Doodle coat Genetics
There are 3 alleles that come into play when it comes to creating a hypoallergenic, minimally shedding dog.
MC5R- the shedding allele
RSPO2- the furnishing allele.
KRT71- the curl allele
A dog will need two copies of each to shed minimally and be the most hypoallergenic it can be.
A common misconception is that any Poodle mix will not shed because of the poodle genetics. This is not true. An example is breeding a Golden Retriever to a Poodle. We know a Golden Retriever is a shedding breed that has a straight coat.. They do not have any copies of furnishings or curl and have two copies of shedding. A Poodle is a minimally shedding breed. It will have two copies of furnishings and curl and no copies of shedding. Each dog can only only give one of each of the genes to the puppy. So a F1 will automatically have one copy of furnishings, one copy on shedding and one copy of curl. Therefore it will shed and not be hypoallergenic. The amount of shedding can vary from light to heavy.
This is why coat trait testing is so important for breeders to do. Generation doesn't matter- a Dog can be an F1b that is essentially 75% Poodle and 25% Retriever can still shed depending on its coat genetics.
The breeder will need to show you a copy of the coat traits for each parent dog so you can be sure you are getting a puppy that will shed minimally and be the most hypoallergenic a dog can be.
NOTE: The curl allele is not directly connected to shedding like the other two- however, the more curl a coat has the hairs will stay "trapped" in the coat and not fall out.
Below are charts from Animal Genetics that explains each.
This chart shows the level of shedding based on both the MC5R and RSPO2 genes.
Doodle Coat Color Genetics
The Fading Gene
Doodles tend to change colors several times throughout puppyhood into adulthood. A puppy can start out a deep chocolate color and then fade or lighten to a cream by the time it reaches a year old. This is caused by the progressive greying gene. The progressive greying gene is carried from the Poodle side although other dogs can carry it as well such as the Old English Sheepdog and Pumi. There currently isn't a test yet to determine whether or not a dog carries this gene. This is a separate gene that the dilute gene- this gets confused quite often. But, if a parent has lightened or faded the puppy is likely to as well. You can tell if a puppy will fade or lighten at birth. They will have white hairs under their paws. This may be difficult to see if the puppy is parti colored. They can also start turning lighter as early as 4-6 weeks. The first place you will notice will be on their face.
Some breeders do not disclose this when you inquire about a puppy- then the buyer is disappointed or confused that their puppy seems to have turned a completely different color. Of course it doesn't matter at that point because they love their pup- but if you want a specific color and want your puppy to stay that color you need to ask if the parents have faded or lightened and ask for pictures of each as a puppy so you can see for yourself.
I get asked quite a bit about Yankees color. She is actually genetically blue- not black. Her skin is blue. It is more rare for a Doodle to be born black and stay a true black color. This is different than the progressive greying gene. This happens more gradually. With progressive greying the changes can start at 6 weeks- where as blues do not start clearing to silver until their are a year or even two years old.
Yankee started out jet black as a puppy. She didn't start clearing to silver until she was 18 months old. Now she is almost completely silver.
Yankee at 1 year
The Rufus Gene
The rufus gene is also a gene that cannot be tested for. It it recessive and causes the coat to darken over time. You can tell if a puppy has inherited it by the frosted appearance of their coat. Belle has the rufus gene and below are a few pictures showing the progression. its hard to capture her true color in photos but you can see the frosted hairs on her coat. You can see the frosted appearance of her coat as a baby.