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Is there a reason you dont see merles in the videos, books and trials that I have seen? Sorry if this is a stupid question but I would like to know why you dont see them. thanks

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I think it may have something to do with the fact that they don't breed specifically for color so they don't show off the fancy looking ones or everybody would want one (just joking): ) I know of MANY merle BC that are top competitors in agility. I'll look around and see if I can find a few sites for you. From all I can tell there are no real differences in personality or temperament. Although I think some blue merles are faster on the agility course (might be my imagination tho).

 

Annette

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If you are referring to books and videos from overseas, I have heard from sources over there that the other colors are not very accepted. It is believed that sheep do not respect or fear a dog that is not black. None that are all white, an excessive amount of white, no reds and no merles. They just don't raise those odd colored pups.

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No disrespect to anyone, but I have to say I am not too keen on BCs with all the fancy colors. Although beautiful dogs, it is hard for me to tell if they are a mix. (not that I really care) I'm sure it is just my lack of knowledge! I am pretty stuck on the black with a white collar, minimal 'face paint'. One day I think I will have to pick up a nice red and white though!

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real quick this is a british site, they raise all red dogs or saddle backs. I'm going lookin for blues... If they didn't raise all colors in the UK we could never possibly have them here. Black is Dominant for heridity if only blacks were bred, there would only ever be blacks.

 

Boltons

Boltons & lunarlite BCs

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Real working Border Collies are bred to a work standard, so color should not come into breeding decisions. Therefore, a good Border Collie breeder does not select for color. Dogs of odd colors are rare in the population and remain rare because for them to increase in number, people would have to be breeding for color specifically, or an outstanding sire of an odd color would have to come along -- which is an unlikely event simply due to sampling error (there are not very many red dogs to begin with, so the odds of a GREAT red dog are even lower --of course, there are exceptions as the last International Supreme champion is a red tri, but he's the only red winner ever.

 

If you are a breeder of working dogs, the odds are that you will be breeding black and white or black tri dogs, simply because that is what most of the breeding population looks like. That is why you do not see a lot of odd-colored dogs in videos of working Border Collies. My understanding is that the lines of Border Collies that carry merle are not very good workers in general (or at least, not so great that people really want to breed to them) so merle working Border Collies remain rare.

 

There's a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy effect going on too, I think, as Christine alludes to above. Since good working dogs of weird colors are so rare, when colored puppies are born I suspect they get sold to pet or sport homes rather than working homes. Most working Border Collie people, given their choice of a red or black puppy from the same well-bred litter, would pick the black puppy. (I would personally pick the red one, but my favorite dog is a red dog, so I'm a bit biased for purely sentimental reasons.)

 

Even in the Barbie Collie world, color seems to be less favored. There are some breeders producing odd candy colors (yellow, lilac), but the breed ring stereotype is a poofy black and white dog with absolutely symmetrical Irish markings. The only breeders I know of who are actively selecting for weird colors, and particularly merles, are people breeding for sports. If you're an agility person, it's a great status symbol to have a flashy merle dog, or red dog. (The people I know in agility just LOVE Solo's redness. The only people at sheepdog trials who point at Solo and go "OOOH! A RED one!" are casual spectators.) These Sport Collies should not be confused with real working Border Collies, whether black and white, red, merle, or otherwise. The sport-bred dogs I know are bred with only the tiniest lip service given to real working ability. The most important selection factors seem to be (a) the dog loves to tug (:rolleyes: the dog loves to do agility (never mind that plenty of dogs that are not bred for agility and not even Border Collies love to do agility) and © the dog is built in a specific way, small, compact, and square and hopefully with a cute ear set and flashy colors.

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Hi Melanie,

 

I think the person who posted this question is looking at adopting a BM pup possibly a smoothie. Dunno exactly what his criteria are but I think he is looking for a companion. IMO Blue merles are too impatient as workers/agility dogs not herders (because I don't think that working as in herding plays a serious factor in regards to this specific dog) but I've known one or 2 girls that weren't. In my own dogs (BM SHELTIE) most times the impatience just makes for a laugh. Sometimes it's a pain in the butt but we work through it.

 

Annette

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I don't think merles have different personalities than any other color. What Melanie said is true. The unusual colors make up a small part of the overall working population, and since people breeding for working ability aren't usually trying to get "special" colors, the numbers of such dogs remain small. The one thing I will dispute is the statement that conformation folks also prefer B&W. I know of conformation-bred merle breedings in which the merles are snapped up instantly (for lots of $$) and the B&W pups languish....

 

I do agree that sport breeders definitely choose to breed for what they consider to be "cool" colors.

 

J.

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Merle Border Collies tend to come from certain lines, so as Melanie said the stereotypes are continually reinforced as these lines continue to be used, essentially for the color.

 

If only black Border collies were bred, reds would still emerge, because black Border Collies can have and pass the red allele to the next generation, over and over, forever and ever amen. You'd have to DNA test your breeding stock and only breed the ones homozygous for black (BB).

 

Why one would want to do that, I don't know. But that's why odd colors and patterns pop up every so often and also why they don't dominate.

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So Rebecca,

 

Black & Red in BCs is the same as Black & Red in Dobies? Dobies have 10 levels of black in which the brobability of reds produces increases with the number level. Black #1 is dominant and will only produce black even if bred to red but all offspring will carry the red alelle and if they are bred to other hybrids of red, or reds-red can be produced. The reds also have levels 1-10. All the probabilities make my head swim though. That's cool, I learned something new today.

 

Annette

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Here's a terrific site for Border Collie coat color genetics. http://bowlingsite.mcf.com/Genetics/ColorGen.html It's actually Shelties but the genetics are the same.

 

It's a little more complex than "black is dominant, red is recessive" - Black and red are on the same loci and B (black) will express over b (red). There are other loci which determine other pigments or lack thereof (yellow, agouti, albino, etc) and patterns - the technical explanation actually makes it a bit easier to understand than trying to follow (this is "dominant over that").

 

All dog color genetics are the same. There are just different names for the colors and coat patterns, and of course the predominance of various expressions is different acrooss different breeds. But if you allowed your average dog population to breed together indiscriminately the result would be a bunch of medium sized yellow and dark greyish dogs. Our selection for different traits (including, obviously, particular colors), brings out the recessive alleles - as the tame fox story illustrates.

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