Although it may be surprising to some, the white Australian Shepherd, also known as the white Aussie, actually exists. In fact, it is a rare color for this breed, and most people have never seen one in person.
There is a good reason why this variant of the Australian Shepherd breed is so uncommon. White Australian Shepherds have a reputation for being unfit for service work and as pets; hence, they are not bred as much.
In this article, you will learn the nitty-gritty details about white Aussies. We’ll touch on their history, coat color genetics, traits, and more. Let’s start!
What Is a White Australian Shepherd?
A white Australian Shepherd is a dog that sports a mostly white coat. It is a product of merle-to-merle breeding and can only occur through this combination. While the white Aussie is an adorable dog, it is prone to various genetic defects. Hence, purposely breeding white Aussies are discouraged.
You are probably aware that Aussies can come in numerous colorations, such as blue merle, red merle, black, red, and even tri-color. However, you might not know that an all-white Australian Shepherd is a real thing.
Due to the merle gene, which can cause patches of white or gray on a dog’s body with a base coat color of black or red, white Aussies sometimes appear in a dog’s litter.
Just to be clear, though, it is worth noting that these white-colored pooches are not the same as an albino Australian Shepherd.
While they may have similarities, the latter is born without any pigment in its eye rims or nose. However, one common thing between the two is that they are prone to several health issues and genetic defects.
But on the bright side, you can still expect that these white-colored Australian Shepherds make excellent pets. In fact, like other Aussies, they are just as easy to train and are good with children and other dogs.
White Australian Shepherd Origin and History
As with regular Australian Shepherds, the white Australian Shepherd is an energetic and hardworking canine that was initially bred to herd livestock on ranches in the western United States.
In addition, they were regarded for their fast-running abilities, endurance, and agility, which made them ideal for protecting flocks from predators.
However, as time went on and more people began to recognize the risks of breeding white Aussies, it became clear that this was not an ideal practice.
Hence, when the American Kennel Club (AKC) began to issue standards for the Australian Shepherd breed in 1991, they stated that white Aussies were not suitable for showing or breeding purposes.
Since then, many breeders have been working hard to decrease the number of white Aussies born each year to preserve the breed’s overall health and integrity.
White Australian Shepherd Appearance
A white Australian Shepherd may be either a solid white dog or one with large splashes of white on its fur.
Furthermore, like other Australian Shepherds, it sports a sturdy and muscular build, with a short to medium-length double coat that is coarse and harsh to the touch.
Additionally, white Aussies have almond-shaped eyes that are medium-sized and are usually brown, amber, or blue in color.
Size-wise, these white pups typically fall under the medium category. They generally reach a height of about 18 to 23 inches, with a weight ranging between 40 and 65 pounds.
Interestingly, there is a smaller version of this canine — the white mini Australian Shepherd. So if you are looking for something small but still big on personality, this miniature version might be your match.
To see what a white Australian Shepherd looks like in action, watch the following video:
White Australian Shepherd Color Genetics
In order for an all-white Australian Shepherd to occur naturally in a litter of puppies, each parent must carry at least one copy of the dominant merle gene or the M allele.
This means that if one parent has this allele and one does not, or what may appear as “Mm,” the resulting pups will either maintain a red merle or blue merle coat pattern.
However, if both parents are carriers of the M gene, then there is a high probability that their puppies will be born with a predominantly white coat.
Unfortunately, breeding double merle or white Australian Shepherd puppies comes with severe consequences. That said, purposely breeding two merle Aussies is highly discouraged.
While these white-pigmented canines may look adorable and angelic, they often develop severe health problems that make them unhealthy.
Specifically, when breeding for a double merle or white Australian Shepherd puppy, deafness and blindness are a few of the most common complications. Some are even born with physical deformities.
So before breeding white Australian Shepherds, you must consider what is really at stake. Remember that not only will you be spending a lot of money on vet bills, but you could potentially be putting a dog’s life in danger.
Do White Australian Shepherd Puppies Stay White as They Grow?
There are some instances where a white Australian Shepherd puppy will change color as they grow; however, these are rare.
