S Locus – Parti Gene

The S locus is responsible for the Parti gene. Parti is when you have white markings on a dog that cover more than just their face, legs and chest. White markings will be present on their body as well.

Parti is not found in Golden Retrievers, but is found in Poodles. In order to get a Parti you need two Parti genes, since Parti is a recessive gene. This means that the are no F1 Parti’s. You need at least an F1b generations to get Parti’s.

S/S = no white markings

S/s = can have no white markings or can have white markings on the face, legs and/or chest (Also known as Abstract)

s/s = White markings on body, as well as, face, chest and legs.

Parti marking will cover any other colour with white markings. You can get everything from Cream Parti, Apricot Parti, Red Parti, Phantom Parti, Sable Parti, Black Parti, Chocolate Parti, Brindle Parti and Merle Parti.

Abstract is also caused by the S locus and generally occurs when there is one Parti gene present (S/s). It is important to note that not all Parti carriers will have Abstract markings and not all Abstract markings are a result of carrying the Parti gene.

Examples of Parti Crosses:

1. Black Parti Poodle BBEEss x Golden Retriever BBeeSS

100% Black BBEeSs – (Some may have Abstract markings)

2. F1 Black Goldendoodle (Parti and Apricot Carrier) BBEeSs x Black Parti Poodle BBEEss

50% Black BBE_Ss (Some may have Abstract markings)

50% Black Parti BBE_ss

3. F1 Black Goldendoodle (Parti and Apricot Carrier) BBEeSs x Black Poodle (Parti Carrier) BBEESs

75% Black BBE_S_ (Some may have Abstract markings)

25% Black Parti BBE_ss

4. F1 Apricot Goldendoodle (Parti Carrier) BBeeSs x Black Poodle (Apricot and Parti Carrier) BBEeSs

37.5% Black BBE_S_ (Some may have Abstract markings)

37.5% Apricot BBeeS_ (Some may have Abstract markings)

12.5% Black Parti BBE_ss

12.5% Apricot Parti BBeess


Genetic Testing Facilities that Test for Parti and their interpretations:

Paw Print Genetics:

S/S = no white markings

S/sp = no white markings other than some white markings on face, legs and chest in some cases

sp/sp = Parti markings


S/S = no white markings

S/sp = no white markings other than some white markings on face, legs and chest in some cases

sp/sp = Parti markings

Animal Genetics:

N/N = no white markings

N/S =no white markings other than some white markings on face, legs and chest in some cases

S/S = Parti markings


N/N = no white markings

N/S =no white markings other than some white markings on face, legs and chest in some cases

S/S = Parti markings

The Merle Gene Debate

The Merle Gene is a much debated topic among Poodle and Goldendoodle Breeders. In this short article I plan to shed some light on the topic.

To start off here is a little about the Merle Gene. The Merle Gene is an incomplete dominant gene, this means that it only requires one copy to reproduce it, so only one parent has to carry for Merle. And actually, it is highly recommended against to breed Merle to Merle, because if both parents carry one copy of the merle gene, you will end up with 25% of the puppies being Double Merles, which have a chance of being blind and/or deaf. As a breeder, no matter what the percentage I would never risk even one puppy being born blind and/or deaf, so we never breed merle to merle. As well, there are other colour genes that can cover the merle gene, so you will not visibly see it but it is still present genetically and can be passed down to offspring. These colours include White, Cream, Apricot, Red and heavily marked Parti’s. As well, many that are not trained on merles, can mistake a brindle with the merle gene as not carrying merle. These dogs are called cryptic merles, as they are genetically merle, but visibly do not look like merles. If you are breeding a merle to any of these colours, you should genetic test them to ensure they do not carry for merle and therefore, you won’t have double merles.

There are many People out there that insist that Merle is not a naturally existing colour is Poodles and therefore not in Goldendoodles as we know for sure merle is not a colour found in Golden Retrievers. Many of these people will claim that it is naturally occurring in many other breeds though, such as Australian Shepherd, Great Danes, and Dachshunds. So, we have a problem as nobody knows for 100% sure where the merle gene comes from in Poodles. We do know with 100% certainty that there are AKC Registered Merle Poodles. There are several AKC Breeders that register them regularly.

