My mom’s friend bought this sweet girl from a breeder almost 2 years ago. (Birthday in July). She ended up passing away, so we took the dog in because her daughter wasn’t able to while at college. She’s a mini Aussie, or more appropriate, a mini American shepherd. But I was wondering if anyone has experience with double merles and can tell me if she’s a double? She has strange eyes (pupils with black that kinda go to the edge). And the primarily white face. I already love her and have no intentions giving her up. Just wanted to know. We do know she’s not deaf. She can hear us saying her name, the cats meowing, and when a car or delivery vehicle drives up. Only thing we have noticed is when she’s outside in the sun, she’ll squint a lot. We have since gotten her some doggy goggles and they help a lot. Just wondering if anyone has experience with them.
I'd be very surprised if she's double merle based on the amount of color she has on her body and the amount of pigment she has on her nose, lips, and around her eyes. Double merles are more likely to have a lot of pink/unpigmented skin in their white areas, and also tend to have significantly more white than merle overall. Genetics is tricky and I'm not familiar enough with all forms of the merle gene to say it's impossible, but my (totally amateur) opinion is that she's probably not a double.
It might be worth asking your vet if she should be checked for iris deformities. Iris colobomas, for example, are common in herding breeds, independent of double merle issues, and sound similar to what you're describing. If that's what's causing it, the issue isn't serious or degenerative, but an official diagnosis from your vet or a veterinary ophthalmologist will be the most reliable way to confirm what's going on!
Quite possible. This is our Augi (Tri Color Masked known cryptic merle Cardigan X a red ticked & merle toy Aussie)
Merle expresses openly on black/body zones but can be hidden in white markings. Ticking expresses ONLY on white areas. Cryptic merles can have totally clear colored body, specially in clear reds that have no "black/dilute black" areas to express. Fei fei is a red&white cryptic double merle with ticking. The Irish markings she was born with were interrupted by ticking by age 6 months. Her one merle area was a small dark spot on edge of a sock that was blurred by ticking nearby
Not only were her parents unplanned (the sister angrily flew out of country with her Cardigan bitch and left the puppies to be raised&dispersed by the Aussie owner) but when I picked up Our pup, she had bred her brother so I have a whole surprise litter of Double/double ticked red merles. The darker "brown" puppies are not brown or even sable, they are just reds who will have darker shade later. One has a merle foot, one has merle tail tip. All these puppies would be classified as red in registration with modifiers of merle, masked, &White, ticked. The white puppy is not actually white nor will stay that way. The overage of White on the female is a secret indicator of the double merle parentage as well as the creams from non dilute parents..
Expression of merle being mysterious; why cryptic merles are hidden danger in breeding. An example is my son's former service dog (died of Valley fever unexpectedly) and red coat progression. She came from a dilute (Liver) wolf hybrid mother and a standard aussie x cherokee cur (also a wolf hybrid) father. As adult she had a merle dog eye and gold wolf eye (at night one shine was red and one was white green). Most of her ticking and merle was hidden by the primitive coloration. She only had white and black tail tip and true white back toes that were ticked invisible by the time she was 1 year. The merle erased her sabling and diluted her shade (her brother was black and later a very dark black sable with a single merle spot at butt and green eyes as adult). She became a Barbie Coyote. the wolf ancestry made for darker nose leather. lips, whiskers and eyeliner but talons were mixed of taupe, Pink or Black. But when my uncle's cattle dog bred her and cryptic double merle white popped. By chance the two surprise litters I ever had to deal with were both involving merles.
My daughter has the Cattledog accident puppy number #3; Sonny, whot is from that little yellow hybrid. With ticking on the white (a very white body in two minimal spotted parents), merling on the sable and mask he has a muddy piebald coloration. Can't see in pic but he has a gold eye and a brown eye. His brother in MI is cryptic but heavily ticked as adult now
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They both are sleek in summer and poofy (especially the daughters dog and the panda blue merle puppy who lives local) in winter since 1st year. Rebel as snow white with dark red merle ears and base+tail at birth. At 5 months in pic his color is setting and the ticking is heavy. Rebel has a blue spot in his left eye. The 4th puppy was blue eyed wolf sable/blue merle hind leg with mostly white head but died of birth defects at age 8 months. PS sensitive photo is Rebel on owners lap... <_< Guess software thought he was showing t o much leg? LOL
I agree with DaySleepers. With the amount of color she has, as well as the black skin pigment (nose and parts of her eye rims), it's doubtful she's a double merle. You could always run a DNA test on her, though. In most cases, merle is a simple M/m marker.
And perhaps ask your vet for a referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist, if they don't find anything obvious going on with her eyes.
@DJGinger How odd! I always thought that, while heterozygous merle only affects eumelanin, homozygous merle impacts both eumelanin and phaeomelanin since it impacts the cells that create both pigment. This is the first time I've seen or heard of a double merle with completely normal markings, showing no excessive white or lack of pigment in the skin whatsoever. I'd love to read up on this more if you have links to articles or anything explaining this phenomenon - I'm a bit of a science nerd.
I still say it's unlikely BriLoLa's pup is a double merle, though, since she's clearly not a recessive red!
Hello! Thanks for the responses everyone! I looked it up after a friend happened to say something to me. She doesn’t have the normal facial markings of a blue merle. Which is fine, but when she mentioned a double merle, I was very panicky. I looked up some pictures, and they are normally very white (the double merles) but I couldn’t ignore how her eyes have that jagged effect. I only know from a picture the friend’s daughter took, that the dad was a blue merle. She said they saw the mom, but didn’t take a picture, and she can’t remember what color other than she had black on her which kinda doesn’t help. But I will for sure ask my vet about potentially having her sent for an exam on her eyes. I’ve gotten lucky that she’s not deaf, as my research said if it doesn’t show up at birth or by a year, it’s probably not genetically related to her being a double. (If she is one). Luckily her little sun goggles help her now when she’s out in the sun. She’s not squinting, and she loves looking up at the sky at birds. But thanks for the advice and help, everyone. It really helped tamp down my anxiety.