For starters, if your white Aussie puppy is born with small brown or black markings, these may lighten as your pet grows older. The same goes for other colors — they may fade or become more muted with age.
Keep in mind, though, that many dogs do not experience this type of change at all. Usually, you can expect a white Australian Shepherd puppy to retain its white coat throughout adulthood.
However, medications, sun exposure, skin diseases, and stress may cause discoloration on your dog’s coat.
Therefore, it is best to monitor your white Aussie puppy’s pigmentation as it grows older. Be sure to watch out for sudden color changes and be prepared to seek veterinary assistance if necessary.
White Australian Shepherd Temperament and Personality
In terms of temperament and personality, the white Aussie is identical to other Australian Shepherd variants. It often boasts the same energy, intelligence, and loyalty that the Aussie Shepherd breed is known for.
It should also be noted that white Australian Shepherds are not known to show aggression unless provoked. They naturally get along well with other dogs and animals and are great with children.
But because they have a high energy level, first-time fur parents may find it challenging to keep them calm. Moreover, if white Aussies are not given proper exercise, they can become destructive due to pent-up energy.
These white canines require constant supervision as well. They love being around people, as separation anxiety may occur if they are left unattended for too long.
Luckily, early socialization and different types of training, such as crate training, can help fur parents manage the behavior of their white Aussies.
In the end, once your white Australian Shepherd is adequately trained, it will be a great family pet that will be there for you through thick and thin.
White Australian Shepherd Lifespan and Health Issues
The average lifespan of a white Australian Shepherd is about 11 to 13 years. They are generally healthy dogs, but as with any breed, there are some health issues that may affect them and their longevity.
Some of the health issues common in Australian Shepherd dogs are as follows:
- Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA): Also called the collie eye defect, CEA is an eye condition that can cause blindness or partial blindness in white Aussies. This disorder is not present at birth but develops over time. If detected early enough, though, laser surgery might be able to save your Aussie pup’s sight.
- Deafness: As a result of inheriting two copies of the merle gene, white merle Australian Shepherd puppies are almost always born deaf. Unfortunately, deafness in dogs can be hard to spot, especially for first-time dog owners.
- Elbow and Hip Dysplasia: Because of their wide, deep chests and heavy muscling, expect that your white Australian Shepherd will be prone to elbow and hip dysplasia. This condition can cause lameness early on in life and can lead to arthritis if not cared for properly.
Overall, your white Australian Shepherd’s diet, living conditions, and lifestyle will be some of the biggest factors in determining how long they live. But there are other things you can do to help your dog live a longer life.
You can begin by knowing which foods are safe for your white Aussie to consume. Further, investing in a pet insurance policy is a smart move you can make to protect your pup’s overall health as well as your finances.
White Australian Shepherd Shedding and Grooming
Since all Aussies, including white Australian Shepherds, bear short to medium, double-layered fur, you can anticipate that they will shed year-round.
It should be noted that during the spring and fall seasons, though, the shedding will be more pronounced. Thus, you should prepare for a flurry of white hair in your house and on your clothes.
Fortunately, routine grooming can help keep up with excessive shedding.
Listed below are some tips for keeping your white Aussie looking its best:
- Routine brushing: Brushing your white Aussie daily is key to keeping the shedding down. However, you should be aware that white Aussies tend to be sensitive to certain types of brushes, so it is important to find one that works for your dog’s fur.
- Regular bathing: Another way to reduce shedding is by bathing your white Australian Shepherd once every four weeks. Just make sure to use a shampoo that is specifically made for dogs. Otherwise, it could irritate their skin and cause problems.
- Choosing the right haircut: It can be tempting to shave down your Aussie’s white coat, but this is not recommended. In addition to causing extreme shedding in the long run, it can also lead to skin infections. Instead, opt for a cut that will keep their hair somewhat short and manageable.
Having considered these tips, you will have less to worry about when it comes to keeping your white Australian Shepherd’s coat in tip-top shape.
