How to Color and DNA Test French Bulldogs | Easy as Pie

By: Danielle Harris

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How do I DNA test French bulldogs for color and health. What do these results mean?

There are many companies that perform genetic testing for animals.

There are two companies we frequently use to DNA test French bulldogs.

Uc Davis and Animal Genetics

UC Davis processing is 15 business days (3 weeks). Animal Genetics is 3-5 business days.

You will need to create an account on either website.

You can order swabs/kits before you do so, free of charge, paying once you have prepared the kit and sent it in.

We always have Animal Genetics blood and buccal kits in stock.

If you don’t want to wait for supplies I’ve created an amazon list for you! Before you start, make sure you have access to a printer!

There are a few different kinds of sample kits you can use.

buccal cyto brush
buccal cyto brush

Buccal swab

This is an oral test. The swab is a small brush, like an eyelash brush in appearance. These can also be purchased at your local pharmacy, they’re called interdental toothpicks.

Prior to sample collection, please make sure that the dog being tested has not eaten anything for at least 1 hour or has come in contact with any other dog. Otherwise, the sample can be contaminated with food particles/dna that can interfere or inhibit our reactions. 

Insert the swab into the mouth, against the cheek. It is imperative that the swab is rubbed only against the cheek.

If the dog chews or sucks on the swab, this will not be significant for dna testing.

Twist and scrub the cheek for 10-20 seconds. Insert the swabs back into their envelope (or new paper envelope) but do not seal for 30 minutes. 2 swabs per animal are required.

Do not put the test kits in a plastic bag, this can lead to bacterial growth degrading the dna.

Blood

Blood Sample card

dna test french bulldogs
Blood test card

Cut the nail just short enough to cause a little blood to form on the end. Collect the drops of blood by touching the corners of the card to the end of the cut nail.

Each corner of the card should be filled at least halfway.

For French bulldog puppies, poking the pad of the foot with a sterile needle is best, as nails are too tiny to give enough blood. Use a new needle per animal.

Allow the blood to completely dry for 15-30 minutes before placing it back in the plastic bag. Wet samples sealed in the plastic bag will grow bacteria and damage sample quality. 

If you are using dew claws- these can only be collected within the first few days of life.

Please do not use plastic bags and cards to collect and ship dewclaw samples unless the dewclaw is completely dry. Although not generally necessary, you may use a blood coagulant to stop the bleeding if it does not stop on its own.

Blood Swab

Cut the nail just enough to cause a little blood to form on the end or like above, poke the pad with a fresh sterile needle.

Collect 1-2 drops of blood by dabbing an ordinary qtip cotton swab (bud), cotton pad, or ordinary filter paper on the end of the cut nail or paw pad. 

Allow the blood to completely dry for at least 15 minutes. Then place the swab into a standard PAPER envelope or PAPER bag.

Wet samples in plastic bags will not allow the sample to dry properly and will grow bacteria.

Label the sample with the animals name or ID. Only one blood sample is required for each animal.

Dew Claws

Dewclaws are claws on a dog that grow farther up the leg than regular claws. They are usually on the back of the leg and appear more often on front legs than back legs. If owners choose to remove dewclaws, most often the procedure is done when the dog is a puppy. It can be done when the dog is even just a few days old.

Animal Genetics recommends two options for collecting a sample for testing:

Option 1: Simply submit the actual dewclaw after it has been removed. It is important NOT to place the sample in a plastic bag or a vial. Please use a paper envelope. This will prevent decay and breakdown of the sample during storage and shipping. Dewclaw samples should be shipped within a few days of the procedure.

Option 2: Collect a small blood sample from the area where the dewclaw was removed. This is done by dabbing the area where the dewclaw was removed with the tip of a cotton swab (bud/q tip) and collecting a small amount of blood. Swabs should be placed in a paper envelope and allowed to completely dry for 15-30 minutes before sealing.

Sending in kits

You must have access to a printer. Print your order and include it in the package with the tests.

Make sure you label your test envelopes themselves with name, name of dog, and order number.

We prefer to overnight ship our kits. If I send out a test on Monday to Animal Genetics, it’s usually ready by Friday.

If you choose to use paypal as payment, make sure they have noted your payment on your account to avoid delays in test result release.

Once you get your test back you may be wondering how to interpret the results.

Pictured below is an example of one of our previous health/color combination tests via animal genetics.

dna test french bulldogs
Animal Genetics Dahlia Color and Health Test Results

The health tests reading n/n are all clear.

n/n means negative. No carriers or affected.

A locus- the dog has 2 copies of tan points. 1 copy will always pass on to offspring. If the dog did not have the brindling allele (explained below) the dog would be tan pointed.

B/B – the dog has 2 copies of dominant black, no testable chocolate. 1 copy will always pass on to offspring.

n/Co – The dog has 1 copy of cocoa (previously untestable chocolate), the dog is not cocoa colored but can produce cocoa colored dogs when paired with another carrier or cocoa dog. The dog can also produce lilac (dd coco).The dog may or may not pass this gene on to offspring.

d/d – the dog has 2 copies of blue dilution gene. The dog is blue. 1 copy will always pass on to offspring. If the dog had 1 copy of blue the result would read D/d

EM/EM – the dog has 2 copies of mask. 1 copy will always be passed on to offspring.

n/KB or KBR – the dog has 1 copy of Brindling allele. Brindling allele affects the base coat “a locus”. The dog is blue trindle. Brindling will be seen in areas where tan points affect the coat – paws, cheeks, eyebrows ONLY. The dog may or may not pass this gene on to offspring.

