The above is a "blue merle" catahoula dog. Below are examples of "red merle" coloration.
The Black and Tan American Pit Bull
This is Tatonka Kennel's XXX, a black and tan stud dog of exceptional breeding. I've seen some of his pups - and they are awesome. I'd own this dog in a New York minute!
American pit bulls come in a wide variety of colors because traditionally they were bred for performance, not appearance. When the American pit bull was recognized as the Staffordshire terrier by the AKC in 1936 the breed standard discouraged red nosed dogs, dogs with more than 80 percent white and the black and tan dogs. Hard to say why, but some say because the red nosed dogs were "too associated" with fighting (?) and that the black and tan was considered "showing mixed breeding". It's hard to get inside the head of show people sometimes!
The color inheritance of pit bulls is an interesting study. It is a given fact that the mastiff and bulldog breeds are related and that one sprung from the other. Mastiff breeds have traditionally come in fawn with black mask (English mastiff, bull mastiff, dogue de Bourdeaux), red, red nose, (douge de Bourdeaux, Neo) slate blue (Neo, cane corso), black (Neo, cane corso), pied (white with color spots) (Saint Bernard) brindle (English mastiff, bullmastiff, cane corso). The AKC show type bulldog comes in white, pied, fawn with black mask and brindle. Red with a black nose for my purposes is classified under fawn.
There was quite a bit of crossbreeding between mastiffs and between mastiffs and bulldogs over the history of both types. As late as about 1890 English mastiffs could be found that were the slate blue color of the Neapolitan mastiff, and "red nose red" like the dogue de Bourdoeux.
Pit bulldogs have been bred as a "pure" breed by fanciers since at least the 1600's when the first mention in writing of the difference between a mastiff and a bulldog can be found. There is reason to believe they had been well established types well before that. The English have always been keen on breeding hunting dogs, and the nobility kept large kennels filled with various kinds of dogs. Hounds for trailing, fast, large greyhound type dogs for overcoming stag, and tough, agile gripping dogs for closing with, gripping and holding the boar and bear.
"MERLE PIT BULLS"
The ONLY color which is a disqualifying fault for the American pit bull is merle. Merle is a solid base coat color splotched with red or brindle or blue spots or patches.
Merle is rightfully a disqualification from all legitimate registries for the simple reason merle is not a color associated with purebred mastiffs or bulldog types. The only "mastiff type" dog which comes merle (though not as an approved color) is the great Dane, which was developed by the crossbreeding of several mastiff, bulldog and hound breeds.
Only recently have merle "pit bulls" appeared, and in almost all cases the color can be traced back to crossbreeding with catahoula leopard dogs. This cross is particularly common in the South.
There are no purebred American pit bulls which are merle.
"BLACK AND TAN PIT BULLS"
Black and tan is an approved color for UKC and ADBA
registered American pit bulls. The AKC standard states:
The black and tan color is striking, but because it is so closely associated with breeds like the Doberman and rottweiler, some people think that any black and tan pit bull is a mixed breed. Respected breeder John P. Colby of Newburyport, Mass., who bred pit bulls from the turn of the last century to 1939 had several well respected black and tan dogs.
"RED NOSE REDS"
UNDER CONSTRUCTION CHECK BACK SOON!
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