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Border Collies

Coat colours

More information about the genetic backgroudn of coat colours can be found in Genetics of coat colours and other exterior properties.

The colour of the eye should be brown with all coat colours; excepting the merle colours were (partially) blue eyes are permitted.

The "full size pictures" often show a larger part of the dog or the entire dog.


This is the most common colour. As with all other colours the preferred pattern has a white blaze that continues over the top of the head into the white area in the neck, a white end of the tail, white fore legs up till the elbow and white socks on the hind legs.

Photo page of this colour

Full size picture of Spottie


The black has been replaced by a dark brown colour. In the USA for example this colour is called red/white, but to prevent confusion with other reddish colours choclate or brown is a better description.

Photo page of this colour

Full size picture of Vaquera

Red/white (yellow/white)

A lot rarer are red/white or yellow/white Border Collies. The markings should be the same as with black/white dogs. A lot of shades of this colour exist with just as many names: blond, cream, red, yellow. Because of the fact that all eumelanin pigment is surpressed and the tan pigment of the tricolour is caused by the same (although local) lack of eumelanin the combination red/white and tricolour is not visible.
Because the colour chocolate brown is called red in the USA yellow/white is probably a better description for this colour.

Photo page of this colour

Full size picture of Fly


The black colour is diluted and has become blue-grey. This colour is also called 'Slate' which describes the colour rather well. The colour is rather rare.

Photo page of this colour

Full size picture of Blue


The chocolate brown colour can be diluted into a 'lilac' colour.



This colour looks a bit like a dark Red/white, but is quite different. Sable is actually a pattern where (part of) the hairs have dark tips (also seen in e.g. shelties and collies).

Photo page of this colour

Full size picture of Numa


Tan (brownish) markings along the outside of the the coloured parts and above the eyes are specific for this pattern. The width of the markings and the intensity of the colour can vary.
This pattern can be combined with black, blue, chocolate brown and merle.

Photo page of this colour

Full size picture of Spike

Saddle pattern

This pattern looks a bit like the tricolour, the the tan parts are bigger and has no specific patterns on the head. The dark colour is limited to a saddle shaped patch on the back.

Photo page of this colour

Full size picture

Blue Merle

This effect is known in many breeds. The black parts have been replaced by grey and black patterns in many shades.
When both parents are merle part of the offspring inherits this trait from both sides and become "double merles".

Photo page of this colour
Photo page of "double merle"

Blue Merle
Full size picture of Blue

Red Merle

Very rare. The same effect as with the Blue Merle, except that the base colour is chocolate brown.

Photo page of this colour

Red Merle
Full size picture of Koda

Photo by Lonnie Olson (owner).

Sable Merle

Although it is genetically possible to produces a sable merle, it is rather difficult in practice. The pattern is only visible in the puppy coat. After the dog has his final coat the Merle pattern is almost impossible to see. To prevent these dogs from being mated to other merles it is advisable not to mix sable and merle.

Special markings

Some names are used for variations on the colours (or patterns) described above.

White face

Not a real colour or pattern, but used for a quite white marking on the head.

White face
Full size picture of Plenty

Extremely white

They come even whiter; in the extremely white Border Collie no or hardly any coloured markings are present. The dog in this picture only has black ears and a black spot on the base of his tail; he is a perfect illustration for the sw-gene.

Extreem wit
Full size picture of Glen


This pattern consists of freckles in the white parts of the coat. Can be combined with all coat colours. The pattern is also called Ticked.

Full size picture of Tjess

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This page last modified: Wednesday, 30-Jul-2008 16:39:12 CEST
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