New Dog DNA Test: Cocoa Coat Color

French Bulldog puppy with the cocoa coat color
French Bulldog puppy with cocoa coat color. Photo courtesy of Linda Paulsen.
French bulldog with cocoa coat color
French Bulldog with the cocoa coat color. Image credit: Linda Paulsen

The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory is excited to announce the launch of a new dog coat color test for a visually distinct color seen in French Bulldogs: cocoa. The cocoa phenotype is described as a brown coat color that is slightly darker than the other identified brown color in dogs.

This color has previously been referred to “non-testable chocolate” - but we are excited to say that it is now testable!

The genetic variant associated with the cocoa coat color is inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion, meaning that two copies must be present for the phenotype to be seen, and both sexes are affected equally.

There is still much to be learned about the newly identified cocoa variant. The cocoa variant (denoted "co") is found in a different gene than the other known variants that produce the classic brown phenotype in dogs (denoted "b"). At this time the interaction of cocoa and the other brown allele is not understood, so it is not yet possible to predict the phenotype of a dog with two copies of cocoa (co) and two copies of brown (b). It is also unknown whether the cocoa variant occurs in other breeds of dog besides the French Bulldog.

For more information on cocoa, and to order tests, please see:

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