Blue Merle Border Collie: Complete Breed Guide

The Blue Merle Border Collie is still the same Border Collie, but with a blue merle coat pattern. This breed will forever be loyal to its owner. Aside from that, it is also known as an excellent working dog. Border Collies are one of the smartest pets you will encounter.

History of Blue Merle Border Collie

Before we move forward, it is imperative to rule out that “merle” is not a color. It is more of a pattern. It’s recognized and coined as one in the start of the new millennium. Eventually, more and more dog breeds started to have such a pattern.

Merle is sometimes referred to as “dapple”. Aside from Collies, there are other dogs that have this pattern like:

  • Shetland Sheepdogs
  • Great Danes
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgis
  • Dachshunds
  • Australian Shepherds

At first look, merle seems to be dark-colored patches, streaks or smudges over lighter or diluted shade of its base coat.

As with Border Collies, they have numerous color combinations. You may see them in blue and white, blue, blue merle, red and white, red, red merle, sable merle and a lot more. Among which, the merle pattern is deemed as the rarest combination a Collie could have.

How Do You Breed Blue Merle Border Collie?

merle Border Collie litter

To acquire the “merle” pattern for Border Collie, one parent should have a gene possessing the merle pattern. By the time when the two genes are combined, the merle gene would be diluted to the dominant color. The outcome – a unique merle pattern.

To give you an example, many breeders are combining black color and merle gene. The outcome of these two leads to a bluish shade that have swirly and splotchy streaks.

Just a word of caution though, there is never a guarantee that you can have a blue merle Border Collie. Simply because one parent has it, it doesn’t automatically create offspring with the said pattern. Expect the possibility of getting one or two of it, or sometimes, none in the entire litter.

Don’t Breed Two Merle Dogs

Double merles or what others call lethal whites lack coat color. These are especially common in litters of merle-coated parents. They look rare indeed. Though, such rarity comes with health conditions connected to their merle mutation. This often happens when two merle-coated dogs are mated.

Truth is, double merles are prone to suffering from ear deformities or eye problems. There are even circumstances in which some dogs suffer from both. In more extreme cases, some dogs may end up blind and deaf if it is not taken care of ASAP.

For any prospecting owners, it’s your responsibility to know that multiple merle genes can create serious medical problems for canines. A dog with the merle gene may be at an increased risk of the aforementioned health conditions. Breed responsibly!

Characteristics of Blue Merle Border Collie

Border Collie with merle pattern

Coat ColorThey have blue or gray-tinged white chests. They can be seen having patches on face, tails, back and ears.
HeightBlue merle Collies normally stand at a height of 18 to 22 inches.
WeightIf given with proper diet, a healthy breed can weigh anywhere from 30 to 55 pounds.
EyesThis dog’s eyes are something to die for. They have blue and brown eyes or one blue and one brown eye and vice versa.
EarsTheir ears are sometimes semi-erect and flopping forward, which totally depend on their mood. But one thing’s for sure, their short ears are often stand erected (a sign of their alertness and vigilance).
TailLow set and long.

What Does Blue Merle Border Collie Look Like?

Border Collies of the blue merle variety are renowned for having white chests and gray fur with bluish tints. Eye color can be brown, blue or at times, one blue and one brown. Their coats are shaded black on their tail, face, back, and ears.

Normally, they have short ears that is either flopping forward or stand erected, tails are long as well. Similar with standard Border, these particular variety come in two types of coat too, smooth and rough. In addition to boasting the merle pattern, they pretty much look like a purebred Collie.

Size of Blue Merle Border Collie

Generally speaking, male Border look more muscular and bigger than females. Male dogs can grow to up 20 inches whereas the female counterpart stands at 21 inches. Male breeds could weigh somewhere around 35 to 45 pounds while female breeds may be anywhere from 30 to 40 pounds.

While these dogs are not that big, they are not perfectly suitable for apartment living. Border Collies are instinctive herders. Thus, they possess a bunch of energy in doing various activities. So unless you have a ranch or farm or perhaps, a spacious home with secured fences, you may want to pass on this breed.

Colors of Blue Merle Border Collie

As mentioned earlier, merle is only a pattern and not entirely a breed. But if we’re talking about the Collie’s colorway, there are plentiful like:

  • Red
  • Red merle
  • Red and white
  • White and red merle
  • Blue
  • White and blue
  • Blue merle and white
  • Black
  • Black and white
  • Sable
  • Sable merle
  • Saddleback sable
  • White ticked

What Is Personality & Temperament of Blue Merle Border Collie?

Collies are indeed wonderful dogs. Overall, their temperament is excellent! They’re very athletic, playful and lively. Even so, these qualities don’t overshadow their affection, loyalty and intelligence. All these characteristics combined make them remarkable family pet.

It’s true that they’re friendly. But don’t underestimate their friendliness. They may bark around intruders or be shy when in front of strangers.

If you own such a breed, prepare yourself to think of what activities to give this dog. Its energy is unbelievable. This dog shows incredible hardworking behavior and often prefer to be busy on tasks than lying around. So, if you are someone with an active lifestyle, you’ll definitely love this dog.

