(Save Aussies Get Educated)
Hi, my name is Sage. I exist because someone, unintentionally or deliberately, allowed a Merle-to-Merle breeding. I am considered a "Lethal White" and I am not alone! There are many others just like me, everywhere. Most of the others, you will never see since they have already been put to death at pounds in every state because they were deemed "unadoptable", dropped off by owners who realized that those "pretty blue eyes" will never see. I, too, was considered unadoptable and scheduled to die. Fortunately for me, someone decided I was worth saving. I am safe now…but many others are not!
My story goes beyond the serious problem of pet overpopulation. There are so many wonderful, normal puppies being born without finding someone to love them, and they will end up alone with no one to care when they take their last breath. However, for someone like me, it will be more difficult...I am not considered a "normal" dog.
Please help me help others...spread the word! Sage
About Lethal Whites
We would like to explain that the term "LETHAL WHITE" (discovered while doing research) is simply a term (not the lethal gene found in Paint horses with Overo Lethal White Syndrome in which the affected foal dies within 72 hours) referring to either a Blue Merle or Red Merle Aussie, born of a Merle-to-Merle breeding, who inherited 2 merle genes at birth. For a detailed explanation, please read this article The Trouble With Merle by C.A. Sharp, included in this packet). We chose to use this term in our campaign to identify these particular Aussies. We also hope to lessen the confusion between "lethals" and "Pattern Whites". Some people feel this term was created by breeders to justify culling (killing at birth) these white pups. Others feel it is derogatory to those wonderful "white Aussies" who exist and excel. We strongly believe it is a term beneficial to bring about awareness. Our use of the term "Lethal White" (also known as homozygous or double merle and considered more politically correct terms) represents the fact that pups born with this excessive white is lethal...to them because of what happens to so many. (Please read Miss Arkansas' story on our website). While some Aussies are born with sight/hearing impairments, others experience deformities involving the eyes, such as Kandoo and Sage. We offer links to other sites (on our website) that provide detailed genetic explanations. A breeding of a Lethal White to any other breed can result in the "mixed breed" inheriting the blind and/or deaf impairments (such as Dimmer and Kandoo, both "lethal white" Aussie mixes).
Our goal is to reach the general public, as well as "backyard breeders", by simply saying that merle-to-merle breeding will produce pups with genetic defects...it's that simple! You would be surprised at the number of people who do not realize this. Some don't even know that the Aussie they have is a Merle. This "lack of knowledge" is the cause of so many of these pups being born. Unless you've already heard the term "Lethal White" or are aware of the dangers that exist in merle-to-merle breeding, you will have no reason to research. We want to give you a reason. The breeding of Australian Shepherds is a complex process and when done without thought or knowledge, can produce tragic results, such as Sage.
Although the "lethal white" Aussies are extraordinary in their determination and capabilities, they need special, loving homes willing to provide a safe environment. Lethals require a little more extra care and responsibility, both financially (including eye exams, medications if required) and personally (providing a safe environment at all times).
Our goal is to bring about awareness that (Australian Shepherd) Merle-to-Merle breeding produces approximately 25% (1 in 4 puppies born to a litter) Lethal Whites, also known as "white Aussies" or "homozygous Aussies". These puppies will be born with hearing and/or sight impairments. There is speculation as to whether or not they will suffer immune system deficiencies, but no proven study is available at this time. Many people are not aware that this occurs and these impairments are not always immediately recognized due to their ability to compensate for any disabilities they may have. They use many other senses and resources available, such as vibrations, smell, airflow movement and help from other dogs (when available) so they do not appear "disabled" at first sight.
Some people do not even know that the Aussie they have is a Blue Merle or Red Merle. Our website offers a variety of Aussie colors of all variations (from one extreme to the other) to help you determine what "color" your Aussie is. Additional links are provided for more detailed information. Our goal in delivering this information is to prevent more "lethals" from being born. Education is priceless! We would also like to bring to light that the Lethal White Aussies that already exist can/do make wonderful family members despite their "disabilities". They are wonderful, smart and loyal, and certainly deserve loving homes.
Our idea began with Sage (Save Aussies Get Educated) being dumped at the pound and scheduled to die. There have been others before Sage, and we realized that something needed to be done to help prevent more from being born. Adding a pet to your family is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly and you must be willing to make the physical and financial commitment to care for a "special needs" Aussie. We also encourage current Aussie owners who decide to have "just one litter" to stop, think and research the genetics before making that decision.
Please spay and neuter…it’s the humane thing to do!
Cyndi Cunico copyright ©Aussielads Lethal White Aussie Rescue 2000 - 2005 www.aussielads.com