Red Merle Tri Australian Shepherd: A Comprehensive Guide

The Red Merle tricolor Australian Shepherd is an Australian Shepherd coat color, that has an interesting color combination.

So, what does the Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd look like? And how different are they compared to other Australian Shepherds?

Read on to learn more about what makes a Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd, its appearance, temperament, health concerns, price, and where to get them.

A Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd has a three-colored coat which is a mottled coat with golden-red speckles with patches of dark brown, with white and tan markings. Other striking features include blue eyes or different colored eyes with both blue and brown eyes, a red nose, and red paw pads. 

Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd

What Does The Red Merle Tri Australian Shepherd Look Like?

The Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd also referred to as a Red tricolor Australian Shepherd looks like a typical Australian Shepherd except for its coat color.

The Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd’s coat is a double coat whose fur is moderately long straight or slightly wavy. The fur on the chest, legs, and tail is slightly longer than the fur on the rest of the body.

Their mesmerizing coat has three colors, which are red merle, white, and copper (tan).

The Red Merle is the base color which is a mottled coat with golden-red speckles with patches of dark brown of the coat. 

White and copper markings appear on the face, chest, stomach, and legs.

The white markings often occur on the blaze of the head, chest, muzzle, stomach, and legs while copper / tan markings often appear on the eyebrows, cheeks, and legs.

The coat color is the major physical difference between the Red Merle tri Aussie and other Australian Shepherds. Other physical characteristics are the breed’s standard features.

They are medium-sized, with a medium-sized head, muzzle, triangular ears, and a natural bobbed (short) tail or docked tail.

Another distinctive feature of the Red Merle tri Aussie is the red nose and red paw pads.

They also often have blue eyes, sometimes brown, or different colored eyes by having both blue and brown eyes.

Male Red Merle tri Aussies are 20 to 23 inches in height with a weight of 50 – 65 pounds while the females have a height of 18 to 21 inches and weigh 40 – 55 pounds.

Does the American Kennel Club recognize the Red Merle Tri Australian Shepherd?

The Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd is recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as one of the official Australian Shepherd colors.

Black, Red, Blue Merle, and Red Merle are the 4 recognized Australian Shepherd colors. 

In each group of these 4 coat colors, various variations and combinations of colors exist which make up the 14 recognized colors. 

This includes the tricolor Australian Shepherd which are three colored Australian Shepherds.

The 4 tricolor Australian Shepherd coat varieties include:

The tricolor Aussies have stunning coat colors which makes them very popular and very much sought after.

The Red Merle tricolor also appears in miniature Australian Shepherds as the Red Merle tricolor mini Australian Shepherd.

The Genetics Of The Red Merle Tri Australian Shepherd

The different dog coat colors and patterns are determined by the genes a puppy inherits from both its parents. 

A Red Merle tricolor Australian Shepherd has the Merle coat color pattern, which is created by the Merle gene.

A Merle Australian Shepherd has a mottled coat with silver-colored speckles with patches of black or dark gray, or speckled golden-red speckles with patches of dark brown.

A Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd puppy receives one copy of the dominant Merle gene, the recessive Red gene, and the dominant Agouti gene from its parents.

 The Merle gene causes expression of the Merle coat pattern, with speckled golden-red speckles with patches of dark brown due to the Red gene. This results in the Red Merle coat color, red nose, and red paw pads.

The Agouti gene causes the expression of copper (tan) markings on the coat, while white markings are caused to the genes located on the S (spotting) locus of the genome. 

The white areas on the coat are not due to pigment. They are due to the inhibition of skin pigment production in some areas of the coat by the genes at the S locus.

The Merle gene also influences the eye color of a Merle dog. The gene modifies the dark pigment in the eyes, changing them to blue.

The modification is random thus the eye color can be blue, brown, or two different colored eyes, that is, one brown eye and one blue eye. 

Are Red Merle Tri Australian Shepherds rare?

Red Merle tri Australian Shepherds are rare and less common than other tricolored Australian Shepherds. Red Merle tri-Aussies are also less common compared to Black bi and tri-colored Aussies, therefore it can be difficult to find one.

The production of a Red Merle tricolor Australian Shepherd puppy requires that a puppy receives the Merle gene, the recessive red gene, the dominant Agouti gene, and genes that result in white markings on the coat.

