Border Collie Dog Colors: A Complete List of 15 Recognized Coat Colors


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Did you know that Border Collie dogs are the ranked one most intelligent dogs? Besides being incredibly smart, these furry buddies are also notable for their stunning coat colors.

Fur parents with Border Collies find them not just gorgeous but also lively, intelligent, and affectionate companions. 

If you love athletic dogs with unbelievable energy and incredible endurance, you cannot go wrong with a Border Collie. They have medium-length coats, but they are surprisingly easy to groom.

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One of the advantages of adopting this breed is that they shed minimally. Brushing their coat once a week can keep your living space hair-free and clean.

Are you still confused about which coat color your should choose? Keep reading and discover the recognized Border Collie coat colors.

Contents show15 Recognized Border Collie Coat Colors1. Black2. Blue3. Blue Merle4. Brindle5. Gold6. Lilac7. Red8. Red Merle9. Sable10. Sable Merle11. Saddleback Sable12. White and Black13. White and Blue14. White and Red15. White TickedWhat is the Rarest Color of Border Collie Dogs?BlueSableSaddleback SableWhat is the Best Color for a Border Collie Dog?What is the Original Border Collie Dogs Color?The Personality of Border ColliesThe Effect of Coat Color on Border Collies’ Behavior and HealthBorder Collies Change of Color

15 Recognized Border Collie Coat Colors 

Border Collies are attractive and smart dogs with beautiful hair. They are commonly found in black and white coats. However, they also come in other stunning colors. The large color spectrum also applies to their fur pattern and markings.

1. Black 

Black Border Collies are often referred as to as black and white Border Collies. However, do not mistake the white shade as a fur color because it is only a marking.

The coat of this Border Collie is predominantly black. On the other hand, they have noticeable white patches on their tail, feet, chest, neck, and head. Some breeders claim that solid black Border Collies exist, but they are very rare.

2. Blue 

Blue is another attractive coat color of this breed. This coat color occurs once the gene influencing the black color gets diluted. So, these Border Collies are seen with gray or slate shade with bluish undertones. 

At first sight, Blue Border Collies look black once because of their light and dark share. While they are born with a black coat, the coat lightens to blue or gray after their puppy stage.

3. Blue Merle 

Border Collie can have merle color due to the dominant modifying gene, so there are pigmentation patches all over their body. Meanwhile, blue merle Border Collie has a grayish or whitish-based color coat with bluish or blackish spots and patches.

In addition, the blue merle variation comes with bright-colored eyes and pink noses. They often have an overall gray coat and a white chest with patches of black on their tail, back, face, and ears. To have this coat color, one of their parents should carry an incomplete gene or a merle gene. 

4. Brindle

Many pet owners assume that brindle Border Collies are a mix, making them very controversial. They have a coat pattern that looks not natural for Border Colliers and think they have acquired that coat color due to cross-breeding.

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However, experts stated that brindle Border Collies are purebred. They have any color as a base. Then, they are seen with a dark tiger pattern for a more interesting look.

5. Gold 

These Border Collies with a gold coat are also known as yellow/tan or Australian Reds. They are also called blondes due to their coat color.

When it comes to their genetics, they possess a gorgeous gold color due to a particular dilution in the pheomelanin of their red coat, in default.

6. Lilac 

Lilac Border Collies come with chocolate and dilute genes. They look brown and blue. This coat color has many names, including fawn, Isabella, and silver. Regardless of what people call it, this color is undoubtedly gorgeous.

Lilac color as a base comes with some variations, depending on the genes they possess. So, there can be a lilac tricolor merle, lilac merle, and lilac tricolor. This coat color is unique due to being diluted twice. First, they are diluted by the bb gene, where black turns to brown. Secondly, they are diluted by the dd gene, where black changes to gray or blue.

7. Red 

Border Collies with a red coat are not as popular until recently. They may have a unique coat color, but they are still recognized in the US. Other countries are debating and confused about the official name. The UK, for example, they are referred to as Aussie red or golden/yellow.

The red color in their coat is due to the recessive gene. It is necessary to have two red gene copies to create a red Border Collie. They appear in varying red tones. So, expect that some are very light, making them seem like creams, while others are dark. 

8. Red Merle 

The base coat of these Border Collies is red with some marking on their tail, neck, face, and chest. They also have random dark patches. They look like dogs that came straight from a fairytale book or a fantasy movie. They have the coat color that makes them look like fictional characters.

9. Sable 

Sable Border Collies have a tan- or cream-colored coat that comes with dark tips. The sable markings are often seen in some spots on the body.

The darkness or lightness of their coat depends on the combination of black and tan colors. However, it is rare to see them in very dark coat colors. In some instances, these Border Collies have white markings.

10. Sable Merle 

Sable merle Border Collies have a black-tipped coat and some dark color patches on their skin. That coat color is often seen on dogs who inherited a merle or incomplete gene.

If they are observed closely, it is noticeable that they have dark patches in different parts of their body, including the tail, body, and ears. However, their chest and neck are white.

11. Saddleback Sable 

The word “saddleback” is not common for many people. However, in canine, that word is not as complicated as it sounds. It means that can sable color in the coats of Border Collies is spread further.

