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Sheepdogs, BC, "Border", and other breed descriptions have been discussed recently but this was a first for me...

 

My cousin was launching the restored John Deere tractor the other day and Robin and I attended - an elderly gentleman looked at Robin for a bit then asked with some curiosity, "Where did you find a chocolate collie?"

 

I've always described him as a red tri, but he's not bright red. He is a very dark red to deep brown, especially as there's been little exposure to the sun this winter, but he does have a beautiful highlight of gold down his back... and those eyebrows and a touch of gold on his muzzle and the inside of his back legs...

 

 

Liz

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What a co-inky-dink! Just this afternoon, a friend and I were walking my bc, and my kelpie. My Kekpie is red/tan, but is a dark red, and my friend asked why don't they call them brown and tan?" My response was that there were differing tones.

 

Sheepdogs, BC, "Border", and other breed descriptions have been discussed recently but this was a first for me...

 

My cousin was launching the restored John Deere tractor the other day and Robin and I attended - an elderly gentleman looked at Robin for a bit then asked with some curiosity, "Where did you find a chocolate collie?"

 

I've always described him as a red tri, but he's not bright red. He is a very dark red to deep brown, especially as there's been little exposure to the sun this winter, but he does have a beautiful highlight of gold down his back... and those eyebrows and a touch of gold on his muzzle and the inside of his back legs...

Liz

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Actually it's more cultural than anything. Genetically a red border collie is liver (bb) and the so-called "Aussie red" (that light red/gold color) border collie is tan (ee). In the case of red/tan (ee) the skin and eye color are usually "normal" (i.e., black--consider Irish setters or Golden retrievers, whose coat color is the result of being ee), whereas in bb dogs, the skin and eye color is also affected by the presence of the recessive brown gene (and so the nose and eye rims are brown instead of black).

 

Depending on the breed of dog, tradition calls bb liver, chocolate, brown, or in the case of border collies, red. It's because liver border collies have traditionally been called red (red dobermans are actually bb and so technically liver colored as well) that there was a need to distinguish the ee red/tan color as something different (hence"aussie red"). It doesn't matter what shade of red your border collie is (as long as it's not ee red), it's all technically liver or chocolate. We just call it red because that's what it's been called in the past.

 

ETA: It's entirely possible that the elderly gentleman is familiar with breeds of dogs for whom the bb color is called chocolate and so that's why he identified your dog as chocolate as opposed to red.

 

J.

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This may be another one of those cultural markers (maybe not in the case of your elderly neighbor) as the only people I've heard using the term "chocolate" to refer to red Border Collies are show dog folks, to whom "red" means "yellow" or Golden Retriever color. The other term often used for yellow in Border Collies is "Australian red," betraying the origins of most conformation dogs.

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This may be another one of those cultural markers (maybe not in the case of your elderly neighbor) as the only people I've heard using the term "chocolate" to refer to red Border Collies are show dog folks, to whom "red" means "yellow" or Golden Retriever color. The other term often used for yellow in Border Collies is "Australian red," betraying the origins of most conformation dogs.

 

Yes, a cultural marker but not from the show dog world. He is just an old farmer who knows Border Collies and to whom the red would be a rarity as most dogs around here from my childhood memory were black and white, or sometimes tri and all rough coated shaggy critters.

 

Now, I'm not sure, reading Julie's post, just what color is Robin genetically speaking? He has goldish green eyes, a red nose, and darker liver undercoat with gold highlighting along his back. He's really quite striking, except for those goofy ears:). You can't really see the gold swirls on his back in this photo and the perspective is such that he he looks like his head is bigger than his body :rolleyes:. I'm trying to take his and Brodie's birthday picture -- on the 16th they'll be one year old.

 

Just for fun here's the entire litter of pups at four days old. Brodie is second from the left (double stripe, target on his butt) and Robin is on the far right, all curled up.) Their mother is white factored, the father has regulation "tuxedo" markings. I thought that Brodie might be considered white factored, but now that he's grown up, I'm not so sure. He's getting to be a beauty...haven't gotten his portrait yet...we're going to see the sheep again this week so I'll take it then.

