Mini Aussie ColorsJuly 9, 2021 2021-07-14 5:40
Miniature Australian Shepherds are active, playful, sociable, and intelligent dogs. They come in a beautiful array of colors, and some are more unique than others. The color of an Aussie’s coat can affect their cost and even their health.
Let’s take a look at the different Mini Aussie colors and everything you need to know about them, including genetic info, popular myths, and basic care.
Table of Contents
#1 Blue Merle
Blue merle Aussies have striking mottled coats with silver-colored speckles, as well as patches of dark grey, black, and white. Blue merle dogs often have blue eyes or different colored eyes, pink noses, and pink paw pads. These are the most common coats among Australian Shepherds and merle Aussies are often seen in dog shows because of their mesmerizing beauty. Common markings include facial blazes and white patches on the neck, chest, stomach, legs, feet, and tail tips.
Merle is defined as a genetic pattern that affects the pigments in a dog’s skin, coat, and eyes. The merle gene is dominant, meaning that it is stronger and more likely to be passed on to a dog’s offspring than non-merle genes. Whilst it occurs in many dog breeds, it is seen in Australian Shepherds more than any other type of dog.
#2 Red Merle
Red merle Aussies have similar speckled coats to blue merles, but their coloring is golden-red, with patches of dark brown and white. Like blue merles, they often have blue eyes or different colored eyes and similar markings, but they have red noses and paw pads.
Red merles are far less common than blue merles because the red-colored gene is recessive in dogs, meaning both parents have to have it for their offspring to inherit the coat. Red is the rarest color in Aussies generally, although the red merle coat is one of the more common red-colored coats in the breed.
All-black Aussies have rich black fur all over their faces and bodies, along with black noses, mouths, claws, and paw pads. These are the second rarest coats among Mini Aussies, and the dogs usually have brown eyes.
Statistically, black dogs get hit by cars 140% as often as light dogs. It is crucial to ensure good visibility of an all-black Mini Aussie, ideally by having him wear an LED collar on nighttime walks.
All-red Mini Aussies are the rarest of them all. Their coats have vibrant red fur all over, with red snouts, and red paws. They tend to have striking amber or blue-colored eyes.
#5 Black Bi-colored
Black bi-colored Aussies are classed as black Aussies with white markings in their coats. They are one of the more common coats among Mini Aussies.
Black Aussies with white markings often have similar markings to merle Aussies; blazes upon the face and white patches on “ends” of the body such as the tip of the tail and the feet, as well as on the legs, stomach, chest, and neck.
#6 Red Bi-colored
Red bi-colored Aussies are red Aussies with white markings. They have the same sort of markings as merle and black bi-colored and tri-colored Aussies. They’re more common than all-red Aussies but not as common as black bi-colored Aussies.
#7 Black Tri-colored
Black tri-colored Aussies are like black and white Aussies, but with extra tan markings. The tan markings often include defined eyebrows, patches around the cheeks, roughs, and on the legs.
These coats are one of the most common coats in Mini Aussies. The defined eyebrows add a fun, expressive element to the dogs’ faces and are very cute!
In some breeds such as Border Collies, tan points are a less common pattern. In others (such as Mini Aussies) they are seen in the majority of dogs. This also applies to e.g. the different coat colors of the Doberman.
#8 Red Tri-colored
Red tri-colored Aussies are red and white Aussies with tan markings. Again, the markings tend to define the eyebrows, the sides of the face, and the legs. Like red bi-colored Aussies, they are a lot less common than black bi and tri-colored Aussies, but not as rare as all-red Aussies.
#9 Blue Merle Tri-colored
A very common coat, Tri-colored blue merles have the beautiful silver speckled coat of a regular blue merle, but with extra tan markings. Like the other tri-colored coats, these markings tend to define the eyebrows, cheeks, roughs, and legs, but they can also have other placements because of the randomized nature of the merle coat.
