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I don't know about all of the colors but red, tricolor, and primarily white Border collies are the result of recessive genes. You can find entire pages dedicated to color genetics however I don't know which pages are truly accurate.

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I thought the colors were "leftover" from when the breed was created. I thought the breed only became "more" uniformed due to sheepdog trails. Black and white is dominant which is why there are so prevalent.

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The old pictures I have seen were what looked like B/W Border Collies. Yes I know they are bred for work that's not the issue.

If the original Sheppard's preferred the B/W and didn't feel the other colors were good at working sheep ( that's just what I have been told) then where did these colors come from.?

I've also been told that there are a few reds and merles that do trial in the upper levels but not very many.

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There have always been merles around and people who find those dogs suited them, so they breed them. Most of the other colors are recessive, so even if you select against them, they will pop up in litters.

 

Wiston Cap carried red. Wisp carried dilute (black -> blue, red -> lilac). Because they were popular sires, they increased the frequency of those genes in the breed.

 

Most of the old photos are black and white, so hard to say what color the dogs were without captions. There are, however, definitely old photos of merles, reds, blues, etc.

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You have to remember that the "original" border collies were a landrace and not a breed with a closed stud book. It wasn't unusual for dogs of another type to get into the mix, and if their offspring were good working dogs then that was enough for them to be bred. Even today dogs of other breeds can be ROMed into the ISDS (note it's the International Sheepdog Society, not border collie society, and that was deliberate), and it seems to me I heard of a beardie being ROMed relatively recently. (I could be wrong about that but I know for a fact there was at least one ROMed in the '80s). Those ROMed dogs can be bred regardless of what breed or mix they are and their pups are eligible for full registration. In Britain it's still not terribly unusual for people to deliberately cross breeds to get a working type they want.

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The old pictures I have seen were what looked like B/W Border Collies.

The breed is old fashioned, and not all got the memo the world is now in color. It'll take a few generations ;)

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You have to remember that the "original" border collies were a landrace and not a breed with a closed stud book. It wasn't unusual for dogs of another type to get into the mix, and if their offspring were good working dogs then that was enough for them to be bred. .... In Britain it's still not terribly unusual for people to deliberately cross breeds to get a working type they want.

 

 

This. ^ :)

 

Border collies were a "type" before they ever became a breed, and different regions of the UK would have different types of dogs. There was no standardized look or color, and . In fact, if you look for historical paintings of shepherds and their dogs, very often you see sable or tri colored sheepdogs. Richard Ansdell in particular was an artist of the early 1800s who often depicted tri color, red or black and tan sheepdogs. Robert Alexander is another.

 

The old photos were black and white, so of course even a red dog looks monochrome, but if you look closer, you may see hints of cheek spots and eyebrows even in B&W that tell you it's actually a tri colored dog.

 

Google "Victorian border collie art" and you'll find numerous examples of art depicting sheepdogs - of various types - in various colors besides black and white. The border collie as we know it wasn't pegged until about 1918, after all. :)

 

Some old shepherds have said that various physical traits can come down from other dogs added to the shepherd's dog in ages past. A whippet-like appearance, a spaniel-like set of ears or coat, a mottled, setter-like color pattern may, say the old shepherds, all be throwbacks to outcrosses done in the 1800s or earlier. I've no idea how much of that is true, but the broad variation of physical types and shapes within the border collie breed today definitely hints at the variances within the old land race and regional types of long ago.

 

I've no idea where the merle coloring came from originally, but in today's border collie, one really doesn't often see merles running in the higher classes. In the US I suspect it's because most merle dogs come from sport or show bloodlines, so if you see a merle border collie, it most likely won't be strongly working-bred. Merle must come from merle and "color breeders" in the US tend to focus on the colors to the detriment of the working genetics. I think in the UK one may see more good merle working dogs, though still not common.

 

~ Gloria

 

 

 

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It has, and it almost "died out" because the merle dogs lost favor with most. Just a few people in the UK brought them back from the brink. As a result, every merle Border Collie I've found goes back to just a handful of dogs, and they were related. These color kennels are practicing some pretty tight line breeding (off the papers) and they have no idea they are even doing it.

