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About Aussies > The Colors > White Aussies

I will only scratch the surface of the White Aussie problem here so let me start by giving names to the two types of White Aussies, neither of which fall within the Australian Shepherd Breed Standard set forth by ASCA, USASA, or AKC. 

The first type is a "Pattern White" and the second type is a "Double Merle or Homozygous Merle" (commonly called a lethal white, but this is a horse term that is commonly misused).  

The pattern white Aussie (pictured on right) is produced from either breeding two dogs that carry the pattern white gene or crossing one dog with a large amount of white (typically a pattern white) to a dog with or without a large amount Australian Shepherd White Aussieof white.  When a pattern white puppy is produced from one of these crosses it can easily be identified by the amount of white it has on its head and/or on its body.  These puppies are great pet quality pups for a person or family looking for a companion dog that can be entered in sanctioned club events such as agility, herding, tracking, etc.

Pattern white puppies should never be sold as breeding/show quality becasue they will pass on the pattern white gene (excessive white trim gene) to their offspring.  Unfortunately they are, typically they are sold to a person that doesn't know any better or from a "breeder" that isn't educated enough about the breed they are breeding. 

There is a third situation when a pattern white is sold as breeding quality and that is when a breeder (not a reputable breeder) is calling it a "Rare White" or"Showy" Aussie so they can get their all mighty buck.  Pattern White Aussies are NOT a rare colored Aussie, they are actually very common. While you typically don't see them in the conformation ring trying to get a champion title, or advertised in the Aussie Times or AKC Gazette for breed standard pictures they are extremely common and very valuable to the families that they live with, but not worth more money at 8 weeks old than a properly colored Aussie.

The pattern white Aussies are usually viewed as color mis-marks (or mis-marked puppies) and will NOT be blind or deaf as the double merle will be.

Follow this pictures link to view more pattern white Aussies or Aussies with to much white.

The double merle Aussie (pictured on right) is ONLY produced when two merle dogs are crossed. The puppies from the litter that carry the double merle or homozygous merle gene, this will be approximately 25% of the litter, will also be recognized easily.  These puppies will have excessive white on their head and on their bodies similar to the pattern whites, the only difference is that  these puppies will be deaf and/or blind either starting from birth or developing one or both of these disabilities later in life.Lethal White, Double Merle White Aussie

Many non-reputable breeders will also call the double merle a "Rare White" Aussie because they are typically more white than they are colored on their bodies.  The non-reputable breeders will sell these babies for top dollar, never telling the unsuspecting new parents that their baby will be deaf or blind in less than a year, if it isn't already.

Because of these double merle carriers being sold, many people are lead to believe that all Aussies can become deaf or blind or that these disabilities run in the Australian Shepherd breed, simply stated, this is not true. 

Please visit the White Aussie Project or the Australian Shepherd Health and Genetics Institute (ASHGI) for an in depth look at the white Aussie problem, and to view other pictures of double merle Aussies.
White Aussie project Brochure (PDF-opens in new window).

NOTE: Some "White Aussies" won't even be mostly white. They will have a dominate body color, but will have to much white or white in the wrong places.

Pictures on this page came from: Great Northern Aussies and Aussie Lads

Rev. 15 January 18



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