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Red Merle Australian Shepherd – All About Their Nature

Red Merle Australian Shepherd – All About Their Nature

Australian Shepherds are one of the most amusing and faithful dog breeds you can welcome into your home. Their amazing nature lies in how unusual their coat shades and eye color can be.

Most Australian Shepherd dogs own a blue and black solid coat, and in some cases, they can have a red merle shading instead. The red merle Australian Shepherd’s unique red coat is a result of different groups of genes.

Another thing that stands them out from the pack is their beautiful bright blue eyes, which can sometimes also be different colors (one blue and the other green). That condition is called heterochromia, but more on that later.

Besides their looks, these pups are famous for their skills in dog sports such as trick competitions, flyball, diving, and herding.

If you are a person who wishes to have a pet that is unusual by all means and has the biggest heart, then the ideal dog for you is definitely the red merle Australian Shepherd.

This article will provide you with everything you need to know about these dogs and a full perspective on what it looks like to own one.

So let’s get to the point!

The History Of The Red Merle Australian Shepherd

Red Merle Australian Shepherd sits in the grass and looks at the camera

Australian Shepherds got their name from local cowboys in California. They were known as working dogs that were respected for their capacity to work on ranches as good herding dogs. Then cowboys assumed that these dogs had to be from Australia.

Originally they came from Australia with their European owners who were immigrants at that time, and when they decided to move to the United States they brought their dogs with them. From that moment forward they started gaining in popularity in the U.S.

Their popularity started to grow even more after World War II when they were being linked to Western society. Furthermore, along with Border Collies, they were part of nearly every Western TV show and movie, even rodeos and horse shows.

Disney also didn’t miss their charm, so we have to mention the famous movie Run Appaloosa Run and Stub: The Greatest Cowdog in the West.

Read More: 5 Best Hanging Tree Dog Breeders In The USA

Along with their charm and intellect, for Native Americans, some of the red merle Australian Shepherds were special and holy because of their unforgettable eye coloring, which native tribes named “ghost eyes”.

Red Merle Australian Shepherd Appearance

a beautiful Austrian shepherd looks into the distance

You can find Australian Shepherds in many sizes, but the most popular are standard size and small miniature size, you can also find two distinct Australian Shepherd colors – the Blue Merle Australian Shepherd and the Red Merle Australian Shepherd.

If they are supposed to be the miniature size, they will generally grow in a range from fourteen and eighteen inches at the shoulder (or thirty-six to forty-six centimeters).

The normal or standard size is in a range from eighteen to twenty-three inches at the shoulder (or forty-six to fifty-eight centimeters).

As far as their weight goes, Australian Shepherd females are smaller and more lightweight than males.

Females weigh around twenty to thirty pounds (or ten to fourteen kilograms), while males weigh around thirty-five and seventy pounds (or around sixteen and thirty-two kilograms).

Now, when we covered their size and weight, let’s move on to that beautiful red merle coat that they own with grace.

The red merle Australian Shepherd is a very handsome and cute pup with its extraordinary coat pattern, so no wonder they are one of the favorite dog breeds in the world.

Their cinnamon red pattern is less frequent than the blue merle, and that even more makes them not ordinary at all.

RELATED: Australian Shepherd Growth Chart – How Big Do They Get?

Do Red Merle Aussies Have Blue Eyes?

The United States Australian Shepherd Association claims that amber-colored eyes, among brown eyes and solid blue eyes, are the most frequent in red merle Aussies.

Generally, they have solid-colored eyes, but also can be born with totally different colors or marbled colored patterns individually in each eye.

As I said before, that condition is called heterochromia (a genetic condition that causes one eye to be a different color than the other one).

The Role Of Genes In Their Unique Coat

You will be shocked by this, but in this whole wide world, you will never find two red merle Australian Shepherds that look alike because every single pattern is different in every pup. And what makes their special coat unique? It’s their color genes!

All red merle Australian Aussies inherit their coat colors from their mother and father, but the question is would it be a solid color or a merle pattern.

