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Hi, Im currently searching for a blue merle border collie puppy. Just a question that been on my mind; most of the pups that Im seeing online have pink noses, does this change over time to black or does the pink stay even when the pup becomes an adult?

 

Also if anyone can suggest anywhere I can find the pup because I've been looking everywhere. I live in WA and am willing to drive to any state to find the puppy.

 

Thank You

 

-Leo

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Most blue merles will have black noses as adults. The pigmentation just takes time to come in. :)

 

Do be wise and wary, if you're searching the internet for breeders of blue merle/other-colored border collies. Watch for warning signs such as selling multiple litters per year or keeping a dozen breeding bitches on the place. Those may be little more than glorified puppy mills.

 

~ G

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I can only think of three breeders in North American with merles that I would even consider buying a dog from.

 

There is a slightly increased risk (about 2x as likely) of a pup being deaf if it is merle and has less pigment (lots of pink) than if it is black and white. The risk is still small, but it is one you should be aware of.

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Please consider going through a rescue to get your new dog. BC rescues all over the country get puppies on a regular basis. Please, please be very careful where the dog comes from. If you buy site-unseen from a breeder in another state off a website the chances are very good that you will be buying from a puppy mill where dogs are kept in tiny cages and used and abused for the purpose of producing puppies. The folks on this list can steer you toward responsible breeders. Please take care and be sure that your money is not going to further the suffering of dogs in puppy mills! As a person who is currently fostering a dog who was kept in a cage and used for breeding in a puppy mill, I am ever so much aware of the horrors that these practices produce, and I beg you to be very selective and careful in how you get your dog so that you are not contributing to the suffering of dogs in puppy mills.

If you need more information on breeders, or want to know if a breeder you have found is a good one, you can ask in these forums and you will get a wealth of information.

D'Elle

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Welcome, Leo - this board is an excellent source of information on the Border Collie. You should read "Read this First", which you can find as a sticky at the top of this section's index.

 

Thank you, D'Elle, for suggesting rescue and bringing up excellent points concerning breeders and particularly those who advertise on the internet.

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I agree with what everyone said about rescue. My rescue dogs are wonderful. However, if your heart is set on buying a pup, you're going about it kind of backwards - find the breeder you like and wait for the ideal mating for what you want. If the breeder you like doesn't have a merle anywhere in his or her breeding program or any plans to outcross to a merle, and you really really want that color pattern, ask the breeder for a recommendation of another breeder who does have a merle in their program.

 

Puppies aren't "off the shelf" type of merchandise. Each one is a carefully crafted custom creation. If a breeder has those highly sought after merle puppies on hand, just waiting for you to choose one and pick it up, there is something very wrong.

 

JMHO

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I would first like to thank everyone for the warm welcome to these boards, I will be spending much of my time here learning about my future friend. Your responses have been detailed and have helped me a lot in my search. I am now more cautious with where I will find my puppy.

 

 

 

 

 

I can only think of three breeders in North American with merles that I would even consider buying a dog from.

 

There is a slightly increased risk (about 2x as likely) of a pup being deaf if it is merle and has less pigment (lots of pink) than if it is black and white. The risk is still small, but it is one you should be aware of.

 

Would you mind sharing these breeders with me? I am very concerned with getting a healthy puppy. If anyone can suggest any breeders around the US I would much appreciate it.

 

 

As for those that are suggesting rescue, I am planning on doing it this way with my second and third dogs when I am a more experienced trainer. I just want my first dog to be a puppy.

 

Thanks again for all the help.

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As for those that are suggesting rescue, I am planning on doing it this way with my second and third dogs when I am a more experienced trainer. I just want my first dog to be a puppy.

 

Thanks again for all the help.

 

 

Contrary to popular belief, not all rescue dogs have issues or are difficult to train. You would be way better off going through a reputable rescue that has dogs in foster homes. A young adult dog with a steady temperament (which a foster home will be able to tell you about) could be MUCH easier to train than a pup. Puppies are always a gamble. My old dog who died several years ago was an adult rescue- no house training, no chewing phase, etc. She didn't have much training in general, but she was mature and easy to train. My current pup (20 months) was a rescue reject. He was a HORRIBLE puppy! I still have days when I want to tape him to the middle of the road... He is a tough, tough dog. I knew that, more or less, when I got him, and he's turned into a wonderful stockdog.

 

The key to rescue is to find a reputable one who can connect you with a dog that will work for you. I'm also in WA state, and there are rescues here, and in OR & ID & BC that I wouldn't hesitate to work with.

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As for those that are suggesting rescue, I am planning on doing it this way with my second and third dogs when I am a more experienced trainer. I just want my first dog to be a puppy.

 

I'm with Ben ... if you have no experience training, an unknown quantity AKA a puppy, may not necessarily be the best option to start with. It could be that a young adult border collie with a good personality that matches your needs might be a better introduction to the breed over all, and give you some insight into the ways you want to train or manage a puppy if and when you do get one.

 

As I always tell people, if raising the perfect dog was as easy as pre-puppy buyers think it was, then shelters and rescues would not be chock full of imperfect young dogs. The fact is, unless you have a crystal ball, you have no idea what kind of dog your puppy will be, and if you have little or no experience with the breed, you may have even less chance of turning your pup into the dog of your dreams.

