Saturday, June 07, 2008

talking about spots

While I am waiting for the last ewe to lamb, lets talk about spotting in Shetlands.
First, spotting....all those pretty pictures on the shetland marking a recessive.
What is a recessive?
There are dominant genetic traits....and ones that come along for the ride. You don't see these other genetic traits unless you lose the dominant.
White is a good one. White is dominant to all other colors and patterns. If a lamb inherits one genetic gene for white from one parent....and one gene for black from the always have a white lamb. That white lamb does have one solid black gene....and could with the right partner....produce a black lamb.

Grey or musket....Ag.....this is a pattern. If you get one gene from a parent for Ag and one gene for solid from the other have a grey or musket lamb.
This theory also works for other patterns like katmoget or gulmoget. What if you breed a gulmoget or grey sheep to a solid one and the lamb comes out plain black? That means it does not have the gulmoget gene or the grey gene. It never will be able to pass on either of those genes to a lamb.
Hopefully, you already know the color brown is also a recessive.
So what about spots? Spots, being a recessive....only show up when there are two genes passed along. Oh Oh.....but what about those krunets???? Aren't they spots?
Consider a krunet as a sign that there is one recessive gene in that lamb. You could have generations of krunets before you get one body spotted lamb from them. If you have a dull flock of shetlands and want to spice it up.....don't go out and buy two krunet sheep and think you will get a spotted lamb.....unless you already have hit-the-jackpot somewhere else. have to be really lucky for that to work.
Spotted lambs are all over these days. They have all kind of prices too. There is nothing that makes an expensive spotted lamb better than a cheap one in the world of spots. Take your shetland eye with you when buying spotted lambs. Don't buy inbred sheep or glaring faults.....if you don't show shetlands....and you don't know what a glaring fault is.....go ahead. A lamb is a lamb.
What I have posted is a photo of Texas-two-step. He is young, so we can excuse him for his lack of pose. Texas, was a surprise. His dam had been waddling around for I knew she was expecting, but she had never had so much as a krunet before. Dancer, was born in '03....a plain black twin to a yuglet bronget or bielset sokket sister. She has had twins....some brown....and one even tho plain....jitterbug, has produced spots. but nothing showed, up to this, her last year of lambing... nothing showed any spots.

The top two photos are of Dancers twins, Cha cha with her daughter, Duet, a yuglet bielset or bronget sokket....and waltz, with her twins, one another yuglet bielset sokket, Tango.....and her son, a big white spot ram.
What is a big white spot? Just that, we know this ram lamb, Foxtrot, carries black. He just appears to be white. He has less eye spotting, very little in the way of black spots on his body, and black ears.
Now look at Cha cha and Waltz.....would you ever suspect that they could have lambs like that?
Better yet, look at their plain old mom, Dancer....poor girl has always taken a back seat to her sister, Prancer. So, it took five years for old Dancer to hit the heights in spots....well done!
Sure surprised me, old girl.

I consider Texas-two-step to be the zenith of body spotting. This over all 50% white 50 % black is very pretty, and doesn't always happen. There may be another name for this....but no one from the other side of the pond has shown us a photo to tell us if there is. In fact, spots are pretty rare over there, since they breed for commercial wool use.
I breed for fun...and you should see Texas-two-step and his twin, Virginia Reel hopping around out in the pasture in their own lamb races. They make me laugh every time.
I would not expect to breed two yuglet/sokkets together and get a Texas-two-step. Although I can get a yuglet sokket from a flecket....and a flecket from a yuglet sokket. There are fleckets and then there are Texas-two-steps.

End of lesson.


At 10:29 AM, Blogger Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Wonderful description of Shetland spotted genetics!! Thank you as always! How is your day??? Cloudy cool and damp here....oh yeah, yippeee, that's hay growing weather. I almost forgot..........


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