For achieving the goal of making red merle Australian Shepherd puppies, both mom and dad must have the red coat gene. This means that they don’t have to be red-coated, they just have to carry the gene.

Professional breeders never breed one red merle dog to another because the resulting puppies could have less pigment which makes them prone to poor hearing, poor eyesight, and other problems.

Often people get confused with their red color coats, as they expect them to be more radiant red, but the reality is the total opposite. Red refers to every shade from almost chocolate brown to a light chestnut brown.

Red is also considered a recessive gene, so it is uncommon and more irregular than the other pups.

Coat Patterns

These dogs get two kinds of coat patterns from their parents, the first one is solid, and the second one is merle.

The first one, as the name itself suggests, forms a dog with solid patches of one, two, or even three colors. The second one, which is the merle gene, forms color patches combined with solid patches. Both of them can also affect the skin and eye pigment.

Australian Shepherds’ coats can have solid color (having one color on their coat), bicolor (having two patterns or colors on their coat), and tricolors (having three patterns or colors on their coat).

In general, you will more frequently bump into the red merle Australian Shepherds that are tricolored with merle coloring, white markings, and solid black, brown, and red spots.

Most Australian Shepherd dogs are red tri-colored, but in very rare cases, some Australian Aussies are solid red. If you want to buy a solid red Aussie puppy, you have to know that they are rare but not impossible to find!

Every Australian Shepherd breed has a double coat. Their outer thicker coat protects them from the sun, snow, and rain, which means their coats are weather-resistant.

Their undercoat layer (also called the base coat) enables them to control their body temperature.

Red Merle Australian Shepherd Personality

a woman is playing on the grass with an Austrian shepherd

Although everybody is impressed by the appearance of these beautiful dogs, that isn’t the only thing that they can offer. Red merle Australian Shepherds are highly-energetic, intelligent, loyal, and active dogs.

Their favorite thing is spending time with their pack, when I say their pack I mean you! They can be a little bit clingy but you can’t blame them for having a big heart.

Many people that own the Aussie always portray them as hard-working, and sociable. In addition to that, it’s very important to start the process of socialization in the early days.

You have to make sure to take your dog with you as much as you can. It will be good for it to meet as many different people and to get used to them.

The ideal socialization period lasts from six to around fourteen weeks old, and it’s crucial for your dog’s behavior around the people, in the future.

But you have to keep in mind that they will probably always be reserved and alert around people that are strangers to them, just until they get to know them better and accept them in their pack.

The bad side of their loyal nature is that you can’t leave them alone often, because they might develop separation anxiety.

During this, they will convert into little troublemakers, probably chewing something that is yours, because they miss you so much that they need to rebel. At the end of the day, you can’t be mad at that adorable face.

We suggest training your Aussies to keep calm and peaceful while they stay home alone. You can do that by awarding them with a threat as soon as you come home.

What Are Common Health Issues In Red Merle Australian Shepherds?

a woman holds in her arms an Austrian shepherd

The right dog food, daily exercises or high-energy walks, and periodic check-ups with the vet are most definitely going to maintain your red merle Australian Shepherd’s life longer, happier, and healthier.

Neglecting your dog and his needs can cause health problems. And often one regular check-up with your vet can spare you and your dog a lot of trouble.

It’s important to know what these possible health issues might be in order to catch them early.

The most common health concerns for Australian Shepherds are:

  • Multiple Drug Sensitivity (MDS): This health condition is a rare occurrence among dogs in general, but unfortunately, Australian Shepherds are predisposed to it.
    Multiple Drug Sensitivity means that dogs that have it are overly sensitive to common medications such as Imodium A-D, Ivermectin, and certain anesthetics prescribed by vets.
  • Epilepsy: Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in most dogs, and Australian Shepherds are no exception. Epilepsy is marked by sudden and recurrent seizures that might damage the dog’s brain over time.
  • Coloboma: This is just one of several different eye diseases that Australian Shepherds are generally predisposed to. Coloboma is a disease when a part of a dog’s iris doesn’t develop correctly, which results in light sensitivity.
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Dysplasia refers to a common hereditary disease where a dog’s joints don’t develop properly, which leads to pain and discomfort after long periods of exercise. If left untreated, hip and elbow dysplasia might lead to dog arthritis.

