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21 Border Collie Colors, Markings & Patterns (With Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

border collie

The Border Collie is one of the most popular canine pets around. Originating from the border country between Scotland and England (hence their name), they are one of the most intelligent and hardworking pets. They are part of the working dog community and have a loyal, energetic, and alert temperament.

The Border Collie’s coat comes in a variety of colors and patterns. While some are more common and others are rarer, they are all beautiful. If you have been thinking about adopting a Collie and are interested in their coat appearance, you have come to the right place.

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Border Collie Patterns and Markings

Border Collies are very diverse as far as their coloring, patterns, and markings. The vast amount of combinations create beautiful coats of fur that people love.

These pups also dominate in dog shows where they show off their herding and agility techniques. Interestingly, because there are so many fur possibilities, most judges accept any color or markings in a purebred Collie.

Beyond the color variations, these dogs can also have longer, rougher fur or shorter, smooth coats. This is mostly dependent on their background and ancestors.

4 Border Collie Patterns

There are four main patterns that you will find on a Border Collie.

1. Merle Border Collie

Male Blue Merle Border Collie
Image Credit: ForeverNaturalPhotography, Shutterstock

Also known as the dapple pattern, this is one of the most beautiful dog coats you can find. The varying spots across the coat appear to be many different colors, yet they are actually created by different tones of the same color. What you will see is a lighter background coat with darker spots. With the merle, you will never see the same coat twice.

That being said, many people believe breeding two merles together will create something even more stunning. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Merging these two coats will create a mostly white coat with a few spots throughout the fur. What’s more, this crossbreed typically has serious eye and ear problems.

When it comes to the Border Collie, merle is a common pattern to see. Usually, you will find this pattern in red or blue-colored coats. This pattern can occur on a solid background or a piebald pattern.

2. Piebald Border Collie

Piebald is another pattern of the border collie. This is when a dog’s coat has non-pigmented spots. For example, if the pup is black but has large white splotches, they are considered a piebald. This is another beautiful design and is very common among Collies.

Like the merle, piebalds have some health stigmas attached to their pattern. In this case, hearing problems seem to be common. If there are white hairs in the canine’s ear, the lack of pigment will create a hearing issue as the hairs help transmit sound. This is not an issue with every piebald, however.

3. Saddle Border Collie Pattern

saddle border collie
Image Credit: Jan Barkmann, Pixabay

The saddle pattern is an uncommon coat look for the Border Collie. You are more likely to see this coat on German Shepherds, and it’s just like it sounds. The fur resembles a dog wearing a saddle as they have dark fur on their back and sides.

This pattern can be dual-toned or tri-colored. You will typically see the “German Shepherd-style saddle” in black and tan. This is where the dog’s back fur is black with the dark color extending down their sides. Their legs, paws, and face are tan.

You can also find this pattern with a black “saddle” and white legs, paws, face, etc. There is usually some tan mixed in that outlines features such as their ears. Although it is rarer in the Collie, it’s still an amazing fur coat to have.

4. Brindle Border Collie

Brindle is the last pattern you will see on a Border Collie. The best way to describe this pattern is to think of tiger stripes, yet it’s a lot more subtle in this case. Like the merle, the brindle is varying shades of the same color (again, making it less noticeable than a tiger’s fur).

This pattern can cover an entire coat, but not on the Collie. When it comes to this breed, you will see brindle markings as we will talk about below. This is also a rare pattern to see on this canine.

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5 Border Collie Markings

The Border Collie is well known for some distinguishing markings. It is extremely rare to find this breed in a single color. Instead, they are likely to have some of the patterns above along with the markings below.

1. Blaze Markings

Border Collie herding
Image Credit: mandarinblues, Pixabay

Blaze Border Collie markings are the most common pattern you will see on this type of dog. The “blaze” is the white stripe that starts on their forehead and runs through the back of their neck. It can be small and narrow like a lightning bolt, or a wider stripe that covers more of their forehead.

2. Points

border collie with point markings
Image Credit: Alexandra Morrison Photo, Shutterstock

Points are another common Border Collie marking you will see. This typically occurs on their ears, but it can also be found on their face, legs, and tail. These spots (or outlines, as they sometimes look) are darker than their base color.

3. Ticking

close up of ticked border collie
Image Credit: Lindsay Helms, Shutterstock

This is another marking you will often see on the Border Collie. Ticking is small color patches inside their white markings. In this case, the white color is like a piece of paper on a dark table. If you poke holes in the paper, you will see the dark table below. Needless to say, the spots are darker and usually the color of their base coat.

4. Brindle

As mentioned, brindle is a pattern, but also a marking on this breed as it does not cover the entire coat. With the Collie, the brindle pattern is usually a point pattern. It can also have ticking on top of that. This is rare to see, though.

5. Speckled

spotted border collie
Image Credit: ForeverNaturalPhotography, Shutterstock

Speckled or spotted Border Collies are very popular and common. They can have a lot of speckles throughout their coat or only a few, but it adds to the beauty and overall pattern of their fur.

