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Discussion Starter #1
Hi dogs lovers,

I am going to be bringing this cute little guy at home in a few days and while making researchs about aussies, I came accross an article explaining the health problems a red merle can have. I've read that white patches or a partially white fur could means the dog could have vision or hearing problems. I have only seen the puppy on photos but it doesn't seem like he gets a lot of white. Can I please have your thoughts? Thank you!

Here's photos of the puppy, on the second one with his brother and the last one is a photo of the parents, only one seems to be a merle.

20200526_205102.jpg 20200526_205128.jpg 123_1.jpg
 

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The health problems with the merle color come when you have a double merle - the dog inherited a merle gene from each parent. So if one parent was not merle, you're in the clear. If you look up "double merle" dogs, you can see from photos that they have a truly extreme amount of white, not like any of the pups in your photos.
 

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He's cute!

Like @DaySleepers said, the problems you have likely read about typically come from double merles. It's not just a little white that indicates a potential issue, like your pup has, but an excessively white Aussie.

My parents have a red merle Aussie and he's incredibly sweet, handsome, and healthy. They're fun dogs!
 

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Thank you @DaySleepers and @makenna for your answers. I feel relieved.

I know, he's such a cutie pie! :love:

I have another question, I can see white patches on the red bicolore mom or dad, do you know where it can come from? I got worried s/he could be a merle as well. Does it look like a red bicolore to you? The second puppy seem like a red tri I guess.
Thanks.
 

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Lots of dogs have white patches without being double merle! To get a bit nerdy for a minute, the white you see in double merles is typically a complete lack of pigment. Pigment, weirdly enough, pays an important role in the development of the ears and eyes (in many animals, not just dogs), so when you get a lack of pigment at all on the head, you're much more likely to wind up with under- or un-developed hearing and vision.

Many other dogs have white patches, patterns, or even have a completely white coat without issue. This is because their skin still has pigment cells, even if their fur itself is white. Different genes control this kind of white, turns out coat color genetics is pretty complicated! So it's possible for a dog to be solid merle, but then also have the genetics for, say, a white stripe down the nose, or a white collar around the neck, or white paws, that's completely separate from the white caused by double merle.

While it is possible for merle to be "cryptic" - not easily seen visually due to the particular coat color genetics of a dog - it's not particularly common from what I understand. You can always ask the breeder if they tested for cryptic merle in the parent.
 

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Lots of dogs have white marking, not just merles. A merle can be a solid merle, with no white at all.

As DaySleepers mentioned, pigment actually plays a roll in the development of of hearing and sight in utero. A dog with no pigment on its head is more likely to be deaf and/or blind because of the lack of pigment very early on in their development.

This website has lots of information about coat color genetics, including merles. Dog Coat Colour Genetics
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Hi dogs lovers,

I really appreciate your help but I have another concern now...

So I thought the puppy was 7 weeks old because it says on the post that he was born on April 11th but apparently it was a mistake and he was actually born on March 11th, which means he is 11 weeks old. Which is fine with me, but my concern is that the puppy is supposed to be a mini aussie. I asked the breeder how tall he was and she told me his back is at 11 inches. I am wondering if it is not too tall for a 11 weeks old mini aussie... Can I please have your thoughts? Do you think it might be a standard aussie? Thank you.
 

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The AKC standard for Miniature American Shepherds (which is their name for Miniature Australian Shepherds) states 14-18 inches tall for males. However, you have to remember that MAS were bred mainly from full-sized Australian Shepherds, which states 20-23 inches tall for males. Every so often, you will get a throw-back dog who is larger than a typical MAS.
 
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Thank you @LeoRose. I could actually find the standard sizes and chart weight but nothing that says about the size of a puppy mini aussie.
If 14-18 inches tall are the standard for a mini aussie, I am surprised he is already 11 inches tall at 11 weeks old.
 

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Like LeoRose said, with any relatively new breed you sometimes get the right combination of genetics passed down from previous generations to create pups that look more like their recent ancestors than their parents or grandparents. Do you know how tall mom and dad are? The other puppies? How large their puppies typically grow to, and whether his height at this age is normal in their experience?

If size is very important to you, for apartment restrictions or lifestyle reasons, you might need to pass on this pup if it seems he might be on the larger end of the spectrum.
 

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Like LeoRose said, with any relatively new breed you sometimes get the right combination of genetics passed down from previous generations to create pups that look more like their recent ancestors than their parents or grandparents. Do you know how tall mom and dad are? The other puppies? How large their puppies typically grow to, and whether his height at this age is normal in their experience?

If size is very important to you, for apartment restrictions or lifestyle reasons, you might need to pass on this pup if it seems he might be on the larger end of the spectrum.
Yep. I've heard of more than one MAS wind up the size of an Aussie, despite being several generations of in-standard MAS on both sides of the pedigree.
 

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If you look at my Avatar pic, you'll see a double merle (Lethal White), the larger dog obviously.
While she has no pigment in her ears, she is not deaf. She has starburst pupils and is not blind, light sensitive though.
She is awesome.
 
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