Tri Color Border Collie: Facts, Genetics & FAQs (With Pictures)

A tri color Border Collie puppy standing on grass

It’s easy for the tri color Border Collie to captivate people with its distinct charm. This canine is not only intelligent, active, and hardworking but looks uniquely special as well.

And while Border Collies are already considered royalty in the dogdom, it seems that tri color Border Collies are able to elevate their status further with their stunning combination of three color shades.

If you haven’t met one yet, stick around! In this guide, I’ll talk about the handsome-looking tricolor Border Collie. I’ll cover all essential information about this purebred — its appearance, health, puppy prices, and more!

What Is a Tri Color Border Collie?

Tri colored Border Collie sitting on an huge open field

A tri color Border Collie is a purebred Border Collie that exhibits three colors on its coat. The three different hues on this tricolor pooch come from their 17 possible coat colorations. Because of their uniqueness, the tricolor Border Collie is not as common as other color variants of the breed.

Depending on its inherited dominant pigmentation genes, a tri color Border Collie can have various attractive coat color combinations. 

Usually, a tricolor Border Collie will have a solid color combined with white and tan markings. The most common combination is black, white, and tan. 

Other color combinations are also possible, and even a merle color pattern can form part of the three color combinations.

That said, a tri-colored Border Collie is recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kennel Club (UKC), Continental Kennel Club (CKC), The Kennel Club (TKC), and Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

Are Tri Color Border Collies Rare?

Although it is more common to see bi-color combinations among Border Collies, tri-colored Border Collies are not entirely rare. It all depends on the color genes the Border Collie will inherit from its parents.

Border Collies are capable of carrying various alleles of color genes. Hence, a wide array of possible coat colors can turn out for each Border Collie puppy that is born. 

They can come in solid colors, bi-colors, and tri-colors. Even a merle color pattern is possible for the Border Collie if its parent carries the dominant merle gene.

When a Border Collie has a dominant merle gene, it will appear to have patches of darker shade along with its light base coat color on its body. 

Meanwhile, if a tri color Border Collie has a dominant merle gene, you will notice that apart from its two other colors, patches of dark and light coloration of another shade will be present.

Thus, merle tri color Border Collies may be harder to come across and will most likely come with a higher price tag.

Tri Color Border Collie Appearance

Tri color Border Collie is running across a meadow

Apart from its three-shade coloration, the tri color Border Collie carries the same features as the standard Border Collie. This medium-sized pooch has a balanced body that allows for swift and steady movements.

Appearing slightly longer than tall, the adult tri color Border Collie is around 18 to 22 inches in height and usually weighs between 30 and 55 pounds.

They have moderately broad heads with oval-shaped eyes. Brown is the usual color of their eyes, except for merle tri color Border Collies, who may appear to have one or both eyes that are blue. 

But if the tri-colored Border Collie has a brown coloring, it can likewise have a brown nose. Meanwhile, those with blue coloring may appear to have a slate nose. 

When it comes to their tri color coat, they come in a variety of color combinations and patterns. Solid colors such as black, blue, gold, red, sable, seal, slate, and lilac are usually seen combined with white and tan.

Other tricolor Border Collies will have a combination that includes blue merle, sable merle, or red merle. All these beautiful color combinations come in two-length variations. 

As the longer-length variant, the rough coat type can be straight or wavy. On the other hand, the shorter, smooth coat type is soft and thick. 

It is also worth noting that tricolor Border Collies have double coats that help them adjust to various temperatures and weather conditions.

Watch the exotic-looking blue merle tri-colored Border Collie pup in the video below:

Neoma's 10 week progress!

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

Tri Color Border Collie Color Genetics

Various color genes are involved in the genetics of the coat color of the tricolor Border Collie. How they interact with each other determines the specific outcome of the tri color coat of the Border Collie.

To start with, there are two pigments that create coat colors; the black pigment called eumelanin and phaeomelanin, which is a red pigment. 

There are genes that alter or suppress the production of these pigments, which creates other coat colors such as blue, gold, seal, slate, and lilac. 

The first is Agouti, which affects the production of black pigment, creating sable, tan points, and saddleback patterns. Another is liver, which gives the tri color Border Collie a brown coloring. 

Meanwhile, the dilution gene is able to affect the black and red pigment, creating a blue and lilac coat color. This gene can also influence the nose color of the tricolor Border Collie.