Double Merle Health Issues

Because breeding two merle dogs usually results in puppies that might develop health problems, most breeders avoid this.

Here are some of the most common health problems that double merle dogs suffer from:

  • Eye Defects: Double merle dogs might suffer from abnormal eye development, partial blindness, and other eye defects such as cataracts.
  • Deafness: If a double merle puppy is born with a totally white head, this might be a sign that the puppy was born deaf.

The Lifespan Of An Australian Shepherd

The average life expectancy for the average Australian Shepherd dog is between thirteen and fifteen years of age.

Of course, if you take good care of your Australian Shepherd dog’s health and take it to the vet on a regular basis, you can help extend your dog’s life.

That being said, if you make sure to keep your dog exercised, happy, and healthy it will surely live a long life by your side.

How To Take Care Of Your Red Merle Australian Shepherd

an Austrian shepherd lies on a couch and eats a bone

Because we all want the best possible life for our dogs, we want to definitely know the basics of their daily routines.

Here are some tips on how to help you keep your red merle Australian Shepherd dog in good shape:

Grooming and Shedding

Remember that beautiful, silky double coat that we already talked about? Well, you need to help your dog to stay healthy and clean because they can’t do it on their own.

You don’t need to brush them every day, but you need to comb their hair at least once or twice a week (while you’re doing that, you can also brush your dog’s teeth).

Regular brushing of your dog’s coat helps you to control the shedding because Australian Shepherds shed a lot. They shed a little all year, but they shed a lot twice a year in the fall and spring.

When you brush them regularly, you save yourself the trouble of cleaning a lot of hair around your house because the hair stays on the brush.

Also, you should cut their nails every few weeks because it’s important to keep them short.

One more thing that you have to do is bathe your dog every six to eight weeks with a doggy shampoo. It’s also a good thing to use a conditioner to prevent twitching and to help you keep the dog’s coat looking shiny and beautiful.


Red merle Australian Shepherds are not so different from other dogs just because of their red color coat. They also like to eat, a lot.

It’s very important to also give your doggy the best dog food so that it can have the energy it needs. Aussies need around four cups of good dog food every day.

The best food to give your Australian Shepherd dog is meat and a lot of protein. Your doggy is healthy if you can just see its waist and ribs and feel them with your hand.

Make sure that you don’t overfeed your Australian Shepherd because it can become overweight.


Because they are herding dogs in nature, Australian Shepherd dogs need you to give them a lot of exercises every day.

They are very energetic and active and you have to keep them busy with some activity so that they stay healthy and happy.

You should take your doggy out for a walk two times daily so that it stays fit. If you can’t walk your dog that much every day, maybe the red merle Australian Shepherd dog is not for you.

Thinking Of Buying A Red Merle Australian Shepherd Puppy?

If you don’t have a red merle Australian Shepherd dog and you want to buy a new puppy, you need to know the price of buying one in the United States.

How much they cost is going to depend on the dog itself and the quality of the breeder you buy from.

The average Australian Shepherd puppy cost between $600 and $3000, yet you have to be prepared to spend more money for a red merle Australian Shepherd. Usually, they are very hard to find so it is understandable that the price moves up.

It won’t hurt to mention that the Australian Shepherd is acknowledged by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kingdom Kennel Club, The Australian Shepherd Club, and the Federation Cynologique Internationale as a pure breed that has its own breed standard.

In Conclusion

We covered all the facts that you need to know about the red merle Australian Shepherd.

They are the best companions that you can possibly wish for, always by your side, ready to play and cuddle. They are considered to be loyal, friendly, and always alert when it comes to strangers.

If you want to have a dog that everybody will adore and admire, that will cuddle and protect you at all times, then red merle Australian Shepherd is then the perfect choice for you.

Maybe they’re hard to find, but it is worth it!