You will find herein the most frequent Border Collie colours, which coat may be of different colors, from black and white, to red merle, blue merle, brown or chocolate, or combinations and variations of these. Anyway, and even if, from an aesthetic point of view, each person may be kind of any of these colours -from the most frequent to the rarest- it is true that is just another element to be taken into account, together with others not less important than the color is, such us the instinct and skills at work, essentials of the breed, together with those of the standard.

Again, as it couldn't be otherwise, genetics plays the main rol. The concurrence of genes -dominant and / or recessive - will bring about our dog has a coat coulour or another. The coat color, as well as mucous of our dog is determined by melanin, a pigment that may be eumelanin and phaeomelanin.

Depending on how they affect the coat colour, genes may classified as affecting the basic colors, and genes modifying these. Variety of colours is permitted by the standard, even if white should never predominate.





Black and white combination is, with no doubt, the most frequent. The nose, deep black, specially brings out in these dogs. When dominant B gene (bringing out black color) is present, and even if the specimens may be homozygous (BB) or heterozygous(Bb), the Border Collie will always be black and white.

Blanco y Negro Kimi

Kimi, one of our males.

Cachorro blanco y negro

Black and White Puppy

Cachorro de Border Collie blanco y negro

Border Collie Puppy





The called Blue or Grey Border Collie is due to the presence of a dilute gene, so the deepness of black color is blended, to bluish, slate or dark grey. As well as it happens with other coat colors, the differences are easily seen on puppies (better than on adults, whose coats gets darker).


Siren, Blue BC. Photo owned by Hannah.

Blue Border Collie

Siren, a blue or grey specimen. Thanks to Hannah.

Grey BC

Siren. Picture owned by Hannah.





The Merle gene is dominant, so it is enough with just one M gene to get this patchy pigmentation. M gene acts on eumelanin, and dilutes, strongly or not, on the basic color -brown or black- giving blue merles or red merle-.

blue merle

Blue Merle

Blue Merle Puppy

Blue Merle

Blue Merle





The Extension gene ( ee gene) "masks" in some way the color that, genetically, the dog has. Such pigmentation may be seen by means of evidences such us the nose or the lips. Thus, should these parts of our friend be black, the B.C. would be, from a genetic point of view, black. And when the nose is brown, this would be the basic color. When grey, a blue color will be on the basis -diluted black- and lilac, when the nose is cream-colored or pinkish.


ee red Michelle

Michelle, one of our females from Australian lines.

Rojo Australiano Nahia

Nahia, at Bleu Perle Border Collie. Australian Red

Rojo Australiano o ee Red

Michelle, an ee red border collie.


B L A C K   T R I C O L O R    




Tricolor gene is recessive, so this coat will only appear when two tricolor genes are present. Dominant basic black bring out a black tricolor B.C. Unless unexpect exceptions, matting two tricolor specimens will produce only tricolor puppies.

Tricolor Black

A black tricolor specimen.

BC Tricolor

Nougat, black tricolor. Pciture owned by Marie-Pierre.

Border tricolor corriendo

Nougat, a black tricolor specimen. Thanks to Marie-Pierre.





Merle elements over a tricolor basis. Merle -in contrast to dilute gene, blending the pigmentation on a homogeneus way- the Merle brings out an 'irregular' or patchy pigmentation, strongly or rather subdued, depending on each case.

Merle Tricolor

Blue Eyes, a tricolor merle. Photo owned by Amandine

Border Collie Tricolor

Blue Eyes, a tricolor merle. Photo owned by Amandine

Tricolor rojo, negro y blanco

Blue Eyes. Thanks to Amandine





Chocolate specimens (also called brown or liver) have a brown nose and eyes, that may be also greenish. Gene "b" being recessive -against dominant B, black- causes that brown specimens are, necessarily, "bb". Over brown pigmentation, other genes may act (as it occurred with black color) (merle, dilute...).

Border Collie Chocolate

Opale, thanks to Virginie.

Border Collie Chocolate

Picture owned by Juan Carlos Urra

Brown & White  Border

Picture owned by Juan Carlos Urra





Similar to black tricolor negro, but with a brown basis instead of black. Tricolor gene is recessive, so pigmentation of tricolor chocolate will only appear when two tricolor genes will be present.

Color Chocolate

Destiny Red, Picture owned by Émilie

Chocolate marrón hígado

Destiny Red. Thanks to Émilie


Destiny Red. Picture owned by Émilie





The term 'red' is due to the reference that, in some areas such in the USA is made to brown border collies (nothing to do, thus, withl ee red or golden red). From a genetic point of view, "red merle", chocolate merle are quite similar to the blue merle, but the brown color is on the basis instead of the black color. Blue Merles, however, show up more often, Red Merles being by far much more scarce. A 'bb' specimen is needed (brown or chocolate color) plus a M gene.

border red merle

Vercors Red Merle, owned by Virginie.

red merle

Vercors, a Red Merle male. Thanks to Virginie

mirlo rojo

Vercors. Owned by Virginie





Lilac specimens, as it happens with grey or blue BC, have a dilute gene but in this case over a brown basis. Again, combination with white is frequent, on legs, mouth and head. Nose is often cream-colored, evidencing the chocolate basic pigmentation.

Ejemplar lilac

Celt, foto gentileza de Hannah


Celt, foto gentileza de Hannah




Coat of sables (sand) evidences a blend of eumelanin and phaeomelanin, so the hair is lighter at the basis and gets darker at the end. This brings out a copper-colored coat, blended, in combination with white. As said with other speciments, the nose and lips colors may reveal the basic pigmentation of the dog.

Border Collie Sable

Clymens, a sable BC. Kindness of Muriel.

Sable Border Colie

Clymens, Border Collie sable owned by Muriel.

Color sable

Sable and White. THanks to Muriel.





By far, one of the rarest colors of this breed. It may occur by matting a tricolor and a merle. The patchy features of merle can be seen easily when the dog is still a puppy, becoming homogeneous as it growths. The dog is 'sable' gene carrier on the A (agouti) gene but not of the double recessive over the black, so it causes that the usual features of sable are not shown as usually.


Seal Merle

F-Ban, photo by Gaëlle Danse, Belgium

Seal tricolor merle

F-Ban, photo by Gaëlle Danse, Belgium

Sable merle tricolor

Thanks to Gaëlle Danse, Belgium