For several years, the dachshund has ranked among the top 10 most popular breeds registered with the American Kennel Club. The dachshund may be miniature or standard in size, and his coat may be smooth, wire-haired or long-haired. There are over 20 colors or patterns to choose from, including the beloved piebald.
The Piebald Pattern
Dachshund colors include red, tan, cream, black and tan, blue and tan, chocolate and tan, black and cream and fawn. Piebald, like dapple and brindle, describes the pattern on the dachshund’s coat, not the color. Piebald appears as a predominantly white coat with random markings of one or two additional colors. When describing one of these dachshunds, those colors precede the pattern name. A piebald with black and tan spots would be coined a black and tan piebald. His base coloring is black and tan, and recessive genetics result in white spotting over large areas of the coat. Other popular breeds whose colorings resemble a piebald pattern include beagles, basset hounds and some greyhounds and bulldogs.
The Genetics of Piebald Patterns
A piebald dachshund puppy shows up only when both parents who carry the microphthalmia associated transcription factor gene are bred. This recessive gene is responsible for the white spotting that covers the base color. If the gene is absent in either parent, there will be no piebald puppies in their litter. The dam and sire do not have to be piebald dachshunds. They only need to both carry the gene. However, when two piebald patterned dachshunds do breed, the entire litter will exhibit the piebald appearance. Unlike many dapple patterned dachshunds, piebald dachshunds do not have blue eyes. Piebald dachshunds may also appear to sport flecks of color, called ticking, on the white areas of the coat. If you admire the adorable freckles,spots and patches of the piebald pattern, you are not alone.
Some Rules Are Meant to Be Challenged
The breed standards dictated by the American Kennel Club discourage the piebald dachshund from competition. White is considered a permissible color only when limited to a spot on the chest. Despite these guidelines, piebald dachshunds can be registered with the American Kennel Club, and they cannot be banned from the show ring. In 1995, one judge’s final answer dubbed “Corrie” as the first piebald champion in the American Kennel Club’s history. Since then, a number of piebalds dachshunds have followed in Corrie’s footsteps, and groups continue to advocate the inclusion of the pattern as an acceptable breed standard.
Here, There and Everywhere
Now that you are versed in what a piebald dachshund looks like, you will start to notice that they show up everywhere. The piebald dachshund is not a new pup on the block. His history dates back to the 1800s in Europe. The unique, random markings of each dog have made the piebald dachshund increasingly popular. The proud little wiener is prancing his way around show rings, strutting his little legs alongside his masters on city streets and rollicking though our nation’s dog parks. Thanks to the efforts of the devoted breeders, he has made great strides in capturing the hearts and attention of show ring judges and loving pet owners alike.