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Blue Merle Australian Shepherd: All You Need To Know

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd: All You Need To Know

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The Australian shepherd dog is one of those breeds that come in various interesting coat colors and combinations of colors. The Australian shepherd colors and variations you can get are merle, red, red merle, red tricolor, black, black tricolor, and blue merle.

Out of all the colors, the blue merle Australian shepherd is the most unique. Their coat color catches your eye immediately.

But not everything is about looks, isn’t it? These dogs are just as intelligent as they are beautiful. Matter of fact, they are one of the most intelligent breeds in the world. People tend to confuse Australian shepherds with Border collies since they are similar in looks and share the same intelligence.

If you want to learn about this breed in a bit more detai, this is the article for you.

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Puppies: What To Consider

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd puppies lying on the grass

As for any dog, you need to consider the potential cost your puppy is bringing along with it. First is the price of the Australian shepherd puppy which we will discuss a bit later. Second, are all the things that your puppy will need to live comfortably in your home. Some of those things are toys, a bed, treats, a leash, and grooming accessories.

One of the costs at the beginning is the vet bill. Vaccinations, dewormers, and spaying or neutering are some of the things you need to be prepared to pay for.

When the puppy stage is over, and your dog is settled and become used to its environment, the costs are truly minimal. Dog food, treats and maybe an occasional toy are going to be your only monthly costs. You may also need to purchase shampoo and flea repellants.

One of the important things to consider is their energetic side. Australian Shepherds are a very active breed and need their daily exercise. For the potential owners that would like to have a lounge on the couch with their dog and lots of relaxing cuddle time, a Blue Merle Australian Shepherd might not be the best dog for you.

Unfortunately, one thing we need to mention is that because these dogs have such wonderful and interesting coat colors, people tend to get them just because they are pleasant to the eye.

Please consider all the other aspects of this hardworking, active, and loving dog, because nobody would want a dog to end up in a shelter just because their temperament was overshadowed by the pigment of the coat.

Where Did The Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Originate From?

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd posing with tongue out

By reading their name you would assume that the Australian Shepherd dog comes from Australia, right? Well, that is not true. This breed was entirely developed in the United States, to be more precise, the western United States –Colorado, California, and Idaho.

They were bred to be medium-sized herding dogs since there were large flocks of sheep in the places they originated from.

The California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s was considered to be the time the dogs they descended from were the most popular. A lot of miners were coming to the state, so the need for food increased. Mutton was the main food source, and sheep wool was needed in high demand. So with that, sheep farmers needed a lot more herding dogs that could help them.

Now they’re part of the American Kennel Club (AKC) herding group, along with other dog breeds like German Shepherds, Border Collies and Shelties.

Blue Merle Aussies are recognized by the AKC, the United Kennel Club, and the United States Australian Shepherd Association. Other recognized colors include black, red, and red merle.

Temperament Of A Blue Merle Aussie: Family Dog Or Not?

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd dogs standing outdoor

Is there a behavioral difference between blue merle and red merle Aussies?

When it comes to the color of the coat and dog temperament there are no scientific studies that can prove that certain coat pigment brings certain temperaments.

What we know for sure is that the biggest influence they can have is you and your training. With the right socialization, obedience training, and exercising your Aussie dog will be grateful, well-behaved, and happy.

Because of their loving and caring nature, Australian Shepherds make an amazing addition to your family. We will detail some of the best qualities an Aussie can have.

1. Intelligent

As we mentioned earlier, Australian shepherd dogs are one of the most intelligent breeds in the world.

From a young age, they show incredible memory abilities. Potty training with a blue merle Australian Shepherd puppy is a piece of cake. As they grow older, their intelligence seems to increase. Learning new tricks with these dogs isn’t a hassle but is rathera fun activity for both you and your dog.

Keep in mind, those intelligent brains need to be stimulated. Always give them some tasks that they can do for you or otherwise they become bored, destructive and even depressed.

2. Hardworking

An intelligent and hardworking dog is an amazing combination. Learning new tricks isn’t a problem for them, as we already said, but doing them daily is also a big virtue these working dogs possess.

They love physical labor and showing off all the tricks they’ve learned. The ideal place for these dogs might just be a farm where they have all the freedom in the world to fulfil their daily tasks.

