Skin Pigmentation in a White LDG. What’s Up With That?

As much as we’d love to know everything about everything, we are, like our readers, forever learning about our breeds, and very often, we learn from our readers. Perhaps one of you can address something we find curious.

Of the Livestock Guardian breeds, a good many are white: The Komondor, Maremma Sheepdog, Great Pyrenees, Akbash Dog, Kuvasz, Polish Tatra Shepherd Dog, and the Slovenský Ćuvać.  The range of “whiteness” varies by breed, of course, some standards allowing a bit of shading around the ears, others specifying a uniformly white dog. A preference for a white LGD may have to do with enabling a shepherd to easily distinguish their dogs from wolves, or it may have to do with sheep accepting a protection dog that looks more like themselves, and less like a predator.

Interestingly, while the standards of the aforementioned breeds all specify coat color, not all mention skin pigmentation. The Kuvasz standard, for example, calls for heavily pigmented skin, the more slate gray or black the pigmentation, the better. The Komondor standard, too, indicates that grey skin is ideal. Initially, we thought this made sense for working dogs that perform their duties under the sun all year long, but the Maremma, Tatra, and Great Pyrenees’ standards don’t mention skin pigmentation at all, and the Slovenský Ćuvać standard calls for pink skin which would seem to put a dog working outside at a disadvantage.

What’s up with skin pigmentation in white LGDs?

Image of a Slovenský Ćuvać by SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=638401

2 thoughts on “Skin Pigmentation in a White LDG. What’s Up With That?”

  1. The Maremma Sheepdog standard does mention pigmentation in several places 🙂
    “Pigmentation of the lips and nose black.”
    “Eye-rims black.”
    “Pads black.”
    Thank you,
    Deborah Reid
    President, Maremma Sheepdog Club of America

    • Thanks for your comment, Deborah, and yes, the Maremma standard mentions pigmentation, but not with regards to the skin which is what we were wondering about. As an aside, if you think you and your membership might be interested in having the Maremma Sheepdog featured as a Purebred of Interest, we would be delighted to help expand the knowledge base of readers about this terrific breed. Just say the word, and we’ll work it out with you.

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