Color Dilution Alopecia in Dogs

As you may have noticed, there are many variations of coat color in dogs. Some dogs have two different colored patches on their body while others have a solid color throughout. The way that a dog’s fur is arranged to form these patterns is determined by their genetics. In the case of merles and fawns, it can be difficult to tell what color they really are because the patterns tend to blend together and make them appear grey or brown (or even red).

Merle (also called dapple) coats are caused by recessive genes that produce patches of mottled black on an otherwise white coat. Blue merles, which contain blue as well as black pigment, tend to be more susceptible than fawns when it comes to dilute alopecia.

Fawn coats come in two varieties: blue fawns and red fawns (which also goes by sorrel). Blue fawns have black spots on a white background while red fawns sport reddish-brown spots instead. Having either type of coat makes your dog more likely than those with solid colors like yellows or whites

What Color Dilution Alopecia Is, how To Identify It, and How to Treat It.

Color dilution alopecia is a genetic condition that affects dogs with blue or fawn coats. It causes hair loss in the coat, and it is not a life-threatening condition. However, if your dog is experiencing this type of hair loss, you should consult a veterinarian to determine what it could be caused by and whether treatment would be beneficial.

This type of alopecia is common in certain breeds (Australian Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels).

How Color Dilution Alopecia Affects your Dog

Color dilution alopecia is a condition that affects dogs of all ages, but it’s most commonly seen in younger dogs. The signs are often similar to those of other types of hair loss, like alopecia X and seborrhea—your dog may have bald spots, patches of hair, thickened skin and inflammation. But you can also look for other symptoms like crusting around the eyes or nose.

What Causes Color Dilution Alopecia?

The exact gene or genes responsible have not yet been identified, but it’s believed that the condition is controlled by one or more recessive genes. This means that a dog with color dilution alopecia can only pass on the disease if they are bred with another dog who also has it.

Although no specific research has been conducted on this topic, many veterinarians speculate that stress may play a role in triggering color dilution alopecia in some dogs. It’s also thought that environmental factors like exposure to toxic chemicals and other chemicals found in paints and glues could contribute to the onset of the condition

Treatments, Prognosis and Prevention for Color Dilution Alopecia in Dogs

  • There are no known cures for this condition, but treatments that help manage the symptoms may be helpful. The most common treatment recommendation is to give your dog a protein-rich diet along with supplements like fish oil and vitamin E.
  • The prognosis for dogs who have developed color dilution alopecia depends on how quickly you can get them to stop grooming and how long they’ve been doing so already. If you can get them to stop grooming, chances are good that their hair will grow back within a few years of stopping the behavior (though this depends on many factors).


Color dilution alopecia is a condition that can affect your dog’s coat. It’s usually associated with blue or fawn-colored fur, and it causes the fur to become brittle, fall out in tufts, and grow back in patches. Breeds like Dobermans, Weimaraners, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas and Maltese are most susceptible to CDA because their coats carry the dilute colors at risk for this condition. However, these breeds aren’t the only ones who can be affected by this disease—any breed of dog that has one of these colors in its coat can be affected as well.