#10 Red Merle Tri-colored
Similar to blue merle tri-colored coats, red merle tri’s have the mesmerizing coats of red merles, with extra tan markings. Like all of the other red-coated Aussies, these dogs are not as common as their black-coated counterparts but are beautiful all the same.
Double-merle Mini Aussies
If you’ve ever seen an all-white Aussie, chances are, they had double-merle genes. Although dogs with merle coats are considered desirable, budding owners should beware of the double-merle. This is when dogs inherit merle genes twice, in other words, from both of their parents. This causes the merle effect in their pigment to double, which can be very hazardous for their health.
Sometimes referred to as “lethal white”, dogs carrying double-merle genes lack almost any pigment in their coats, skin, eyes, and ears. It can result in severe problems with their sight and hearing and is more common in Australian Shepherds than in any other breed of dog.
Dogs can inherit the merle gene from having only one merle parent, and this is the responsible way of breeding merles. However, the gene being dominant and resulting in merle-coated offspring is not a guarantee when there is only one merle parent.
To have a higher chance of breeding merles, some breeders will breed two dogs that carry the gene together. However, dogs bred from two parents carrying the gene run a 25% chance of inheriting them twice. Not every dog with the genes will have a problem, but the vast majority go deaf or blind, or both.
Buyers of merle pups should always enquire about the lineage of their dog, and breeding double-merle dogs should be avoided at all costs. Although the loss of sight and hearing doesn’t tend to be painful, it can still be very frightening and sometimes makes dogs insecure and aggressive. It also increases the risk of accidents and injuries.
That said, bling dogs, deaf dogs, and deafblind dogs can live long and happy lives. Aussies are also super-intelligent and do well learning with alternative training methods. So don’t let sensory impairments put you off from adopting a rescue double-merle!
Caring for a double-merle Mini Aussie
Signs that an Aussie is losing their sight and/or hearing include increased clumsiness, anxiety around nighttime and darkness, and not reacting to words and sounds. Sensory impairments are easily diagnosed with veterinary examinations, and owners can adapt by accident-proofing their homes and teaching their dogs new methods of communication.
Dogs are very good at mapping out locations in their mind, so being blind isn’t too much of an issue at home. If they can hear, they’ll also be able to use the sounds of the home to navigate their way around. Deafblind dogs are good at learning their way around the home using texture, so it’s a good idea to invest in a few different rugs for different rooms.
Extra care should be taken with furniture with corners, trip hazards, and staircases. If you move home, get new furniture, move things around, or go on vacation, you’ll need to make blind and deafblind dogs aware of their surroundings by walking them around the area on a lead first. The same principle applies to outdoor locations.
The main safety issues for dogs with sensory impairments are in the outside world. For example, getting lost and crossing roads. To avoid this, stick to familiar locations on walks and keep your dog on the lead until they are familiar with new locations.
Unfriendly dogs are also a concern, especially for deaf dogs that cannot hear you trying to call them away. Consider investing in an alternative method of communication, such as a vibrating collar. Vibrating collars activate at the touch of a button or via an app on your phone and you can train your dog to come to you or stop and sit down when they feel it vibrate.
You can also teach deaf dogs hand signals by making a signal, encouraging an action, such as tapping their hind to sit down and rewarding the behavior.
Blind dogs can learn using verbal commands like most dogs, but for dogs that are both deaf and blind, you can use touch signals. This follows the same principle as hand signals, only you tap certain parts of their body to indicate what you want them to do. For example, tap the hind for “sit”, the leg for “lie down”, or the shoulder for “stay”, and reward the correct behaviors with tactile praise and food. You can also teach deafblind dogs when an activity is coming through touch, for example, a tap on the nose before dinnertime, or two taps on the shoulder before going for a walk.
Mini Aussie coat basics
Most Mini Aussies usually have medium-length coats with fur that can be straight or wavy. There are some short-coated Mini Aussies that have shorter, flatter, less feathery fur, but they are less common than long-haired Aussies.