 

Liz

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Robin is bb red (liver). As I noted in my post ee red (aussie red) dogs have "normal-colored" (black) skin on their noses and eye rims. Red dogs from working lines are unlikely to be Aussie red. I think you're getting too caught up in his shade(s) of red. Many red dogs will fade in the sun, some to almost orange, but will have dark red where new hair grows in (before it too fades), so the actual darkness or lightness of all or part of his coat is not critical to determining his status as bb or ee.

 

Go to the Border Collie Museum to see pictures of tan (Aussie red) border collies. When you see the difference between that and the bb red (liver/chocolate) border collies, it will be clear to you that Robin is red (liver/chocolate) and not tan. If the use of the word "red" among working border collie folks confuses/bothers you, then go ahead and call him liver/chocolate. But most people who see him and are part of working border collie culture will call him red.

 

You can peruse the Museum site and see all sorts of colors, including various forms of black and white dogs. The thumbnail image for the B&W dogs even shows a white-factored dog (the dog in the back).

 

If Brodie has white going up his stifle or up over his rump then he is indeed white factored.

 

J.

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I got curious about the term "Chocolate Collie," (I think of something found in an Easter basket :D ) and I went online and Googled "Chocolate Collie." Cripes! What a load of codswallop... Found 3 breeder's sites that claim to have the "World's FIRST" lilac tri. Urk.

 

As one fairly new to the Border Collie scene, I would call (if asked) your dog a white-factored red tri. Never occured to me to call that color chocolate. But then I'm kind of "allergic" to retrievers, so I try not to call anything canine "chocolate." :rolleyes:

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Just speaking from my own experience, the term "chocolate" when describing a border collie was something that had it's roots in the conformation sector, and I just figured that since colors carry a lot more weight for show folks, that it wouldn't do to use an all-encompasing term like "red". There, you'd need to differentiate between all the shades and hues that "red" might encompass, hence, "chocolate", "lemon", and whatever else.

 

"Chocolate" used for labs, I'm used to, but can't get used to using other these other "colorful" terms for border collies. Maybe that's where the old gent was coming from -- chocolate lab and the same color bc is chocolate too.

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I got curious about the term "Chocolate Collie," (I think of something found in an Easter basket :D ) and I went online and Googled "Chocolate Collie." Cripes! What a load of codswallop... Found 3 breeder's sites that claim to have the "World's FIRST" lilac tri. Urk.

 

As one fairly new to the Border Collie scene, I would call (if asked) your dog a white-factored red tri. Never occured to me to call that color chocolate. But then I'm kind of "allergic" to retrievers, so I try not to call anything canine "chocolate." :rolleyes:

 

Well this man is 80 years old and not familiar with AKC, the Internet, etc. I think its just an old time name....I should have asked him. Maybe I"ll see him again.

 

As for Robin being white factored, according to Julie's definition, he's not but Brodie is.

 

I saw that "lilac" color mentioned last year -- pretty sad!

 

Liz

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Robin is bb red (liver). As I noted in my post ee red (aussie red) dogs have "normal-colored" (black) skin on their noses and eye rims. Red dogs from working lines are unlikely to be Aussie red. I think you're getting too caught up in his shade(s) of red. Many red dogs will fade in the sun, some to almost orange, but will have dark red where new hair grows in (before it too fades), so the actual darkness or lightness of all or part of his coat is not critical to determining his status as bb or ee.

 

Go to the Border Collie Museum to see pictures of tan (Aussie red) border collies. When you see the difference between that and the bb red (liver/chocolate) border collies, it will be clear to you that Robin is red (liver/chocolate) and not tan. If the use of the word "red" among working border collie folks confuses/bothers you, then go ahead and call him liver/chocolate. But most people who see him and are part of working border collie culture will call him red.

 

You can peruse the Museum site and see all sorts of colors, including various forms of black and white dogs. The thumbnail image for the B&W dogs even shows a white-factored dog (the dog in the back).

 

If Brodie has white going up his stifle or up over his rump then he is indeed white factored.

 

J.

 

 

ETA>>>

Thanks Julie, I was confused abut the Aussie part because I've seen Aussies with red noses...which, by your definition would make them bb and not ee? I call RObin red, but was taken in a poetic way by "chocolate collie", loving all things chocolate myself

 

And yes, , Brodie has a white circle around his rump. He's a pretty dog.

