You've probably noticed that not all white dogs have a clear white coat. When there are spots of color in it,
it's called "Ticking" or "Roaning". Some people call it ticking, others call it speckled or flecked.  However,
ticking is a pattern of small spots found only in the white parts of the dog's coat. Think of the white as
putting a cloth over the dog. Ticking is like cutting holes in the cloth to let the base color (whatever that may
be) show through. Ticking and merle are NOT the same, but are often confused. The biggest clue is to look at
the dog as a newborn. Merle is a pattern in a dog’s coat, though it is commonly incorrectly referred to as a
color.  The merle gene creates mottled or marbled patches of color, blue or odd-colored eyes, and can affect
skin pigment as well.  

Ticking is not present at birth, and develops gradually, as the pups grow (which is why Dalmatian pups are
born solid white). Color appearing in the white of a pup's coat is more likely to be ticking than merling. Merle
should be visible when the pup is born, even though it usually darkens as the dog matures.  In Aussies, the
ticking is typically more prevalent on the legs (although it can also appear on their face and in their collar).  
Solid color dogs (with no white) can carry ticking. However, you won't be able to see it, since ticking is only
visible in white trim areas.  

In general, ticking is heaviest on the legs and the muzzle.  If a dog has only a small amount of ticking, it will
appear in these areas before anywhere else.  Ticking can vary from just a few spots to almost roan all over
the dog. Many ticked dogs have roan areas (parts where there is more color than white), though roan
appears to be caused by a separate gene. Most breed standards use the term “ticked” when referring to
clearly defined flecks on a white background, and “roan” when referring to flecks so closely spaced that the
mixture appears even.  Larger, round spots, as seen in Dalmatians, might be a form of modified ticking. Like
ticked dogs, their spots are not visible in the coat at birth, though they can be seen in the skin. There has
been discussion if roan (heavy intermingling of colored and white hairs) is indeed its own pattern, or perhaps
just heavy ticking. Roan can also be called “mottle”.

Below are 4 photos which demonstrate one of our heavily ticked & supercoated puppies.  Ticking was not
visible at all at birth.  By the fourth photo on the bottom right, the pup is now 7 weeks old, and ticking is
much more pronounced.  Years ago, I really did NOT like the ticking, but now I LOVE it. I really think it makes
our schnauzers look a lot like bird dogs!
7 weeks old!  He's Ticked and He's Gorgeous!
5 weeks old and ticking much more noticable!
1 week old, & Ticking is very, very faint!
3 weeks old, and ticking on feet more
Texas T's Georgio Armini's Black Tuxedo
He's ticked, and he's producing gorgeous
little ticked supercoated pups!