S/S the dog has 2 copies of pied. The dog is Pied. 1 copy will always pass on to offspring. If the dog had one copy of pied the result would read n/S or s/S depending on the company.

The dog is a blue trindle pied carrying cocoa.

The dog can produce Black, Blue, Trindle, Pied, Blue, Lilac, Tan points. Unless paired with a brindle, the dog will not produce a full brindle (ay/kbr). Unless paired with fawn, the dog will not produce fawn or any variation of fawn.

The dog can produce pied(when paired with pied, or carrier), lilac and coco(with another coco carrier, lilac, or full cocoa)

The dog cannot produce Isabella of any variation or rojo.

This may all seem like Chinese but once you figure out how to interpret color codes, it’s quite easy.

I have inserted a table below to help you decipher your test results.

AY- Fawn, sable, red

ay/ay – fawn

ay/at – sable

Fawns only need 1 copy to express, can come in any color: Merle, Pied, Blue, Cocoa, Lilac, New Shade, Isabella etc.

For example new shade fawn/sable: ay/at (ay/ay) d/d co/co b/b

There are different levels of the “a” locus which will contribute to level of fawn/red/sable,

more information can be found on the UC Davis Vet Lab website

KBR- Brindle

ay/ay kbr/kbr

ay/ay ky/kbr

ay/at kbr/kbr

ay/at ky/kbr

KBR/at – Trindle

dna test french bulldogs
Blue Trindle at/at d/d n/kbr n/S

at/at kbr/kbr

at/at kbr/ky

at/a kbr/kbr

at/a kbr/ky

Brindles and Trindles only need 1 copy KBR to express, can come in any color: Merle, Blue, Lilac, Cocoa, Isabella etc.

For example a lilac brindle would be: ay/at(ay/ay) d/d co/co kbr/kbr(kbr/ky)

dd- Blue

French Bulldog Puppy
dna test french bulldogs
Blue with Tan Points at/at d/d n/S

dd

Dd – Only carrying blue

Blue requires 2 copies to express

Coco – coco (untestable chocolate)

french bulldog longer snout

n/co – carrying cocoa

Cocoa requires 2 copies to express

Lilac – color coat combination of blue and cocoa

dna test french bulldogs
lilac tan french bulldog
Lilac, Tan Points at/at B/b d/d co/co n/S

d/d co/co

e – Cream

frenchie french bulldog
dna test french bulldogs
Blue Tan covered in Cream at/at d/d n/co

e/e

Cream will cover all colors including merle(but not pied). Only lilac covered in cream is Platinum.

New shade Is Double Platinum

Requires 2 copies to express

Coco covered in cream is Champagne

EM- Black mask

em/em

em/e

E – Black

if the dog does not express other colors the dog will be black

Platinum – color coat combination of cream and lilac

d/d co/co e/e

Isabella- color coat combination of blue and testable chocolate

d/d b/b

New Shade Isabella – color coat combination of testable chocolate and lilac

d/d co/co b/b

Rojo – 2 copies of testable chocolate

b/b

rojo is only bb – carrying d and co: can produce new shade and isabella

b- known as testbable chocolate, requires 2 copies to express

dna test french bulldogs
Black with Tan Points at/a n/co em/e

Tan points

at/at

at/a

Recessive Black/Solid a

Solid Cocoa a/a D/d co/co

a/a

Requires 2 copies to express

Can come in any color including merle and pied.

Pied

dna test french bulldogs
blue trindle french bulldog
Blue Trindle Pied at/at d/d n/co ky/Kbr S/S

S/S

Requires 2 copies to express

Merle

dna test french bulldogs
black merle french bulldog
Black Merle n/M

M – Merle

Ma- atypical

Mc- cryptic

1 M copy to express, cryptic merle will not express, atypical expresses with minimal coloring

Double Merle (2 copies of any variation merle) predominantly white, often with severe and several health problems.

Recommened to breed Merle with NON merle ONLY.

Knowing and understanding the dna will help you to plan for future breedings and reach your goals!

When I bred Dahlia (the blue pied pictured above) I knew her dna was as follows:

at/at d/d n/co em/em n/kb S/S

I wanted to produce lilacs carrying testable chocolate b and e cream so I used a stud with this dna:

at/at B/b d/d co/co em/e

With this dna I knew I could get blues, lilacs, tan points, and trindles with a possibility of carrying cream and testable chocolate. We got 1 lilac tan, 1 blue tan, and 2 blue trindle.

All puppies are at least at/at d/d n/co n/S. I know this because of the dna of the parents. at tan and d blue were 100% passed on from both Dahlia and the stud, pied S was passed on 100% from Dahlia, and the stud passed on coco to 100% of the offspring. There was a 50/50 chance she would pass on the trindle and coco. This is why we only have 1 lilac in the litter and 2 trindles. The stud also has 1 copy of cream and 1 copy of testable chocolate, so there is a 50% chance those would get passed on as well. Knowing this we would only have to test for testable chocolate b and cream e to see if puppies carry those genes.

If you need help reading your results please reach out!

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