Many people also note that there is not a specific colour called merle when registering an AKC Poodle, so merle must not be an AKC Colour. What I have to note for all of those people is the fact that there is also is no specific colour for Parti, Sable, Brindle, or Phantom. These are noted as Black & White, Black & Tan, Black & Silver, Brown & Tan, etc. Merle is often noted as Black & Silver or Brown and Tan.

So now the controversy is where did this gene come from and since nobody knows for sure we have to look at our options. The only three options that we can think of are these:

1. The merle Gene was introduced using another breed, many, many generations ago. If for instance we go with this option, we would assume that it was introduced with either Great Danes, Australian Shepherds or Dachshunds. There are some other breeds with Merles, but they are just as different as these breeds in coat type, size, structure and temperament, so we will just work with these breeds for now. If these breeds were used to introduce the merle gene, we can all visibly see the obvious difference in coat type, structure, size, temperament among other things.

Lets discuss coat type first, There are three genes that affect coat type that we know of genetically: KRT71 (Curly Gene-Cu), RSPO2 (Improper Coat-IC) and FGF5 (Long hair-L). Poodles have two curly genes, do not carry for improper coat and have to long hair genes, for a dog to get curly hair it needs one copy of the curl gene, but with only one copy you will not get as much curl as a dog with two copies, actually it takes many generations to get that amount of curl back as there is natural variation within the gene and if you talk to Poodle breeders that show, they breed only dogs with thick full coats and it takes a long time to get these coats. You need two improper coat genes in order to get not facial furnishings and you need two copies of the long hair gene in order to get long hair.

​So, if you took any of the three breeds we are using as examples to infuse Merle into the poodle. Two of the breeds have short, straight hair with no furnishings (Great Dane and Dachshund) and one has long hair, but it is straight with no furnishings(Australian Shepherd). So, if you crossed with the Great Dane or Dachshund you would end up with wire haired, short haired dogs with some furnishings, these dogs would look nothing like a poodle at all, even crossed back to the poodle again, you still would have F1 Goldendoodle looking coats on the curlier sided puppies. You would need to cross them back at least 4-5 generations in order to get an even remotely looking Poodle coat. Now, with the Aussie they at least have a long coat, so their first generation puppies coats would be a bit closer in resemblance to a poodle than the other crosses, but would still only be wavy coats and would need to be crossed back to the poodle at least 3-4 generations to get Poodle looking coats. This is assuming that the Breeder that chose to infuse this other breed genetically tested the puppies to ensure the puppies with the right coat genetics were bred back to the poodle.

​The next thing to asses is structure, we can all agree that the poodle is built very different from the Dachshund, Great Dane and Australian Shepherd. It takes decades to change the entire structure of a dog, but with careful breeding you can do it. But, the dachshund and the Australian Shepherd are completely different in structure body wise to the poodle and likewise the Great dane is also completely different in structure particularly in the head structure. It would take many generations to change this structure when bred back to the poodle.

Temperament is one of those things that can be more subjective to people and is not as easily assessed, but these infused breeds are completely different temperaments and that should be a consideration.

Okay, so keeping all this in mind, it is possible that some AKC Breeder did infuse one of these breeds and genetically tested each generation, breeding them back to the poodle over 4-5 generations to achieve a dog that looks like a poodle. They during this would of had to not only register each generation, while hiding the offspring that would obviously not pass as a poodle, because if they didn’t they would be reported to AKC and not be allowed to breed anymore. They would need to keep careful consideration to the structure of each puppy and genetic tests and temperament, so that these dogs would eventually show no sign of another breed in them, as the AKC registered Poodles that are out there now breed true to type. While, I admit that this is possible, I also think it is highly unlikely and I would go as far as saying that if they did infuse another breed and it was that many generations back that it is unrecognizable in the current Poodles, as the current ones breed true to type in every way…. Does it really matter? Also, before you say that someone just lied on their papers,I know of several breeders that have DNA’s done many generations back too.

2. Second option is that it has always occurred in the breed. There was a phase in which all multicoloured poodles were thought to be flawed, due to a vast lack of knowledge and many misconceptions on people parts. During this time multicoloured poodles were not bred and many were culled almost getting rid of those colours all together. With merle being a gene that can easily be hidden by other genes such as White, Cream, Apricot and Red, it could have stayed hidden by these gene for many generations, especially due to the fact that these colours were often only bred together, so Merle would have never shown up, until people realized that there was nothing wrong genetically with multicoloured poodles and started breeding them again, once these poodles were crossed with other colours the merle gene could have emerged then.

