Picture this: you visited a reputable breeder in your area and you are presented with an Australian Shepherd litter including black, red, and a mottled pup. If you are a pet newbie, you’ll probably be drawn to the one with random patches on its coat.
I don’t blame you. Aussies with merle patterns are remarkably stunning because of their unique color. I, for one, would probably choose them among solid-toned dogs.
What’s more, they also come with blue hairs that make them stand out among their cousins and other breeds.
If you think that the blue merle Australian Shepherd is the perfect pet for you, then you have stumbled upon the right article. I collated all the essential facts that you need to know about this pooch to help you coexist with them peacefully.
What Is a Blue Merle Australian Shepherd?
A blue merle Australian Shepherd is one of the four recognized varieties of the breed. They are sought after because they aren’t that common as compared to solid-coated Aussies. Their coat is a combination of white, black, gray, and blue hairs which creates an aesthetically pleasing effect.
If you are new to the doggie world, merle is a type of genetic pattern that is very common in Australian Shepherd, Welsh Corgi, American Bully, and others. They look really cool, especially because they combine a lot of great tones, including blue, which is a dilute of black.
Watch this video to have an idea of what do blue merle Australian Shepherds look like:
What Does the Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Look Like?
As explained in the former section, the blue merle Australian Shepherd coat is composed of light and dark tones.
The white coloration usually serves as the base coat, while the dark pigments or splotches are blue, black, and gray. They are called blue merles because among all the splotches seen on their skin, the blue is more dominant.
Below are some examples of this Aussie variety:
Several blue merle Australian Shepherds have copper-colored hairs on their coat. Here’s how they look like:
Another fact that is worth noting about the blue merle Aussies’ appearance is that they come in either blue or brown tones. In some cases, though, they have two different eye colors as a result of heterochromia.
Here are some examples of all of their eye colors:
Brown-eyed Blue Merle Australian Shepherd
Blue-eyed Blue Merle Australian Shepherd
Blue Merle Australian Shepherd with Heterochromia
Do Kennel Clubs Recognize Blue Merle Australian Shepherds?
Aside from the blue merle, here are the other colors recognized:
- Red Merle
The shades that are not mentioned here are either very uncommon or banned from breeding due to possible health complications.
Are Blue Merle Australian Shepherds Rare?
Blue Merle Aussies are considered unusual by many reputable breeders. However, this rare status is only used to compare them to the solid-coated varieties. You’ll still be able to see them more frequently than other breeds with merle coat patterns like Chow Chows.
If you are interested in taking home one of these uniquely colored furballs, expect that you will be paying more because of their dilute and mottled coat. I discussed their average price in one of the sections below, so just keep on reading.
Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Coat Color Genetics
Of course, you will be wondering how such a rare color was produced? The simplest explanation for this is that the color of Australian Shepherds is the outcome of two dominant hues due to the pigments eumelanin and pheomelanin.
These two colors can be black and red, but they can lead to different shades depending on genetic qualities and other factors.
The mottled patches on their coat are determined by the merle gene, which is tagged as incomplete dominant. To have that blue merle pattern you’ve seen on the samples I’ve shown you, there should only be one copy of the said gene.
If two dominant duplicates were present, then a double merle will be produced. This type of dog has various health complications, including deafness and blindness.
How Big Does a Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Get When Fully Grown?
If you are not into large types of dogs and you want something to just casually accompany you to chill walks or keep up with you in exercises, then a blue merle Aussie is the one for you!
They are categorized as medium-sized dogs standing from 18 to 23 inches tall for males and 18 to 21 inches for females. When it comes to their weight, the male Aussies are 50 to 65 pounds, and the female Aussies are 40 to 55 pounds.
There is also a blue merle mini Australian Shepherd. Yes, you read it right! Aside from the medium-sized ones, there are also miniatures. Blue merle mini Aussies are as lovable as the average ones, but they are more cutesy since they are relatively smaller.
The size of a male blue merle mini Aussie is between 14 to 18 inches, while the females are 13 to 17 inches. They may weigh around 20 to 40 pounds.
If you are going to compare them to the usual size of an Aussie, they are much smaller but not as tiny as the Pomeranian breed, which is around 6 to 7 inches.
Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Temperament: Are They Ideal Family Dogs?
Knowing your blue merle Aussie’s temperament is essential in establishing the bond between the two of you because you’ll learn how to adjust to their needs and identify which of their habits need reinforcements.
Generally, they do well with families so if you can do your part, you won’t have any problem.
Here’s a closer look at their disposition as a pet:
- Active and Energetic: Whether you own a blue merle Aussie or a blue merle mini Aussie, you will need to have a lot of strength to provide them with tons of physical activities because, as mentioned, they are really energetic. They enjoy running, working, exercising, everything you can think of. This breed is a perfect fit for a robust and outgoing individual who also enjoys and practices this type of activity.
- Hardworking: Aside from being active and energetic, they are also known to be hardworking. They love to do tricks or physical labor. They are advantageous to own if you live on a farm or a barn full of animals that needs tending.
- Intelligent: You will have no problem training them since they are brilliant. From potty training to practicing tricks, the results will surely be positive! However, since they are the smart dog types, they should always be mentally stimulated for them not to become bored and destructive.
- Loyal: Everybody knows that dogs are man’s best friend, and a blue merle Aussie is nothing short of that. They will do anything to delight their owners in their own adorable way.
