This may be a stupid question but..

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This may be a stupid question but..

Postby Skingirl_Kat » Sun Feb 15, 2004 4:19 pm

Why is it that so many purely white or mostly white pits are deaf? I never was able to make that connection and I have always wanted a white pit. Does the dog's being deaf make it significantly more difficult to deal with? Anyone with answers would be much appreciated. :yay:

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Postby kendall » Sun Feb 15, 2004 6:02 pm

I don't know anything about it... but try PMing the pitbullforum user raiyo. Their Pit Bull is a white one, who happens to be deaf. They would have more info on whether or not it makes things more difficult.


Postby raiyo » Sun Feb 15, 2004 6:49 pm

hehh, no need to PM me, I'm here. What I've learned over a few months of having my white pit bull is that if it has a all white coat, it will have a higher chance of being deaf. The reason is because of pigment problem. The reason why it is white is because there wasn't enough....... lets say "materials" (heheh) to correctly form certain parts of there body. Such as coat, eyes, ears, etc. I've talked to the vet about this problem. She told me that if a dog is pure white, there will be a high chance of it being deaf. Before picking one up, look at there eyes. If it both eyes are blue, and have a white coat, there will be a high chance of being deaf. If one eye is green and the other is blue, then the side (ear) with the blue eyes might be deaf. If both are black, then chances of it being deaf is smaller. I'm not 100% sure if that info is correct. That's what my vet told me, so I'm just telling you. If you want to check if they are deaf before picking one up is to give them some test. Like clap your hands when they arent looking at you. See if they make a reaction. Make sure you don't let the wind hit them when you clap. You could also use your keys to make noise. Lots of other things to check if it is deaf.

Teaching a deaf dog isn't much different as training one who can hear. The hardest part is to catch it's attention when they aren't looking at you. You can train it to keep checking back (look at you) with you very often. You can buy a vibrating collar/flashlight/good old fashion training for a deaf dog to catch its attention. If the dog is deaf, best thing to do is to keep it on a leash at all times. Playing in the park isn't impossible. Just buy a very long leash. I bought a 50ft leash so Kozmo could play in the park. I just let it run wild and if I feel he is going to far I just pull him back and give him a treat.


Postby hillside » Sun Feb 15, 2004 10:56 pm

Kat, Bean dog is white and though she likes to act like she is deaf sometimes, her hearing is perfectly fine. Perhaps you could have the future pooch BAER tested before you get it? I don't think that the eye color has much to do with it, at least it doesn't in Dalmatians. But breeds that are mostly/all white or some of the merle breeds do have a higher occurance of deafness.

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Postby moto1320 » Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:43 pm

Simply put, if the coat is white then the hair in the inenr ear is white- the hair that picks up vibrations, transmits them to neurosignal signals that the brain can process. Part of this neurological process is the pigment in the hair. No pigment, no sound. Look in the "Grey colored pit bull" post that was up a little while ago. I asked a similar question for similar reasons as to the probability of this in the different reasons a dog can be white- not all is from being albino. Some good links were posted that explain this on a easy to understand, but scientific level. A dog can not be all white and partially deaf. If one ear is white and one eye blue- the dog will probably be deaf on that side of the head. They make collars that vibrate instead of shock, these can be used in training to get the dogs attention if you adopt a deaf boy or girl. Good luck.

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Postby Annie » Tue Feb 17, 2004 2:17 pm

Let me try to clarify a few of Moto's points.

As I understand it, albino dogs are no more likely to be deaf than other dogs. They have plenty of melanocytes (cells that produce pigment and that also have a role in the development of several important structures, including the ear); they just lack an enzyme that prevents these cells from producing pigment.

However, some dogs are white because they carry one or more of several genes that can suppress melanocytes. (These include the "merle" and "piebald" genes.) A dog in which those melanocyte-suppressing genes are strongly expressed may not have an adequately formed stria vascularis -- a structure that supplies blood to the cochlea in the ear. Without an adequate blood supply, the cochlear cells can't survive.

There is also a kind of hereditary deafness that isn't associated with whiteness at all. Some dogs just don't grow hair cells in their cochlea. These dogs have trouble with balance as well as hearing.

George Strain, a veterinary neuroscientist at LSU, has put together a website on deafness in dogs and cats, with a lot of genetic discussion. It's at:


Postby hillside » Tue Feb 17, 2004 5:54 pm

Hey Annie, that's really useful.


Postby Skingirl_Kat » Tue Feb 17, 2004 6:57 pm

Thanks everyone. I wasn't talking about albino dogs, just 90-100% white ones. I appreciate all of the help!

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