The extension gene, on the other hand, is responsible for determining which areas will produce black and red pigments. As for white markings, the S or white spotting gene controls this. 

And if a tri-colored Border Collie has ticked markings, its ticking gene has enabled this trait to manifest.

Lastly, the merle gene is responsible for diluting certain parts of the coat color of the tri color Border Collie.

Thus, when a Border Collie puppy is born, the interaction of the unique set of dominant and recessive color genes its parents have passed on causes it to have three distinct colors.

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

Do Tri Color Border Collie Puppies Change Color as They Grow?

Tri color Border Collie puppies can change color as they mature. This is due to pigment progression. Normally, a tri color Border Collie puppy will reach its final coat color upon maturity. 

This change is not dramatic but more of a color refinement for the tri color Border Collie. Some will achieve a lighter shade of their color, while others will achieve a darker coat pigment.

Other causes of a change in the coat color of the tri-colored Border Collie are old age, injuries, illnesses such as cancer and hormonal problems, and staining due to contact with certain chemicals.

Tri Color Border Collie Temperament and Personality

Close up image of tricolor Border Collie running on green blurry background

Tri color Border Collies make excellent family dogs for active singles and families. These energetic and superiorly intelligent dogs are not only diligent workers but are also sweet and affectionate family members.

They are deeply loyal to loved ones and though they tend to pick a favorite person, tricolor Border Collies are able to bond with all family members. That said, being away from them would likely result in separation anxiety.

Getting along with older children and other pets is not a problem as long as they are carefully socialized with them early on. 

But if you have young children in the household, tri color Border Collies may not be the best choice as they can be very playful and may tend to be rowdy. 

In terms of meeting strangers, they can be quite aloof with them due to their protective nature. 

And because they are herding dogs, they possess a high prey drive that usually results in the tri-colored Border Collie chasing small animals. Thus, a secure and fenced yard is important to keep them safe. 

All in all, the tricolor Border Collie is a great family companion with all its endearing traits. Their cleverness, energetic spirit, and eagerness will always bring added joy and warmth to family activities and adventures.

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

Tri Color Border Collie Lifespan and Health Issues

Tri color Border Collies are generally healthy dogs. They usually live for 12 to 15 years. Although they tend to have a long lifespan, there are still some illnesses they are susceptible to, some of which are linked to their coat color.

For one, merle tri color Border Collies are at a higher risk for blindness, hearing impairments, and skin sensitivity. 

Meanwhile, a blue tri color Border Collie has a higher risk of developing color dilution alopecia, an illness associated with the color dilution gene.

Below are some of the health problems of the tricolor Border Collie:

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a bone disorder that affects the hip joint of the tricolor Border Collie. This occurs during the dog’s growth period and the deformity of the hip socket leads to pain, decreased movement, and limping.
  • Collie Eye Anomaly: Collie eye anomaly is a congenital disease that occurs when there is a gene mutation affecting the various layers of the eye. The most common symptom is blindness, which varies in severity for every tri color Border Collie affected by this disease.
  • Congenital Deafness: A higher risk of congenital deafness has been linked to merle tricolor Border Collies and those with white-colored heads and blue eyes. This is due to the degeneration of blood vessels in the inner ear, which is essential to proper hearing function.
  • Epilepsy: Epilepsy is an abnormality of the brain wherein the affected tri color Border Collie experiences a series of seizures without a known cause. Symptoms of this disorder include twitching, shaking, and convulsions. 
  • Sun Sensitivity: Merle tricolor Border Collies, especially double merles or those with two copies of dominant merle genes, can be more sensitive to sunlight. This is due to the lack of pigment on their coat, causing less protection from sun damage. 

In addition, tri color Border Collies can be genetically predisposed to neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis and trapped neutrophil syndrome

When purchasing a tri color Border Collie, always verify with your breeder if the puppy has undergone genetic testing and has been cleared of the genetic issues mentioned above.

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

How Much Does a Tri Color Border Collie Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

Tri color Border Collie puppy for sale and adoption

A tri color Border Collie puppy costs around $800 to $1,600. For puppies that are born from champion lineage, they are usually higher-priced, often being offered at $2,000 and up.

Alternatively, you can consider adopting a tricolor Border Collie. Adoption fees are far less expensive, usually ranging from $200 to $500. 

Doing so also allows an abandoned tri-colored Border Collie to have a much-deserved forever home.