3. The last option is that the Merle gene was a natural mutation in the Poodle, which is how it is believed to have occurred in other breeds that it is present in.
Regardless of which option you care to believe, the Merle Poodle is AKC Registered. It is DNA’D as purebred Poodle and it isn’t going anywhere. They are beautiful and breed to the breed standard. I really feel when there are so many health and temperament issues in so many breeds, we should be focused on breeding healthier, better temperament, more structurally sound Poodles and ultimately Goldendoodles in my case and not cause so much drama and conflict over a colour that we can not prove one way or another how it came to be in Poodles.

Phantom and Sable Colour Genetics

In order to determine whether we can get phantom/sables or not we need to look at the E locus first. The reason for this is that if there are two recessive genes at the E locus you will get Apricot spectrum puppies, which covers the expression of Phantom and Sable. Once there is at least one dominant gene on the E locus we can potentially get Phantom or Sables.

There are two genes that affect whether a dog is phantom or sable. These two genes are the A locus and the K locus. The K locus determines whether or not there can be expression of the A locus. There are two variants at the K locus (Kb and Ky). Kb is the dominant variant, which does not allow expression of the A locus. All you need is one Kb gene to not allow expression since it is dominant. To get expression of the A locus, we need to have two Ky genes.

Kb/Kb or Kb/Ky = No A locus expression

Ky/Ky = A locus Expression

Once we have determined that there can be expression of the A locus, we can move on to the A locus genes. There are a few genes we are going to focus on with the A locus. Ay, At and a. Ay is dominant to At, which is dominant to a. The breakdown of what you get from the combinations of these genes is as follows:

Ay/Ay or Ay/a = Sable

Ay/At = Sable Phantom

At/At or At/a = Phantom

a/a = Solid

It is important to note that these results are written slightly different at different labs, but are the same. There is still some unknown’s with all of these genes and we do know that others genes that have not been identified yet can act on some of the variations we see. I will just be addressing what we do know at this time.

Examples of Phantom and Sable crosses:

1. Chocolate Phantom (non-apricot carrier)bbEEKyKyAtAt crossed with Chocolate (Phantom carrier, one blocker on K locus, apricot carrier)bbEeKbKyAtAt

50% bbEEKbKyAtAt or bbEeKbKyAtAt = Chocolate

50% bbEEKyKyAtAt or bbEeKyKyAtAt = Chocolate Phantom

2. Black Phantom (Apricot carrier, non-Chocolate carrier) BBEeKyKyAtAt crossed with a Apricot (Phantom carrier, non-Chocolate carrier) BBeeKyKyAtAt

50% BBEeKyKyAtAt = Black Phantom

50% BBeeKyKyAtAt = Apricot with Black pigmentation

3. Brown Sable (non-Apricot carrier) bbEEKyKyAyAy crossed with a Black (non-Apricot carrier, Chocolate carrier with two blockers at the K locus, with two Sable genes) BbEEKbKbAyAy

BbEEKbKyAyAy = Black

bbEEKbKyAyAy = Chocolate

4. Black Phantom (non-Apricot carrier, Chocolate carrier) BbEEKyKyAtAt crossed with a Chocolate Sable (non-Apricot carrier, Phantom carrier) bbEEKyKyAyAt

25% BbEEKyKyAyAt = Black Sable Phantom

25% BbEEKyKyAtAt = Black Phantom

25% bbEEKyKyAyAt = Chocolate Sable Phantom

25% bbEEKyKyAtAt = Chocolate Phantom

5. Black (Apricot carrier, Chocolate carrier, one blocker at the K locus, one Sable carrier, one a carrier) BbEeKbKyAya crossed with a Chocolate Phantom (Apricot carrier) bbEeKyKyAtAt


18.75% BbEEKbKyAyAt or BbEeKbKyAyAt = Black

9.375% BbEEKyKyAyAt or BbEeKyKyAyAt = Black Sable Phantom

9.375% BbEEKyKyAta or BbEeKyKyAta = Black Phantom

12.5% BbeeKbKyAyAt or BbeeKyKyAyAt or BbeeKbKyAyAt or BbeeKbKyAta = Apricot with Black pigmentation

18.75% bbEeKbKyAyAt = Chocolate

9.375% bbEeKyKyAyAt = Chocolate Sable Phantom

9.375% bbEeKyKyAta = Chocolate Phantom

12.5% bbeeKbKyAyAt or bbeeKyKyAyAt or bbeeKbKyAta or bbeeKyKyAta = Apricot with Chocolate pigmentation


Where can you get these locus’s tested:

Paw Print Genetics:

Tests for both A and K locus.