3. Energetic

Whether you own a blue merle Aussie or any other color Aussie, you had better be ready for a lot of physical activity because you are dealing with very active dogs. They enjoy running, exercising, working, or doing any type of dog sport you can imagine.

Because of this characteristic, the blue merle Australian shepherd is an amazing fit for people that are outgoing and enjoy participating in various outdoor activities.

4. Herding Instinct

These dogs are descendants of herding dogs and that characteristic still rns in their genes.

If you have children at home, or another dog or any other animal, you may notice that your Aussie sometimes stares at them or follows them all the time through the house. This is one of the ways a blue merle Australian shepherd, or any other Australian shepherd dog, shows dominance.

That behavior is the herding dog instinct in them. Ifyou have kids, this can be the perfect behavioral aspect. Why, you may ask? Well, with the proper training, the dominance part can be turned into love, protection, and loyalty to their little human.

By teaching them that, you cover the part of their personality that loves learning new stuff, having a daily task that their hardworking and intelligent brain needs, and of course the herder in them.

It is a win-win situation for both you and your dog. Your dog has a purpose and your child has a protector and companion.

5. Loyal

Dogs are considered to be a man’s best friend, and the blue merle Australian shepherd is no exception. If you provide them with plenty of love and care, your Aussie will return the favor by doing anything for you.

We can say that their loyalty level is the same as their energy level, which we know is pretty high.

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Health

Blue merle Australian shepherd dog in the forest at sunset

Unfortunately, as with every other dog, the blue merle Australian shepherd also has some health problems that are characteristic of their breed.

They are, all in all, a healthy breed and have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, but they can develop some genetic health problems, of which epilepsy and eye diseases are the most common.

A smart idea before buying your blue merle Australian shepherd is to find a reputable breeder that tests their puppy’s parents for genetic diseases and can give you clearances from both mom and dad of your puppy.

You should visit the vet regularly for check ups.

Here are some of the most common health issues these dogs experience.

Health Issues Connected To Australian Shepherds

1. Epilepsy

This disorder is the most common one for blue merle Australian shepherds. It targets the nervous system and causes the dog to have seizures. Some other uncommon behaviors can occur.

Unfortunately, this condition doesn’t have a cure, but with the right medication, it can be controlled.

2. Eye Disease

Some eye problems are genetically transferred while others can be cured and prevented.

Cataracts are the most common eye problem that affects blue merle Australian shepherd dogs. It is usually connected with the merle gene that provides shepherds with blue eyes and merle coats. This condition usually occurs with older dogs but with this breed, it can show up just after 2 or 5 years of their life.

The tissue of the lens deteriorates, first in small areas but eventually the entire lens gets clouded. Cataracts don’t cause any pain, and they progress slowly so your dog will be able to get used to losing their sight. If it occurs in a younger dog, an operation can solve the problem.

Coloboma is also fairly common in this breed. This is where the optic disc is misshapen or has a hole in it. If it’s large, the dog’s eye may not adapt to changes in light. There is no treatment for this.

3. Deafness

It is possible for a purebred Aussie to have ear problems. The most common cause of deafness is a lack of melanocytes in the inner ear.

These cells help translate air vibrations caused by sound into electrical impulses that travel to the brain. If there are no cells, the dog will become deaf. This form of deafness is usually present from birth.

4. Drug Sensitivity

A mutation of the Multidrug resistance gene 1 (MDR1) that develops a protein is the cause of drug sensitivity. This protein pumps and eliminates toxic substances and stops their harmful effects.

When mutated, MDR1 doesn’t work as it should and that is the reason that leads to toxicity.

5. Hip Dysplasia

This condition is usually inherited. It can cause your Aussie pain and because of that, it starts limping on either one or two legs. The hip socket does not fully cover the ball portion of the upper thigh bone and because of that, the hip joint will be partially or even fully dislocated.

6. Hypothyroidism

If your dog is becoming obese, lacks energy, or even starts to show mental slowness, you might be dealing with hypothyroidism.

In this condition, the body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. Other symptoms that can occur are dry skin, fearfulness, aggression, hair loss, and cold intolerance.

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Genetics

australian shepherd in a flower garden

To become a merle dog you need to have a merle gene. A merle gene is a gene that is referred to as “incomplete dominant.”

For the blue merles, only one copy of this gene is necessary; two dominants cause severe problems to the dog.