Always remember that Border Collies are strong-minded. They are often independent too. Because of these two, it might misfire its energy to unwanted behavior when it’s bored. Take the time to give it something to do, perhaps play in the yard, have them find their favorite toy and so forth.

Intelligence of Blue Merle

It’s impossible to talk about blue merles without discussing their intelligence. Many experts would easily agree that Collies are both intelligent and workaholic. They’re the happiest when given work to do. They are in full capacity to learn commands and words. What more could you ask for?

This dog can learn fast. It only shows that blue merle Border Collies are extremely intelligent. However, it’s their intelligence that also makes it difficult among owners to keep them challenged.

Are blue merle Border Collies Good Family Dogs?

If you want to add a dog in your household, then a blue merle Border Collie would work just fine. As previously mentioned, this breed has lots of energy. They love exploring and running and thrives best on a space with lots to move around.

So long as blue merle Collies have been exposed to social interactions at a young age, it’ll be the least of your worries if they’re around young kids. Though as a general rule, don’t leave your children unattended with the dogs alone. It doesn’t matter how friendly your dogs are and how safe you feel your kids will be around them. There must be adult supervision when kids are interacting with these animals.

How To Train & Exercise Blue Merle Border?

merle Border Collie ready for training

Training your Collie is an integral part of dog ownership. It must be done the moment you’ve brought them home. Truth to be told, training begins at puppyhood. Those dogs that are not properly trained might eventually develop unruly behavior. If ignored, this could wreak havoc in your home.

When doing the training with your dog, try to keep it in a positive atmosphere. Exert effort to make it fun. As you are doing this, have patience until you see progress. Though these dogs are intelligent, the results you want to see are going to take some time.

You might think that obedience training is an excellent resource to train your dog. That’s true. Because not just that these classes would kickstart your dog’s training, it also serves as an opportunity to help your dog develop its socialization skills.

Aside from training, exercising your dog is also important. In this regard, give them at least 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise per day. This is on top of small activities that’ll keep them busy on later part of the day. Dog competitions and agility classes are also wonderful avenues in keeping up with your dog’s energy level.

How To Take Care of Blue Merle Border Collie?

Time and time again, we’ve been telling you that these dogs are quite active. They dwell on activities and exercises to exhaust their energy. If you happen to love the great outdoors and know tons of places you could bring your Collie, do so. This would not bother your dog. Instead, they would totally love it and even anticipate future endeavors.

In addition, it would be wise to give your dog a space of its own. Typically, a dog crate does the trick. Especially after training, these dogs need “alone time”. Make it more meaningful for them by throwing some chew toys. This significantly reduces their stress while promoting tooth health. The crate provides them safe haven to escape or rest. Also, it gives you an opening to control them when necessary.

Health & Genetics of Blue Merle Border Collie

Generally speaking, the Border Collie breed is a healthy dog. But this doesn’t indicate that they are free from sickness and illnesses. The reason why this dog happens to be healthy is also because of the owners who take care of them.

Life Span

As per the AKC or American Kennel Club, Border Collies can live up to 15 years. Considering that they are given proper diet, comes from a healthy lineage and exercised on a regular basis. Needless to say, this number can be reduced or extended depending on the way its owner takes care of them and also, their genetics and overall health.

Potential Health Issues

Like what was said earlier, these dogs are not exempted from sickness and illnesses. Some of the common conditions that they endure are lameness, diarrhea, diabetes, arthritis and skin irritation. But these are all minor. The major ones that every owner should watch out for are the following:

  • Hip Dysplasia it’s a condition wherein the hip joint’s socket and ball don’t fit together. Sooner or later, it will cause degenerative joint disease or arthritis to the affected dog.
  • Collapse – this is otherwise called “the wobbles”. Collies and other dog breeds in general that have this condition walk unsteadily, become disoriented or fall after doing vigorous At the time of this writing, veterinarians are still unsure of the root cause of the collapse. But if your dog happens to have one, do everything in your power to keep them cool.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy – this is a type of genetic disease that is causing retina degeneration. If not handled, it could lead to your dog’s blindness.
  • Deafness – unfortunately, blue merle Border Collies could experience premature deafness.
  • Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome – a dog that has this inherited condition is incapable of effectively fighting illnesses. This is all because of “neutrophils”. This is a white blood cell that never reaches the bloodstream from the bone marrow.

Diet & Nutrition of Blue Merle Border Collie

Depending on the age and size of your dog will dictate what diet it should have. Regardless, it is essential that you feed your blue merle with a balanced and complete diet. If you’re clueless on how you can accomplish this matter, always seek your vet’s help. They can tell what is best for your dog. They can recommend reputable and high-quality dog foods for sure.

Under normal circumstances, it is preferable to split your dog’s meal into two. Perhaps you are giving them treats every now and then throughout the day. Now, this must be taken into mind on the portion you’ll give when actual mealtime comes.