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Kevin Evan's significant other, Sophie Holt, is presently running a merle bitch in nursery in Wales, that from what I gather is a very nice working dog. They bred her to one of his top dogs and recently had a litter, so in the UK at least, there are some decent working merles.

Makes sense that merle, along with the sables and tris and reds, is among colors that date way back to those variances within the sheepdogs of earlier times. Many or most of those dogs contributed to today's border collies. As others have noted, shepherds themselves undoubtedly contributed to the popularity or fading of various traits. Some shepherds think a white-faced dog will be too soft on sheep, others have a prejudice against blue eyes, etc.

~ Gloria

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I've often wondered (from the description in the book) whether "Bob, Son of Battle" wasn't a blue merle sheepdog. He's not pictured that way in the illustrations, but the way it was worded made me think it might be possible.

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Liz had stated that Winston Cap carried red and Wisp carried dilute. Does anyone know of the foundation bloodline where the other colors came from or who had the greatest impact of the other colors?

What are some of the other myths that the shepherds had?

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As someone who has distance vision problems that can be corrected -- but in a different time and place, not so much --- I am wondering if shepherd color preference may have also had a vision component. I think it would be easier to see a dog whose color or markings are in contrast to animals being herded. So that if you have black-and-white cows, you might want a red/brown dog; if you have white or grey sheep, you might want a black or black and white dog.

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I was just browsing the Border Collie Museum site in the coat collies section, and noticed the majority of the dogs (or maybe even all) in the "yellow/australian red" section are all pet or Barbie lines, it seems. Are there no working dogs who are recessive red? Not that I'm interested in one, I'm just curious about whether or not that is pretty much a strictly color breeder thing.

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I am wondering if shepherd color preference may have also had a vision component. I think it would be easier to see a dog whose color or markings are in contrast to animals being herded.

 

I don't know about in contrast to the color of the livestock, but there are certainly other ways I could see an advantage.

 

For example, my liver and white dog fades into the darkness much more than my black and white dog does. My blue merle did, as well, though I used to hear stories about how the dilute merles weren't as threatening to the sheep as darker dogs and so were used for ewes with lambs that the shepherds didn't want upset. (I have no idea if that's true, but I have heard the stories.)

 

I've also heard that the white markings were valued for the same reason, that they made the dog and its movements more visible in the dark.

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I was just browsing the Border Collie Museum site in the coat collies section, and noticed the majority of the dogs (or maybe even all) in the "yellow/australian red" section are all pet or Barbie lines, it seems. Are there no working dogs who are recessive red? Not that I'm interested in one, I'm just curious about whether or not that is pretty much a strictly color breeder thing.

 

 

There are working red dogs out there. I know of several here out west. But for whatever reason, it seems to me that there are more red working border collies among cattle-working lines than sheepdog lines. Again, that's out west, so I've no idea if that's really the case.

 

Lots of color breeding going into red border collies, though. Lots.

 

~ Gloria

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The yellow/australian red is ee red, not just red or liver. It creates the blonde dog. Funny gene as far as I can tell, it actually completely covers the markings below, including merle. And yes, as far as I've seen it only resides in Barbie Collie lines. At least I've never seen any ee red in any working lines, ever.

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I've seen the VERY rare ee red in working lines, including one purely UK bred dog. It might be much more common in the Australian bred dogs because of founder effect.

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The original Border Collies were black and white.

Where did the other colors come from originally? How were they introduced into the Border Collie Lines?

 

Jan

 

Your first statement is incorrect.

 

The dog that is often called the 'father of the breed' was Old Hemp (1893 - 1903) and he was a tricolour. You can read a bit about him and Adam Telfer who bred and trained him here.

http://www.tynedalelife.co.uk/2014/06/the-dogfather/

 

There is also an old British Pathé news clip from the 1940s showing Adam Telfer's granddaughters working a young litter. Although the film was shot in black and white, it is clear that at least one of the pups is light coloured, as is the pups' father. You can view this video here http://www.britishpathe.com/video/sheep-champion-trainer ETA worth watching just to hear the narator's accent!

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