- Herding Instinct: Since they are descendants of herding dogs, their instinct to look after or gather animals or humans are still in their blood. You might sometimes notice, if you have a kid or a small animal at home, they either follow them or stare at them intently. The meaning behind this action is to assert dominance and make them either behave or go back to their house. It is also a way of showing protection and loyalty, but you need to train them not to chase or nip children.
Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Lifespan and Health Issues
One thing that you should also look out for when having a pet is their health issues. Blue merle Aussies may be very captivating to look at, but they have their share of health conditions that you need to be aware of.
If you want them to live the whole 12 to 15 years expected of them, better give them the proper care by bringing them to the vet regularly.
Here are the major health issues that are common for this Australian Shepherd variety:
- Eye Diseases: An example of this is coloboma, an eye condition where the blue merle Aussie’s iris does not fully develop, or the eyes do not contract and dilate appropriately. Blue merles afflicted with this disease have to avoid direct contact from bright sunlight.
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition wherein the hip socket does not fully cover the ball portion of the upper thigh bone; thus, the hip joint will be partially or fully dislocated. Dogs will typically show pain or limping on either one or both rear legs.
- Drug Sensitivity: Drug sensitivity is prevalent in herding breeds like Australian Shepherds. This happens because of a mutation of the Multidrug Resistance Gene 1 (MDR1) that develops a protein. This protein’s job is to pump and eliminate toxic substances from the body to block the harmful effects of it. In this condition, MDR1 is not functioning well, which leads to toxicity.
- Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a disorder targeting the central nervous system that causes seizures, sensations, and uncommon behavior. Unfortunately, this condition cannot be cured but can be controlled by taking daily medication.
- Hypothyroidism: This occurs when the level of hormones released by the thyroid gland is beyond normal. Common symptoms are mental slowness, obesity, exhaustion, floppy eyelids, and unusual heat cycles. It also affects the dog’s coat because it becomes rough and stiff, while the skin will be dark and hard, causing the fur to fall out.
Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Price: Are They More Expensive Than Other Australian Shepherd Colors?
Since blue merle Aussies are not very common, it is not a surprise that their demand is also extremely high. As a result, you need to spend more of your hard-earned money just to bring one home.
The average pricing of a standard-colored Australian Shepherd from a trustworthy breeder is between $750 to $1,000. If it’s a blue merle Aussie puppy, the estimated cost is around $1,500 to $2,500.
There are also many factors that affect the price of this dog, such as gender, lineage, and breeder reputation.
Where Can You Find a Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Puppy for Sale?
Nobody wants to get scammed, right? So before I give you the breeders and shelters where you can get a blue merle Australian Shepherd pup, let me share some tips on how to find an established, reputable, and well-known breeder.
- The breeder should be a part of a local breed or a national all-breed club. This is one way of determining if the breeder is obeying and practicing the standard rules and regulations.
- The breeder should be complying with the code of ethics. Breeders that usually do this know how to grow a champion that is entered in competitions. You are not required to find a breeder who develops this type of dog, but you will be more assured that your blue merle Aussie came from the best.
- The breeder should be able to present you with the necessary documents. This includes pedigree papers, examinations, shots, and health results to attest that the blue merle pup is in perfect condition.
Here are the top breeder directories you can check out if you have the resources to buy a blue merle Australian Shepherd:
- AKC Marketplace – The American Kennel Club runs AKC Marketplace. They have postings of every single Aussie Shepherd breeder that is a member of the organization. If you check out their directory, you’ll see that they are even offering blue merle pups from champion bloodlines.
- ASCA – The Australian Shepherd Club of America can help you track reputable breeders at the listed ASCA affiliate clubs on their website. They can also update you about upcoming shows so you can directly talk and transact with their trusted breeders.
Should You Consider Adopting a Blue Merle Australian Shepherd?
Adopting a dog is always the better option. I speak not only for my experience but also for the thousands of people who are now happily living with their rehomed puppies.
If you think that adopting is also for you, do not hesitate to check out animal shelters near your area.
Bear in mind that not all the time there will be an available pup or dog of your choice, so it’s better to contact them and have your name listed if ever there will be an available pup.
Here are some other shelters and websites you can visit:
- Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline (ARPH) – ARPH is committed to rescuing and providing a safe and loving home for Aussies. They started this goal in 1992, and since then, the network has grown. They were able to rescue hundreds of Aussies each year through the help of volunteers.
- Adopt-a-Pet – This is considered North America’s largest non-profit adoption website. They helped over 21,000 animal shelters, pet rescue groups, and adoption agencies over the years. And recently, they provided help to people and animals during hurricanes Irma and Harvey.
- Petfinder – This directory is being used by around 11,000 animal shelters and adoption organizations mainly across the US, Canada, and Mexico. What is good about them is that they provide you with the necessary information about the breed you’re interested in and some useful dog care tips.
- Rescue Me – Rescue Me is an animal rehabilitation center founded by Jeff Gold. This site has a directory of wildlife rehabilitators of over 150 countries, so you’ll never run out of options in case blue merles aren’t available.
Blue merle Aussies are outgoing, hardworking, and loyal pets, aside from having an intriguing appearance. They may not be as common as the solid red or black Australian Shepherds, but they have the same temperament and overall disposition.
If you have already decided to buy one, make sure that you did a thorough background check about the breeder to avoid any sort of problems. Do not patronize puppy mills or backyard breeders because that’s a total waste of money.
You’d be spending more on veterinary check-ups instead of their care and maintenance if you opted to take the risk from these pseudo pet sellers.