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11 Stunning Colors of Border Collies – A Guide to Border Collie Colors & Markings

There are few dog breeds as stunning and incredible as the Border Collie. Not only are they gorgeous dogs, but they’re affectionate, lively and highly intelligent. In fact, they’re the smartest dog breed in the world according to researcher Stanley Coren.

If you’ve decided to raise a Border Collie then I applaud you for the wise decision. However, there are so many color and coat variations of these dogs. Before picking one up, I suggest you review these Border Collie colors and decide on something that you like!

For your convenience, we’ve collected the 11 most popular colors of Border Collies just for you. Let us know in the comments section below which color you like the best!

RECOMMENDED: The Guide to Dog Colors

Beautiful Border Collie Colors

Note: these are the most popular colors of the Border Collie. There may be other colors variations, but they’re generally very rare to find. If you’re looking to pick a specific color, then these are essentially your options.

1. Black & White Border Collie

The black and white Border Collie is the signature look for these dogs. When people think of Border Collies, they picture this coat color in their head. Needless to say, these are the most popular and prevalent coat colors.

The black color is a dominant gene. As a result, the black and white colors will nearly always be standard in your Border Collie, unless other modifying genes are bred into these dogs.

2. Black Tri Color Border Collie

Tri color Border Collies are beautiful and may be the second most popular color variations of these dogs. They look very much like the black and white versions, except with tan-colored markings on the cheeks, legs, chest, bottom and sometimes eyebrows.

This tri-color effect is a recessive trait, meaning that two copies of the gene must be in the dog in order for this color to happen. Generally, one copy of the gene must come from each parent.

So if you had two tri-colored Border Collies breed, you will only get puppies with this color.

3. Blue & White Border Collie

Keep in mind, the “blue” in these dogs are not actually a solid blue. It’s mainly what you call Border Collies when they have the recessive dilute gene. In other words, it’s when the black color on a Border Collie has been diluted.

Again, two copies of this recessive gene must be present in order for the puppy to have this color. Each parent must have a copy of this gene for this to happen.

If you plan to pick up a blue and white Border, make sure to be wary about the possibility of the color dilution alopecia condition. It’s something that occurs in all dogs that have been bred for this color – not just Border Collies.

This condition may cause loss of skin, which generally leads to skin complications. If possible, avoid this color.

4. Blue Merle Border Collie

The merle color effect is caused by a dominant modifying gene. As a result, the Border Collie will show patches of pigmentation throughout the body. For blue merles, the Border Collie will have a white/gray-ish base colored coat with black/blue-ish patches and spots.

Not only will this gene affect the coat color, but also the nose and eyes. For example, blue merle Border Collies tend to have pink noses and bright-colored eyes (such as bright blue). It’s not uncommon for merles to exhibit two different colored eyes as well.

Because the merle gene is dominant, the dog really only needs one copy of the gene to produce this coat. It’s colorful, stunning and highly sought-after in the Border Collie community.

Keep in mind, when a Border Collie has two copies of the merle gene, there can be many health complications that come with it. These conditions may include deafness, mild blindness (abnormal small eyes) and overall poor health.

5. Slate Merle Border Collie

The slate merle Border Collie is similar to the blue merle. However, this “slate” color is apparent because the blue/black/white coat color has been diluted. For this to happen, the dog needs two copies of the recessive dilute gene and just one copy of the merle.

If the Border Collie has the tri-color genes along with the dilute genes, it is possible to get a slate tri color Border Collie as well.

According to the AKC, these are not an official colors of the Border Collie. However, they have been steadily increasing in popularity for whatever reason.

6. Blue Tri Border Collie

The blue tri-colored Border color will certainly have the dominant merle gene as well. The only difference is the dog has two copies of the tri-color gene and just one of the merle gene.

The result is something truly beautiful. The tri-color Border Collie will have the same base coat color as the blue merle, but with tan / copper markings on the chest, legs, cheeks, eyebrows, bottom and under the tail. They can have markings in all these areas or just some.

7. Chocolate & White Border Collie

Chocolate is not the official name of this dog’s coat color. Many breeders from around the world may call this differently, but we think most US breeders go by this name.