Treats must be less than 10 percent of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Anything over that and it’s one step close to giving them an unbalanced diet. Here are some tips to come up with a nice diet plan for your dog.

  • Check their weight – you’ll never go wrong with fresh foods in feeding your blue merles. Aside from packing nutrients and minerals, it promotes overall health to your dog.
  • Improves joint health – these dogs are prone to joint problems. Try to find a way to give them a fresh diet that’s offering Omega-3 fatty acids. With this, you’d be able to prevent joint-related issues from happening. You can take advantage of pre-portioned fresh foods too. This simplifies the process of feeding your dog. At the same time, it ensures that they hit their required calorie intake per day.
  • Top-quality foods – fresh and lightly cooked foods are easier to digest. Furthermore, it promotes healthy gut. It also promotes good digestion. So when your dog has to do its business, it will be easier for them and smaller too.

Grooming of Blue Merle Border Collie

groomed merle Border

Brushing your blue merle weekly is a surefire way of keeping their coat healthy. This will also reduce shedding in the process.

As for bathing, it is not entirely necessary. In fact, you should only give your Border Collie a bath if they begin to smell or if they played in dirt. What you must do frequently is brushing their teeth. 3x per week to be exact. This not only eliminates bad breath but also prevents gum disease. Of course, as part of a complete grooming, don’t forget to clean their ears and trim the nails.

Coats & Shedding

Maybe you are thinking that rough and smooth Border Collies would require a different grooming for their coats and shedding. Truth is, it’s the opposite. There’s nothing different in grooming requirements. Your dog’s undercoat remains downy and thick while the outer layer may be a bit harsher. However, it is better to expect that they may shed more when it’s the season. In times like this, brushing has to be done twice per day. Do this if you want to maintain the lushness and shine of their coat.

Male vs Female of Blue Merle Border Collie

Interestingly enough, male Collies excel at field tests and frisbees. Probably because of their muscle strength. Also, they’re a bit bigger compared to their female counterpart. However, male Border puppies could be a challenge to train. They get overwhelmed easily as they prefer to goof around and have fun.

But as soon as they are over this stage and train with them relentlessly, these dogs will show positive behavior. They would want to serve you and will do anything you tell them. After all, Border Collies are notorious for pleasing their owners.

As for female Border Collies, many would say that they are smarter and better in training than male Border Collie. Since they mature faster, they are more capable of taking responsibility in the field. They are very protective as well of their territory and owners.

How To Get Blue Merle Border Collie?

When breeding, it is essential that at least one of the dogs possess the merle gene. This is a tip among blue merle breeders. What happens is, the dominant color is diluted to have that bluish or grayish shade. To top it off, it also comes with splotchy and swirly lines or streaks.

On the other hand, if you are planning to get a blue merle by buying one, then it is wise to be aware of how much it would have cost you. This way, you can prepare how much you should set aside on your budget.

Price of Blue Merle Border Collie

Since the blue merle pattern is difficult to achieve, it is considered rare. Several factors affect its pricing and overall value. Among which are the location of the breeder and the dog’s lineage.

owner lying on ground with dog

Though on average, one blue merle Border Collie would set you back for 600 to 1,000 dollars. This figure can shoot up to as much as 4,500 dollars depending on the breeder’s reputation and pup itself. If you wish to save though, you can always go to adoption centers. Herein, you only have to shell out 300 bucks for maintenance prior adoption.

Now, before proceeding with the purchase, look first into the pup and parent’s records. By seeing these medical records, it will show you the possible health problems that your dog may have in the future. Through this, you can prepare for whatever may come down the road.

Different Popular Merle Border Collie Colors

As mentioned, merle is a color pattern. And blue merle isn’t the only color combination a Border Collie can have. As a matter of fact, there are several other merle patterns like red merle and stale merle.

Red Merle Border Collie

Red merle Border Collie was brought by gene mutation. This color pattern was first reported in Scotland, sometime around 1940.

Red merle Border Collie have a red base coat. But it also has dark and white markings across its body. These dogs are quite rare. Similar to other merles, their eyes, paws and noses are lighter.

Slate Merle Border Collie

Indeed, the “slate merle” sounds fancy. In reality, a slate coat is a combination between gray and silver. It is also a bit lighter than blue. Depending on how much the dog is, the color could vary. In fact, some dogs end up looking grayer than others.

There are instances in which slate merle and blue merle Border Collie look virtually the same. Luckily there is one distinction to this. Blue merles have black noses. Slate merle’s nose comes in gray.


Blue merle Border Collie is just your standard Border but with a unique color. In essence, merle is not a breed, it is a color pattern. Don’t confuse yourself about it. Meaning to say, all the characteristics and personality of a regular Border Collie, is carried by blue merle Border Collie as well.

If breeding such a dog, one parent must have the merle gene. This doesn’t automatically give you merle Collies. It is still based on the chance of what you’d get. But if you are thinking that breeding two Collies with a merle pattern would increase your chances, don’t. Because even if you do, that litter is likely to have health complications in the end.

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