The red coat color is a result of a recessive gene which can only be expressed if both parents of a puppy each have the red alleles which pass on to the offspring.

Therefore a puppy must have two copies of the Red allele (e) to have a red coat color, in addition to the other genes required to produce a Red Merle tricolor Aussie.

Based on this genetic makeup, the production of a Red Merle tricolor Australian Shepherd puppy is only possible if this is met. 

This is why Red colored Aussies are less common, including the Red Merle tri Aussie.

However, through deliberate and specific breeding, professional breeders can produce the puppies.

Red Merle Tri Australian Shepherd’s Temperament

The Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd’s behavior is that of a typical Australian Shepherd. They are intelligent, good-natured, confident, energetic, loyal, and affectionate to their family. 

As intelligent dogs, they learn quickly therefore they are easy to train.

They love to play with children and get along with other pets in the family.

Although they are quite affectionate to their family members, they tend to be reserved and shy when they meet strangers or new people.

They are very energetic dogs that were bred as herding dogs to work on farms, therefore they thrive on activities that physically and mentally stimulate them.

If this is not provided, they can have destructive behavior around the home.

The personality of an individual dog is also developed by proper care, socialization, and training.

Socialization and training are especially important for a Red Merle tricolor Australian Shepherd to train them to be well-behaved and have the desired behaviors.

Red Merle Tri Australian Shepherd Health Concerns

The Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd is susceptible to certain health problems because of the Merle gene.

Research has linked the Merle gene to the development of certain health problems, specifically congenital deafness, hearing problems, eye deformities, sun sensitivity, and skin cancer. 

Double merle Aussies which are a result of merle-merle breeding are more susceptible to these health issues compared to single merle dogs like the Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd.

In addition to these health problems, the Red Merle tricolor Australian Shepherd is also prone to common health problems of the breed, which include: 

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Cataracts
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies

The Red Merle tri Australian Shepherds are prone to these ailments however, it does not mean that they are unhealthy dogs. 

They are healthy dogs with a rather long lifespan of 12 -16 years.

Being susceptible to a certain condition indicates the possibility of development of that particular condition but it does not automatically mean that the ailment occurs.  

With this knowledge, Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd breeders strive to produce puppies that are less likely to have many health problems. 

The breeder should inform you of the health status of their puppies so that you are aware of what to expect and the care that is required for your puppy.

Red Merle Tri Australian Shepherd Price

The Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd’s price is between $1000 to $2000. The availability of this tricolored Red merle Australian Shepherd can be scarce which also increases the prices if breeding is required to produce them to meet demand. 

The distinctive coat color of the Red Merle tri Aussie is less common because the red-colored gene is recessive and requires specific breeding to produce them. 

Generally, the harder it is to breed a specific dog coat color, the more expensive it is. Therefore availability may influence the price in some cases.

The price also depends on the age of the dogs, because Red Merle tri Aussie puppies are more expensive than older dogs.

Finding a Red Merle Tri Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd breeders, shelters, and rescue centers are places where you can find a Red Merle tri Australian Shepherds.

Australian Shepherd breeders produce the different colored Aussies and they are a reliable source.

Puppies from breeders are taken through the necessary health checks so new owners have the assurance of their health status.

Shelters and Australian Shepherd rescue groups may also have Red Merle tri Aussies that need rehoming. 

Availability of this tricolor Aussie may not be high in shelters and rescues because they are not common dogs, however, you may still find one. 

Resources to find a Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd include:

Summary: Red Merle Tri Australian Shepherd

The Red Merle tri Australian Shepherd is undoubtedly a very interesting and fascinating coat of the Australian Shepherd.

They are not a mixed breed as many confuse them to be but are like any other Aussie with similar characteristics and similar features, except the coat color.

It is important to remember that the Aussie dog breed is an active dog and they require a lot of regular exercise, early socialization, and training to be well adjusted and good-mannered.

Therefore if you can keep up with their care, the Red tri-color Aussie is a good selection. 

Canines and Pups
Canines and Pups

Finally, when considering purchasing a Red Merle tricolor Australian Shepherd always buy from a reputable breeder to receive a healthy puppy.

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