4 Types Of Red Australian Shepherds

Everybody loves the Australian Shepherd, one of the most colorful dog breeds on earth! The four coat colors recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) for purebred Australian Shepherds include black, red, blue merle, and red merle. These four main coat colors can be combined to create a further eleven distinct color-marking combinations, all of which are recognized by the AKC. However, this article focuses only on the red coat colors.

1. Solid Red Australian Shepherd

A Solid Red Australian Shepherd

The rarest color of official AKC-recognized Aussies is solid red. Solid red Australian Shepherds are very rare because the red-colored gene is recessive in dogs. According to Koko Genetics, for a dog to have a red coat, the presence of two copies of the recessive red gene is required. This means that for an Australian Shepherd to be completely red, both parents must pass on the recessive red gene, which is a much less likely occurrence. In other words, the chances of a puppy inheriting two recessive red genes are much lower. Consequently, so not many red coat Aussie puppies are born. Moreover, most breeders are not actively pursuing this coat color, as it's so hard to source a red Aussie. This explains why solid red Australian shepherds are so rare. That said, when you do find a solid red Aussie, it is one of the most beautiful dogs out there!

2. Red Bi Australian Shepherd

A Red Bi Australian Shepherd

Red Bi Australian Shepherds' coats are, for the most part, red or liver in color with white markings on the chest, face, neck, and legs. The most genetically complex aspect of normal Aussie color, according to the ASCA, is white markings. The ASCA notes that less white is generally dominant to more. For example. Two Aussies with little white makings can sometimes produce puppies with lots of white. Red Bi Australian Shepherds are sometimes referred to as red and white. That is because this is the only color combination they can have, as tan markings do not appear without white ones. The red bi Australian Shepherd is also rare to find but not as rare as the solid red.

3. Red Tri Australian Shepherd

A Red Tri Australian Shepherd

A Red Tri Australian Shepherd is a red or liver-colored dog with copper and white markings on the face, neck, chest, and legs. Red Tri Aussies boasts a captivating look that draws attention immediately. Their eye-catching coat sets them apart from the Red Bi Aussie. The richness of their red base coats ranges from brownish red to bright cinnamon, contrasting beautifully with their white markings and copper accents. Not only are Red Tri Aussies coats eye-catching, but also their striking eyes, which come in shades of blue, amber, or green.

4. Red Merle Australian Shepherd

A Red Merle Australian Shepherd

One of the most iconic colors of the Australian Shepherd is Red Merle! Merle, aka dapple in some breeds, is a genetic pattern in a dog's coat that results in different colors and patterns. Brown/liver and black are the two types of colors that generally appear in a merle coat. Merle can affect Red Bi Aussies' coats ( Red Merle Bicolor) as well as Red Tri Aussies' (Red Merle Tricolor). Merle also modifies Red Bi and Red Tri Aussies' eye color in addition to altering their base coat color. Since Merle causes random modifications, Red Merle Aussies can have dark eyes, blue eyes, different-colored eyes, and noses with pink spots, aka "butterfly" noses.

The Merle allele is actually incompletely dominant, meaning a dog only needs to inherit one copy of the Merle gene variant to have a Merle coat. For example, if a merle Aussie and a non-merle one are mated, roughly half the offspring will be merles. However, if two Merle Aussies are mated, one-quarter of the puppies will likely be "double merles", a high percentage of which could have eye defects or be deaf. As a result, merle to merle mating is currently forbidden in the Australian Shepherd breed, although accidents can happen.

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