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July 08, 2022 8 min read 1 Comment

Australian Shepherds, known as "Aussies," are friendly, energetic dogs. Originating from Pyrenees shepherd dogs, they were bred in Australia and later in California. They're known for their intelligence and versatility, serving as guide, therapy, and police dogs, and performing in rodeos. 

Recognized Aussie coat colors by the American Kennel Club are black, blue merle, red, and red merle, with 14 variations in total.

1. Black and White Coat Australian Shepherd

Black and White Coat Australian Shepherd Puppy

A black bicolor Australian Shepherd, sometimes abbreviated as "black bi," is one whose coat contains just the colors black and white (sometimes simply called a black and white Australian Shepherd). The coat of a black and white Australian Shepherd is typically white from the dog's face down to its front paws, and it is complete black everywhere else, from the back of the dog's head all the way to the tip of its tail. It is also possible that it has white "points," which are colored patches that are located above its eyes.

Instead of having a white coat, some black Australian Shepherds have a tan coat as their secondary color. There is a possibility that a black-and-tan Australian Shepherd will have tan markings on its eyes, face, neck, chest, or legs. Even if they have two colors, you cannot call them "black bi" since the word only applies to white-secondary Australians even though they do have two colors.

2. Black Australian Shepherd

Black Australian Shepherd

Due to the fact that the gene that controls solid color in Australian Shepherds is recessive, it is unusual for these dogs to be born with just one color. Even if it is quite unusual, it is not impossible: you may encounter completely black Australians on farms as well as on the streets of suburban neighborhoods.

It is possible for an Aussie to have some white or tan patches and still be considered to have a solid color, although the presence of these spots will be much less noticeable.

Brown eyes are virtually always present in black Australians, however the hue of brown may range from mild to dark. In very rare cases, you could come across an all-black Aussie with gold flecks in its hazel eyes; if this happens to you, be sure to capture the moment on camera.

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3.Black Tricolor Australian Shepherd

Black Tricolor Australian Shepherd

A black Australian Shepherd with three colors, sometimes known as a "black tri Australian Shepherd," features white and tan hues along with its black coat. The white markings are more prevalent on its nose, chest, stomach, and paws, whilst the tan markings are most noticeable on its eyes, cheeks, and legs. The tan patterns may also be seen on its legs.

The coat color of the black tri Australian Shepherd is among the most sought after of all the other coat colors available in the Australian Shepherd breed. Their eyes are still light to dark brown despite the fact that black is the predominate hue in their eyes.

4. Solid Red Coloration Australian Shepherd

The red gene is recessive, which means that it can only be expressed in the absence of the black gene, which is the dominant gene. Although it may be more challenging to produce red Australian Shepherd puppies, the fact that they are so uncommon only serves to increase their value.

The coats of Aussies may develop into a variety of distinct colors of red. The lightest tint is cinnamon, which may seem practically gold in certain situations. The darkest tone is liver, which can look very dark gray or even virtually black. Red Australian Shepherds may range in color from auburn to chestnut to ruby and many shades in between.

Due to the fact that the red gene is recessive and solid-colored Australian Shepherds are the rarest of all, solid red Australian Shepherds are the rarest of all. If you do run across one, you definitely have something to celebrate!

Solid Red Coloration Australian Shepherd in the flower

5. Red and Bicolor Australian Shepherd

Red and Bicolor Australian Shepherd

Similar to a black bi, a red bi is an Australian Shepherd that has red and white markings. In addition to having white markings on their faces, chests, and legs, red bi Australian shepherds may also have white markings on the backs of their necks. They will be completely crimson from the forelegs all the way back to the tail.

Every single red bicolor Aussie is a red and white combination. Tan markings are not seen in red Australian Shepherds unless there is some kind of white in their coat, either solid or merle.

6. Tricolor Red and White Australian Shepherd

Tricolor Red and White Australian Shepherd Puppy

A red tri Australian Shepherd has a coat that is mostly red and white, with copper points and markings here and there. Red tricolors have red coats as their primary color, but they may have white on their paws, fronts, and faces. Copper accents are more likely to appear on the face and legs of these cats.

The most prevalent eye color for all three varieties of red Aussie is amber, which is a beautiful compliment to their coats and is seen in all three types. There are some red Australians with blue eyes. A very small number of them even exhibit heterochromia, in which one of their eyes is brown and the other is blue.

7. Blue Merle coat coloration Australian Shepherd

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Blue Merle coat coloration Australian Shepherd

Because the merle pattern gene in Australian Shepherds is the dominant pattern gene, you will see merle coats a great deal more often than you would notice solid black or red coats. In the event that you are not well-versed in the language of the world, "merle" refers to a marbled coat, which is created by layering brighter and darker hues to produce a beautiful blended pattern.

