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Another color/genetics question

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The discussion on the general discussion board about color and coat and what types of people seek what kind of look in a border collie reminded me of a question I had.


I was at a friend's house and a lady there had her male AKC border collie (tri-blue merle) and a black and white bitch that had been shipped to her to be bred to her dog. The bitch, although black and white, was obviously white factored.


So I asked the lady if there was a risk in breeding a merle to a white factored dog. She said, "He's not white factored." I said "I know that, but is there any risk to breeding white factored to merle?"


She thought not. My gut instinct was that I wouldn't do it. I would not be inclined to breed my white factored bitch to white factored dog, nor would I breed her to a merle (actually while I've met lots of great working dogs who are white factored, I can't say the same for merles).


I understand that the genes for merle and the genes for white factoring are different, but does anyone know if you would be playing with fire, so to speak, to deliberately cross the two? In the example here, the two owners were conformation/sport folks and so may have been trying to get some special combination/color. I don't know that for a fact because I didn't ask--I guess I really didn't want to know.... (But I *am* curious!)



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