Kb/Kb or Kb/Ky = no expression of the A locus

Ky/Ky = expression of the A locus

Ay/Ay or Ay/a= Sable

Ay/At = Sable Phantom

At/At  or At/a = Phantom

a/a = Solid, no Phantom or Sable markings


Tests for both A and K locus. You need to run the K locus and Ay, At, as well as recessive black (a) separately.


Kb/Kb or Kb/Kbr or Kb/Ky = no expression of A locus

Kbr/Kbr or Kbr/ky = Brindle and allows expression of A locus

Ky/Ky = No brindle and allows expression of A locus



Animal Genetics:

Kb/Kb or Kb/n = no expression of A locus

n/n = expression of the A locus

Ay:Ay/Ay, At:n/n, a:n/n = Sable

Ay:n/Ay, At:n/At, a:n/n = Sable Phantom

Ay: n/n, At:At/At, a:n/n or Ay:n/n, At: n/At, a:n/a = Phantom

Ay:n/n, At:n/n, a:a/a = Solid , no Phantom or Sable


White, Cream, Apricot and Red Colour Genetics

Once we have established the B locus to determine whether a dog is Black or Chocolate, we can look at the E locus. E locus determines whether a dog is White, Cream, Apricot or Red. I will refer to this gene as ‘Apricot spectrum’ from now on, but mean to encompass every shade from White to Red in that term.

In order to get an Apricot puppy you need to have two recessive genes at the E locus. The dominant form is ‘E’, causing no Apricots. The recessive form is ‘e’, where if two e’s are present you will get Apricots.

This gene you see a wide variety of shades in that you can get anything from a light white to a dark red. Generally, you will get colours between the two colours you breed, so for instance if you breed a white to a red, you can get anywhere from white to red, but will more often get cream to apricot colours. If you breed white to white, you generally get white. If you breed red to red you will keep darker reds. That being said you can get some shades outside that range on occasion.

When you breed an Apricot spectrum dog to another Apricot spectrum dog, you will always get puppies in the Apricot spectrum. It is also important to note that the Apricot spectrum gene covers several other genes so that they are present genetically but not visible (expressed). These colours include Phantoms, Sables, Brindles and Merles.

Examples of crosses with the E locus:

1. Black (non chocolate carrier, apricot carrier)BBEe crossed with an Apricot (non chocolate carrier) BBee

50% BBEe = Black

50%BBee = Apricot with Black pigmentation

2. Apricot (non chocolate carrier) BBee crossed with an Apricot (with chocolate pigmentation)bbee

100% BbEe = Apricot with Black pigmentation

3. Apricot (Chocolate pigmentation) bbee crossed with a Chocolate (non-Apricot carrier)bbEE

100% bbEe = Chocolate

4. Apricot (Black pigmentation, Chocolate carrier)Bbee crossed with a Black (Apricot and Chocolate carrier)BbEe

37.5% BBEe or BbEe = Black

37.5% BBee or Bbee = Apricot with Black pigmentation

12.5% bbEe = Chocolate

12.5% bbee = Apricot with Chocolate pigmentation

5. Black (Apricot and Chocolate carrier) BbEe crossed with a Black (Apricot and Chocolate carrier)BbEe

56.25% BBEE or BbEE or BBEe or BbEe = Black

18.75% BBee or Bbee = Apricot with Black pigmentation

18.75% bbEE or bbEe = Chocolate

6.25% bbee = Apricot with Chocolate pigmentation



Goldendoodle Colours!