 

Puppies are very cute and they become dogs SO FAST. It's such a short period of time in the (doG willing) long lifespan of a dog.

 

My other piece of advice would be to consider dogs that maybe aren't merles. I understand that people have colour preferences, but I also know from experience that sometimes the dog for you isn't necessarily the colour pattern (or size!) you thought it was going to be. I sure wasn't looking for a mostly black giraffe of a dog when I was looking for my latest addition (who happens to be the brother to Ben's HORRIBLE taped to the road puppy ;-) ) but he has been an absolutely marvelous dog for me, and exactly what I was looking for in terms of personality, more or less. So keep an open mind, and don't get fixated on cosmetic things.

 

RDM

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Contrary to popular belief, not all rescue dogs have issues or are difficult to train. You would be way better off going through a reputable rescue that has dogs in foster homes. A young adult dog with a steady temperament (which a foster home will be able to tell you about) could be MUCH easier to train than a pup. Puppies are always a gamble. My old dog who died several years ago was an adult rescue- no house training, no chewing phase, etc. She didn't have much training in general, but she was mature and easy to train. My current pup (20 months) was a rescue reject. He was a HORRIBLE puppy! I still have days when I want to tape him to the middle of the road... He is a tough, tough dog. I knew that, more or less, when I got him, and he's turned into a wonderful stockdog.

 

The key to rescue is to find a reputable one who can connect you with a dog that will work for you. I'm also in WA state, and there are rescues here, and in OR & ID & BC that I wouldn't hesitate to work with.

 

 

I'm with Ben ... if you have no experience training, an unknown quantity AKA a puppy, may not necessarily be the best option to start with. It could be that a young adult border collie with a good personality that matches your needs might be a better introduction to the breed over all, and give you some insight into the ways you want to train or manage a puppy if and when you do get one.

 

As I always tell people, if raising the perfect dog was as easy as pre-puppy buyers think it was, then shelters and rescues would not be chock full of imperfect young dogs. The fact is, unless you have a crystal ball, you have no idea what kind of dog your puppy will be, and if you have little or no experience with the breed, you may have even less chance of turning your pup into the dog of your dreams.

 

Puppies are very cute and they become dogs SO FAST. It's such a short period of time in the (doG willing) long lifespan of a dog.

 

My other piece of advice would be to consider dogs that maybe aren't merles. I understand that people have colour preferences, but I also know from experience that sometimes the dog for you isn't necessarily the colour pattern (or size!) you thought it was going to be. I sure wasn't looking for a mostly black giraffe of a dog when I was looking for my latest addition (who happens to be the brother to Ben's HORRIBLE taped to the road puppy ;-) ) but he has been an absolutely marvelous dog for me, and exactly what I was looking for in terms of personality, more or less. So keep an open mind, and don't get fixated on cosmetic things.

 

RDM

 

 

Thank you guys, NorthfieldNick, could provide me with a few rescue places to start out with in WA and the surrounding area?

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I also want to second/third that young adult rescues need not be challenging and are often less than a puppy. My first 3 dogs were all adults, house trained already and in Brodys case even trained to fetch the paper (not a skill we use). They all needed either some basic obedience or once again in Brodys case a refresher, but less than starting with from scratch. I got Rievaulx as a rescue when he was 5 months, his house training was underway but not complete, getting him trained has been much more time consuming, as most of you know I have plans for his agility future so that has been a focus, but his basic house manners have taken more effort than the semi trained adults, and he was/is a very good puppy/dog.

I have also recently had a couple of young adult fosters who arrived at our house great dogs, they were going to need a minimal amount of training to take them to being excellent family pets.

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I would definitly suggest a young adult as opposed to a puppy for a first dog. Our first dog was about a year old, already housetrained, didn't chew everything. She knew how to sit and that was it. I did a lot of training with her and we both learned tons. I don't remember ever being really frustrated or at my wits end with her. Puppies on the otherhand I find to be horrible little beasties that chew anything they can get their sharp teeth on, have no clue on house manners when you get them, have to be housetrained, and demand a lot more attention when they're small and into everything. Ok, maybe I'm a puppy hater...they are cute...but thats where it ends for me. When I got my first puppy all I can remember feeling is frustrated with the fact that she knew nothing(I was only 18 at the time). I also remember liking my adult dog a lot more than the puppy until she was about 8-9 months and had turned more into a dog. In the end the pup turned into my heart dog, but I certainly didn't really connect with her until she was more of a dog than a pup. The second puppy in my life was my hubby's dog. He wasn't a bad puppy but had major housetraining issues for a long long time. Third puppy I have right now. Its making me never ever want a puppy again...the adolescent dog that already has a bit of background basic training would be a lot easier to deal with than a busy puppy that tries to demand your attention every waking moment. I really can't wait until she matures a bit and is a dog instead of a puppy. If my current dog wasn't such an evil monster to other adult dogs, I probably would have rescued an adolescent dog.

