When a Saluki has a lot of white on its legs, a blaze, and perhaps a bit of a collar, the dog is described as being, “Irish-marked.”
The term, “Irish spotting” (or marked) was a term coined by Leonard Doncaster in 1905 to describe a spotting pattern in wild rats from Ireland as an alternative pattern to “hooded,” (this from a series on dog coat color genetics from Sheila Schmutz’s website). This character was among the first to be studied from a genetical viewpoint and, in a general manner of writing, was found to be inherited as a simple monogenic recessive. Doncaster suggested that this “hooded” phenotype occurred in the heterozytogte, (whereas the homozygotes were solid or piebald).
A SINE mutation is associated with this type of white spotting in some breeds, but not in the Saluki or other sight hounds. To our knowledge, the gene and/or allele causing white feet and/or Irish spotting has yet to be identified, and it’s not known if it is also located on the S locus (and in case you were wondering, SINE stands for “Short Interspersed Nuclear Elements”).
To see example of Irish Spotting in the breed, or learn more about color genetics in the Saluki, visit here, and to learn more about color testing in the breed, click here. Our thanks to Caroline Coile, PhD for steering us in the right direction about Irish Spotting in the Saluki.