Colour breeding - Dilutes (Blue and Isabella)
Do not be tempted to buy "rare" coloured Dachshunds such as Blue or Isabella.
If you already have one, please do not breed from him or her.
Dilute colours in Dachshunds: the truth.
Like many breeds, some Dachshunds are prone to various skin conditions including dermatitis, pattern baldness, allergies, autoimmune conditions etc. Dilute colour dogs are not only far more likely to be affected than ‘normal’ colour dogs but are highly likely to suffer from colour dilution alopecia (CDA) as well.
What are Dilute colours? Sometimes a dachshund inherits genes that weakens the colour. The black in black and tan coats changes to a faded grey (blue). In the chocolate, the coat fades out to a very milky ‘Galaxy’ bar colour, known as Isabella.
What is Colour Dilution Alopecia (CDA)? Not only do the genes weaken the colour, but in many cases, the genes also thins and weakens the hair shaft, so that it easily falls out or breaks off, leaving bald patches on the body, particularly on the ears. This can leave the skin particularly prone to sunburn, infection, dermatitis and cancer. Unfortunately, Dachshunds seem to be at particularly high risk. A dilute pup recently advertised for £6500 was described as having a coat that ‘almost glowed pink’ – seemingly the breeder was unaware that it was the skin showing through the very thin overlying hairs.
Is there any evidence to show the extent of the issue? Yes, plenty. The most recent is the outcome of the 2021 DachsLife survey of 10,000 dachshunds. 74% of blue dachshunds in the survey were affected by either CDA, patterned baldness, allergies or other skin conditions, compared to 28% of dogs of all colours (including the dilute dogs). 74% of the reports of CDA specifically were for dilute dogs of all colours and patterns. For more information see https://www.dachshundhealth.org.uk/dachslife-2021
Is there a cure for CDA? No. Owners of dogs with CDA have to fight a constant battle with dietary changes, supplements and medication to keep it under control.
Is there a DNA test for CDA? Short answer – no. Longer answer – no, and because of that, responsible and knowledgeable breeders in the UK do NOT deliberately breed dilute colour puppies. Neither do they deliberately breed from a dilute parent, as even their ‘normal’ colour pups may carry the dilute gene, be bred on and produce dilute pups with skin problems.
If you already have a dilute dog or one with known dilution in the line, please do not breed from him or her.
The images below show some examples of the sort of skin and coat problems that can occur in dilute coloured Dachshunds. We are grateful to their owners for sharing these images with us.