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PNW BC Rescue is a good place to start. They have listings in WA, OR, ID, and BC. RDM's rescue (That'll Do BCR) is in the Vancouver, BC area.

 

Where in WA are you? A number of the people involved in rescue also run stockdog trials. It's also a great way to meet people. I live in far NW WA, and trial with some regularity. (Stockdog trials, that is. I run about 80 sheep at home right now)

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I can only think of three breeders in North American with merles that I would even consider buying a dog from.

 

There is a slightly increased risk (about 2x as likely) of a pup being deaf if it is merle and has less pigment (lots of pink) than if it is black and white. The risk is still small, but it is one you should be aware of.

 

 

Would you mind sharing these breeders?

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Typically the noses do fill in, but occasionally they stay pink. Much of that depends on how much white/pigment they have on their face.

 

As for merles - I have two (one of which is a rescue) and would be happy to point you towards breeders and rescues. Just PM me for more information.

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Personally, I really can't support another person's quest for merle coloring unless it is a referral to rescue. In my opinion, any breeding touted to produce both "merle" and "working" is likely flawed.

 

Before a bunch of people jump me, I acknowledge that there might be a "couple" of good working merles out there (but I have only seen one once in my trialing career)....but any breeder worth their salt would be very fearful of the "merle feeding frenzy" and be very very careful about breeding such a dog, if at all. At least, that is what I would expect of a quality working breeder. It really isn't about the quality of the dog but rather the crazed demand for merles (and other candy colors) and where despite careful placement the pups might end up and ultimately be bred (for the wrong reasons).

 

Everytime I see a merle border collie or read/hear a request for merle puppies, I get a sick feeling about the fate of the breed with consumers demanding this coloration.....it really doesn't occur unless the color is bred for. Reds and blues sometimes occur accidentally, but merles are planned.....usually for the wrong reasons, in my opinion.

 

There are other opinions out there....and people are welcome to them, but they don't have my support.

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Personally, I really can't support another person's quest for merle coloring unless it is a referral to rescue.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for a really well-put posting. I completely agree.

 

Even if I knew of a "good" breeder of merles, I would not say so. To me, the merle coloration is of absolutely no value to the border color breed. Merle coloration results from a defect in pigment formation (see Retrotransposon insertion in SILV is responsible for merle patterning of the domestic dog. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. January 31, 2006 vol. 103 no. 5 1376-1381 . If a dog carries one copy of the merle gene, as Liz P said above, there is an increased risk to its hearing. If a dog is a product of a merle-merle breeding and carries two copies of the merle gene, it has a very high likelihood of having defective eyes and hearing. I fostered for the local southern California Aussie rescue, and that breed is plagued by this issue, more so than border collies, for now. I just checked the rescue's website and see that there are blind and deaf double merles who've been waiting to be adopted for over three years. Check out Luna and Lily at SoCal Aussie Rescue. It's hard to look at Luna and think merle is "pretty." These poor dogs are holding foster spots, which are always in short supply, and in that time, think how many other dogs could have been helped.

 

What is the point of taking the risk of compromised dogs for the sake of a color??

 

So, bottom line, I don't see any reason at all why we should hope that the merle coloration is perpetuated in border collies.

 

Black and white, red and white, tri's, they are all absolutely beautiful! And there is such a wonderful variation in their looks -- Dewi Tweed, Tommy Wilson's Sly, Amanda Milliken's Clive. All different, all gorgeous in my book. Google some images and see if you don't agree!

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If a dog carries one copy of the merle gene, as Liz P said above, there is an increased risk to its hearing. If a dog is a product of a merle-merle breeding and carries two copies of the merle gene, it has a very high likelihood of having defective eyes and hearing.

 

But dont they test for these things or do they develop over time? So buying a pup I wouldn't know if it has one of these problems until later, despite the fact that the breeders say the pup has been tested?

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Personally, I really can't support another person's quest for merle coloring unless it is a referral to rescue. In my opinion, any breeding touted to produce both "merle" and "working" is likely flawed.

 

Before a bunch of people jump me, I acknowledge that there might be a "couple" of good working merles out there (but I have only seen one once in my trialing career)....but any breeder worth their salt would be very fearful of the "merle feeding frenzy" and be very very careful about breeding such a dog, if at all. At least, that is what I would expect of a quality working breeder. It really isn't about the quality of the dog but rather the crazed demand for merles (and other candy colors) and where despite careful placement the pups might end up and ultimately be bred (for the wrong reasons).

 

Everytime I see a merle border collie or read/hear a request for merle puppies, I get a sick feeling about the fate of the breed with consumers demanding this coloration.....it really doesn't occur unless the color is bred for. Reds and blues sometimes occur accidentally, but merles are planned.....usually for the wrong reasons, in my opinion.

 

There are other opinions out there....and people are welcome to them, but they don't have my support.

 

To each their own :) I love my merles, and wouldn't hesitate to buy another. With that being said, I am educated enough to know the difference between a merle to merle and merle x non merle breeding, and I value health testing (including BAER testing).

Merles are fairly popular in my area but not overly so - I think this is due to the fact that Border Collies are kept either as sporting or pet dogs in my area.

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