Double Merle

They can also be called lethal white or homozygous merles. This is what happens when you have two dominant copies of the merle gene.

These dogs are white and have sight and hearing problems. Most of them are born deaf or blind, but some develop it through time.

Unfortunately, they don’t fit the breed standard, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have the characteristics of the standard Aussie.

These beautiful dogs might be a little different and come with some baggage, but will love you unconditionally and do everything you ask of them.

The Size of Blue Merle Australian Shepherd: How Big Do They Get?

The blue merle Australian shepherd is considered to be a medium-sized dog, and there are distinct size differences between male and female Australian shepherds.

Males can grow anywhere from 18 to 23 inches (45.5-58.4 cm) in height and weigh about 50 to 65 pounds (22.6-29.5 kg).

Females are a bit smaller and can grow anywhere from 18 to 21 inches (45.5-53.3 cm) in height and weigh about 40 to 55 pounds (18.1-24.9 kg)

Besides a medium-sized Aussie, there are mini blue merle Australian shepherds. The size of a male blue merle mini Aussie is between 14 to 18 inches (35.5-45.5 cm), while the females are 13 to 17 inches (33-43.2 cm) high. They may weigh around 20 to 40 pounds (9-18.1 kg).

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd Grooming

Cute Australian shepherd little blue merle puppy in autumn park

Blue merle Australian shepherds have a double coat offur! It is extremely dense and thick and requires a lot of work to keep it groomed.

These dogs do shed a lot, especially when the shedding season comes. This is one of the reasons that people who have allergies have a hard time being around an Aussie.

One of the most common and, we can say, dangerous mistakes that an owner can make with their blue merle Australian shepherd is to shave them. These dogs possess an undercoat that protects them from heat and cold when needed. Shaving can cause skin burns and heat stroke during the summer, and hypothermia and some skin injuries during the winter and on colder days.

You can trim the hair around their paws, ears, buttocks, and belly so they look more presentable. Owning a slick brush and an undercoat brush might come in handy since they need to be brushed regularly to prevent matting.

The dog’s also need to be trimmed from time to time so they don’t get too long and cause your dog pain. And be careful when doing this becauseyes, they are obedient dogs and love to listen to their owners, but they are also high energy dogs so you should probably speed up the nail clipping as much as possible.

Are Blue Merles Pricier Than Other Colors?

Adorable Blue merle Australian shepherd dog posing in the park

The blue merle Australian shepherd is rare compared to other different colors of Aussies, and demand for them is really high. Those two components make the blue merle pricier than other Australian shepherds.

Australian shepherds can cost anywhere between $750 to $1,000. However, if you are interested in a blue merle, you need to be ready to open your wallet a bit more.

They can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $2,500.

You can also consider adopting an Aussie because someend up at the shelter as well. And don’t worry, rescue dogs are the same as the ones you buy.

Colors Of Blue Merle Australian Shepherd

Within the blue merle category, there are other subcategories.

Variations Of Blue Merle Australian Shepherds Coat

1. Blue Merle Tri Aussie

This is the most common color combination of all of them. The base color is blue merle (black patches on a gray coat). They have highlights of blue and tan/copper color.

2. Solid Blue Merle

This is the most popular coat type. The blue merle pattern repeats through the whole body, giving them almost an icy look.

3. Blue Merle And Tan

This combination is pretty rare. The only difference between blue merle tri Aussie and tan blue merle is the color difference between the white markings and the gray fur which isn’t always obvious.

4. Blue Merle And White

This is the second most popular version of the blue merle coat. They don’t have the tan and copper markings but only white markings combined with blue merle.

Eyes Of The Blue Merle Australian Shepherd

1. Blue Eyes

Blue-colored eyes are definitely the most beautiful combination with this dog’s coat. You can feel almost like they are staring into your soul.

2. Brown Eyes

Brown eyes might not be showstoppers like the blue ones but are just as beautiful.

3. Eyes With Heterochromia

This is an unusual condition where the eyes are not the same color. One eye can be blue and another brown. It is a fascinating combination.

To Sum It Up

The blue merle Australian shepherd is undeniably one of the most beautiful and best dogs you could own. Remember, the coat might be the showstopper, but the personality is what makes you fall in love with this beautiful breed.

READ NEXT: Top 10 Reputable Australian Shepherd Breeders In Ontario

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