The chocolate and white Border Collies have a brown coat that can range from a light milk chocolate to a darker brown chocolate. It’s similar to what you may see in French Bulldog colors. Furthermore, these dogs will have white markings around the chest, bottom and collar.

What makes this Border Collie look so unique is the eye colors that pair with the coat. Their eyes can come in an array of colors, such as brown (light to medium), green or a golden yellow.

This gene is also recessive, meaning that two parents must have a copy of the chocolate gene. By mating two chocolate Borders, you’ll get a litter with these coat colors.

8. Chocolate Tri Color Border Collie

The chocolate tri-colored Border Collie will have the recessive genes of the chocolate color. However, for a tri-color to actually happen, the dog will need two copies of the chocolate gene and two copies of the tri-color gene.

The result will be a Border Collie with the base of a chocolate dog, but also tan and copper markings around the body. These markings generally appear around the chest, legs, cheeks, eyebrows, bottom and under the tail.

9. Lilac Border Collie

The lilac color is similar to the chocolate & white color of the Border Collie. The only difference is that the lilac Borders have both the dilute and chocolate genes. Both are recessive genes, meaning two copies of both genes is needed for the dog to produce a lilac color.

The lilac color is truly something unique. It looks like a both a blue and brown. There are many names for this color, including silver, isabella (in Dobermans) or fawn (in Kelpies). Whatever you want to call it, the lilac is a gorgeous color on a Border Collie.

Like with the other base colors, there are several variations of the lilac color. Depending on the genes that the dog possess, you can have a lilac tri color, lilac merle or even a lilac tricolor merle. All these are much more rare and harder to breed, but there are Border Collies with these beautiful coats.

10. Sable Border Collie

Though sable is an officially recognized Border Collie color, they are relatively rare. Still, there are breeders that breed them and potential owners that seek them.

Sable is when the hair on the coat has different shades of color. In other words, there are more than one color on the hair. For instance, the root color is generally black, whereas the tip of the hair can be a light brown.

This sable is more of a pattern than a specific color. With that said, the sable pattern can be seen on many different base colors of the Border Collie. For example, a black, blue, chocolate or lilac base can have the sable pattern.

11. Red Border Collie

Red Border Collies have not always been popular. In fact, they were extremely rare until recently. Despite this, the color red is still a recognized color in the United States. In other countries, there is still confusion and debate on the official name. For instance, UK generally refers to them as golden/yellow or Aussie red.

As you may have guessed, red is a recessive gene. Likewise, two copies of the red gene is needed to create such a color in these dogs. Breeding two red Border Collies will get you a litter of only red puppies.

There are also other variations of red, such as red merle and red / white. All of which, are currently recognized by the AKC.

This list is not a comprehensive list of all the colors of Border Collies. There are a lot that have been missed, but it’s unlikely that you may find one. In our research, these are the most frequently seen colors.

Did we miss a Border Collie color that you feel should be on this list? If so, let us know in the comments section below.

And please do tell us, which color of the Border Collie do you like best?

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Nancy A Elliott

Monday 19th of July 2021

Where is the Black BC? Nearly solid black (teeniest bit of white to be found on underside). Descended, I believe, from the Northumbrian -Old Hemp type.


Saturday 12th of December 2020

I have a tri-merle border collie. I have yet to see another tri-merle. She is a chocolate merle with the tan tri markings on her cheeks, legs, and under her tail. She has blue eyes with a merle/marble left eye (top of her one eye is amber). I've seen a lot of chocolate/ red merles but none with the tri markings.


Wednesday 10th of March 2021

Tricolor merles aren’t rare and from what I’ve seen are potentially more common than bicolor merles.

carol haylett

Friday 15th of May 2020

brindle is considered a border collie color. how rare is it, how is it related to sable, and could we see some pictures of brindle border collies? thank-you.

Fiona Hodge

Monday 27th of January 2020

I think ticking is missing from this list. My BC, who died last month, was described to us as Blue Merle, but the grey in his coat was not due to merle, but ticking (which was more obvious on his face and legs). He was actually tri-colour with heavy ticking - with a beautiful result. Examples are on his twitter account at @DillyDog15


Saturday 19th of October 2019

Red tri-color (touch of black) Border Collie.