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Blue Merle Border Collie: Facts, Genetics & More (With Pictures)

A selective focus shot of blue merle Border Collie in a snowy forest

The blue merle Border Collie is one of the most captivating color variants of the Border Collie breed. Along with their mesmerizing blue eyes, it’s no doubt that they’re one of the most beautiful dogs that you’ll encounter.

In terms of traits, these dogs always come on top. They’re noted for being extremely affectionate, lively, and, above all, intelligent. So when you bring one home, you are most likely bringing the best pet package for your family!

Have you been thinking now about getting a blue merle Border Collie? Then stick around! In this article, I’ll help you better understand this lovely dog breed.

What Is a Blue Merle Border Collie? 

Portrait of cute female blue merle Border Collie puppy lying down on bed

The blue merle Border Collie is a color variation of the Border Collie breed and not a separate breed. These dogs are typically seen as white dogs patterned with a gray or bluish shade around their face and body. They may also appear in tri-color with a black, chocolate, and blue base color. 

Merle, also called dapple, is actually a pattern rather than a color. The American Kennel Club, on the other hand, acknowledged this term as part of the Border Collies’ standard color.

As a variety of the Border Collie breed, this dog breed was also originally bred to herd sheep but with more functions than the standard ones. 

In fact, they can compete in shows thanks to their physical attributes. They can also be working dogs because they have a reputation for intimidating their herd with “the eye” or intense gaze.

Are Blue Merle Border Collies Rare?

The blue merle pattern is one of the rarest and most popular color combinations among the 24 Border Collie coat colors. This can only be achieved if one of the pet parents has a merle gene.

It should be noted, however, that possessing only one merle gene does not guarantee blue merles. Due to the great genetic differences of Border Collies, they can also result in red merle, lilac merle, sable merle, tri merle, and many more.

In fact, that’s the main reason why they are thought to be rare — breeding them does not guarantee a puppy with a blue merle pattern will be born, even though the parent has a dominant merle gene.

Blue Merle Border Collie Appearance

Blue merle Border Collie puppy in a meadow

The blue merle Border Collie is a medium-sized dog with an athletic appearance. This dog’s ears usually stand erect, but the tips of the ears fall over, giving them a sassy yet adorable appearance.

Actually, these dog breeds resemble lighter-weight Australian Shepherds, but instead of the bobtail, they have a feathered tail that goes to the hocks. 

Aside from the unique bluish or grayish color pattern of their coats, another prominent feature of blue merle Border Collies is their eyes. They can have brown eyes, amber eyes, light green eyes, and the most popular — blue eyes.

Since this herding dog carries a merle gene, heterochromia, or having two different colored eyes, is prevalent. Most of them are seen with a combination of one blue eye and one brown eye.

Other than that, these blue merles are similar to other Border Collies. Their dark brown to black noses are also pointed, and they may have two types of coat: smooth coat or rough coat.

Moreover, these blue merle Border Collies shed moderately throughout the year and very heavily during shedding season. They also come in various sizes, standing between 18 and 22 inches, and weigh 30 to 45 pounds.

READ NEXT: Miniature Border Collie: Can You Have One as a House Pet?

Blue Merle Border Collie Color Genetics

A breed’s color pattern is largely determined by the dominant and recessive genes of its parents. Usually, merle dogs all have the genotype M/m, which means they have one merle allele and one non-merle allele. 

For a blue merle Border Collie to be produced, one parent should have the merle gene. As a result, there would be a 50% chance of producing a blue merle. Another possible offspring of this is phantom merle or ghost merle.

However, when both parents are merle gene carriers, there is a 25% possibility that one of the pups would acquire a double merle gene, also called homozygous merle or lethal white.

This should be avoided at all costs because these double merles on Border Collie genetic combinations have been linked to a number of health concerns. 

Puppies with a genetic predisposition to being double merles, particularly a homozygous Merle Border Collie, have a higher risk of being blind, deaf, or both.

If you want to acquire a blue merle Border Collie, make sure to find breeders that are knowledgeable on breeding dogs with a merle gene and non-merle gene to avoid the possibility of homozygous merle genes.

RELATED: Border Collie Colors: All 24 Coat Colors Explained With Pictures

Do Blue Merle Border Collie Puppies Change Color as They Grow?

If you’ve raised a blue merle Border Collie from puppy to adulthood, you’ve likely seen some incredible changes in their development and growth, even how their fur changes color over time. 

Typically, the change in coloration is simply due to the natural aging process. Blue merle pups rarely develop their adult coloration until they reach maturity.

As they continue to age, you may observe certain variations in their merle coat. 

Another possible reason for their change in color is because of hormone-related illnesses and vitiligo, which can cause white or unpigmented spots to form on your blue merle Border Collie.

This herding dog may also change color due to injury or surgery. When a dog’s skin heals, the fur that regrows is generally darker than the original color.

Furthermore, dirt stains can also cause a change in their coloration. For example, the eye discharge and tear stains of blue merles can leave a rust-colored residue on the side of their face along their muzzle.

