The Blue Merle Border Collie: Five Things You Didn’t Know

All Border Collies are some of the most unique dogs of any breed. They are known for their long snouts, beautiful coats, and their superior intelligence, making them some of the most trainable dogs of any. They were originally bred for herding and have a high need for keeping busy and active. They love to work and have tasks to do, otherwise they get very bored. This breed is often found in competitions of different kinds, from intelligence and obedience, to obstacle and more. Border Collies come in an array of coat colors and mixtures. Arguably one of the most beautiful, is the Blue Merle color. To look at him, you can’t help by being in awe of the beautiful, striking color combos, and unique eyes. If you have ever had any contact with the Blue Merle and know what type of dog this is, now you can learn more. Here are five things you didn’t know about the Blue Merle Border Collie.

1. Least common color pattern is the Merle

There are many different colors and color combinations of the Border Collie. You will find Collies in this list of colors: Red, red merle, black, sable, sable merle, saddleback sable, white and black, white an blue, white and blue merle, white and red, white and red merle, white ticked, blue, and blue merle. Of all of these combinations, the merle is probably the least common color pattern. The word merle derives from the fact that the main hair colors are diluted overall, leaving swirls of the striking colors to run in streaks, splotches and patches.

2. Merles are derived from a parent with a particular gene

Merles don’t just happen. There has to be a certain gene that is carried by one of the parents. The gene that creates the merle pattern, are incomplete genes. For instance, a pure black gene would dominate red. But a merle gene takes that dominate color and dilutes it, creating a patterned look to the black – splotchy, swirly, and other patterns. A merle pattern will create merle puppies, but a non-merle Border Collie without the gene, will not spontaneously throw merled puppies.

3. Health issues are riskier with merles (Double Merles)

Every now and then, two merles (both carrying the merle gene) mate, and when two merles mate, they have a 25% chance of producing a double merle puppy. This is a  very risky type of breeding because double merles have a greater chance of having serious health issues. Most will have vision trouble, many are completely deaf. It is recommended that double merles are promptly spayed or neutered in order to prevent further gene passing.

4. Personalities

Although the Blue Merle may look a little untraditional compared to the Lassie version of the Border Collie, they are still the same basic dog in all the aspects that you would want a Border Collie for. They are sweet, loving, highly intelligent, athletic, and make great family pets. Although Borders fall in love with their owners and family and will always appear to be a great natured dog, if they aren’t properly socialized, they can be stand-offish to strangers and other animals. Since they are a bigger-sized dog, it’s important they are trained and socialized so that they are well-behaved adult dogs.

5. Breeders will try to charge more

Because any type of merle is a difference in the way the traditional Border looks, many breeders will try to charge more for a Blue Merle than a typical Border Collie. Sometimes even a lot more. Although it is a genetic difference in the lineage for the Blue Merle, you should not have to pay an exorbitant adoption fee, and you may want to find another breeder.


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