Merle Aussies may be either black or red, but a black Australian Shepherd who has the merle gene is referred to as a "blue merle." Merle Aussies can be either black or red. If you take a look at the photo, you'll understand why I chose this one: The black specks combine with the gray areas to create a pattern that, when seen from a distance, gives the impression that the whole image is blue.

The coat of an Australian Shepherd with a solid blue merle pattern is marbled throughout. On the same dog, you'll often see shades of gray ranging from charcoal to silver. Australians with such a coloring are very uncommon yet indelible.

8. Blue Merle Bicolor Australian Shepherd

Blue Merle Bicolor Australian Shepherd

The marbled base color of a blue merle bi Australian Shepherd may be mixed with either tan or white. The amount of white that is mixed in with blue merle on a dog may be as little as a single patch on the dog's chest, or it can be extensive, covering the dog's chest, forelegs, and midsection.

There are sporadic appearances of blue merle and brown Australian shepherds. They have tan or copper points on the ends of their eyebrows, and occasionally they have tan beards as well, which gives them an appearance of distinction.

9. Blue Merle and Tricolor Coat Australian Shepherd

Blue Merle and Tricolor Coat Australian Shepherd

Another color combination that is highly popular among purebred Australian Shepherds is the blue merle tri coat pattern. These dogs are among of the most stunning canines you'll ever see; they have cloudy blue merle all the way down their backs, white ruffs and faces, tan cheeks, ears, and legs, and white merle all over their backs. These Australian Shepherds are one of the few breeds of dog that are capable of triumphing in both a kennel club show and a rodeo competition.

Blue merle Australian Shepherds typically have either blue or brown eyes, and sometimes one of each color. Sometimes they have both colors. Their eyes, like their hair, may have a marbling pattern, which is rather striking.

10. Red Merle Coat Australian Shepherd

Red Merle Coat Australian Shepherd

The combination of a gene for the merle pattern with a gene for the red color results in the creation of red merle Australian Shepherds. When applied to a black coat, marbling gives a foggy blue-gray appearance; nevertheless, when applied to a red coat, it produces an unusual sandstone look. It is certain to bring up memories of the rugged outback of Australia, where your Aussie's ancestors first started to herd sheep.

It is not necessary for an Australian Shepherd to have precisely marbled fur all over its body in order for it to be considered a solid red merle. A few copper and/or white patches are allowed before it is recognized to have an officially distinct coat color.

Marbled eyes are a common trait in red merle Australian Shepherds. These dogs have flecks of color in their irises that give them a rich and intense look in their eyes. The most common color combinations are brown with blue marbling, blue with brown marbling, and in extremely exceptional dogs, one of each color combination.

Unrecognized Colors

three Australian Shepherds

The American Kennel Club does not recognize all color variations of the Australian Shepherd breed. Despite the fact that this makes them officially mutts, these patterns may still come up in purebred Aussie lines; the genes that regulate them are merely very uncommon recessive genes. • Dilute Aussies may have any of the regular coat colors, but since they also have a gene that makes them look significantly lighter, they are referred as as "dilute." The color black becomes blue, the color red becomes beige, and the merles become lighter. Although having a diluted coat color is considered a health risk in certain dog breeds, it does not seem to be an issue for Australian Shepherds.

When two merles are bred together, the likelihood of producing a white Australian Shepherd increases, as was discussed before. Because of the high risk of illness associated with them, reputable breeders avoid producing litters of white Australian Shepherds at all costs. • Yellow Aussies look a lot like Golden Retrievers. From a very light yellow to a deep, sandy gold, the range of conceivable colors is just as broad as that of the red and black possibilities. Because the yellow gene does not replace the base color in the nose, it is not uncommon to find yellow Australians with black or mahogany-colored nostrils. It's possible for yellow Aussies to have white patches as well.

Customize a unique tag for your furry friend! 

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Final Thoughts 

Work ethic is built into every Australian Shepherd. They did, however, end up with magnificent coats, clever eyes, and compassionate demeanors during the course of their journey. The lives of those who are fortunate enough to acquire one are improved as a result of this, despite the fact that it does not always assist them herd sheep or cows.

You are now aware of all the many varieties of Australian Shepherds to search for in the event that you are considering bringing home your very own Aussie. We hope that you are successful in choosing a new best friend that has the ideal hue of fur for you!

1 Response

Merryann Palmer
Merryann Palmer

November 06, 2023

I just found your blog and read this entry all the way through. As a former rough collie breeder/shower, I was fascinated to see that the collie is a base breed for the Aussie. My son received an Aussie as a service dog for his PTSD, and Mufasa is, even including my collies, the most loving, affectionate, devoted animal I have ever known. He is a black-tri, but has the most brilliant blue eyes. Everyone who sees him comments on those eyes – to the point that Dan can get annoyed. Thank you for this very informative post.

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