Australian Shepherds‘s colours only come from two genes pairs: red and black. From these, we obtain all the colour variations that enter the standard of the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale). There are therefore 16 possible colours of coats. Let's discover them in detail!
What do the FCI and AKC say?
According to the FCI, the coat of the Australian Shepherd must be “blue merle, black, red merle, red, all these colours with or without white spots, with or without tan markings (copper colour), all colours being equal.”
Also, the white collar must not extend beyond the withers and “is allowed on the neck (either partially or forming a full collar), chest, limbs, lower part of the muzzle, head, and may extend from the underside up to 10 cm (4 inches), measured from horizontal via the elbow.” Finally, “the white on the head should not dominate and the eyes should be completely surrounded by coloured areas”.
On the American Kennel Club side, the conditions are very similar.
Red Australian Shepherd
There are 4 variants of red Australian Shepherd, with or without white and with or without tan.
- The Australian Shepherd red tricolour
- The red bicolour white
- The red bicolour tan
- The plain red
Example of the Australian Shepherd red tricolour
Red merle Australian Shepherd
Now let's explore this second colour category: the red merle Australian Shepherd. The coat is generally a mixture of white and brown with irregular brown spots. There are 4 variations.
- The red merle tricolour or with tan and white
- The red merle white
- The red merle with tan
- The red merle without tan and white
Blue merle Australian Shepherd
Here, the coat is a mixture of black and white (what we call blue) and the dog also has some black spots. Depending on the variant, there will be white or tan areas. The 4 variants are the following:
- The blue merle Australian Shepherd tricolour (blue, white and tan)
- The blue merle with white
- The blue merle with tan
- The blue merle without tan or white
Black Australian Shepherd
In this last category of colours, black is the one that dominates. Depending on the variant, the coat will also be white or tan. Here are the 4 types of black Australian Shepherds:
- The black tricolour Australian Shepherd
- The black bicolour with white
- The black bicolour with tan
- The plain black
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