Breeding particolours is a risky business in lhasas and löwchens for several reasons. The first risk is the mismarkings. White unpigmented areas may hit the earshell and as a result the puppy will be deaf or partly deaf. White unpigmented area can hit the eye and as the result the eye will be blue. Equally white can hit the nose and the outcome is a pink or spotted nose. However one of the biggest risk in my and my most important mentors experience are skin problems, fungus and allergies. Which for sure seems to be a bigger risk with particolours than with solids.
My menthors words of wisdom
My most important menthors in lhasas and löwchens both told never breed parti to parti. Late Marianne Nixon (San Jo) in lhasas and late Freda McGregor (Littlecourt) in löwchens both told me loud and clear: “you should never breed parti to parti”. Other of the parents must be solid coloured.
It is obvious that as and when breeding particolour to particolour spotted pigmented areas tends to get smaller. On the other hand white unpigmented areas tend to get larger. That is the point. My both mentors were specially worried about white areas getting out of control in head. As and if the unpigmented white area hit the ear and specially the inner earshell the sensor hair will not work and transmit the message forward. As a result the dog is deaf. So at the beginning of my breeding I did never breed parti to parti with these breeds.
My experience with parties
However in early 1990´s I was carried away about flashy marked bright white particolours with clear markings. I did breed my first litters breeding parti to parti. At the beginning it all seemed to be fine. I had particolours with lhasas coming down from different lines like Beddis, Nedlik, San Jo, Marlo and Saxonsprins. The only problem I had with some of them was that they had fungus issues. In my experience that seems to be in general bigger risk with parties than with solids. They all were healthy and well themselves otherwise. However as breeding parti to parti even with outcross litters many parties that I bred myself started to suffer from occasional hot spots and worse fungus than their parents at the beginning. Next step were allergies which unfortunately started to get more and more difficult with the age. To be honest it seems also that coat texture was getting worse and worse which may be connected actually with the fungus issue. As my parti colour lhasas from parti parti parents got older some of the skin issues were dramtic and very painful for the dogs. No medication or nutrition helped them.
I did find out in my breeding that it was not matter of the lines. Dispite the lines as and if breeding parti to parti the skins were much more sensitive than I was hoping for. Finally I felt the situation with allergies were so bad that I did realize my dear mentors Marianne and Freda were right. I should have never bred parti to parti at the first place. So one clear day late 1990´s I did made up I will not breed parti to parti anymore. That was not all. I did limit all my lhasas coming down from parti to parti breeding from my breeding program. That was heart breaking to loose almost 10 Champions from breeding over night.
However now some 20 years later. I do realize what a clever decicion it was. After that I have not had allergies, hot spots or skin problems with my parti lhasas. About the same time early 1990´s I did breed also löwchens that would not have markings in the body at all. After I bred first deaf löwchen. I did stop that nonsence aswell. No deaf or skin problem löwchens has been born in my kennel ever since.
Why on earth the temperament is different ?
It is open secret that often particolours can be bit more sensitive or “hype” also in temperament than solid colours. With “hype” I do mean a bit hysterical and/or often hyper active type of temperament. In my experience this seems to be the case specially with white & blacks. In my experience this seems to be originally the case more with American particolours than perhaps European parties. However now a days our lines are so mixed that most European blood is found in America and most American blood is found from European pedigrees.
Evenif born in the same litter where the genes should be about the same particolours seems to be more sensitive specially to high voices than their solid coloured sisters. This same phenomena has been realized also with some other breeds like american cockers. Parties can be bit more hype in mentality. Again the interesting question is. Is this actually the reason for some parti lhasas being different in temperament too? Or some white & goldens can be in temperament more playful than lhasas in general. Could this be shih tzu influence in them? Do keep in mind. You never know what actually has happend in the past. The fact is. What ever may have happend in the past modern lhasas will carry these genes still today.
So my rule is not to breed parti to parti
I love particolours. But I did lern the hard way not to breed parti to parti. I have also realized that it is very smart to add black & tan/silver dogs in particolour breeding and tri-colours. As it seems they do produce much more evenly marked particolours where the heads are safe with all coloured ears. Plus blacks helps to keep the coat texture about right.
Spotted particolours with ticking markings do carry naturally much more pigmentation than unspotted ones. So I feel only compromise can be under concideration breeding parti to parti if both parents are ticked. As they do produce the ticking for their puppies which keeps unpigmented areas much smaller. However I have only once bred myself spotted (ticked) parti to parti. They seems to be fine but in next generation I still would not breed them to parti anymore but solid.
So think twice as and if breeding parti to parti with lhasas and löwchens. As I do believe that is very bad news in a long run. Unfortunately I did learn that myself the hard way. But now I sure do know to avoid this.
Particolour breeding takes lot of knowledge
I am quite sure some of the original lhasas carrying the parti must have had some skin issues. Plus unpigmented skin is weaker than pigmented skin. Therefore fungus, hot spot and allergies are bit more common in parties than solid lhasas. Ofcourse there are solid lhasas also suffering these problems if the breeder is not carefully. I do believe as breeding particolours you should never mix in solid coloured lhasas that have had any kind of skin problems or fungus. Mixing that with more sensitive parti lines can easily produce skin problems as much as parti to parti breeding. Traditionally old time breeders mixed lot of black lhasas in parti lines as the blacks usually have the very best of skins and coat textures.
So every breeder breeding parti colour lhasas or löwchens should be very carefully. They should know the lines and pedigree very well before producing the parti litter. As breeding particolours the safe way you can´t produce so many parties. As a result of other solid parents not so many parties are born. Now it seems some new breeders do want a lot to produce parti colours. They are willing to do the short cut. Again there are more parti to parti litters born. That can be very risky. Every breeder should keep in mind. The overall health and well being of the dog must come before the colour. Think twice before you breed parti to parti – or do you know better than Marinne Nixon or Freda McGregor did or I do ?
Parti colour lhasa and löwchen look really nice. However this colour for sure carries some risks the breeder should be aware of. Deafness, mismarkings, skin issues, fungus and soft coat textures are issues that breeder should be more carefully with particolours. For that reason I do follow the old truth. Never breed parti to parti.