Gold is a masking gene, ee, it masks the "true" color of the dog.  Gold will also mask any pattern or markings on a dog. In order to tell what color a dog is you need to look at their pigment on the nose or eye rims to know what color the dog is.  So a blue will have blue pigment, chocolate will have chocolate, lilac will have lilac and black will have black pigment.  You need to understand if one parent in a litter is a merle and there are gold puppies some of those puppies may be gold merles and they will not have a pattern.  The dog in the photo above is a sable gold merle but all you see is the gold.  The only way to know is when you breed the dog.  In the past we had a DNA test for the merle pattern but that company is not offering the service anymore.



The two photos above are Pepper she is a gold merle.  Notice the marbled eye.