Blue Merle Border Collie Temperament and Personality

Blue merle Border Collie dog with amazing blue eyes running in the snow

The blue merle Border Collie breed surely makes wonderful family dogs, but they are best suited for active families. They will thrive on a farm with plenty of areas to run and explore because they enjoy running and exploring. 

Since blue merle Border Collies are originally bred for herding, their herding instincts can be a little problematic if they aren’t properly socialized and trained. 

If this becomes uncontrollable, the best thing you can do is to get them sterilized.

They may also require at least one family member to be able to keep up with the dog’s level of activity. Otherwise, they will become bored and mischievous. 

Notably, if you have children, you need not worry as they can get along well provided they have been properly socialized from a young age. However, no matter how loving they are, always keep an eye on their interactions with kids.

Aside from kids, they also get along with other dogs and other pets as long as they are properly introduced. 

Here’s a video of a blue merle Border Collie puppy meets another dog:

Blue merle tri border collie puppy first week at home

READ NEXT: Male vs. Female Border Collie: Which Is Better for You?

Blue Merle Border Collie Lifespan and Health Issues

The blue merle Border Collie is a generally healthy dog. Since they are not different from the other Border Collie, they have a similar life expectancy of 10 to 17 years.

However, there are still some health concerns linked with this breed that you should be aware of. These health issues may affect your blue merle Border Collie’s lifespan.

Here are some of the health risks that a blue merle Border Collie may encounter:

  • Hip Dysplasia: When the ball and socket of the hip bone do not fit properly, hip dysplasia can develop in your blue merle Border Collie. If you notice your Border Collie’s rear legs are weak or painful, go to your vet as soon as possible because this could be the first sign of hip dysplasia.
  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA): CEA is a congenital eye problem, meaning your blue merle Border Collie can be born with it. One of the common symptoms of this condition is cloudy sunken eyeballs. Although there is no cure for this, a genetic test for potential blue merle Border Collie dog parents can ensure that dogs are not bred with CEA. 
  • Epilepsy: Epilepsy, or seizures, may manifest during your blue merle Border Collie’s young adult years. It varies in severity from mild to severe. Fortunately, anti-seizure medicine may assist them in having only one seizure in their lifetime. Knowing your dog’s parents’ medical history is essential because this may be hereditary.
  • Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS): TNS is a rare hereditary condition common in Border Collies. With this condition, the bone marrow produces the neutrophils normally, but they are not transported to the blood, where they are needed to combat infections.

If you want to save your dog’s life from these health problems, always make sure that you monitor the health of your blue merle Border Collie. 

RELATED: Border Collie Lifespan: How Long Do Border Collies Live?

How Much Does a Blue Merle Border Collie Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

The cost of a blue merle Border Collie will be more expensive than other Border Collies. 

They can cost anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000, depending on age, gender, and other factors, whereas regular ones are priced between $700 and $1,500. 

Blue merle Border Collies are also available in rescue and shelters. They usually ask for a small adoption fee of $150 to $500 to cover the costs of care for the dog prior to adoption.

Aside from the cost of buying a Border Collie puppy with a blue merle coat, you will also need to spend money to purchase some initial items that will benefit them while they settle into their new home.

Here are the initial items for your blue merle Border Collie that you must note before bringing them home:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$80 – $100
Food and Water Bowls$10 – $30
Bed$40 – $180
Crate$50 – $370
Leashes and Collars$15 – $50
Toys$30 – $40
Grooming Essentials$40 – $160
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$50 – $200
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $300
Initial Vaccine Shots$75 – $200
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Dog License$10 – $20
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$605 – $2,240

If you’re not new to owning a pet, you probably already have some of the items on this list. However, if you are a novice, these items should be on your checklist before bringing home a blue merle puppy. 

You might also want to check your home first and see if there is anything available to help you avoid overspending.

RELATED: How Much Does a Border Collie Cost? (2022 Price Guide)

Places to Find Blue Merle Border Collie Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Two blue merle Border Collie puppies for sale and adoption

There is good news if you want to own a Border Collie with a blue merle pattern! Despite the fact that these canines are difficult to breed, there are plenty of places where you can get them.

When buying a blue merle Border Collie, however, be cautious, especially if you are buying online. You can read our online puppy buying guide to learn how to tell if they are a reputable breeder or a fraud.

You can also check out these reputable breeders to find blue merle Border Collie puppies for sale:

  • Rising Sun Farm – Rising Sun Farm is an American Kennel Club (AKC) Breeder of Merit and is committed to meeting and exceeding the guidelines set forth by the AKC. Since 1996, Rising Sun Farm has been breeding highly sought-after animals around the world, such as blue merle, red, slate, lilac as well as tri blue merle Border Collie puppies.
  • Nightshades Border Collies – Nightshades Border Collies is a breeder of Border Collies based near Wichita, Kansas. On their website, you will see many colors of the breed, such as blue merle, brindle, chocolate, lilac, gold, blue, and sable Border Collie.
  • Prairie Wind Border Collies – Prairie Wind Border Collies has been breeding Border Collies for more than ten years. If you want to buy a blue merle Border Collie puppy from them, you must pay a non-refundable $300 deposit until the dog is ready to leave. If you are unable to pick up your puppy, they can send it to you anywhere in the United States for $395.
  • Shadewood Farm – Shadewood Farm is a small family-run breeder in Virginia that specializes in Border Collies. They are committed to providing pet owners with the resources and assistance they need to enjoy an amazing life with their pets. If you’re looking for a blue merle Border Collie, you can count on them to be well-socialized, temperament-tested, and medically up-to-date.

