Although Border Collies are predominantly black and white, they come in many colours. However, it was assumed that dark-coloured Border Collies would immediately be more respected when they came in sight of sheep, as they look more like predators than lighter-coloured dogs.
Sheep can and will appreciate any serious dog, so the colour is not as important as first thought. But black and white is still the traditional colour pattern.
The white markings are so that the dog can be seen in the moonlight when rounding up sheep in the dark.
It is not entirely clear why Border Collies are black and white. However, since they were initially bred as working dogs for agriculture, it is thought that the white markings were chosen to make them easier to see in the moonlight at night.
This pattern also serves to camouflage them from predators. Despite the many theories, one thing is sure: these dogs have a uniqueness that sets them apart from other breeds.
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Coat Colour, Pattern And Markings Of The Border Collie
The coat of the Border Collie is double-layered, but there are two types. The first is smooth and short, while the rough skin is medium length and has feathers.
The Border Collie’s coat is perfect for its work as a herding dog and its preference for the outdoors, and it is also weatherproof. The downside is that they are not hypoallergenic but require moderate grooming.
The Border Collie Society of America (BCSA) and American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard for this dog recognizes all colours of the Border and a mixture of shades, patterns, and markings.
It is rare for the Border Collie to have only one color, but usually, they are bi-colour, tri-colour, sable, merle, tickled or speckled. Some specimens of this breed also come in seal, slate, and gold.
The Most Common Border Collie Colours
We have already mentioned that Border Collies come in different colours, but some are rare.
So, these options are often available if you are looking for a good Border (colours, this breed with a colour you like).
Black And White Border Collie
When talking about this breed, many people imagine it in two colors – black and white. This is the typical look of the Border Collie. Their body is mainly black with white markings on the face and underside.
In some dogs, the entire head is covered with black fur, while the hair from the collar to the tail is black and white. Black is a dominant gene, which makes it the standard for this dog.
Chocolate And White Border Collies
Another common colour combination is brown and white, but others call it brown. It resembles the black and white Border markings, but the shade can range from light to dark brown. The white is usually found on the collar, chest area, and buttocks.
Border Collies that have this bi-colour have unique eyes. They can be light to medium brown, golden yellow or green. To get a brown Border Collie, his parents should have a chocolate gene.
Blue And White Border Collies
When we speak of “blue” in dogs, it does not mean a uniform colour. It is the term for the recessive dilution gene. This occurs when the black colour is diluted to produce a slate blue-bluish-grey undertone.
You should avoid choosing a blue and white Border, as it is prone to a condition called colour dilution alopecia. All dog breeds with blue coats can suffer from this condition, which causes skin problems.
Red Border Collies
Also called Australian/Aussie red, gold, yellow, liver or tan, this shade is not very popular. Although rare, this Border Collie colour is recognised in the United States.
Red is a recessive gene, and Borders with this colour have parents who also have this shade. Another variation of this colour is the red merle.
Is It All About Herding?
The name of the breed comes from the border between England and Scotland. These dogs were used to herd sheep and cattle, so they didn’t have to be as fast and agile as other dogs to keep up with their herders.
Why all Border Collies are black and white, no one knows! There is evidence that this may be due to breeding practices during hunting season or regional representations of the breed in literature.
In an online discussion group for people who work with sheep (including those who have Border Collies as pets), it was said that a black-and-white dog is easier to see against a black-and-white background because that is the landscape in which shepherds usually have to work.
The dog’s job is to colour the sheep to help the shepherd shear them. Others say there were no other colours when these dogs were bred, so the colour pattern was “invented”. However, I have not been able to find any evidence of this.
When my dog was a puppy, I was told that her colouring provided good camouflage in the tall grass where she played as a puppy.
We didn’t notice her white markings until she had been in the area for six months. She stood out in a sea of black and white sheep.
The Weather Theory
Some believe that the colouring was not chosen because Border Collies are sheep herders but is the result of the habitat of these dogs.
In areas with cold weather, brown and cream colours were invisible on sheep wool in snowy fields.
In contrast, white dogs had an advantage in warmer climates because their hair seemed to attract more sunlight, and their skin did not darken from sun exposure like the darker dogs of other breeds.
What About The Eyes?
This could also be why the Border Collies’ other double colour, blue eyes. When they became popular in the 1800s, many breeders didn’t know about these natural colours.