Their double coats consist of a dense undercoat and a coarser topcoat, although their fur is not generally rough to the touch. They have soft, feathery fur around their ears that frames their beautiful faces and large neck roughs. Their backs are often corser to touch, and they tend to have quite fluffy chests, feathery legs and back ends, and plumed tails.
How did Mini Aussies end up with their colors?
The Australian Shepherd, despite its name, is not actually from Australia. The breed was developed in California in the 19th century as a sheep herding dog for shepherds in the state.
They were created from a mix of different sheepdogs that were imported to California at the time, including Collie dogs from New Zealand and Australia, hence their name. They were bred to be the best shepherd dogs possible, and breeders were picking dogs to breed based on their working qualities, with no interest in their color. Some Australian Shepherd lines were bred to become smaller and smaller, which is how Mini Aussies turned out to be extra tiny Aussies – followed by the even smaller Toy Australian Shepherds.
The mix and match nature of their bloodline is most probably why they come in such an array of colors today. Their closest relative is thought to be the Border Collie, which would also explain their Collie-like coats and markings.
(Check out Australian Shepherds vs Border Collies for more fun facts about those two breeds!)
Mini Aussie color facts & myths
A Mini Aussie’s coat color is determined purely by genetics. It’s a popular misconception that grooming can influence the color, but it can’t. The only external factor that could slightly influence a dog’s coat is exposure to the sun. Even then, sunlight exposure should only make a minor difference and cause certain tones in the fur to pop ever so slightly more.
That said, an Aussie’s coat can change texture and color from puppyhood to adulthood. All young dogs have puppy coats that they grow out, as they grow into their permanent adult coat at around 6-8 months old. Aussies with darker colors in their coat may turn grey in old age.
It’s also a myth that an Aussie’s coat color can affect their temperament. A dog’s coat color does not affect their personality traits; as long as your Aussie is well cared for, they should be good-natured, fun-loving, loyal dogs. Keep in mind that Mini Aussies are high-energy working dogs – they require a lot of exercise and are no couch potatoes!
Which Mini Aussie colors are recognized by the AKC?
The American Kennel Club officially recognizes blue merle, red merle, black, and red coats as Australian Shepherd colors. Aussies with black or red coats with white and tan markings may be deemed acceptable depending on the size and location of the markings.
White markings that are in line with the AKC’s breed standard include those that are on the muzzle, the cheeks, the crown of the head, a blaze on the face, the neck, the chest, the belly, the front or back legs, up the hock, and on the tip of the tail.
Tan markings that are around the eyes, on the feet, legs, chest, muzzle, the underside of the neck, face, the underside of the ear, the underline of the body, under the base of the tail, and the breeches are also in line with the AKC’s breed standard.
State and local Aussie clubs sometimes have differing standards, and we think they are all beautiful!
Which Mini Aussie colors are the most common?
Blue merle and blue merle tri-colored coats are the most common coats in Mini Australian Shepherds. Black and white and black tri-colored coats are the second most common. They are popular for their beauty, recognizability, and the fact that both merle and black-colored coats are genetically dominant over red-colored coats in dogs.
Which Mini Aussie colors are the rarest?
Solid black and red coats are the least common coats among Aussie dogs, with solid red being the absolute rarest. The red-colored gene is recessive in dogs, meaning red fur must be present in both parents to make a red-colored pup. So, red merles and red combination coats such as red bi-colored and red tri-colored are also less common than black combination and blue merle coats, but not as rare as one-color Aussies.
Which Mini Aussie colors are the most expensive?
Typically, dogs with coat colors are that are less common are more expensive because they’re considered more unique. However, in Aussies, this isn’t necessarily true.
Aussies with blue and red merle coats tend to be more expensive than most of the other color variations. Although blue merles are the most common coats for Aussies, they’re also one of the most highly sought after. This is because they’re still fairly uncommon in dogs generally, they’re strikingly beautiful, and they’re unique in themselves in that no two merle coats are ever the same.
