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(Bearded, Wire coated, Mouth Fringe, "Fu-Manchu", "Facial Wire", "Sticky Pickies", Brows, Chest Wire, Foot Wire, Leg Fringe)
(C) Diane Richardson May 2014 all rights reserved
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I started this project in the fall of 2006, began validating the funishing DNA test on Rottweilers in April 2014, completed the article in May 2014 and posted it online June 23, 2014. I am giving permission to reprint, but with strict guidelines, on a case by case basis.
 An Australian breeder has taken and altered this article to suit their beliefs thus changing the entire meaning of the article and project. They intend to publish the article digitally (and actually have done so on Facebook) and in print in this altered, plagiarized format without my consent, nor the permission of the various photograph contributors.
IF you see this article elsewhere, especially in a changed or altered format; please let me know immediately.

Wire Coated, Bearded/Furnished Dogs

    The proper Rottweiler coat is coarse/hard (as described from the very first breed standard through modern times) and the wire coat gene plays a very important role in this. Many Rottweilers carry this gene and the more shed out a dog is the easier this is to feel in the BODY coat.

    The BODY coat gene appears to be totally separate from the furnishing gene (furnishings appear in one or more of these locations: beard, mouth line/mouth corners, near canines, above eyes at brows, nose bridge near eye corners, under eye, cheeks, chest, feet, toes, backs of legs), meaning a dog can have a proper hard coat and no furnishing gene OR can have a soft incorrect coat and the furnishing gene OR have both a proper hard coat and the furnishing gene!

    Historically, the presence of a slight beard, and/or "wire coat" at the brow, mouth line or mouth corner has been thought to be an indicator of proper hard coat and MANY famous historic Rottweilers either actually had a slight beard (Ives v Eulenspeigel for just one example) or were known to throw them (Dack vd Meirei was one of these). This can in fact be true as both the proper hard, coarse, but flat, body coat and the face/chest/leg/foot wire coat ("furnishings") are quite often combined together.  Slight furnished dogs and those with mouth line wire are able to be shown and pass breed surveys. This is NOT a DQ (disqualification) in any Country that I know of. However, furnishings so long that the dog would need more than minimal grooming to be shown as well as full wire coated dogs would be excused or disqualified as that is not a proper coat for the breed.

    Sometimes these "furnishings" are so very light that they are not immediately visibly obvious or the dog simply does not visually have them (invisible furnishings). 
Since there were no DNA tests available until recently and because the two traits (hard/coarse coat and furnishings) with or without "wire fur at the mouth corners and/or mouth line are often seen together the correlation made sense.

    However, as our Furnishing test validation project has shown, the body coat, and the Furnishings appear to be TWO separate genes. INTERESTINGLY, the mouth corner wire ("Catfish whiskers")/ mouth & lip line wire can appear in both furnished and furnishing clear (N/N) dogs indicating that this is a related but separate THIRD gene in this wire coat trait set.

    In addition to Rottweilers with the normal medium-short length body coats (with or without Furnishings and/or mouth corner and lip line wire), there are also the somewhat common Long Coat dogs (with or without facial Furnishings and/or mouth corner/lip line wire) and an uncommon "full" or "extreme" wire coated Rottweiler.
This "full/extreme" Wire coated dog has the hard, coarse textured coat but it is not a proper flat coat. It stands off the body (a little or a lot). It may or may not have some gray (salt) hairs scattered. This coat is accompanied by full furnishings, though they may vary in length with some full wires having quite long furnishings and in other dogs the furnishings are longer in some areas of the body while barely seen in other areas.

    IF a dog will be bearded or have other VISIBLE furnishings, they do not (usually) appear until 5-6 months of age at the earliest and sometimes as late as 8-10 months of age.

    The wire furnishing  gene has a HUGE variability in expression (even in Full wires) meaning that a dog's furnishings :

Can be invisible ("invisibly furnished"), 


Can be barely seen ("minimally furnished")


Can be slight to moderate versions of one or all of the furnishing locations listed in paragraph two


Can be Heavy and/or Extensive versions of one or all of those.

A visibly furnished single gene (1 gene) dog may possibly be what the Jack Russell Terrier and Jagd Terrier breeders call a "Broken coat" but without comparison to tested individuals of those breeds I cannot, as yet, be sure of that term as it applies to Rottweilers.

Ibizan Hound testing has produced very similar (with slight variation because Full wire Ibizans are more common than in Rottweilers) results.


    Mode of inheritance of the BODY coat wire gene (proper harsh/coarse coat) is UNKNOWN at this time.

There is no test for the body coat gene.

Mode of inheritance of the mouth corner and mouth/lip line wire gene  is also UNKNOWN at this time (suspected to be Dominant).

There is no test for the mouth corner and/or mouth line wire gene.

    Mode of inheritance of the Furnishing gene is DOMINANT. Only 1 parent needs to have a Furnishing gene. There is a test for this gene. We have just finished our test validation project on Rottweilers through U.C. Davis.

As this is not a recessive dogs are not called Normal, Carrier or Affected,

They are called: Clear/Normal, 1 (single) gene dogs and 2 (double) gene dogs.


