I have a secret. As much as we love our liver GSPs, we’ve come to have a soft spot for the black puppies that Hera had with her first litter.
While Black GSPs have been around since the beginning and even recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club for years, it was only recently, in late 2022, that the American Kennel Club recognized the black GSP as acceptable.
What does it mean to be recognized?
Until now, black GSPs couldn’t be registered in the AKC or shown in conformation shows. That means unless a particular black GSP or liver one born to a black GSP parent was registered to a foreign registry like the CKC here in Canada, it wouldn’t have a pedigree in the US. And without a pedigree to prove the lineage, there was no guarantee a dog was a purebred GSP at all.
Where did the black gene come from?
The black gene in German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) is believed to have originated from the original breeds used to create the GSP in the late 1800s, such as the Spanish Pointer, the English Pointer, and the Foxhound.
The black coat colour in German Shorthaired Pointers is caused by the presence of the dominant “E” (also known as “EM”) allele at the MC1R gene. The “E” allele is dominant over the “e” allele, which codes for a liver/brown coat. Therefore, a dog only needs one copy of the “E” allele to express the black coat colour.
What does the black colour mean to today’s GSP?
It’s important to note that you don’t just get a pretty black coat when you breed a dog to a registered black dog. For instance, when we bred Hera to Nero, we were gaining from Nero’s European lineage because kennel clubs in Europe have allowed and maintained pedigrees for black GSPs. Instead of diluting Hera’s genetics with a dog not considered purebred, we gained from a strong genetic pool maintained for many generations.
Always ask about the pedigree of the puppy you’re bringing into your home. It should never be hidden from you, and a reputable breeder can provide it as they are proud of what it can tell you about their lineage.