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Are There White Australian Shepherds?

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There are black and white Australian Shepherds as well as red (liver) and white Australian Shepherds. A black and white Aussie is called Black Bicolor while a red (liver) and white Aussie is called Red Bicolor. The black and white Aussie is, for the most part, a black dog, with a small amount of white visible on the feet, legs, belly, or bridge of the nose. Likewise, the red (liver) and white Aussie is predominantly red or liver with white markings on the feet, legs, and belly.

But do all-white Australian Shepherds exit? Of course, they do. However, they are somewhat rare. And when you do find them, white Australian Shepherds are some of the most unhealthy dogs out there. That's because white Aussies have double merle genes. The merle allele is a semi-dominant gene, meaning a dog only needs to inherit one copy, from either of its parents, to have a merle coat. In other words, a merle Aussie, for example, has a merle father and a non-merle mother. If two merle Australian Shepherds are mated, 25% of the puppies will be "double merles.

Double merle Australian Shepherds

A White Australian Shepherd puppy

A double merle Aussie is a dog that inherits two copies of the merle gene. This means the dog is an offspring of two merle Australian Shepherds.

Double merle Australian Shepherds are mostly white and have a higher probability of being deaf or blind as a result of having two copies of the merle gene. Regrettably, white Aussie puppies are sometimes euthanized at birth, though they may not have any other health issues besides deafness and blindness. Not all double-merle Australian Shepherds are born deaf or blind, but most are. As a result, the breeding of two merle Australian Shepherds is deemed unethical.

On the other hand, some breeders may try to sell double merle puppies as "rare" white Australian Shepherds without disclosing the potential for health defects. Unless you are prepared to take on a deaf or blind dog, you may end up surrendering your white Australian Shepherd to a rescue or shelter. A white Australian Shepherd may sound beautiful, but due to the health risks associated with them, you may want to think twice before getting one.

Pictures of double merle or white Australian Shepherds

A deaf double merle Aussie
Source: Wikipedia

The beautiful dog in this picture is a deaf eight-month-old double-merle Australian Shepherd. As you can see, she is mostly white and has blue eyes with starburst pupils and an eccentric pupil in her left eye.

A White Australian Shepherd named Biscuit

Here is Biscuit, the white Australian Shepherd. According to the dog's owners, Biscuit is a double merle Aussie and he is deaf and partially blind. Nonetheless, Biscuit is full of energy and love, according to his owners, who posted the dog's photo on Reddit.

A deaf white Aussie puppy

This cute white puppy is a deaf eight-week-old double merle Aussie. The owner posted this picture on Reddit a couple of months ago asking for tips on how to train a deaf Australian Shepherd. Some suggest that the owner train the dog with a vibrating collar and hand signals.

A deaf Aussie puppy named Marsha

Meet Marsha, the deaf White Australian Shepherd puppy adopted from the shelter a couple of years ago.

Final Thoughts

The breed standard disqualifies Australian Shepherds with mostly white coats because most of them are unfortunately blind, deaf, or both. This means that white or double-merle Aussies cannot be exhibited at dog shows and should not be bred.

As with any disabled dog, life can be hard for a deaf or blind Australian Shepherd. Currently, there's no cure for deafness and blindness. So owning a deaf or blind Australian Shepherd means you must take extra care of the dog all through its life, which can be 13 to 15 years. Therefore you are strongly advised not to purchase a white Australian Shepherd. As I stated earlier, the breeding of two merle Aussies is considered morally wrong. By buying a white Aussie, you are unconsciously encouraging this unethical breeding.

But then again, a mostly white Aussie puppy will occasionally be born that is not a double merle. If you already own a white Aussie, it is advisable to have it undergo an M locus DNA test. You should also have your vet check your white Aussie for defects in its vision and hearing. If your dog is not a double merle and does not have hearing and vision problems, then it is probably fine.

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