Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Don't It Make My Black Dog Brown

Or something like that...

So we're full of strange little happenings here these days. Last week it was Bella's mysterious and intermittent pain. This week my black dog is changing color. And I mean changing color to the point that our trainer, Carolyn, has actually taken to calling Bella "Blondie".

Carolyn was the first to notice a few weeks ago. My mother was next to comment. Jan and I must be too close to notice subtle day to day changes but it has become painfully obvious that my black dog is no longer black.

I have no idea what's going on. She is shedding like a Husky but it's Fall and that's to be expected. It never caused her to change colors before.

The before:
Okay, seriously, how stinking cute was she?
Now to be fair, Bella is not exactly and entirely black. Or rather, she never had been. Peel back that silky black coat and Bella's undercoat was always a light brown. For some reason, however, a few weeks ago, that light brown undercoat started to overtake her silky black top coat and Bella is now going blonde.

I'm okay with that as long as it doesn't make its way to her beautiful black face with those marvelously expressive brown eyebrows and charming little freckles. I may have to take a Sharpie to her head were that to happen. (I kid, I kid!)

All kidding aside, Bella seems otherwise perfectly normal. She has energy and appetite. She still has all her crazy little idiosyncrasies and she's still our beautiful Bella. She's just, well, lighter.

The after: 

We have added some fish oil back into her diet but otherwise, all my research has turned up nothing of concern. I'm thinking I may bring her in for some blood work though just to make sure there's nothing else going on. She is hypothyroid so that could be in play.

But I am curious as to whether or not my 'very-well-educated-in-all-things-dog' readers have ever seen a black dog turn brown? Mind you, this isn't a graying of the muzzle, this is happening on her body - almost exclusively from her front shoulders, across her chest and back, all the way to her back thighs.

So what do you think? Anybody ever see this before? Anyone? Bueller?

PS - If you are not old enough to get the reference in the title, please see: Crystal Gayle and "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue".


  1. OMG YES! Kolchak was JET BLACK when we brought him home and most of his first year. Then around his first birth, we noticed that in some lights he looked a little brownish. He's gotten browner and browner every single year with the exception of a single thick, coarse stripe down his back, which is still black. IT's weird, but since he is otherwise healthy, I've never really worried about it.

  2. I was thinking thyroid too (losing all her topcoat or something)...but you're already covering that....so maybe she just feels it's time for a color change? :-)

  3. 1 - I love Crystal Gayle.

    2 - I've never seen this happen, but I hope it turns out to be nothing major. Just Bella embracing her inner autumn. :)

  4. I was thinking throughout reading this that you should get her thyroid checked. I've never heard of it causing coat color changes, but thyroid problems often appear in the coat.

    That said, when I was growing up, I had a black and tan dog who, like Bella, had a light tan undercoat. When she was about 12 or 13, her undercoat took off like your picture and our mostly black dog was suddenly mostly brown. I don't remember if we did blood work, but she lived until she was 16, so it must not have been anything super bad, if it was anything at all.

  5. Jasmine used to shed this way. Her undercoat was very thick and kind of brownish. She didn't start doing it this way until she got a bit older. Only after she shedded all the old undercoat one could see that her fur was actually nice and black.

    Because of being shaved so many times for surgeries, her undercoat was growing king of through the top coat. So once she grew it back, she had a brownish tint.

  6. I was white with dark black spots and long sable ears but by the time I was one, I faded to tan and grey! Some of us just fade.

  7. That's some nutty things going on. When I was a baby my face was all pink. Now it's a different color

  8. Maybe Bella has an inner Shih Tzu. They're usually dark brown and black when they are born... as they grow older, their color becomes lighter and lighter... until one day, you get to say, where's my dog?!?

    Anyway, it might be normal... I PRAY that it's normal... Although, you might have to change your blog name to Bringing Up Blondie!

  9. LOL - well, she seems to have a little bit of everything else in her, why not Shih Tzu?

    How are you doing, friend? Holding up? Is there anything we can do for you, your family, your neighbors...? We've sent prayers and donations but think of you often and wonder if there is something more/better we should be doing?

  10. I've never heard of it, but am curious as to what you find out. Either way, she's still beautiful!

  11. She's turning into a malamute! :)

  12. Pamela | Something WaggingNovember 20, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    I remember Shadow's coat becoming more brownish over time. Since she had cancer already, it never occurred to us to think it was a sign of a health problem.

    People's hair changes color over time so I wouldn't be surprised to find it just a transition. But I'm sure you'll track the reason down.

    Either way, Bella looks as beautiful as ever.

  13. True! true! Shih Tzu power rocks-- except for the mange and the matted hair. LOL.

    Thank you, Les. We are fine. My friends had planned to distribute relief goods to three areas in my hometown. I wanted to contribute to them but their truck left. Still, I truly appreciate the donations sent to the different organizations that have traveled to the Philippines and worked unconditionally to help the people of Tacloban and Samar.

  14. I haven't seen it in dogs before but I have in cats. My friend's cat's fur has lightened up considerably in the last few years and it's not from old age, the fur has just grown in blonde as her cat has shed. She asked her vet who couldn't come up with an explanation but she has no other issues so she was told not to worry.

    I do hope it's nothing to worry over with Bella, no doubt you have had enough of that to last you a lifetime! No matter what colour her fur, I will always think her beautiful. Unless she loses the freckles. Then it's over. ;-)

  15. Oh dear, I'm working backwards and see you're not referring to Bella going grey on the face, just grey all over! I'm pretty sure this happens in Tricolour shelties. You could try adding kelp in some form to her diet. If you could find a Sheltie forum somewhere you might get some ideas. But it could be something like 'bald butt' in Greyhounds. What works for some dogs doesn't work for others and nothing works for Beryl, lol! You just have to embrace the baldness and no-longer-blackness :)

  16. Thanks for the suggestion, Sue. I have added some kelp into her diet as well as some salmon oil and she seems to be staying the course. I guess it is time to, as you say, embrace the lack-of-black(ness).

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