The Eh Locus (Sable, Cocker Spaniel Type) coat color test evaluates the MC1R gene to determine the Eh locus genotype for the dog. This Mutation has been associated with the ‘sable’ appearance in Cocker Spaniels. This specific sable coat color is not caused by the A locus as seen in most breeds including the Cocker Spaniel, but is a variant of the E locus. This sable coat color/pattern shows a darker brown or black pigment on the head and neck of the dog which lightens to a cream/tan pigment down the body of the dog and muzzle. This mutation is recessive to the E Allele (which allows dark pigment) and dominant to the e allele (red/apricot/cream) that is tested through the E locus test (E>Eh>e).
Dogs with Eh/Eh or Eh/e genotypes typically have a pattern of dark pigment on their head and lighter pigment on their body. However, there are other genes that influence the final coat color and pattern of the dog. For example, a dog must have at least one copy of KB at the K locus (KB/KB or KB/ky) to express this sable pattern and dogs that inherit two copies of ky (ky/ky) will instead display lighter red hair with darker tips. Dogs that carry at least one copy of Eh can produce sable dogs if bred to another dog that carries at least one copy of sable (Eh/Eh, E/Eh or Eh/e) or carries at least one copy of red/cream (E/e or e/e).
The Eh Locus (Sable, Cocker Spaniel Type) coat color test reliably determines if a dog has one of the following genotypes at the Eh locus:
This dog does not carry a copy of Eh and has a genotype of N/N which does not result in the sable pattern. This dog will pass one copy of N to 100% of its offspring.
Interpretation: No sable
This dog carries one copy of Eh which results in the Cocker Spaniel sable coat color. However, this dog’s coat pattern is dependent on the E and K loci. A sable pattern can be seen in this dog if it is Eh/e at the E locus and KB/KB or KB/ky at the K locus. This dog will pass one copy of Eh to 50% of its offspring and one copy of N to 50% of its offspring.
Interpretation: Sable (non sable Carrier)
This dog carries two copies of Eh which results in the sable coat color. However, this dog’s coat pattern is dependent on the E and K loci. A sable pattern can be seen in this dog if it is KB/KB or KB/ky at the K locus. This dog will pass one copy of Eh to 100% of its offspring.