The sable color does not fully cover the body length of the dog. Instead, the white markings are seen in noticeable spaces. These Border Collies may also have a little tan on their body or face, making them tri-colored.

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12. White and Black 

Some pet owners are confused between black Border Collies and white and black ones. However, they are different from each other. 

Border Colliers with black coats have some markings on their body, while the white and black variety come predominantly light-colored combined with a black tinge. The black shade of these Border Collies is only seen on some parts of the tail and back.

13. White and Blue 

One look at white and blue Border Collies already tells that they are unique. Almost 80% of their base coat is white. They also have clear or blue eyes.

The blue color in these Border Collies is not solid blue. That color occurs due to the recessive dilute gene when the black color has been diluted. It is essential to have two recessive gene copies to produce that coat color. Each parent of these dogs should have that gene.

14. White and Red 

Border Collies with white and red fur combine white and light or deep red tone. While they are not rare, they are not as common as black and red varieties.

15. White Ticked

As the name suggests, Border Collies with white ticked coats have some black ticking on the white markings on their legs and faces.

What is the Rarest Color of Border Collie Dogs?

Any color outside of the traditional red/white and black/white is often classified as a rare color for Border Collie. Most of the Border Collies come in black and white coats. This color is dated back to its origin as farm canines. 

If pet lovers are looking for the rarest color of Border Collie dogs, then the lilac Border Collies are the answer. They are red ones with diluted genes. While they appear to have a faded red color, they are still considered lilac since they appear somewhat purple under the sun.

Lilac Border Collies are sometimes mistaken as blue ones in low light. However, their distinct difference appears in the sunlight. They are rarer than blue because they require two recessive red color copies and two recessive dilute gene copies to produce lilac color.

Other rare coat colors include:


Blue Border Collies come with diluted black, making them appear gray. They are genetically black. They have diluted gene that makes them have a lighter coat. They are born in a gray coat color that turns darker after their puppy stage.

Their eyes are often gray, brown, or green, and their nose is commonly dark gray. They come in varying shades, from lighter to darker gray.


Sable Border Collies are relatively rare. Sable means having hair on the coat with different color shades, meaning these Border Collies come with more than one color in the fur. For example, they may have the sable pattern on the different base colors. Lilac, chocolate, blue, or black can have that sable pattern.

Saddleback Sable 

The sable color is spread further in Border Collies. Their body length is not covered with sable color. Instead, the noticeable spaces in their body are seen with white markings. Some saddleback sables also have a bit of tan on their body and face.

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What is the Best Color for a Border Collie Dog?

Border Collies have a double-layered coat, and they can be rough or smooth. The rough version is feathery and medium-length, while the smooth version is short. The coat requires moderate grooming and is weather resistant.

The most common colors for Border Collies are black and white and tri-color such as tan, white and black. Other common coat colors include white, red, and red tri (tan, white, and red). 

When it comes to the best color for Border Collie dogs, there is no standard color. However, the AKC or American Kennel Club has a list of acceptable coat colors, including:

  • Black
  • Blue 
  • Brindle 
  • Blue Merle 
  • Gold 
  • Lilac 
  • Red Merle 
  • Red 
  • Sable 
  • Saddleback Sable 
  • Sable Merle 
  • White and Black 
  • White and Blue Merle 
  • White and Blue 
  • White and Red 
  • White Ticked 
  • White and Red Merle 

What is the Original Border Collie Dogs Color?

It is very common for people to see Border Collies in a black and white coat. So, it’s no surprise why they assume that only that coat color exist. 

Historically, Border Collies with black and white coats are associated with their job as herders. Many people believe that livestock guardians like this breed must be in white to quickly blend with the herd of sheep.

However, some people think that Border Collies must be dark because sheep do not instantly follow or respect dogs with light colors.

The Personality of Border Collies 

Border Collies are perfectly suited to country living because of their active characteristic. If you leave them without a company or activity, they tend to become destructive and unhappy. Since they are highly intelligent, they can respond well to your praise and learn quickly.

They have herding instincts, so do not get surprised if they protect their territory and family. This quality makes them excellent watchdogs. They get along well with other pets and children they were raised with, but they are sometimes snappish and reserved with strangers.

The Effect of Coat Color on Border Collies’ Behavior and Health 

When it comes to behavior, expect found no effect from coat color. However, coat color may affect their health. All-white and merle are more vulnerable to congenital disabilities and diseases, including:

  • Deafness 
  • Blindness 
  • Microphthalmia 
  • Skin cancer 
  • Skin sensitivity 
  • Eye sensitivity 

Border Collies Change of Color 

Once Border Collies mature, they change color because of the pigment progression. They become golden from being light tan, or their brown color turns to glossy black. If they are already adults, some changes on their coat shade are noticeable, possibly resulted from:

  • Medication
  • Sunlight 
  • Nutritional status 
  • Skin disease 


Border Collies are the furry buddies you would like to keep engaged. It is also ideal to occupy them with stimulating tasks. Besides being affectionate and smart, they also come in stunning coat colors. No matter which color you choose, ensure to shower them with the love and affection they deserve. 


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