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Ok, I am curious to see pics of what is called a "bad black". I have read about it, but it haven't found anything that is specific on what to look for to see if your black is a bad black or not. My thoughts from what I have read would be a black that is brownish colored and stays brownish colored without clearing to anything else (i.e. blue/silver), a black that has lots of white hairs mixed into the black hairs. Now, I realize that most American blacks do not stay ink black throughout their lives, they fade and do get white hairs mixed in. At least, that is what I have read in what I could find on info for blacks.

If anyone has pics of a "bad black" adult, that would be great. If you have found links to good info on it, that would be great.

Obviously, we have been going back and forth with Billy. When we got him at 4 months old, he had brown hairs around his muzzle and brown tint to the ends of his body hair. That brown tint has gone and the end of his muzzle is definitely a lighter, bluish color, as well as around his eyes. His coat is not as dark black as Ivy's, who has never had any brown tint to her hair anywhere at all. So, we question him being a "black" and know that his line carries the fading gene.

Grace, which we had thought may be a silver when we first got her as a youngster, but have long since felt her to be a gray or a blue. As some have said here, we have been leaning towards blue. In person, right now, she is a solid gray color all over except for her pack and top knot which is a bit darker gray. I believe she is going to clear to a nice blue color.

But, Billy, he had the brown that you would expect on a dog that is going to clear to blue as a pup. He definitely has a lighter muzzle which is a bluish color now and also the same color around his eyes. It seems like his face is starting to change as the color on his muzzle is spreading and bluer and the color around his eyes is new. I know I have read that some blues take a long time to change and can start their change later and not clear till 3 years old.

It would be nice to see what is considered a "bad black". Right now, Billy does not have white hairs mixed into his coat nor does he have any brown hue except for a bit on ends of his top knot in the sun. He is definitely dark except for the face as I mentioned. Obviously, we will know in time as Billy finishes maturing.
thanks for any thoughts or links. :)
 

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I was told by a akc reccomended breeder that when a black puppy has a brown tint at the root it's actually a good sign that their coat will be a good black. lol. I know it doesn't make sense to me either, but Jazzy was that way as a pup. From a distance she looked jet black, but her roots looked brown, she has had haircuts now and she is still black. However, like you when I shave her face down really short it looks light, but after about 2 weeks of growth her face again looks inky black
 

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I actually think that brown, sunburn haze in a Black puppy coat is usually an indication that the Black color will fade.

I would call both Gracy and Sabrina bad blacks. Sabrina always had a duskiness to her coat (she had that brownish cast to her coat too). Gracy just has a ton of grizzeling. I will say that at almost 9 yrs, Sabrina's color hasn't faded that much.

It is hard to find really good blacks in this country because too many people outcross to cream and because too many people dye Black dogs for the show ring. I find the best Blacks come from the Swedish lines, from some Canadian lines that have only bred Black to Black and from breeding to some of the true "White" lines (Lakecove, Whisperwind etc).

In the three pictures (click to enlarge):

Sabrina with her son Elvis and daughter Izze in Vail. Elvis is a much better Black than his mother.

Grac, Sabrina and Izze. See the duskiness to their coats? They are not inky Black.

Up close of Gracy really shows the grizzling.
 

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