As you start preparing for the arrival of your tri-colored Border Collie puppy, you need to include in your list of expenses the essential items and procedures your pup needs.

You can refer to the table below to know about the initial expenses of the tri color Border Collie:

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

These initial expenses can serve as a helpful guide in budgeting for your tri color Border Collie pup. 

The amounts listed are estimates only, and your actual spending can still differ depending on your chosen items and procedures for your pup. 

Always remember to choose durable items that your tricolor Border Collie can use for a long time.

RELATED: How Much Does a Border Collie Cost? (2023 Price Guide)

Places to Find Tri Color Border Collie Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Looking for trustworthy places where you can get a tri color Border Collie is crucial in ensuring you are getting a quality pup. Reliable sources always take the well-being of the puppies as their top priority.

As this can sometimes be an overwhelming endeavor, I have listed some of the reputable breeders and rescues of tri color Border Collies to ease your search.

Below are some reputable breeders of tricolor Border Collie puppies:

  • Holther Border Collies – Holther Border Collies are extremely passionate about the Border Collie breed. Thus, they are very selective when it comes to their breeding stock and choosing households to which their puppies, such as the tricolor Border Collie, will eventually go home.
  • Majestic Border Collies – As a proud recipient of numerous awards, Majestic Border Collies take pride in producing quality Border Collie puppies, including the tricolor Border Collie, with sound type, temperament, and trainability. Puppies are raised in the owner’s home and their dogs participate in sporting events such as herding, agility, obedience, and rally.
  • Embrace Border Collies – Being acclaimed as an AKC Breeder of Merit, Embrace Border Collies showcases their passion for the Border Collie breed by producing puppies like the tricolor Border Collie with good conformation and excellent skills in herding, nose work, agility, and obedience.

You can also check out our 10 best Border Collie breeders to get additional options. Likewise, our puppy buying guide is another reading essential when purchasing puppies online.

RELATED: 10 Best Border Collie Breeders (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

If you prefer to adopt, below are some rescues where you can find a tri color Border Collie:

  • Arizona Border Collie Rescue (AZBCR) – AZBCR is dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming abandoned Border Collies like the tri-colored Border Collie. They advocate for compassionate treatment of Border Collies through their education, health care, and foster initiatives. Many of their rescued Border Collies come from owner surrenders and from local shelters where they are at risk of euthanasia. 
  • Border Collie Rescue of Northern California – Border Collie Rescue of Northern California is a non-profit organization that began in 1998. They take in homeless Border Collies from shelters and also assist in rehoming those who can no longer be cared for by their owners. As a foster-based organization, they place rescued Border Collies in temporary foster homes until they are adopted.
  • Border Collies In Need – Founded in 2007, this rescue is composed of volunteers who dedicate themselves to rescuing, fostering, and rehoming abandoned or abused Border Collies like the tricolor Border Collie. They work closely with other Border Collie clubs in furthering their efforts in educating the public about this breed and promoting rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption.

Our 10 best Border Collie rescues article is another helpful resource for your tricolor Border Collie for adoption search. You can also read our dog adoption guide to familiarize yourself with the adoption process.

RELATED: 10 Best Border Collie Rescues for Adoption (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

Frequently Asked Questions

Portrait of a nice merle tri color Border Collie

Are Red Tri Color Border Collies Rare?

Red tri color Border Collies are less common but not entirely rare. This is because the red pigment is a recessive gene, so it is less occurring than the dominant black gene.

Although this may be the case, there is still a good chance of having a red tri color Border Collie in a litter. It all depends on the pigment genes the Border Collie parents pass on to their offspring.

What Is the Rarest Border Collie Color?

The rarest Border Collie color is solid lilac. As Border Collies are known to be capable of carrying various pigment genes, they usually come in either tri- or bi-color, and merle patterns.

That said, having a solid coat color is rare for a Border Collie. Thus, the beautiful lilac color is not easily achieved as it requires a double recessive dilute gene for the color to manifest.

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

The tricolor Border Collie is truly a gorgeous-looking pooch. With its unique combination of three distinct colors, they easily draw admiration from people.

Although their beauty can be regarded as a precious trait, this sometimes works to their disadvantage as aspiring owners may only consider their appearance in getting them as pets.

You must bear in mind that it is important to consider all aspects of owning a tricolor Border Collie when choosing to get one as a family addition. 

Are you getting this adorable pooch soon? Share your thoughts about the tri color Border Collie in the comments below!

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