Description:  A mutation in the melanocortin 1 receptor is responsible for the development of a black melanistic mask in some dog breeds. The mask appears due to the production of eumelanin in the region of the muzzle, eyebrows, and ears and can even spread to the breast and back areas. The dominant mutant allele is called EM. The mask is expressed in homozygous (EM/EM) and heterozygous dogs (EM/n). In some dogs, although they carry a mutation, the mask is not visible due to the color of the coat. The mask is visible in fawn/sable (Great Dane, German Shepherd) and brindle dogs (Boxer). The mask is not visible in dogs with black, chocolate/liver or blue coat color. In such cases, the mask may be partially visible due to graying on the rest of the body. In addition, dogs with a white muzzle sometimes do not show a mask. Although the mask is not visible, the dog can transfer the mask allele to its offspring.


Inheritance: autosomal dominant


Mutation: c. 799 A>C in MC1R gene


Sample: EDTA whole blood (1.0 ml) or 2 buccal brushes. For official purposes, the confirmation of the dog’s identity by Veterinarian is recommended.


The analysis is suitable for the following breeds: Afghan, Belgian Shepherd, Boxer, Bull Mastiff, Cairn Terrier, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Chihuahua, Chinese Shar-pei, English Bulldog, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Greyhound, Lakenois, Pekinese, Pug, Saint Bernard, Saluki, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Whippet