Pure Stock Aussies
348 Country Club Rd, Chadron, Nebraska 69337
(308) 432-0478  -  Fax: (308) 432-0478
tlcloyd@purestockaussies.com


The Colors

The terms, "dog" and "his" as used below refer to both male and female animals.

The basic body colors of Australian Shepherds are BLACK and RED.

The blue merle is genetically a black dog carrying the merling gene. The merling gene breaks up the black color into a pattern of black patches on grey. Australian Shepherd blue merle
(Overlands Shemah "Shemah" - Blue Merle with white trim)

The red merle is genetically a red dog carrying a merling gene. The merling gene breaks up the red color into a pattern of red patches on beige.
Australian Shepherd red merle
(4 Bar J Purestock Dappled Rose "Sadie" - Red Merle with copper and white)


Black is always dominant over red!!!



Genetics 101
Each parent provides one gene for color, and gene pairs determine color. You will only ever see the dominate gene. The Recessive gene is only seen if it is paired with another recessive gene.

Aussie color is very easy to understand, you have black (always dominate) and red (always recessive). Lets try to break it down even further:

A dog that is black or blue merle in color could have his color genes paired as such:
Black / black or
Black / red (these dogs are red factored)

A dog that is red or red merle in color will have his color genes paired as such:
Red / red

There are only four basic recognized colors for an Aussie: black, blue merle, red and red merle.  But there Australian Shepherd Black Biare 16 color combinations possible, they are:

Black
Black with white (Pictured: Overlands Purestock Sirprize "Prince")
Black with copper
Black with copper and white

Blue Merle (blue self merle)
Blue Merle with white Australian Shepherd blue merle
Blue Merle with copper Blue Merle with copper and white (Pictured: Purestock Roundhouse Switcher "Twitcher") 
 
Red 
Red with white Red with copper
Red with copper and white (Pictured: 4 Bar J Fireball at Purestock  "Luke")
 
Red Merle (red self merle)
Red Merle with whiteAustralian Shepherd red tri
Red Merle with copper
Red Merle with copper and white

These are the only possible colors of the Australian Shepherd.
There are NO such colors as a rare white, gray, cream or tan Aussies.

Example mating(s):
A black / black dog will only produce black puppies, even when bred to a red / red dog. But all puppies from a breeding like this will be red factored.

A black / black dog will only produce black puppies when bred to a black / red dog. Some of the puppies could be red factored.

A black / red dog will produce black or red puppies when bred to a black / red dog. Some of the puppies could be red factored.

A red / red dog will produce red puppies when bred to a red / red dog. All of the puppies will be red factored.

Every so often a red puppy will show up in a line of only black dogs. When this happens it is because the black / red gene carried up the line in both parents.

Reds never have black hair. If they do they are considered sables, which is not a recognized Aussie color variation.

Here is a table to try make it a little easier
Color
Black (not red factored)
Black (red factored)
Red
Black (not red factored) Black puppies (not red factored)
Black puppies (some red factored)
Black puppies (all red factored)
Black (red factored) Black puppies (some red factored)
Black and Red puppies (some red factored)
Black and Red puppies (all red factored)
Red Black puppies (all red factored)
Black and Red puppies (all red factored)
 Red puppies

Merle to Merle Breeding
The merling gene is not stable nor is it predictable, and can produce a double merle white puppy.  Double merle white puppies are those puppies that could be deaf and / or blind, or they will have a significant decrease in their hearing and / or eye sight.  What this means is if a merle is bred to a merle 1 out of every 4 puppies (25%) could be a Double merle.  Not every litter will produce a double merle puppy. The other puppies produced from these litters will be physically healthy, they will NOT have problems with internal organs, as is rumored. Here is a page where you can read more about double merles and pattern white Aussies.

Phantom Merles
These dogs could be mistaken for a solid.  Typically what has happened with phantom merles is that the only merling this dog had, that was visible, was on his tail and then his tail was docked. Leaving a solid looking dog, these dogs are still registered as merles and should be bred to solids or very selectively to another merles.

Eye color
Blue eyes in solid colored Aussies are very rare, but can happen.
Merles are known for their blue eyes or partially blue eyes. Breeding two blue eyed dogs will not guarantee all blue eyed puppies.  There is not a preferred eye color in Aussies. Eyes can be either blue or brown and both are recognized colors.

Trim
There are two trim colors, white and copper. These colors are meant to be trim not a dominate color. If a dog has excessive white, around his eyes, half his face or behind his shoulders, he is considered a pattern white and should not be bred.

Copper trim appears above the eyes (shepherd's spots), on the sides of the muzzle (cheeks), on the legs and under the tail.

A tri is a dog with both white and copper trim.
A bi is a dog with only one trim color.

Nose color
Remember, all blacks and blue merles have black noses and eye rims, and all reds and red merles have liver/brown noses and eye rims.

Non-recognized colors:
These colors are disqualifying faults by the ASCA Breed Standard. These include white, sable, brown merles, brindle, gray/slate, diluted red, and blond (yellow) .

There are genetic tests that can be performed to determine if an Australian Shepherd is a carrier of either the red gene or the dilute gene.

Rev. 24 September 12



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