Aussies come in 16 basic color combinations based on body color (red or black), presence or absence of tan points (copper), and presence or absence of white trim. Within this matrix of 16 basic possibilities there is room for considerable individual variation.

 Self Black

 Black and Tan

 Black Bicolor

 Black Tricolor

 Self Red

 Red and Tan

 Red Bicolor

 Red Tricolor

 Self Blue Merle

 Blue Merle & Tan

 Blue Merle & White

 BM w/White&Tan

 Self Red Merle

 Red Merle & Tan

 Red Merle & White

 RM w/White&Tan

A dog that is only one color (or only merle) with no white trim or tan point pattern is called a self color. If he is black, he's a self black. A dog that is a merle with no trim would be called a self blue merle or a self red merle. Dogs with tan points but no white spotting pattern are "body color" and tan (ex. black and tan). Dogs with a white spotting pattern but no tan points have in recent years been referred to as bicolors (body color plus bi), but to avoid confusion it would seem more logical to refer to them as black and white, red merle and white, etc, to specify what two colors one means. A dog with both tan points and a white spotting pattern is commonly referred to as a tricolor. With merles using the "bi" and "tri" terminology becomes clumsy. A normal blue merle with only one trim color, such as white, is already three colors, and a blue merle with both tan points and white trim is already four colors. Bicolor and tricolor just don't fit. It would make more sense to simply say "blue merle" and elaborate on trim color if asked.


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