Creme/White Goldendoodle courtesy Kent Family Farms

Adult Darby:Remy Litter

Apricot Goldendoodle courtesy of Gorgeous Goldendoodles

Apricot Abstract GD - Gorgeous Goldendoodles

Red Goldendoodle courtesy of Willow Tree Goldendoodles

Red Goldendoodle - Willow Tree Goldendoodles

Black Goldendoodle courtesy of Kent Family Farms


Chocolate Goldendoodle courtesy of Kent Family Farms


Black Phantom Goldendoodle courtesy of Kent Family Farms

Bandit puppy

This Black Phantom is also an abstract (White on chest and paws), as he is a parti carrier.

Chocolate Phantom Goldendoodle courtesy of Riverview Doodles

Chocolate Phantom - Riverview Doodles

Sable Goldendoodle (As a puppy, then adult) courtesy of Kerry Lynn Libby (puppy) and Cedar Lake Doodles (adult)

Sable - Kerry Lynn Libby   sable puppy grown

Red Parti Goldendoodle courtesy of oodlesofdoodles


Red Parti - oodlesofdoodles

This is a Red Parti, but you can also get White, Cream and Apricot Parti’s too.

Black Parti Goldendoodle courtesy of Thistle Ridge Doodles

Black Parti - Thistle Ridge Doodles

Chocolate Parti Goldendoodle courtesy of Kent Family Farms


Chocolate Phantom Parti Goldendoodle courtesy of Willow Tree Goldendoodles

Chocolate Phantom Parti

Sable Parti Goldendoodle courtesy Jenna Lee Designer Doodles

Sable Phantom Parti

Blue Merle Goldendoodle courtesy of Kent Family Farms


Chocolate Merle Goldendoodle courtesy of Kent Family Farms

Chocolate Merle Eddison - KFF

Brindle Goldendoodle courtesy of Thistle Ridge Doodles

Brindle2 - Thislte Ridfe Doodles


The Chocolate Gene

The Chocolate gene is found on the B locus. The B locus determines whether a dog has Black or Chocolate genes on that locus. Each dog has two genes on each locus (one from each parent). These two genes determine whether they are Black or Chocolate. In order to get a Chocolate puppy you need two Chocolate (bb) genes. This is because Chocolate is recessive, so in order for it to show up on a puppy, they need to get one of these genes form each of their parents.

All dogs have either Black or Brown pigmentation (nose, paw pads). This also comes from the B locus and a dog with two recessive bb genes will have Brown pigmentation and a dog with either BB or Bb will have Black pigmentation. This is true for any coloured dog, from White to Red, Phantoms, Sables or Merles.

Chocolate is not found in Golden Retrievers (except in very, very rare instances). What does this mean for Goldendoodles breeders and owners? Well, this means that you should look extensively into a breeder selling a F1 Chocolate Goldendoodle because there is a chance that they did not use a purebred Golden Retriever to produce that F1 Chocolate puppy. If a breeder is selling an F1 Chocolate, always ask to see the parents (You should do this anyways, if at all possible), ask for registration papers on the parents as well. Often you will find that the Golden Retriever parent does not have papers and is not purebred.

Chocolate Cross Examples:

1. Apricot with Black pigment that carries Chocolate (eeBb) crossed with a Chocolate, non-apricot carrier (EEbb)

50 % EeBb = Black

50% Eebb =  Chocolate

2. Apricot with Chocolate pigmentation (eebb) crossed with a Black, chocolate and apricot carrier (EeBb)

25% EeBb = Black

25% Eebb = Chocolate

25% eeBb = Apricot with Black pigment

25% eebb = Apricot with Chocolate pigment

3. Chocolate, Apricot carrier (Eebb) crossed with Chocolate, Apricot carrier (Eebb)

75% EEbb and Eebb = Chocolate

25% eebb = Apricot with Brown pigmentation

4. Chocolate, non-apricot carrier (EEbb) crossed with an Apricot, Black pigment, non-Chocolate carrier (eeBB)

100% EeBb = Black


Colours of Goldendoodles for Breeders

This document is aimed more at Breeders and will have genetic terminology used. But, for those not familiar with these, I will give a brief outline of some basic meanings.

A capital letter means it is a dominant trait, ex. B= dominant.

A lower case letter means it is a recessive trait, ex. b = recessive.

Genetic carrier (Carrier), means that the dog has an inherited recessive trait that it does not display, but can pass on to offspring.

Black = Black Coloured Dog

Chocolate = Brown Coloured Dog

White, Creme, Apricot or Red = White, Creme, Apricot or Red Coloured Dog, but could have either Brown or Black pigmentation.

