agouti
at/at black & tan (or markings)
black & tan (or markings)
a/a pure black


Because each dog carries two copies of the gene, there are ultimately four possible combinations that could arise when breeding two dogs together. A Punnett square is often used in genetics to help identify the possible combinations for the offspring based on the parents' alleles.

Here’s a Punnett square of the Victra x Taiko pairing. Victra is homozygous (which means that both of her alleles are the same) with aw/aw, giving her the wolf grey agouti colouring. Taiko is also homozygous with Ay/Ay, giving him his red colouring.

  aw aw
Ay Ay/aw Ay/aw
Ay Ay/aw Ay/aw

Because they are both homozygous, 100% of their puppies will have Ay/aw as their genotype, which means that they will all come out to be red or cream. Cream is simply a diluted version of red, and how strong the colour will appear is a result of another locus, the K-locus, also known as the Intensity locus.

Let’s use another, more complex, example.

A male has the genotype Ay/a which expresses as red, since Ay is the dominant trait. The female has a genotype aw/a, which shows up as wolf gray.

  aw a
Ay Ay/aw Ay/a
a aw/a a/a

The four possible combinations of the puppies’ genotypes, based on the parents’ genotypes are:

  • Ay/a= red/cream
  • Ay/a = red/cream
  • aw/a = wolf-grey or agouti
  • a/a = pure black

Therefore in our example, with the Ay/a red dog and the aw/a wolf-grey bitch, you have a 50% chance of getting a cream or red puppy, a 25% chance of getting a wolf-grey puppy, and a 25% chance of getting a pure black puppy. With the exception of black puppies, most Eurasier puppies are born the same colour, which makes it a bit more of a guessing game as to which puppy carries which genes, however, experienced breeders often use a few clues to help them make an educated guess.

While there may be a particular colour that drew each of us initially to the breed, most puppy owners soon come to learn that their favourite colour becomes whichever their puppy is :)