Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Buying A Puppy From A Breeder

by Reenie
(Philadelphia, PA )




Getting an Australian Shepherd on Saturday from a breeder. I just checked her website and she posted pics of both the parents and they are both merle. When I visited the puppy he seemed fine but when I was reading up on Aussies I read that both parents shouldn't be merle because of genetic defects I just wanted to get some other opinions. Here are pics of the parents and the puppy.

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This puppy looks fine
by: Anton

The problem with merle/merle breeding is that there is a high chance that puppies can inherit the merle gene from both parents and become a "double merle" or "homozygous merle." These dogs are also often given the misnomer "lethal white" as it results in dogs lacking pigment around the ears and eyes and having white fur.

The pigment does more than just color the fur. It is needed during development or puppies can be partially/completely deaf/blind.

But from the photo of the puppy it appears to have plenty of pigment in those critical areas.

More info on homozygous merles here.

Blind or deaf?
by: Reenie

Ok so would the breeder or I be able to tell if he was blind or deaf by now?

by: Anonymous

That sucks! They shouldn't be doing it.
I would seriously check that breeder out and consider to find a different one. This puppy can have so many issues . That should be illegal!

The answer given is right on the money
by: Anonymous

Merle to merle breeding is discouraged by most but the odds are that 50% of the litter will be double merles or "lethal whites"
The term lethal refers to the merle gene which is considered in biological terms to be "semi-lethal" because inheriting two will put the offspring at substantial risk of death due to possible vision and hearing defects. It does NOT imply there is anything "lethal" about the dog itself.
Some breeders know their lines very well and have found that a breeding like that produces no double merles or "lethal whites" or maybe some but none with defects.
It's a gamble though, and it would be preferable not to do it. Some lethal whites are perfectly fine but the really impaired ones are very sad cases usually, although many owners like the "special needs" dogs and find them wonderful. In fact, there are rescues that specialize in helping them.

by: Reenie

I am going tomorrow to pick him up tomorrow so i will definitely discuss it with her she is supposedly one of the top breeders in my state so like you said maybe she knows the lines of her dogs that well that she felt it was safe to do so and I have read on other message boards where people had good results breeding two merles. Either way I will definitely ask her about it. She does offer a 5 year health warranty for congenetial defects and such so I know I'm not stuck but i would hate for it to be that type of situation where i would have to take him back. Its so weird I feel like he's waiting for me to come home I would feel so guilty to back out and him miss out on a home.

Thanks I really appreciate everyones input :)

merle to merle
by: Anonymous

I have no actual experience of this, but I have heard that there are a few breeders in the US who will breed merle to merle in order to get a lot of merle puppies and they destroy the lethal whites in the litter when they are born and keep just the merles. That's so horrible that I hope it's not true.

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