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Red Merle Australian Shepherd: Info, Pictures, Facts & Traits

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Red Merle Australian Shepherd

Height: 18 – 23 inches
Weight: 40 – 65 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Colors: Golden red with patches of white and dark brown
Suitable for: Active families who want a big dog that thinks it’s a lap dog
Temperament: Loving, affectionate, active, intelligent, protective

Australian Shepherds are considered one of the funniest and most loyal breeds, but only a few people know that the active dog can come in different coat shades. Although most Australian Shepherds have a Black and Blue solid coat, some can have a red merle shading instead.

Red Merle Australian Shepherds are just like other Aussies, apart from the obvious coat difference. The red coat is considered a unique coat color because it relies on a different set of genetics. So, the Red Merle Australian Shepherd may be perfect for you if you love the classic Aussies but want a dog that stands out from the pack.

In this article, we are going to take a close look at the Red Merle Australian Shepherd, including their puppies, personality, and interesting facts.

Let’s get started!

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Red Merle Australian Shepherd Puppies – Before You Get One…

Australian Shepherd puppies
Image Credit: lightman_pic, Shutterstock

Red Merle Australian Shepherds are very active and energetic dogs. If you are thinking about getting one, know that you must dedicate a lot of time and energy towards the dog. From the time it is a puppy to when it is an adult, the dog will need training and rigorous exercise.

Luckily, Red Merle Australian Shepherds are intelligent and loving too. As a result, they are relatively easy to train and often socialize with other people and dogs well. Especially if you take the time to properly train and play with your Aussie, you can expect the dog to be a lifelong friend that is always by your side.

And when we say always by your side, we mean always. Red Merle Australian Shepherds are known for being very clingy and needy when it comes to attention. If you know that you do not have the time or energy to devote to your Aussie daily, a different breed will be more suited for your lifestyle.

If you know that you have a lot of time, energy, and passion required for owning a Red Merle Australian Shepherd, then great! These dogs make wonderful pets. Make sure to buy the Red Merle Australian Shepherd from a reputable breeder. Luckily, most breeders that specialize in Red Merle Aussies are reputable, but always check to confirm.

In fact, it’s imperative to get your Red Merle Australian Shepherd from a good breeder because these Aussies are more likely to suffer from health conditions. Hence, be thorough when checking out Red Merle Aussie breeders specifically.

Most likely, you won’t be able to find a Red Merle Aussie at an adoption center. Because Red Aussies are so unique, they almost always require you to seek out a breeder who specializes in these beautiful coats.

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6 Interesting Facts About Red Merle Australian Shepherds

Here are 6 interesting facts about Red Merles:

1. Its all in the genes.

Red Merle Aussies are less common than Blue or Black Aussies because the red coloration is the recessive gene. Similarly, the merle pattern is a recessive gene with solid color coating as being the dominant one. Because red colors and merle patterning are recessive, it’s statistically less likely for a Red Merle Aussie to be born.

Red Merle Tri Australian Shepherd
Image Credit: Rebecca Scholz, Pixabay

2. No two Red Merle Aussies look the same.

If you get a Red Merle Australian Shepherd, your dog will look one of a kind. The term “merle” means that the Aussie will have a marbled or freckled appearance. It does not matter where the freckles are placed, as long as they are there. So, you can expect your Red Merle Aussie to look different from every other dog at the park, including other Red Merle Aussies.

3. Red Merle Australian Shepherds have red eye rimes, lips, and noses.

Most dogs have black eye rims, lips, and noses. The Red Merle Australian Shepherd is different. The same gene that controls the merle coat controls the color of the eye rims, lips, and noses. As a result, Red Merle Aussies have red- or liver-colored features.

4. Merle Aussies often have two different colored eyes.

When an animal or person has two different colored eyes, the phenomenon is called heterochromia. Not all dog breeds can have heterochromia, but Merle Aussies can.

You can see Red Merle Aussies with the following eye color pairings:
  • Both solid brown
  • Both solid blue
  • One solid brown and one solid blue
  • Both brown with marbled blue
  • Both blue with marbled brown
  • Both eyes display different brown and blue marbled patterns

The fact that your Red Merle Aussies can have so many eye variations further proves that no two Red Merles look the same.

5. Your Aussie puppy may have a phantom merle gene.

Red merle Australian Shepherd close up
Image By: Jolly-Sunshine, Pixabay

When your dog is a puppy, it can be hard to know what its coat will look like. Most often, Aussies with a solid coat are born with a lighter version of the color throughout its body. Merles are a bit more difficult to pinpoint. Most likely, the puppy will have a liver or pink colored features, though it is not guaranteed.

Sometimes, a dog looks like a solid coat when a puppy, but a merle coat begins to develop as it starts growing. This phenomenon is called the “phantom” merle gene. The merle markings are so faint that the dog looks like it has a solid-colored coat.

6. Merle Aussies have more health issues than their solid-colored counterparts.

One downside to owning a Merle Aussie over a solid coat is that the merle genes are associated with more health risks. The reason for this is that “double merle” can occur. “Double merle” is when both parents pass on the recessive merle trait.

As a result of this trait, the offspring is more prone to eye defects, such as abnormal eye development, blindness, and even missing eyes upon birth. Red Merle Aussies can also experience deafness more frequently than solid coats.

Red Merle Aussies with blue eyes and/or a coat that is primarily white have more issues. Because of the lightness of their coat and eyes, they are more likely to be victims of sun damage, such as sunburns and cancer.

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Final Thoughts

Red Merle Australian Shepherds sure are interesting and beautiful dogs. They are just as playful and fun as the traditional Blue Merle or Solid Blue and Black Aussie, but it has a unique flare. Because of its red merle coat, your Aussie will be easy to spot anywhere, even in a pack of other Red Merles.

Of course, owning a Red Merle Aussie isn’t all playtime and fun. These dogs need a lot of time and attention and can easily become overwhelming if the owner is not prepared. Not to mention, they are more prone to health conditions.

By purchasing your Red Merle Australian Shepherd from a reputable breeder, you are less likely to encounter a puppy with issues associated with Red Merles. So, be ethical and discerning when buying your Red Merle Australian Shepherd, if you think you’re up for it!

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Featured Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock

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