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Australian Shepherd Colors and Coat Patterns: A Visual Guide

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Only a few breeds of dogs have coats that are as gorgeous as Australian Shepherds'. The breed, nicknamed Aussie, comes in four acceptable coat colors, including red, black, blue merle, and red merle. However, purely black and red Australian Shepherds are quite rare, Albeit technically accepted by the breed standard. 

Moreover, red and black Aussies are difficult to breed, plus most breeders are put off even trying. While solid black and red Aussies are rare, they do exist. And when you do find them, they are some of the best-looking dogs out there! Below, I have compiled a list of eight Aussie color combinations, recognized by the American Kennel Club.

1. Black Bi: Black and White

A Black and White Australian Shepherd puppy

Australian Shepherds with two coat color combinations are called Black Bi. The Black Bi Aussie, for the most part, is black but has white markings over their face, chest, and legs. Black Bi Aussies can have dark brown eyes, blue eyes, or two different colored eyes, aka heterochromia. They have black noses. Black Bi Aussies resemble Black Bi Border Collies. As I mentioned earlier, all-black Aussies are extremely rare.

2. Black Tri:  Black, White, Copper

A Black Tri Australian Shepherd

Also called tricolor Aussies, Black Tri Aussies are mostly black with copper markings on both legs, eyes, and chin. The most common color combination among tricolor Australian Shepherds is the Black Tri. Black Tri Aussies typically have white patches on their abdomen, chest, and mouth. They usually have brown or black noses and their eye colors can vary from light to dark brown.

3. Red Bi: Red and White

A Red Bi Aussie puppy

Like the Black Bi, the red bicolor Aussie is mostly red with white markings on its face, chest, neck, and legs. Red Bi Aussies are not as common as black bi Aussies. They typically have brown noses and dark brown eyes. All-red Aussies do exist but are extremely rare.

4. Red Tri: Red, White, Copper

A Red Tri Aussie

Red Tri Australian Shepherds are rare and gorgeous dogs with tri-coloring—a red body, a white chest and collar, and copper legs and face. Most red tri Aussies have white markings on their faces. They typically have brown noses.

5. Blue Merle with Copper and White Trim

A blue merle Aussie puppy

The blue merle with copper and white markings is the most common coat among merle Aussies. These dogs are often seen in canine competitions thanks to their gorgeous look. Merle is defined as a genetic pattern in a dog's coat, resulting in different colors and patterns, and can affect skin pigment as well. The merle gene is dominant, making it more likely to be passed on to a dog's offspring than non-merle genes. This genetic characteristic is most commonly observed in Australian Shepherds. Blue merle Aussies commonly have two different colored eyes.

6. Bi Blue Merle With White Trim


Not to be confused with black and white Aussies, bi-blue merle Aussies with white trim have the beautiful silver speckled coat of a regular blue merle, but with extra white markings. There are also blue Merle tri-colored Aussies. These dogs have the regular blue merle coat but with extra tan markings on their eyebrows, cheeks, and legs.

7. Red Merle with Copper and White Trim

A Red Merle Aussie with Copper and White Trim

Red merle Australian Shepherds with copper and white trim have red spots that can be small speckles to patches that cover large areas of their body. In addition, they have white markings on the face, chest, legs, and underparts. They also have copper points on the face and legs. There are three types of red merle Aussies, including red merle and whitesolid red merle, and red merle with white and copper.

8. Red Merle with White Trim

Red bicolor merle Aussie puppy

Red merle Aussies with white trim are very similar to those with copper and white trim. However, these dogs are bicolored merles, with white markings on their face, chest, and legs. 

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