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Australian Shepherd Color Genetics

by PawVillage.com staff

How do the Aussie coloring genetics work? That can be simplified to two seperate questions, whether the puppy is black or red, and whether it is merle or solid. All of the four combinations may or may not have white and copper markings. For black vs. red, the black gene is dominant. For merle vs. solid, the merle gene is an incomplete dominant gene. The diagrams below show how a dog will look with each of the possible gene combinations:

Black vs. Red
BBBlack BrBlack rrRed
Merle vs. Solid
MMWhite MsMerle ssSolid

A dog with a double merle gene (homozygous merle) will often be excessively white and will usually develop health problems, for example deafness and blindness.

Ke, Stormy, Ginger, Harley
This picture shows the four different combinations.
Clockwise from top left: Black, Red, Red Merle, and Blue Merle.

Possible Color Crosses
Br Black x Br Black
  B r
B BBBlack BrBlack
r BrBlack rrRed
Br Black x BB Black
  B r
B BBBlack BrBlack
B BBBlack BrBlack
Br Black x rr Red
  B r
r BrBlack rrRed
r BrBlack rrRed
BB Black x BB Black
  B B
B BBBlack BBBlack
B BBBlack BBBlack
BB Black x rr Red
  B B
r BrBlack BrBlack
r BrBlack BrBlack
rr Red x rr Red
  r r
r rrRed rrRed
r rrRed rrRed

Possible Merle/Solid Crosses
Ms Merle x Ms Merle
  M s
M MMWhite MsMerle
s MsMerle ssSolid
Ms Merle x ss Solid
  M s
s MsMerle ssSolid
s MsMerle ssSolid
ss Solid x ss Solid
  s s
s ssSolid ssSolid
s ssSolid ssSolid

 


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