How Much Does a White Australian Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses
Compared to standard Aussies, you can expect that a white Australian Shepherd puppy is slightly less expensive. You can generally get one from around $300 to $1,000.
But since there is a low chance of finding a breeder who produces white Aussie puppies, looking into rescue organizations may be your best bet. An adoption fee will usually range between $50 and $200.
However, aside from the price of the pooch, you may need to consider other expenses like food, beds, dog treats, tick medications, and vet bills.
Listed below are some initial expenses associated with white Australian Shepherd ownership:
|Type of Expense||Cost|
|Food and Treats||$70 – $110|
|Bowls||$10 – $30|
|Toys||$30 – $60|
|Beds||$40 – $200|
|Collars and Leashes||$15 – $50|
|Crates and Carriers||$50 – $370|
|Grooming Essentials||$50 – $160|
|Initial Vet Visits||$100 – $500|
|Initial Vaccine Shots||$50 – $300|
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications||$40 – $300|
|Neutering or Spaying||$50 – $500|
|Microchipping||$40 – $60|
|Dog License||$10 – $20|
|Other Essentials||$20 – $50|
|Total Initial Cost||$505 – $2,710|
In addition to these costs, setting aside funds for emergency vet visits, grooming services, and professional training classes may be worthwhile.
Places to Find White Australian Shepherd Puppies for Sale and Adoption
Given that white Australian Shepherd puppies are prone to inherit genetic disorders, there are not many breeders selling this pooch. However, there are still ways to find these rare dogs.
First, you can check out Aussie breeders in the United States. While no breeder will purposely produce a white Aussie puppy, you can still ask them if they have any available for adoption or sale.
Second, joining Facebook groups and online forums dedicated to Australian Shepherds is a great way to find reputable sources. Some members may even be selling their own dogs, as they can’t handle their upkeep anymore.
Overall, even though breeding white Australian Shepherd puppies is discouraged by most professional breeders, it is still possible to find these dogs from time to time.
Dog Name Ideas for White Australian Shepherd Puppies
With plenty of names to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect moniker for your white Australian Shepherd puppy. However, selecting a name for your new friend is not as easy as it may seem.
After all, many things should be considered: personality traits, appearance, age, and gender.
If you are at a loss for ideas, consider the following name ideas for male white Australian Shepherd puppies:
On the other hand, here are some name ideas for female white Australian Shepherd puppies:
- Snow White
Naming your white Australian Shepherd is one of the most important decisions you will make as an owner. To keep it simple, be sure to pick an easy-to-recognize name.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are White Aussies Rare?
Yes, white Aussies are rare. Due to the health issues associated with white Australian Shepherds, they are not purposely bred by reputable breeders. In turn, this makes them uncommon in the pet industry.
Are All White Australian Shepherds Deaf?
Most white Australian Shepherds are deaf. Some develop deafness as they grow, but most are born deaf. This is a consequence of their genetics, specifically their double-merle coat genetics.
Are White Australian Shepherds AKC Recognized?
According to the standards set by the American Kennel Club for the Aussie breed, white Australian Shepherds are not recognized as purebreds.
The organization only allows red merle, blue merle, red, black, and tri-colored dogs for registration. That said, white markings on the coat can be accepted if they are confined to a small area, such as the canine’s neck.
What Is the Rarest Australian Shepherd Color?
An Australian Shepherd with a red coat is the rarest of all colors.
In fact, the red gene is considered a recessive trait in the Australian Shepherd breed. This means that both parents must carry it in order for the resulting puppies to express this uncommon coloration.
Despite being predisposed to genetic abnormalities, such as blindness and deafness, the white Australian Shepherd still manages to be a loyal, affectionate companion.
As with other Aussie variants, these white-colored pups are known for their ability to be trained well. They are also regarded for their loyalty and willingness to please their canine parents.
However, they do tend to have more health problems than other Aussies. Such a trait can make them more expensive to care for throughout their lifespans.
All things considered, if you are willing to put in the effort required by these white canines, they will surely give you back the love you show them.
Share your thoughts about the white Australian Shepherd in the comments!