The distinctive coat pattern of a Dalmatian is the result of the interaction of several loci. While the encoded function of these genes is not fully understood, it is known the Piebald, Ticking, and Flecking loci interact to produce the Dalmatian's classic pigmented spots on a white background. The color of the pigmented spots in purebred Dalmatians can either be black or liver, but the locus responsible for color determination is unknown. Studies have been conducted to determine the underlying genes involved in coat color determination in the dog, e.g., in the Labrador Retriever, but none to date have addressed black versus liver in the Dalmatian.
A genome scan was conducted in a multi-generational kindred of Dalmatians segregating black and liver spot color. Linkage analysis was performed using a total of 113 polymorphic microsatellite markers from the kindred. Linkage was found between spot color and a single microsatellite marker, FH2319 (LOD = 12.5) on chromosome 11.
The TYRP1 (Brown) locus is located at position 50.1 Mb on chromosome 11, which is approximately 0.4 Mb from marker FH2319. Given the recent characterization of TYRP1 genetic variations in the dog and the linkage evidence reported here, TYRP1 is likely responsible for the spot color variation of black versus liver seen in the Dalmatian.