Sheltie & Collie Colors Explained
||Black, White &
Tan. Black body, White in the traditional places (chest, legs,
etc..) with Tan points on the face & legs. This is not to be
mistaken for a mahogany or shaded sable which actually has a brown
base coat over it's entire body with an overlay of black guard hairs.
||Similar to the Tricolor
except where a Tri would have black, the Blue Merle has a silver-gray base
coat with varying degrees of black spots. Self-colored (no black
spots) are strongly frowned upon. Blue merles are allowed to have one or
both eyes blue or partially blue (called a "merled eye").
||Similar to the Sable
except it carries the Merleing Gene. As adults, it is usually very
difficult to determine whether a dog is a sable merle or not. As
babies, they look just like a Blue Merle except for a brownish cast to the
coat. As they age, the spotting fades away to being almost indistinguishable.
Although Sable merles are not frowned upon as such, they should only be
used in the breeding programs of experienced breeders with a good
understanding of color genetics. A Sable merle is produced either
from a sable merle or by breeding a Sable to a Blue Merle.
Pictured here are two sable merles, the top picture is an adult sable merle girl who has been shown in UKC events and has her UKC Grand Champion title and has very little evidence of merling in her color except for a little silver around her ears and in her ruff, the bottom is a Sable Merle puppy with two blue eyes. Blue eyes are ONLY allowed in Blue Merle and Bi-blues in AKC although UKC allows blue eyes in all Merles. At this age, it is still evident that he is a merle due to the dark spots on his back leg.
There is a movement in the AKC Collie Club of America (CCA) to try and have blue/merled eyes allowed in Sable merle Collies but it is unsure whether the movement will be successful at this point.
||(Sheltie only) Black & White (Bi-Black)
& White (Bi-Blue). Marked similarly to the Tricolor or Blue Merle, except
for the absence of Tan. All pups produced by a Bicolor will be
either Bi or Bi-Factored. This color is only possible in Shelties and not
in Collies. The breed that contributed the bicolor gene to the Sheltie is
not in the Collie ancestry.
|All or most of the body is
white, except for the head which is colored as a Tri, Sable, Blue, Bi, or
Bi-Blue with varying degrees of white on the face. Generally any
Sheltie or Collie with more than 50% white will be called a Color Headed White,
however most define CHW as being primarily white with a colored head and
very few, if any, colored body spots. Currently CHW Shelties are
severely penalized in the AKC conformation ring but are perfectly
acceptable in Collies. (as the AKC Sheltie standard reads:
"Specimens with more than 50 percent white shall be so severely
penalized as to effectively eliminate them from competition.")
However, UKC does allow the CHW Shelties in the conformation ring with
several having won their UKC Championship already.
||A Sheltie or Collie that is normally
colored but has the genetic ability to produce a color headed white when
bred to a white factored or CHW dog. It is often almost impossible to tell
whether a dog is white factored or not until they produce a Color Headed
White puppy. White factored dogs often have white up the front of the back
legs (white stifles) which sets them apart from a non-white factored dog.
There are however, dogs that are NOT white factored that have the white
stifles and dogs that are white factored that do not.
The Smooth Collie (top left) is known to be white factored in 2 ways. 1. Her sire is a CHW, 2. She produced 2 CHW puppies in her first litter.
The Sheltie pictured (bottom left) is known to be white factured because he has produced a CHW puppy in his first litter.
|Also known as the
"Defective White" due to the frequency of health problems
related to this color. These problems can range from deafness and/or
blindness to more serious internal problems. A Double Merle can ONLY
be produced by breeding two Merles together. A healthy Double Merle
of good quality can be a valuable addition to a breeding program, although
a breeder should not set out to produce one unless they are prepared to
either provide a permanent home for a defective puppy, or have a severely
defective puppy humanely put down. This is probably the most
controversial breeding that any breeder can undertake. Many times
the breeding that produces a Double merle turns out to be a surprise. (see
Pictured here is a deaf Double Merle, fortunately he is sighted.
||A Sheltie or Collie that carries the
Merleing gene but has little or no silver in the coat to indicate the
presence of the gene. Cryptic Merles are generally Tricolor or
Bi-Black in appearance. The presence of the Merle gene is generally
not known until the dog is bred, often when bred to a blue or sable merle
resulting in a Defective White (see Double Merle).
(Sable Merles are
cryptic by nature as adults so I have not included them in this
Pictured here is a girl who is bi-black in appearance with a little silver under her chin and some faint marks on her back.
|OTHER MORE UNUSUAL COLORS:|
| Dilute (not to be
confused with Merled) sometimes referred to as a maltese blue
Now this is something a little more unusual, it comes up every once in a while, usually in the AOAC lines but it can also hide in the sable lines. Basically the pup/dog looks like either a tricolor (with the tan points) or a bi-black but where there should be black, it is actually a brown or gray, including the nose. This also helps to distinguish it from the blue merles because they can also be very even in color sometimes but they have a black nose. It is difficult to have a digital photo do this color justice. Until you have seen this color in person, next to a black dog, you can't truly grasp the difference. Unfortunately, no matter how nice a specimen the dog is otherwise, this is not a desired color for showing in Conformation because the standard states that "washed-out or degenerate colors" are a fault.
Pictured here are two different shades of dilute, the one on top is more of a chocolate color and the one below is more of a dark slate gray.
|Brindle||This is VERY rare. It is the one color that is actually DISQUALIFIED in the AKC conformation ring for Shelties. By definition, Brindle is a striped pattern on the body, similar to tabby stripes on a cat. Brindle is allowed in many breeds other than shelties and any Sheltie exhibiting this color will have its parentage questioned. Brindle is a dominant color so as such, it has been eliminated from the mainstream gene pool, although it may still be present in some sub-standard breeding situations.|
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