You can also check our list of Border Collie breeders for more resources.

RELATED: 10 Best Border Collie Breeders (2022): Our Top 10 Picks!

If you prefer to adopt than buy, here are some rescues where you can find a blue merle Border Collie for adoption:

  • Glen Highland Farm – Glen Highland Team is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in January 2001 to help vulnerable Border Collies, including blue merles that are in near-death conditions. Since the start of their organization, they have found homes for almost 3,000 dogs.
  • All Border Collie Rescue – All Border Collie Rescue is a non-profit volunteer rescue organization dedicated to the rescue of all kinds of Border Collies. Their mission is to rescue, rehab, and match their Border Collies to permanent homes. Contact them to see if they have blue merle puppies!
  • Border Collie Save & Rescue – Border Collie Save and Rescue, Inc. is a non-profit dog rescue dedicated to helping abandoned Collies in Central and North Texas. Their mission is to save, rehabilitate, and rehome purebred Border Collies and their mixes.

For more options, you can also refer to our list of Border Collie rescues. Because there are so many Collies in need of homes, it’s best if you go to an animal rescue first. 

To secure your application, read our ultimate adoption guide for helpful tips.

Your options do not stop there. You can even find them for free. Read our ways to find free puppies so you won’t even need to spend a single cent to own a blue merle Border Collie.

RELATED: 10 Best Border Collie Rescues for Adoption (2022): Our Top 10 Picks!

Dog Name Ideas for Blue Merle Border Collie Puppies

Picking your blue merle Border Collie’s name is probably one of the first things you need to do as a pet parent. When choosing a dog name, take into account possibilities that will not be confusing or difficult for your pet to learn.

Researchers found that dogs with a given name can filter out their names from a noisy crowd. Therefore, giving names to your dog will be necessary since it will catch their attention once they hear them. 

Here are some name ideas for your blue merle Border Collie puppy:

  • Luna
  • Bella
  • Lucy
  • Daisy
  • Charlie
  • Max
  • Zoe
  • Molly
  • Buddy
  • Bailey
  • Milo
  • Beau
  • Finn
  • Ellie
  • Lily
  • Lola
  • Bear
  • Pepper
  • Maggie
  • Tucker

Once you’re done giving a name, it’s time to train your dog to respond to it. You can also start personalizing their accessories by having the name embroidered on their leash and dog bed or printed on their dog food bowls.

Frequently Asked Questions

Adorable Border Collie blue merle in the garden playing football

Are Blue Merle Border Collies Purebred?

Yes, blue merle Border Collies are purebred and are not a separate breed from Border Collies. In fact, they are just one of the registered color combinations of the breed.

The only difference between this blue merle and the regular ones is the dog’s coat color. Other Border Collie can have black, blue, brindle, seal, slate, red merle, sable merle, saddleback sable, and many more coat color combinations.

Do Blue Merle Border Collies Have Blue Eyes?

Blue eyes are more common in Border Collies with merle coats. The merle gene does not only provide them with brighter coat types but also lighter colored eyes such as faded amber, light green, or mismatched eyes.

Other pets such as Great Danes and Australian Shepherds can also have these blue eyes and merle coats caused by merle genes.

What Is the Rarest Border Collie Color?

Blue merle is said to be rare in the Border Collie. However, lilac, blue, and saddleback sable are the three rarest coat colors out of the 24 standard colors. 

With that, you should expect to spend more of your hard-earned money if you want to bring home one of these special varieties.

Are Merle Border Collies More Expensive?

Blue merles are more expensive than the regular Border Collie. This puppy price increase is influenced by the fact that they are the most sought-after color among all the Border Collie coat colors.

Furthermore, breeding this coat color is challenging. Hence, breeders tend to drive up the price for merle Border Collies.

Final Thoughts: Is a Blue Merle Border Collie the Right Dog for You?

Blue merle Border Collies are unquestionably admirable pups with striking color patterns and eyes. But they don’t just add beauty to your family. They also have a good nature that can bring a lot of love.

If you’re up for this breed, take note that they need an active individual that can keep up with their energy. If you live in an apartment, this dog may not be ideal for you as it can be too energetic.

Although they’re not large-sized, they are active canines that need a large place to burn off their energy. If you think you’ll be able to manage their hyperactivity, there’s no reason not to bring one home with you.

Did this guide help you to find your next family pet? Share your journey with your blue merle Border Collie in the comment section.