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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

A Color Question

by Emily
(Army Base, Germany)

this is sgt rowdy

this is sgt rowdy

Hi. I have registered Aussies and I have a ? about my male. He has a lot of white on his head and you could say he is a "bald face". He has a blue eye and a dark ear on one side. He is merle on the rest of his body with copper points. I want to breed him to my black tri female but I'm curious if his coloring is recognized as a breed standard as we are fairly new to the Aussies. Any suggestions? Thanks

Comments for A Color Question

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Color Question
by: Anonymous

After seeing the picture of your gorgeous dog I recommend not to breed her before you talk to a specialist. I have read in many places that when AUSSIES have white around their eyes, they have a big probability of becoming blind or to have blind pups. Check it out and be careful. Good luck.

Note from Anton: Info about homozygous merles here.

Breeding your aussie
by: Anne Calmes

The White face on your Aussie SGT Rowdy is not a recognized marking. In fact it is a mis mark, if his parents were a tri to merle breeding.
Does He see and hear well? If you breed him to your will get mismarks in your off spring. If SGT Rowdy is a product of a merle to merle breeding...than he is a lethal white and genetically he has some genes whose quality is poor. If this is the case, I as a breeder, would not recommend this breeding.
If you have more questions please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to answer them: OR
Anne Calmes
Louiiana, USA

by: Anonymous

Your Aussie appears to be a pattern white Aussie. Which is not a recognized color. However it could just be the "Irish spotting" gene going a little overboard (what gives Aussies there white collars), or it could be a "double Merle" only genetic tests will tell you 100% for sure if it's a pattern white or just the Irish spotting gene gone over board. It is not really responsible to breed either especially being a new breeder. If she is a pattern white (that's my best guess) she will either produce pattern white Aussies or her babies can carry the gene. If it's just the Irish spotting gene. You can carefully breed her/him too a tri or bi colored Aussie with minimal white, and it might be okay but still most breeders even shy away from that. Since it sounds like your Aussie came from a breeder I doubt it's a double Merle, but you can check by knowing if it's parents are both merles.

Now let's just say he/she is a pattern white here is why not to breed:

The "pattern white" might be cute but it's not a recognized color so you are corrupting the breed standard

Although pattern whites do have pigment they still can be deaf.

It's hard to tell the difference between a pattern white a double Merle.

My two cents
by: Anonymous

People pretty much covered what the coloring is. I wouldn't breed that dog. He's just not breeding quality from what I can see in the picture. Not just because of the mismark either.

I'm an aussie breeder

an update
by: Rowdys owner

I recently found out that Rowdys parents where a Red tri and black tri cross so there seems to be no merle to merle breeding. Yeah! Thanks for the comments and the advice.

redtri/black tri cross
by: Anonymous

and your dog is a blue merle. In my experience of being a aussie breeder since 1997 when breeding two solids together I have never had a merle pup.

Rowdy's color pattern
by: Mom2FourAussies

The "breeder" is wrong as far as I can tell from the photo. He appears to be a mis-mark black tri (perhaps a bi-tri) and the black might be dilute (lighter than expected black). Even just a spot of copper or tan under the tail end would indicate a tri - and Rowdy would therefore not have blue merle. The white mis-mark means Rowdy has too much Irish spotting, and breeding him is probably not a great idea, mainly because a lot of people don't want dogs who don't match breed standards. A mis-mark does NOT, however, mean a dog is any less lovable, smart, or trainable. In fact, many of the champion herders and agility Aussies are mis-marks. Back before the 1950s, when breed standards were developing, it was very common for Aussies to have white patterns all over their bodies. The association with the "double-merle" potential physical problems moved the breed standard to disqualify any white in certain body areas (splashes on the body past the withers, on the ears, too much on the face). The double-merle blindness and deafness is genetically linked to the appearance of no pigment around the eyes and within the ear area. Rowdy, although having a lot of white, is not a double-merle, nor is he therefore deaf or blind. Still, he probably should be loved as a companion or a working dog, rather than a breeding stud. My family has had Aussies for over 100 years on the family farm. My blue merle had some patches of "dilute" fur. One of my black tris has silver pips (markings above the eyes) and cheek masks. My red tri dogs is a mis-mark with a little white on the ears and one small spot close to her tail end. My other black tri is a gorgeous girl, but her fur is a little too "curly" for the show ring. All are not breeding dogs. All are were from champion show dog lines. Like your Rowdy, they are all wonderful and special members of the family, and very loved. If you want to breed your black tri, look into a breeder who provides a stud service. Rowdy can be an adoptive dad, and will still take an interest in raising puppies.

by: Jennifer

My dog looks the exact same he hears and sees well. Will he go blind at a young age?

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