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The Reason Behind the Border Collie Colors

Border Collies have been studied extensively by researchers trying to determine how and why a dog’s fur color is…what it is. Like most canines, their genes play a large role in their appearance. That may not be the case for this pup, however.

With the Border Collie, the genes that “represent” dark colors seem to be missing. So, why do they typically have dark fur if the “dark fur genes” are absent?

To answer the above question, researchers are not sure. What they do know is the Border Collie has a low inbreed rate, but the truth remains the same. Black and white Border Collies are the most common type, and most of them have at least some white.

The 4 Most Common Border Collie Colors and Patterns

Let’s take a look at the most popular colors and patterns of Border Collies.

border collie colors

1. Black and White Border Collie

black and white border collie
Image Credit: Aloïs Moubax, Pexels

As mentioned, the black and white Border Collie is the most common color. Typically, they will have more black than white, and they are also likely to have a white blaze stripe on their forehead.

2. Tri-Color Border Collie

tri colored border collie
Image Credit: vyasphoto, Shutterstock

The tricolored Border Collie is the next most popular coat type. For the most part, you will find the colors to be black, white, and tan, but it can vary. You can find points on this fellow, as well.

3. Blue and White Border Collie

blue and white border collie
Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay

This next pup is not actually blue. It is more of a “watered-down” black that appears blue. This color can be found in different patterns, etc., but the most common look is blue and white. They will also have the same markings as their black and white counterparts.

4. Chocolate and White Border Collie

border collie points
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

This is another combo of colors that is going to present itself in the same way as the black and white Collies- down to the blaze mark. Chocolate, though not the official name, is the most used term for this color. It can range from dark brown to light tan, but it always makes their eyes pop making this a stunning coat.

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The 4 Less Common Border Collie Colors and Patterns

Next, we have coats that are slightly less common, but still beautiful and unique.

1. Blue Merle Border Collie

Blue Merle Border Collie laying on the grass
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

The blue merle is another stunning coat in the canine world. This Collie has a white to slightly grayish base with blue spots and markings. In this case, the blue spots can be closer to black. You will also find this pooch has light-colored eyes, as well.

2. Blue Tri-Border

This is an interesting coat. Like the fur type above, the blue tri-border has the merle pattern. However, they will have tan and copper markings and spots all around their chest, legs, tail, and backside on top of the white/grayish base.

3. Red and White Border Collie

red border collie
Image Credit: volofin, shutterstock

This next color used to be very rare in the Border Collie family, although it has recently gained quite a bit of popularity. This look is, again, very similar to the black and white coat. The “red” color can also be very light, or it can be darker like a more copper color. When it’s on the light side, they are likely to have a merle pattern.

4. Chocolate Tri Color Border Collie

chocolate border collie
Image Credit: Enirehtacess, Pixabay

This is another beauty to behold. The chocolate tricolor is a mostly brown border collie with slightly fewer white features than the chocolate and white BC. They will also have either red or copper marks typically around the ears, face, and paws. The effect is adorable!

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The 4 Rare Border Collie Colors and Patterns

Our last four coat colors are a rarity among Border Collies. If you happen to see these amazing furs, however, you will not forget them!

rare collie colors

1. Lilac and White Border Collie

This rare coat color is something to see! Depending on how dark it is, it can look like a blue/brown Border Collie or brown/blue. This Border Collie also is likely to have light eyes, too. Called by several different names including fawn and silver, they are a sight to behold

2. Lilac Merle Border Collie

Even rarer than the lilac and white Border Collie is the lilac merle. This Collie will have the same base and top color but with the spots and markings of a merle. You can find a tri-color merle, as well, but they are extremely uncommon, yet still gorgeous.

3. Slate Merle Border Collie

The Slate Merle is another rare coat for a Border Collie. They have similarities to the blue and white and blue merle, yet they are still uniquely different. With this coloring, the black and white have been diluted to create a slate or light gray/silver color. Combined with the merle pattern, they are truly breathtaking. Interestingly, you can also find a slate tri-color merle, though again, it’s rare.

4. Sable Border Collie

Our last coat color is sable. The sable Border Collie is more of a pattern than a color, but we wanted to add it here as it still determines the “hue” of the coat. Sable occurs when the individual strand of hair has different colors. For example, the first color at the base is usually black. It can then change to chocolate than to tan or even white. This will give the Collie a kaleidoscope color effect. Black is also not the only base color. This can happen with blue, lilac, and chocolate base coats, as well.

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We hope you enjoyed this overview of the Border Collies many fur colors, patterns, and markings. This pooch has a beautiful coat whether it’s the more common black and white or the more uncommon slate merle. Either way, as a pet parent, you can expect to enjoy many compliments about their stunning coats. Plus, your BC will love them, too!

Featured Image Credit: jhas, Pixabay

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