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CEDARPAWS

Australian Shepherds

All About Aussies

Coat Genetics

Australian Shepherd coats come in four main varieties:  blue merle, red merle, black tri and red tri.  Whether a litter produces reds or blacks, solids or merles depends on the parents' genes.  


There are two main coat colours:  red and black.  A blue merle Aussie has a black base colour, as does a black tri.  Red merles and red tris have a red base colour.  There are also two main coat patterns:  solid and merle.  It is the presence or absence of the merle gene which dictates whether the coat pattern will be merle or solid.  To be red, an Australian Shepherd must carry two red genes since they are recessive.  If one gene is black, black will cover the red since it is the dominant gene.  However, a black Aussie may still produce red pups if it has one black and one red gene.  This is what is called being 'red-factored'.


Below are a series of Mendel's charts depicting how colour and pattern occur in Australian Shepherd breedings.

Colour Genetics

Red dog = rr

Black dog = BB

Red-factored, black dog = rB

                     Black x Black

 
 
 
 
B
B
 B
BB
BB
 B
BB
BB

                                      All resulting puppies will be black.

             Red x Red

 
 
 
 
r
r
r
rr
rr
r
rr
rr
 

             All resulting puppies will be red.

 

                        Red x Black

 
 
 
 
 
B
B
r
rB
rB
r
rB
rB

                                   All resulting puppies will be black (rB).

Red x Black (rB)

 
 
 
 
r
B
r
rr
rB
r
rr
rB

50% of resulting puppies will be red, and 

50% will be black (rB).

 
 
 

Black (rB) x Black

 
 
 
 
B
B
r
rB
rB
B
BB
BB

50% of the resulting puppies will be black, and

50% will be black (rB).

Black (rB) x Black (rB)

 
 
 
 
r
B
r
rr
rB
B
rB
BB

25% of the resulting puppies will be black,

50% will be black (rB) and

25% of the puppies will be red.

 
 

Pattern Genetics

Merle dog - mM

Solid dog - MM

Lethal white - mm

Solid x Solid

 
 
 
 
M
M
M
MM
MM
M
MM
MM

All resulting puppies will be solid.

Solid x Merle

 
 
 
 
M
M
m
mM
mM
M
MM
MM

50% of the resulting puppies will be solid and

50% will be merle.

Merle x Merle

 
 
 
 
m
M
m
mm
mM
M
mM
MM

50% of the resulting puppies will be merle,

25% will be solid, and

25% will be lethal white.