HELP! My Puppies Look Like Roan Horses!

At about 6 weeks, your puppies start getting some white hairs down their topline, by 8 weeks, it's spread from the neck to the rump and down the sides. Now you've got these funny colored pups that look like you sprinkled them with powdered sugar.  With new owners coming to pick them up and expecting to see normally colored reddish-brown pups, what are you going to do or say? ACK!

First of all - RELAX -it's a strange situation, for sure, but when they go through a coat change at about 4-5 months old, those white hairs are gonna go away - HONEST. Why does this happen? Frankly, I don't know. Below is an example of a "roan" pup and a roan horse. Notice the resemblance?
( Thanks to Adventure RRs for the puppy photo.)
8 week old pup with roan effect roan horse

True "roaning" does occur in some breeds of dogs, but it's permanent, not like a Ridgeback pup's temporary effect. Here's what the "dog color guru" - Sue Ann Bowling says about roan dogs:
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**The roan gene in dogs acts as a simple dominant gene. The action of the gene results in a mingling of colored and white hairs. To be roan a dog must have white areas; a solid colored dog can not be roan. Breeds where the roan gene commonly occurs are English Cocker Spaniels, English Setters, Australian Cattle Dogs, and German Shorthaired Pointers. The roan pattern also occurs in American Cocker Spaniels, Field Spaniels and Border Collies.

Roan dogs are more prone to deafness due to the absence of pigment during ear formation. There are no other health issues associated with this gene.

Black and white roans are referred to as "blue roans" (spaniels) or "blue belton" (English Setters). Red/buff and white roans are referred to as "red roans" "orange roans" or "lemon roans" or oran. Brown and white are referred to as "liver roans", "chocolate roans" or "brown roans".**

There are no health problems associated with the temporary "roaning" of RR pups. It's just one of those mysterious things.