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snow nose
by Joanne Chanyi & Ruut Tilstra

Joanne says:
Having had many dogs over the years, I have had a lot of experience with snow noses.

I find most all pups develop a black nose or at least a brown nose by weaning time, [although many years ago when we had lots of PURE whites dogs, many of them also had pink noses all year long.] I find that most noses start to fade after the second winter only to darken again in the warm weather, if it has been a long and cold winter, then the noses take longer to darken up.

Over the years I have tried just about everything anyone has told me to do, can't say anything actually worked, sometimes I thought I had something that worked, but when tested on a few dogs in the same kennel with some that it wasn't tried on, I could see no difference. Some dogs' noses just seem to lighten more each year, others seem to darken more with each year. I don't think that I have ever had one dog, that hasn't lighten a wee bit during a really cold winter, on dogs such as Sundance. It was so slight that you really had to look to notice it.

My Lancer, had a dark brown nose the first few years of his life, going quite pinkish in the winter time, but as he aged his nose was going from black to brown.

I have found that my dogs that hold their pigment the best, do have some cream on them. Most often when two dogs with snow noses are bred together the pups noses start to fade as they get older but often you get some that have better pigment than both parents and some even retain their good pigment.

Getting a pure white dog with a jet black nose that fades very little is possible, by breeding just for those things, but you are closing your genetic pool a bit too much, at least in my opinion.

I don't think their was a person more against breeding dogs with a bit of cream on them than I was or more vocal about it but I also seen where this type of thinking was going and now I have several dogs with cream on them, it is not a big deal for me, yes I do want to get back to having pure white dogs, but if the foundation of your house is not good, it won't last. The same goes for your breeding program. We need some diversity.

This is also true of the pigment of the noses, so long as the nose isn't pink and darkens in the warm weather, what is the big deal? I want a healthy dog, I don't care if his nose snows in the winter time, nor if the coat has a bit of cream in it so long as the dog is sound that is all that matters to me.

Over the years I have never had a complaint about the color of the dogs nose or [lack of color] on any dog that I have ever sold. I have had a few people disappointed about the cream appearing in the coat as the dog ages.

On another note, for the people who think that by breeding to a colored dog they will get a blacker nose, from what I have seen this isn't true. When white pups come out of a colored parent, usually the pigment is lacking, no matter how good the pigment is in both parents. Joanne

Answer Ruut:
It is clear that the factor snownose is coming back as a question every time. Young breeders are concerned about it and they need to hear from others over and over again what it really is. I agree with Joanne that snownose, lack of pigment and coat colors are important but not the most important. To stay with a healthy stock in your kennel you have to make choices sometimes. And those choice maybe the use of some creamy coated dogs, or dogs with some more snownose.

We saw in the past also in Europe that when we breed only on coat colour the dogs will lose pigment on the nose and more. Of course it is nice to have a black nose if you are going to win in the show. Of course there are some tricks you can use to get a darker nose. But all those tricks are temporarily and the genes are coming back with the lighter nose ALWAYS!! If your dogs nose is not so black-black but he is healthy and sound, be happy for his soundness and don't worry to much about the nose.

Of course you have to take every thing in your mind when you are planning a breed (also the pigmentation of the nose and the colour of the coat), but make the real important choice and don't look only for a black nose or white coat! Ruut Tilstra