Color In Cockers"
This is excerpts out of an article by James Mel. Phillips
dated 1938, published in Journal Of Heredity #29
This is only the cocker spaniel part of the article as other breeds mentioned is not of importance to this discussion.
Orthodox coat colors in Cockers do not include brindle or sable, or any of the agouti or chinchilla types of color, the Standard recognizing only self black, self liver, any shade of self red or yellow, black and tan and liver and tan, and any of these colors with the recessive piebald white splashing.
The Cocker bitch under consideration was bred by Mr. Landaker of Cincinnati, Ohio, and is owned by Mrs. Walter Elliott of Duncan Falls, Ohio. She is dark red with many black hairs distributed rather evenly through the coat, mostly on the dorsal surfaces. They are most numerous on the face and around the edges of the ears. None of the hairs is banded but each is jet black throughout its entire length. The eyes and nose are black. There were several red litter mates, but she was the only one to show this pattern. The black hairs were not arranged in bands but were scattered uniformly though the coat when she was whelped and her puppy coat was short. None of her ancestors was sable or brindle, and for several generations none had ever been know to throw sable. Mated to a black dog, heterozygous for the black and tan bicolor pattern, and which also carries buff as a recessive, she threw one black and three reds varying from medium to dark red and one rather light red with very heavy sabling, which in addition to the sable pattern shows areas of clear buff which correspond exactly to the position of the tan areas in a "bicolor black and tan." The black hair in this dog also is much longer than the buff. Another mating to a solid homozygous black threw only black as one would expect, but contrary to expectations a third mating with a dark red with black nose threw four red pups, one dark and three medium but no sables. The black which threw the sable was a total out cross and had never been know to throw a sable, nor had any of his ancestors.
It would therefore appear that this color, though phenotypically resembling the sable of Collies is genotypically quite different, and even though the black does not occur in streaks but is uniformly mixed with the red on the bodies of the dogs, it is much more closely related to the sable of St. Bernards and the brindle of Great Danes, Greyhounds, etc. which are recessive to self black but dominant over red, fawn, tan, etc.
I have heard of two other Cockers of this color whose description tallies exactly. Both of these were the product of red by black mating, and came from stock which had never thrown brindle or sable. This sable coloring is quite common in certain strains of Springer Spaniels, in which breed it appears as sable patches on piebald dogs and from the figures which I have been able to obtain it seems to be recessive to black and dominant over red and yellow. In Springers red and white and sable and white are unpopular colors consequently most of them are destroyed at birth, but they keep recurring from the black and white stock.
Whether these examples cited
in Cockers are the result of recessive "throwbacks" or arose from three
individual mutations it is impossible to say, but they were found in three
very remotely related strains of the breed.