Take a Powder (the Boerboel Blue Coat)

When it comes to color, the majority of Boerboels come in shades of brown, red, or fawn, all acceptable colors in most breed standards, and all that have the same base color by whatever name it’s called.

The AKC breed standard for the breed adds that, “disqualifying colors are black (that would be black without a trace of brindle), black with white markings, and a ‘powder coat.'” The United Kennel Club also lists dilute/powder and solid blue colored Boerboels as a disqualification in a show ring, as does the South African Boerboel Breeder’s Society.  Furthermore, in 2017, members of the Boerboel UK Society voted that no black dog, no black dog dilute, blue, grey, lilac or chocolate could be registered, appraised, nor promoted in any way, and that all black dog genetics were banned from the breed standard, database and registration within Boerboel UK.

We won’t get into black Boerboels with this post because that topic is deserving of a stand-alone post. Still, some outside the breed might ask, “What is a “powder coat and how do I spot one?”

In a Boerboel a “powder coat” is a blue dog (something that might look like steel gray to some of us) that appears to be “dusty,” or dusted in powder. Genetically speaking, it’s a dog with a double dose of the d allele in place of the dominant D allele at the D locus. Regretfully, we were unable to find an acceptable photograph of a “powder” blue Boerboel, and would be beholden to anyone who could share one with us in the comments section below.

That said, coat color isn’t a matter of simple aesthetics (though we came across a source that maintained that brindle Boerboels tend to be milder in temperament than red Boerboels). The matter of color is rooted in practicality. Boerboels of certain colors are thought not to pass along black eumelanin pigmentation, an effective absorbent of light that can dissipate over 99.9% of absorbed UV radiation, all important in a dog bred to work in a hot, sun drenched environment.

Genetics nerds may enjoy this piece by Fred Lanting about colors in the Boerboel.

Image of a young Boerboel. 


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