 

Liz

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Liz,

It doesn't matter if the guy is 20 or 100. The brown/chocolate/liver terminology is commonly used among folks who use sporting/hunting dogs, so any old timer who is familiar with hunting dogs would likely refer to a red border collie as chocolate--not because he's steeped in border collie culture, but because of his experience with other breeds in which the bb color is called brown, liver, or chocolate. I think it would be a huge stretch to infer from his comments that old-timers called the dogs chocolate (since apparently you didn't ask him why he used that term vs. any other), especially given that the term "red" has come down to us from the folks who created the working border collie. Most color genetics sites will note that some breeds use the term red to denote bb dogs, which are more properly (from a genetics viewpoint) called brown or liver, but no one is crusading among the breeds who call their bb dogs red to get them to change that name.

 

ETA: In response to your question above, the name Aussie red has nothing to do with Australian shepherds (which are an American-created breed anyway), but with the terminology for color used in Australia and associated with conformation-bred dogs. Since the term red to describe bb *border collies* was already in use in other parts of the world, when the Australian conformation folk started producing ee red (which is actually yellow or tan) dogs, they needed a way to distinguish that red from the red terminology already in common use to describe bb red border collies. Hence the terminology Aussie red to describe ee red (yellow/tan). Otherwise, people from different parts of the world talking about their red border collies would be quite confusing, since two *different genotypes* are creating phenotypes that are called red. So the clarification is red vs. Aussie red.

 

J.

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Liz,

It doesn't matter if the guy is 20 or 100. The brown/chocolate/liver terminology is commonly used among folks who use sporting/hunting dogs, so any old timer who is familiar with hunting dogs would likely refer to a red border collie as chocolate--not because he's steeped in border collie culture, but because of his experience with other breeds in which the bb color is called brown, liver, or chocolate. I think it would be a huge stretch to infer from his comments that old-timers called the dogs chocolate (since apparently you didn't ask him why he used that term vs. any other), especially given that the term "red" has come down to us from the folks who created the working border collie. Most color genetics sites will note that some breeds use the term red to denote bb dogs, which are more properly (from a genetics viewpoint) called brown or liver, but no one is crusading among the breeds who call their bb dogs red to get them to change that name.

 

ETA: In response to your question above, the name Aussie red has nothing to do with Australian shepherds (which are an American-created breed anyway), but with the terminology for color used in Australia and associated with conformation-bred dogs. Since the term red to describe bb *border collies* was already in use in other parts of the world, when the Australian conformation folk started producing ee red (which is actually yellow or tan) dogs, they needed a way to distinguish that red from the red terminology already in common use to describe bb red border collies. Hence the terminology Aussie red to describe ee red (yellow/tan). Otherwise, people from different parts of the world talking about their red border collies would be quite confusing, since two *different genotypes* are creating phenotypes that are called red. So the clarification is red vs. Aussie red.

 

J.

 

 

Got it, thanks. Aussie red is a geographically based term as opposed to say, Anatolian Shepherd.. But if Australian Shepherds are American bred, why on earth are they called Australian? The breed site says they came from Australia with Basque shepherds which would seem to indicate they originated in the Basque regions, were further developed in Australia, then refined and AKC registered in the US.

 

ETA - the few red Aussies I have seen all have red noses...are they then bb? ( that is, Border collie red?)

 

 

I've previously visited the Border Collie museum site - Melanie's Solo from these boards is among the reds as well as a white-factored dog also named Brodie who looks very much like our own Brodie. The lilac color is also mentioned. Robin would apparently be categorized among the tri coloreds, though I see she does have some cross over. in the various photos.

 

I do love his color, whatever it is called, though it took some time to get used to it. I am a traditionalist, and would likely have picked a traditional rough coat tuxedo marked pup, had there been one in the litter. As it was, DH was quite taken with the red, and I figured, given my fragile state of health at that point, that any pup would likely would end up being his dog anyway, so we got Robin, "that Robin" who is at the moment tearing something apart downstairs...this is our first day of "freedom" as the crates have been moved to the mudroom as DH has finished the fencing to send them directly to the yard from the mudroom...stage one complete! Stage 2: Robin is to learn to lay quietly in the study while I work...that's going to take some time! Gotta go....