That said, red merle coats are just as striking, and much rarer than blue merle coats, so red merle pups can be on the expensive side of things, too. Either way, coat color shouldn’t matter that much. Whether you’re buying a merle, a bi-colored, or a tri-colored Aussie, as long as they are safe, healthy, happy, and a good match for you – that’s what matters!
How much is a merle Mini Aussie?
The average cost of a merle-coated Mini Aussie pup is currently between $800 – $1500 in the United States, although it can be more. The exact price tag will depend on the breeder and the dog’s lineage and color, as discussed above.
Across all breeds, merle dogs often cost a premium price.
Buying a Mini Aussie pup from a large, commercial breeder will typically be cheaper than buying a pup from a hobby or small-time breeder. However, a higher price tag often means better quality of care. In fact, the smaller the breeder is, the better quality of care they are usually able to give their dogs, so it’s worth the money.
The pup’s lineage can also affect the price. Those that are bred from working Aussies, show dogs, or competitors in dog sports, for example, will have a much higher price tag than those bred from companion Minis.
Rescue Aussies will cost the rescue shelter’s adoption fee. This can be anywhere from fifty dollars to a few hundred dollars. Their fee will depend on the size of the adoption center and whether they’re a generic or breed-specific shelter.
Are Mini Aussie coats hypoallergenic?
Hypoallergenic dogs are those that are considered to be more compatible with people who are allergic to the dander in dog fur. Although there are no truly hypoallergenic dogs, because all dog fur contains dander and all dogs shed, those that shed a minimal amount of fur are considered hypoallergenic and well-suited to people with allergies.
Australian Shepherds, however, are pretty heavy shedders! Even short-haired Aussies, who naturally shed less because they have less fur, are still average shedders and therefore not considered hypoallergenic.
So, if you are sensitive to dog fur, an Aussie may not be for you. But there are lots of brilliant breeds out there that are great for people with allergies! Consider a Poodle, a Labradoodle, a Miniature Schnauzer, or even an Afghan Hound!
Mini Aussie coat care
Whatever color your Mini Aussie’s coat is, it’s essential that you keep it healthy. Aussies are fairly low maintenance when it comes to grooming, as their coats tend to take care of themselves.
However, their coats need brushing at least once a week to keep them clean and tidy, as the feathery areas of their coat can get tangled and pick up debris easily. Aussies are also pretty heavy shedders, especially during the transitions from spring to summer and fall to winter.
During these periods, a little extra brushing is essential to remove loose fur and avoid build-up, discomfort, overheating, and hair all over your home. Good-quality bristle and slicker brushes work well on Aussie fur, and de-shedding tools are great for the shedding seasons. Even though their undercoat protects them from colder temperatures, Mini Aussies are no outside dogs are should never be kept outdoors 24/7!
Aussie coats don’t require regular baths and shouldn’t be bathed more than once a month. Their fur contains self-cleaning oils that can be stripped from the coat with too much bathing, which causes dry skin and irritation. That said, oil and dirt can also build up and cause other problems, so they should be bathed every once in a while or whenever they are dirty. Owners should use an all-natural, gentle dog shampoo, as the breed has sensitive skin.
They don’t usually require haircuts, but their feathery back ends may need the occasional trim to prevent matting and for toilet-related hygiene! A good pair of simple grooming scissors with straight blades should last a lifetime and are great for basic trims. All of their grooming needs can be done at home with a few good grooming supplies, so there’s no need to pay for a professional groomer – unless you want to!
The bottom line
At the end of the day, whatever kind of Aussie you choose to bring into your life – large, miniature, red, or blue – what they look like is not important! Owners should always choose their dogs based on their compatibility. Mini Aussies need lots of love, lots of exercise, and lots of fun. If that sounds like the right fit for you or your family – you will not regret it!
Laura is a dog-lover with an animal-related degree and plenty of hands on experience. She is passionate about dog health & welfare and wants to arm owners with all of the essential info they need!