Why does my Golden Retriever have black hairs?

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In this article, you will know the answer to the query “Why does my Golden Retriever have black hairs?“.

A few random black hairs have appeared on the coat of your Goldie. Are you concerned? Does anything seem amiss? Is it possible that this could be the start of a complete color transformation?

You need not be concerned (unless you intend to exhibit this specimen) and these rogue hairs are genetically related.

I would like to put this topic into some kind of perspective before we dive into the role genes play in the color of your dog’s coat.

The following are some fascinating facts about dogs that will blow your mind.

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In that the largest specimen (Great Dane) is about 40 times the size of the smallest specimen (Chihuahua), dogs are by far the most diverse land mammals in the world. 

We constantly breed different breeds of dogs to make new variations because we are always tinkering.

Additionally, the American Kennel Club (AKC) is constantly adding new breeds to its official register. 

There have been two new breeds added in 2020 alone- the Dogo Argentino and the Barbet. 

The Kennel Club last recognized a new breed in Britain in 2018, the Black and Tan Coonhound. 

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If you consider all of this, is it any wonder that a few stray black hairs appear once every Blue Moon on a goldfish?

Dog’s genes

There are nearly nineteen thousand genes in a dog’s genome, but scientists believe that only eight of them determine coat color.

A dog’s coat is colored by three pigments that interact with each other.

The list is as follows:

Black, chocolate brown, or gray eumelanin 

The phenomenon pigment is either gold, tan, or red

White because of lack of melanin

There are eight genes that determine if these colors are present and how they are distributed across a dog’s coat. 

Golden retrievers have mostly pheomelanin pigments, while eumelanin and melanin pigments are recessive.

In order for “rogue” colors to appear, a gene must slightly malfunction. 

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Compared to that, humans have twenty to twenty-five thousand genes (that we know about at the moment), and 124 of these are involved in determining our hair color.

Black Golden Retrievers

While some of you might be worried about the odd black hair on the coat, others are curious about whether there is such a thing as a “black golden retriever”?

I am referring to a golden retriever with no other color than black hair. 

As these points of view here, here, and here detail, this is a very contentious issue on the Internet. 

According to some sources, a flat-coated Retriever was introduced into the mix at one time. 

People who insist there is no such thing as a black goldie insist that golden retrievers are really another purebred, such as a flat-coated Retriever or a crossbreed. 

Now that we have learned how hair color is determined in a dog, about the odd black hair that appears on a golden retriever’s coat, and about some gossip about the existence of a black golden retriever, let’s ask the experts.

What is a golden retriever?

There are many different kinds of dogs that have ever existed, as I mentioned earlier.

It’s because there have been so many experiments with mating different breeds of dogs over time.

Although dogs are man’s best friend, we are constantly striving to improve the quality of this friendship by trying out different combinations.

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On the other extreme, established breeds have a protected status, which is monitored by various kennel clubs around the world.

The largest kennel clubs for golden retrievers are the American, Canadian, and British. 

These kennel clubs publish breed standards for every dog in their pedigree. 

A breed standard is a detailed description of the qualities a dog should possess in order to be perfect.

These are typically two pages long and contain about ten different characteristics, such as:

Size and Proportion

Head

Color

Coat

Breed standards specify allowable variations and characteristics that will lead to disqualification.

The different shades of Golden Retrievers

American, British, and Canadian golden retrievers are the three varieties.

You can read about the American breed standard here, the British standard here, and the Canadian standard here. 

It is to be expected that the vast majority of breed standards are the same.

There appears to be very little difference in coloring, as the descriptions within each breed standard mention “lustrous shades of golden.”

According to Wikipedia, British goldies are generally lighter than their American and Canadian counterparts. 

What is the position of each country on “black hair”? Let’s investigate. 

Do the breed standards allow for black golden retrievers?

There is a very clear “no” to this question.

Let’s take a look at each breed standard individually

Breed Standards for American Dogs

Under “color,” it explicitly states that “any noticeable area of black hair is a serious defect.”

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Breed Standard for British Dogs

Under “color,” the following sentence can be found: “serious fault: Any noticeable black hair”

Breed Standards in Canada

There should be no black. hair in any visible area

Since we have seen what the experts say about black hair on golden retrievers, I want to continue “playing” with this idea of a golden retriever with a solid black coat

Breeds that look like black golden retrievers

I had to narrow down the candidates a bit in this category because there are so many.

Those whose pedigrees most reflect that of a black golden retriever will be my focus.

It is evident, however, that several mixes of these pedigrees could create an even closer clone of a black golden retriever.

Flat-coated retrievers

Our joint top contenders for dogs that are most likely to be mistaken for black golden retrievers are these two. 

They are very similar in terms of temperature and playfulness. In general, their coats tend to be longer and flatter, and their heads tend to be much thinner. 

Black Hovawart

Only after doing some research for this article did I discover that black Hovawarts existed.

Purebred dogs’ coats are too long and too flat, but I think that their heads are very similar in shape and size. 

Yet, I believe that they are right up there with the flat-coated retriever as a dog “most likely to be confused with”

Black Labs

A lab is another retriever and it is believed that a yellow retriever may have been part of the original mix when goldies were first introduced to Scotland.

In spite of their shorter stature, labs are usually slimmer and thinner than golden retrievers- partly because their coats are thicker and flatter.  

Despite this, they share very similar temperaments and a love of food, tennis balls, and sticks. 

Newfoundlands

Even though they might be a bit far-fetched, Newfoundlands are just adorable, aren’t they?

Do you have any experience with them swimming? This is truly a sight to behold.

On land, their movements are best described as lumbering, but in the water, they transform into 70 kg ballerinas!

Although their heads are much, much bigger than a goldie’s, they have a very similar shape, as well as similarly shaped eyes that are kind and gentle.

Black Bloodhound

What do you mean? You are now completely lost.

However, hear me out.

Although golden retrievers are believed to be a mix between a yellow retriever and a spaniel, soon after a bloodhound was introduced “into the mix” in order to improve the dogs’ scenting abilities. 

Do you see? What I said wasn’t entirely true.

Other Breeds with complete opposites

However, golden retrievers aren’t the only ones who have complete opposites that can be counted or not.

One of the most obvious examples is dalmatian culture

Dalmatians. 

Officially, they are black or liver spotted, but longhaired versions are also available. 

Conclusion

Don’t panic if your goldie has a few stray black hairs; it is just a result of how some genes affecting hair color are interacting.

There is nothing wrong with your dog from a health standpoint.

There is no such thing as a black golden retriever and they aren’t allowed in any show rings

Nevertheless, if you find a goldie clone that behaves and looks exactly like a goldie, just cuddle it and thank your lucky stars.

If you want to read more about dog food tips, read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.

Why does my Golden Retriever have black hair? (Watch Video)

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