Thanks for the feedback, Jennifer!
It’s definitely a challenge to define these traits in a way that’s agnostic to breed-specific terminology. The hope is that, even if not all dogs answer exactly “correctly” with regards to coat color genetics, that across dogs these answers will be sufficient for finding genetic associations. We also encourage using the comment section for answers, because we can also mine that data for further clarification.
( http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/ is a great resource for canine coat color nerds, or aspiring coat color nerds like me )
Light brown is indeed trying to capture “dilute liver”, so that would cover “lilac”, “isabella” dogs — yes, best exemplified by Weimaraners!
Pink is a funny one. I threw in there in case a dog’s coat is so sparse or white that the owner mostly sees their skin tone, or if they’re largely bald like a Crested. I’ll be surprised if anyone chooses it but I wanted to provide the option.
I would consider sable, grizzle, or agouti dogs as having black in their coats, but it is up to the owner to make that call. Across dogs, we will hopefully capture enough information to study it.
“None” is indeed a catch-all for none of the above patterns, including solid. I found that in the previous Physical Traits survey, many dogs with ticking or roan patterns answered “merle”. So, I felt it was necessary to have a question to break those patterns up. Some evidence suggests that roan and ticking have a shared genetic basis, and that Dalmatian spots are a modified form of ticking at another locus. This may help us decipher that relationship.
My dog falls into the “freckled but not ticked” category — she has several freckles on the legs, but not across her body. I suspect those who answer Q4 with ticking or roaning may also select this, but I’m curious to see dogs who have very few ticks — closer to freckles.
Oh, that’s very interesting and I’ll admit, we didn’t realize this possibility. I suppose comments on the answers may help pick these out.