Main Header Australian Shepherd Breed Standard
White Markings:
▪ The Australian Shepherd runs the gamut when it comes to white markings and their plus and minus modifying genes. To complicate matters, white also occurs as the result of doubling up on the merle gene. It is important to keep white markings within their prescribed boundaries to avoid confusion between a piebald dog and a homozygous merle and to reduce the risk of white linked deafness in the breed.

Australian Shepherd No white

No White- An Australian Shepherd with minimal or no white markings is perfectly acceptable! A breeder or judge can be assured that white related problems such as deafness are not likely to occur in a dog with minimal white trim nor will this type of dog ever be confused with a homozygous (Double Merle). No preference should be given between allowable white markings and the lack of white markings in this breed.
Maximum Allowable White Maximum Allowable White- "On all colors the areas surrounding the ears and eyes are dominated by color other than white. The hairline of a white collar does not exceed the point at the withers"

To avoid confusion with homozygous (double) merles who have large areas of white, markings are restricted to the face, chest, neck, underbelly and extremities.
Allowable white trim marked
Measuring White Collar/Forechest
White markings are measured by where the hair originates at the skin. A white collar should not exceed the point of withers, whether present as a full or partial collar.A collar may meet a white chest and legs to form a solid area of white but should not extend into the body. A straight line dropped from the point of withers to the ground marks the boundary for allowable white on the forechest, neck and front legs.
Excessive White collar Collar Exceeds the Point of Withers
Depending on personal interpretation of what constitutes a white body splash, a collar that exceeds the point of withers can be construed as a disqualification or a serious fault. Both interpretations have been upheld in the past. The intent of the standard was to strictly limit where white markings may appear and so regardless of the interpretation, this is an extremely undesirable characteristic.
Unusual white markings
Unusual and Asymmetrical White markings- Variety in markings is part of what makes the Australian Shepherd appealing, but can sometimes confuse the observer whose eye tends to seek out symmetry. Broken collars, crooked blazes, and asymmetrical markings are acceptable and should not be penalized. White on Ear White on Ears- The occurrence of white linked deafness makes having color on and around the ear very important.

The fad of breeding for more white trim can be problematic in dogs who carry the Irish Spotting gene in combination with the minus modifiers (takes away color) causing white to appear on the ear. While not a disqualification, it is an undesirable characteristic because of its link to deafness.
White over eye White over the Eye- White around the eyes usually means pink eye rims that are more susceptible to sun damage and light sensitivity. It is not a stated disqualification, but it is an undesirable characteristic.

White Body Splash White Body Splash- White patches, spots or stripes on the body portion of the Australian Shepherd, between the withers and the base of the tail are cause for disqualification.

The piebald gene that can cause white body spots is not problematic in itself, but it can mimic the appearance of homozygous (double) merles. Homozygous merles are dogs born of two merle parents and who carry two copies of the merle gene. A double dose of merle can cause problems such as partial and complete deafness, irregularly shaped pupils and microphthalmia.
General Appearance
Head Teeth  Eyes Ears Neck and Body
Forequarters Hindquarters Coat  Color Gait Size Disqualifications/Faults
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