What are the different colors of the Australian Shepherd’s coat?


Besides his intelligence and his instinct for the conduct of herds, the Australian Shepherd is distinguished by the magnificence of its coat which displays a beautiful diversity of shades. All about the different colors of her dress.

Origins of the Australian Shepherd

Back to history: looking for a job, many original shepherds Basque settled in Australia, a country known for its sheep farming and wool production. Around the 1900s, some migrated to the United States, taking with them their dogs and their flocks. American farmers then developed this breed – also called Aussie – highly regarded for her work with cattle. The dates major factors that have marked the development of the breed are:

  • 1957: creation of the American Shepherd Club of America;
  • 1991: recognition of the Australian Shepherd by the American Kennel Club;
  • 1996: official recognition of the breed by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI);
  • 2007: definitive affiliation of the French Club of Australian Shepherds to the Société Centrale Canine (SCC).

Aussie coat: two basic colors

While the Australian Shepherd’s coat comes in an array of shades, there are actually only two basic colors: the black and the red (Brown). Each can be embellished with white and / or tan markings, we can thus observe the coats:

  • United (without light or white);
  • Two-tone without fire but with white;
  • Two-tone with fire but without white;
  • Tricolor (with light and white).

From these four possibilities, the gene merling (M allele) will dilute the colors and modify the appearance of the fur. On the black coat, the blackbird will give an impression of silvery spotted. On red, it gives an appearance of pinkish mottled. This genetic modification results in 4 coat colors and 16 variations possible.

The black Australian Shepherd is either:

  • Tricolor black (black dress with white and tan variegation);
  • Two-tone black with white;
  • Two-tone black with tan;
  • Plain black.

The Red Australian Shepherd is either:

  • Tricolor red (red dress with white and tan variegation);
  • Two-tone red with white;
  • Two-tone red with tan;
  • Solid red.

The Blue Merle Australian Shepherd is either:

  • Blue merle tricolor (blue, white and tan);
  • Merle blue with white;
  • Blue merle with fire;
  • Blue merle without fire nor white.

The Red Merle Australian Shepherd is either:

  • Red merle tricolor (red, white and tan);
  • Merle red with white;
  • Red merle with fire;
  • Red merle without fire or white.

What is invasive white?

Responsible for the invading white, the MITF gene (Transcription Factor associated with Microphthalmia) can result from a marriage between two dogs merle, blue or red. The marking is characterized by:

  • A eye – or both – included in the white color of the dog’s coat;
  • A dominant white color on the head of the dog (more than half of the total surface);
  • White on the body, between the withers and the tail.

This tare genetic is associated with melanocytes (cells pigmenting the hair) which have not migrated to the part of the body concerned during transformations from the embryo to birth (embryogenesis). Dogs marked with an invasive blank are refused confirmation and therefore cannot obtain their pedigree.

What is a double merle Australian Shepherd?

Resulting from a mating between two merle dogs (carriers of the M allele), many puppies are born with two copies of the merle gene: they are said to be double merle. This phenomenon usually results in a largely peeling White, pink mucous membranes and eyes blues. Hypopigmentation can be a serious consequence: the animal frequently presents a strong sensitivity to the sun, problems of blindness, of deafness and some malformations. He transmits his dress and his troubles 100% to his descendants. In 2017, faced with the problems of health likely to affect double blackbirds, the Société Centrale Canine has not allowed the production of litters between two subjects carrying the M allele, whatever the breed of dog.