Phantom = Either a Black Dog with Tan/Silver points on face, inner legs, chest and under tail or a Chocolate Dog with Tan points on face, inner legs, chest and under tail.

Brindle = Either Black with light coloured tiger striping over entire body or Brown with light coloured tiger striping over entire body. This can be in varying degrees of light to dark colouring.

Sable = A Black or Brown dog that will fade to a light (usually) tan or silver body, with dark tips only remaining over time. As a puppy you will see the lighter colour coming into the coat as the base of the hair.

Parti = Parti is when any of the above colours also have white markings. Parti’s generally have more than 30% white on them.

Abstract = Abstracts when there are white markings present on the face, chest and/or paws of a dog.

Silvers (or Silver Beige) = A Dog that started out as either Black or Brown and faded over time, starting at points with silver hairs.

All dogs have a base coat of Black or Chocolate (Brown), you can tell whether they are Black or Chocolate based on their pigment on their nose. If there are no other genes acting on the Black or Chocolate, you will see a solid Black or Chocolate dog. Black in dominant to Chocolate, so it requires only one copy of the Black gene to give you Black. Chocolate is recessive and requires two copies of the gene and therefore both parents need to carry Chocolate. It is very, very rare to find a Golden Retriever that carries for Chocolate, therefore in order to get Chocolate you need to have a F1b or higher generation. F1’s should not be Chocolate. I have been told of rare occurrences of Chocolate carrying Golden Retrievers, but this is very rare and most breeders selling F1 Chocolates are not purebred lines. The gene that determines Black or Chocolate is the B locus.

B/B or B/b = Black

b/b = Chocolate (Brown)

The most common Goldendoodle colours are White, Cream and Apricot. The same gene also produces Reds. You need two copies of this gene for it to be seen on their coat, as it is a recessive gene. These dogs can have either Black or Chocolate pigmentation. This gene gives a range of shades within it, going from white to red. If you breed a white to a red, you will generally get a range of colours between those colours, but many would fall into the cream and apricot colours. If you are wanting light white, breed white to white, if you are wanting darker reds, breed darker red to darker red. The gene that determines whether a dog is White, Cream, Apricot or Red is the E locus. It is also important to note, that the K locus and A locus will not be expressed if a puppy is genetically e/e.

E/E or E/e = No White, Cream, Apricot or Red

e/e = White, Cream, Apricot or Red

In order to get Phantom, Brindle and Sables you need the combination of two genes working together. The first gene is the K locus. There is the dominant gene Kb and the recessive gene Ky. Kb is a blocking gene that does not allow expression of the A locus (second gene needed to produce phantoms/sables), so if you have even one Kb gene the A locus can not be expressed no matter what the genes are on that locus. Also, Brindle is believed to be found on the K locus and only needs one copy to be expressed.

Kb/Kb, Kb/Kbr or Kb/Ky = No expression on A locus

Kbr/Kbr or Kbr/Ky = Brindle Expressed (not all companies do this test though and it is controversial to the validity of this gene with regards to Brindle)

Ky/Ky = Expression of A locus allowed

Secondly the A locus is what will determine what colours we see on the solid black or chocolate colours. This is a tiered system as follows:

Ay/Ay = Sable

Ay/At = Sable Phantom

At/At or At/a= Phantom

a/a = Solid Coloured

Parti is a colour that is becoming more and more popular. It is white markings on any other colour already noted above. Parti is another gene that is not found in Golden Retrievers and because it is a recessive gene you will not see it in F1’s, but can get parti’s in F1b or above generations. Solid colour is dominant and parti colour is recessive.

S/S or S/sp = Solid Colour

sp/sp = Parti Colour

Abstracts are often a result of a dog carrying one parti gene, but not all abstract carry parti and not all parti carriers have abstract markings.

Silvers were thought to be caused by the D locus and a recessive gene, but this is not widely accepted, as the D locus has only been proven to produce blues, charcoals and lilacs. This is more likely in our opinion, as many breeders have noted that silvers come in such varying degrees, that they might not be a straight dominant/recessive relationship. Also, it is highly likely they are caused by a completely different gene than blues, etc.

If you put all these genes together, by using this flow chart, it will give you what the combination of these genes will give you colour wise.

Flow Chart for Colours