    ONE GENE DOGS SHOULD NOT be eliminated from the breeding population solely on the basis of this test. because the trait has a HUGE variability in expression a 1 gene dog can have no visible furnishings ("invisibly furnished"), slight furnishings, moderate furnishings or copious furnishings.
    The ONLY 1 gene dogs that should be eliminated from the breeding population (based on this trait alone) would be those with amounts of furnishing that would make them unable to be shown without excessive grooming (which is forbidden by our standard).
    This gene is WIDESPREAD in the breed and to eliminate ALL 1 gene dogs simply because they harbor the gene would be of HUGE detriment to the breed! **   see bottom of page for explanation

    TWO GENE DOGS SHOULD BE eliminated from the breeding population/sold as pets. They do NOT have the proper overall coat for the breed AND they can ONLY throw the Furnishing gene (no normal genes), meaning ALL of their offspring will be furnished to some degree. Additionally if bred to a 1 gene dog the odds are high that they WILL produce a Full/Extreme Wire Coat like themselves, which again is INCORRECT for the breed.

    ANY UNTESTED ROTTWEILER that produces a Furnished pup (and remember this is a LATE appearing trait not usually seen in the whelping box!) should be tested to determine if one or both parents are 1 gene dogs.
    You can test prior to ever breeding as well and there is a discount for having the Long coat/coat length test and Furnishing tests done at the same time.

    ANY ROTTWEILER WITH mouth corner ("Catfish whiskers") and/or Mouth line wire SHOULD be tested to ascertain if they are Furnishing clear (N/N) OR if they are 1 gene dogs to aid in breeding choices.

                            IF a Rottweiler is a 1 gene dog, the odds are high that you will eventually produce a furnished pup.
"Invisibly Furnished", Minimally Furnished and Slight Furnished Rottweilers can and always have been shown (any Country), but heavy furnished Rottweilers cannot be shown (or pass a breed survey in Countries that require these) and as such you should know that the time may come when you will need to refund or replace a show puppy that develops too much furnishing.

                            IF a 1 gene Rottweiler is bred to another 1 gene dog there is a chance that you will produce a 2 gene dog. ALL puppies from such a breeding should be tested to determine if they are a 2 gene dog and no matter the degree of furnishing, all 2 gene pups should be sold as pets and not used for future breedings.

We did our testing/validating through U.C. Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (though most DNA testing laboratories now offer this test)
Test Info (Furnishings Test)

Test Pricing
Can be combined with a coat length (long coat) test for a discount!

IF you have a dog tested for the Furnishing gene I'd love to have a copy of the report and a small (75-150 dpi) clear, photo of the dog's face to be included here (even if the dog has mouth line wire but negative for the Furnishing gene).

Click on any image for full size (most are best/clearest viewed full size)
Click on blue links for more pictures of that dog
Itsy face
Itsy is slight -moderate furnished. (feet, muzzle bridge, cheek, chin, lip line, chest, brow and scattered body patches) She is Single Gene Furnished & Long Coat carrier. Soft body coat, except neck/mane and back center. Additional pictures: foot, haunch, body patch
Dvia head/body
Divia is a FULL wire coat.
She is Double Gene Furnished (F/F) & Long Coat carrier.
Stand off body coat, some furnishings heavy, some slight-moderate.

Additional pictures: as a puppy, young adult trimmed, chin, face,
foot, chest, elbow/side
Tyme has mouth corner and mouth line wire but is Furnishing clear N/N (Long coat carrier)
annie 1.5yr
Annie is slight-mod. furnished. (toes, brow,muzzle bridge, cheek, under eye, lip line, chin, chest) She is Single Gene Furnished (N/F) & is Long Coat clear. Proper coarse body coat.
PICS: mouth, face 8yrs, face close

Keno was untested but had moderate-heavy chin, lip line/mouth corner, muzzle bridge, cheeks, chest and feet furnishings
Teckno (a young pup) was untested but had moderate-heavy chin, lip line/mouth corner, muzzle bridge, brow, cheek, chest, legs and feet furnishings
Emma was a FULL wire coat. Long coat carrier
Click for more photos: as puppy, head, muzzle bridge,
 lip closeup
Brego is Heavy Furnished
(brows, muzzle bridge, under eyes, cheeks, lip line, chin, chest, feet). Untested
Bill was never tested but must have been a single gene dog as he produced Emma above who is a Full wire, which requires both parents to have the furnishing gene. Bill was either invisibly furnished or minimal furnished as the only indicator might have been his toes! Bill was Long coat clear
Bea was also never tested but must have been a single gene dog. Bea and Bill are the parents of Emma, Brego, Annie and Itsy above. Bea had mouth corner & mouth line wire as well as very slight on chin, toe and muzzle bridge.
Bea was Long coat carrier
Baloo was a Full Wire coat
Untested (he is groomed in this photo)
Click to see another front picture and a side picture
Capo is slight-moderate furnished
Click to see one more photo
Ozzy is a VERY well bred boy
He is a FULL wire coat
Tested double furnishing gene FF
photo from Teresa Bradley

The reasons for NOT eliminating/excluding a dog from the breeding pool SOLELY based upon being a 1 gene dog is three fold:
1) Because it is a part of the wire coat gene set that dictates our proper coarse hard coat and we don't know exactly how -at this time- completely removing the Furnishing gene from the breed would effect proper body coat
2) Because many genes are interconnected and we do not know-and may never- if the Furnishing gene is connected/linked to a very important one like temperament, drives, coat length, abilities etc..
In many breeds some less than ideal genes are inextricably linked to a VERY needed or desired one
3) Because this gene is fairly widespread, eliminating/excluding all the 1 gene dogs (for no other reason) would remove far too many dogs for a non DQ trait and thus shrinking our gene pool dangerously

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