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I have a 4 month old sable and white border collie. I do not plan on breeding him, but if I ever did could I breed him to a red or blue merle? I know how basic border collie genes work, but not sable. When I got my puppy Dundee I thought he was just red and white but his breeder assured me that he was a sable? I am honestly just curios.


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To answer your question directly, there should be no harm in breeding a red or sable dog to a merle.

Be advised, however, that these boards frown greatly on breeding for color, as that sort of genetic selection necessitates overlooking and omitting many of the considerations one keeps in mind when breeding for work. That's an AKC thing and people here get pretty passionate about not diluting or watering down the border collie's working abilities by breeding for cosmetic properties like color or ear set.

To quote from the 'Read This First' link that Gideon's Girl posted just above:

"For the good of the breed, border collies should be bred only for working ability. The border collie breed was created by farmers and shepherds who wanted to develop a dog which could help them manage their livestock. They bred only to produce good workers, and that singleness of purpose created the breed we love. Changing the way border collies are bred will change the breed itself. Therefore, breeding dogs who have not proven themselves as useful herding dogs, or breeding for appearance/color, or breeding for sports or for "good pets," or breeding for anything other than working ability (which includes the health and temperament necessary for working) is harmful to the breed."

You might want to read the rest of that post so that you can understand the philosophies and outlooks of the folks here. Cute little rascal you have there, whatever color he's called. :)

Best regards,

~ Gloria

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Welcome! That is a cute pup but what pup isn't cute?


I'd like to second what both others have said and also mention that this site is a great location for information, advice, and help with just about anything relating to Border Collies as working dogs, sports dogs, and active companions.


And I'd like to repeat what's already been said - read the "Read this First" and remember that good breeding has nothing to do with color or other superfluous characteristics, and everything to do with working ability.

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My girl is a sable:




Look at a single strand of hair. If the base of it is red and it goes to black then he is a sable. You may not be able to really tell until his adult coat comes in.


Like merle, sable isn't a color but a pattern. In some cases sable can mask merle. Were one of his parents merle? That's the only way he could potentially have the gene. If there are a lot of merles and a lot of sables in the lines then he could potentially be a cryptic merle.


As others have stated, working ability should come first in breeding decisions. IF it turns out that your guy is an amazing stockdog and passes all of his health tests satisfactorily and IF the best dog to complement his working abilities happens to be merle and has also passed health tests satisfactorily (which is highly unlikely) then I would say get him genetically tested for color to make certain that he doesn't have the merle gene.

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