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Just to confuse things even more, this is my Nick- a double dilute blue. From what I understand, he's a black and white dog that got two recessive dilute genes (kind of like perlino & cremello horses, if anyone is into equine genetics). He is by Deborah Bailey's Ben & out of Marianna Schreeder's Kate, so nothing but good working lines there. The folks who bred Ben said that they'd only ever had one other blue pup- sired by Huck, Ben's sire. Debbie said Nick is the only blue dog her Ben has ever sired. When I saw photos of Nick before I bought him, I couldn't figure out why he was called blue- he looked pretty black to me! A lot of people call him grey or charcoal, but I think he's brown. At Finals last year, someone asked if he was a lilac- It was hard not to giggle a little bit.

 

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He looks grey to me, and I would have called him Blue. Blue is another color that occasionally crops up in working lines, just not with the frequency of red. (Though I'm sure there are folks who are breeding to get blue, just as they are breeding for lilac and all those other colors....)

 

J.

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Very interesting information! I guess it had never even occured to me that there were two reds in dogs -though it certainly should have, as I have known plenty of chocolate labs, and now that I think of it my friend's red aussie has brown skin too, which a true recessive extension "ee" red animal wouldn't have. Now I am curious though -how do these genes interact? IE, if your dog is both red and liver, what would it look like? Anyone know what appearance animals with genotypes E-bb, eebb and eeB- would have? I am assuming that E-B- is your typical black or black factored dog.

 

The dilute is interesting too. (And a beautiful dog!) I guess it follows that there should be dilutions genes in dogs, but I hadn't seen one before. If you had told me before today that you had a blue dog, I would have assumed you had a blue merle or a blue tick. What affect does this gene have on red (either red, lol?) Do you get a palomino, LOL? And what the heck is lilac???

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Hi Bryna,

Lilac is dilute red (liver), so is the red equivalent of the blue dog.

 

Here are some sites for the genetics of color in dogs--you can read through them and see if your questions are answered regarding red vs. liver.

 

Sheila Schmutz's U. of Saskatchewan page (She explains the relationship between the E and B loci.)

 

Shetland sheepdog DNA study

 

Borzoi coat color genetics

 

Dog color genetics (This last site is not loading for me at the moment.)

 

J.

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Here in Australia they are known as chocolates. My showbred girl has a "chocolate and white" dad which is noted as such on her ANKC pedigree.

One of the breeders who breeds chocolates has the prefix Shamefulchoc. I have also seen lilac and lilac tri pups start to become more common among the multitude of colours on offer.

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I'm no expert in Genetics but in Australia they are indeed referred to a Chocolate, Chocolate Tris and Chocolate merles. ee is referred to as red and the very pale reds are champagne. I also have seen the Lilac and Lilac tris as well as Blue tris come through more often. Also Chocolate merles I have seen a fair bit, before a year ago I didn't even know they existed. I have noticed people in agility anyway have veered away from the more common classically marked black and white and are getting more heavily white marked dogs or Standard Tri colours seem to be very popular too.

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I'm no expert in Genetics but in Australia they are indeed referred to a Chocolate, Chocolate Tris and Chocolate merles. ee is referred to as red and the very pale reds are champagne. I also have seen the Lilac and Lilac tris as well as Blue tris come through more often. Also Chocolate merles I have seen a fair bit, before a year ago I didn't even know they existed. I have noticed people in agility anyway have veered away from the more common classically marked black and white and are getting more heavily white marked dogs or Standard Tri colours seem to be very popular too.

 

The chocolate being the bb? In the end it does seem to come down to what the "local folks" call the color.

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In the UK it depends who you're talking to at the time.

"Red" is used as a general term for all shades from "champagne" to "mahogany".

If there is a need to be more specific in conversation then red would be middle range and chocolate darker. I suppose it's more likely that you'd need to distinguish between shades if you were talking to a show person but the term "chocolate" is not restricted to them.

If you're talking to a farmer "brown" will do as well as anything.

 

Pam

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