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Hi guys, I'm new to the forum and just had a question regarding breeding border collies and the genetics etc. This mating wouldn't take place for at least a year from now as the dogs are still young, however was wanting some opinions. My bitch is a blue and white smooth coat and the prospective mate is a blue merle rough coat. So it's probably a stupid question but I know you can't breed two merles together so is there any chance of my bitch carrying a merle gene due to her blue colour? Her parents are both black and white.
Thanks for any advice!
 

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I have limited understanding of genetics but I believe she is, one of her parents must have had a cryptic merle in their genes.

Sorry.
 

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I have limited understanding of genetics but I believe she is, one of her parents must have had a cryptic merle in their genes.

Sorry.
Thanks for responding! So are you thinking it would be best to not breed her with a merle and risk a double merle puppy?
 

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Never, ever breed if there is a risk of double merle, the deformities of the puppies is heartbreaking.

I really don't mean this to sound rude but I wonder if you maybe need to do a lot more research, if you are even asking these questions?
 

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Never, ever breed if there is a risk of double merle, the deformities of the puppies is heartbreaking.

I really don't mean this to sound rude but I wonder if you maybe need to do a lot more research, if you are even asking these questions?
I totally get where you're coming from, I am new to border collies but have spent the majority of my life working at a breeding facility for poodles so have prior knowledge for breeding just not with border collies specifically. I've been researching for months but there really isn't much information out there regarding the genetics of a blue border collie, most searches come up with blue merles. I just came to this forum to see if anyone had knowledge about whether my bitch would carry a merle gene due to her colouration. I definitely won't be breeding the two together if there is any chance of her carrying the gene.
 

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Merle Genetics:
Unlike the collies’ two base color genes, the merle gene is not a color gene; in fact, it produces no pigment at all. There is no color gene in collies for blue coat color only for black coat and brown coat. The merle gene turns some parts of a black coat to grey”

This is what I found on colliehealth.org. Like I said I'm no expert on genetics but I'd not do it.

In the UK there is no breeding line free from epilepsy for (at least, there wasn't two years ago when I was doing some research for someone) so that's something else to be careful of.
 

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Merle Genetics:
Unlike the collies’ two base color genes, the merle gene is not a color gene; in fact, it produces no pigment at all. There is no color gene in collies for blue coat color only for black coat and brown coat. The merle gene turns some parts of a black coat to grey”

This is what I found on colliehealth.org. Like I said I'm no expert on genetics but I'd not do it.

In the UK there is no breeding line free from epilepsy for (at least, there wasn't two years ago when I was doing some research for someone) so that's something else to be careful of.
Thank you so much for your help, looks like I’ll be looking for a solid colour mate for her instead.
 

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I think it would be safe to breed her to a merle. Merle is a dominant gene so unless it is a cryptic merle then it will show. Blue is separate from merle and is the dilute gene of black meaning that both of your girl's black and white parents carried the dilute gene (which is recessive) which made your girl the color she is. You see the dilute black gene in both labs and Dobermans and neither breeds have blue merle. Yes, the merle gene does dilute the color in merle dogs (even in red merle) but it is different than the gene that makes a slate (the darker blue that I assume your female has) and white dog the color that it is. Also, if I were you, I would look into finding an experienced Border Collie breeder to mentor you as there is a lot that goes into breeding a working breed like a Border Collie. Color is the last thing you should be thinking about, especially since you have a non-merle bitch which allows you to find the right male suited for her in whatever color he happens to come in. What are you planning on breeding for?
 

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I think it would be safe to breed her to a merle. Merle is a dominant gene so unless it is a cryptic merle then it will show. Blue is separate from merle and is the dilute gene of black meaning that both of your girl's black and white parents carried the dilute gene (which is recessive) which made your girl the color she is. You see the dilute black gene in both labs and Dobermans and neither breeds have blue merle. Yes, the merle gene does dilute the color in merle dogs (even in red merle) but it is different than the gene that makes a slate (the darker blue that I assume your female has) and white dog the color that it is. Also, if I were you, I would look into finding an experienced Border Collie breeder to mentor you as there is a lot that goes into breeding a working breed like a Border Collie. Color is the last thing you should be thinking about, especially since you have a non-merle bitch which allows you to find the right male suited for her in whatever color he happens to come in. What are you planning on breeding for?
Thank you so much for your response! I’m looking at getting in touch with a couple of breeders early next year (should this mating take place it would be towards the end of next year) and definitely won’t go through with it until I feel fully prepared. Both the owner of the male and I are wanting to breed pets rather than show dogs and have received plenty of interest from family and friends who have previously been looking into border collies.

That’s really interesting about the genes and it’s nice to know that I can breed her with a Merle should it be the right mate for her.
 

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Your welcome! Though be ready to face a lot of criticism from breeders because it is their job to protect and made sure that the breed stays the way it is (Border Collies breeders are really good about preserving their breed). There is much more to genetics than coloring! Plus, it's someone else's dog you are creating and you don't get to choose to show interest in only interest in color genetics when breedings dogs. The person who bred my GSP was breeding pets and just wanted to breed pretty dogs with his not health tested but "healthy" dogs and my dog ended up with epilepsy which cost me a lot of money, in the long run, to pay for her medication (she's 13 now) and yet, she is still one of the prettiest GSPs around where I live... Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:

  1. What about my bitch makes me think she is worthy of contributing to the gene pool?
  2. What are some faults about her?
  3. Am I willing to pay the money to health test? (Most people don't who are breeding pets which is why people discourage backyard breeders)
  4. What are some good things about the male?
  5. What are his faults?
  6. Did I do enough research about merle and know everything about it? (This is important because you want to breed her with one)
  7. Am I aware of how much it costs to raise puppies properly?
  8. Am I willing to do it properly even if I lose money instead of gain it?
  9. Are you certain that all of her pups will be neutered and kept as pets, not breeding stock?
  10. Are you willing to take the risk of endangering your bitch's or future pups' life?
 

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Your welcome! Though be ready to face a lot of criticism from breeders because it is their job to protect and made sure that the breed stays the way it is (Border Collies breeders are really good about preserving their breed). There is much more to genetics than coloring! Plus, it's someone else's dog you are creating and you don't get to choose to show interest in only interest in color genetics when breedings dogs. The person who bred my GSP was breeding pets and just wanted to breed pretty dogs with his not health tested but "healthy" dogs and my dog ended up with epilepsy which cost me a lot of money, in the long run, to pay for her medication (she's 13 now) and yet, she is still one of the prettiest GSPs around where I live... Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:

  1. What about my bitch makes me think she is worthy of contributing to the gene pool?
  2. What are some faults about her?
  3. Am I willing to pay the money to health test? (Most people don't who are breeding pets which is why people discourage backyard breeders)
  4. What are some good things about the male?
  5. What are his faults?
  6. Did I do enough research about merle and know everything about it? (This is important because you want to breed her with one)
  7. Am I aware of how much it costs to raise puppies properly?
  8. Am I willing to do it properly even if I lose money instead of gain it?
  9. Are you certain that all of her pups will be neutered and kept as pets, not breeding stock?
  10. Are you willing to take the risk of endangering your bitch's or future pups' life?
Thanks for getting back to me! I’m definitely preparing myself to face criticism around the decision to breed my bitch but this is definitely a well thought out mating and not something that will be rushed into. Both dogs will definitely be getting health checks prior to the mating and I am prepared to pull out even at the last minute if I decide breeding isn’t right for her. Again this mating wouldn’t take place until the end of next year so there is still plenty of time to do further research and ask around a few breeders before I fully commit to breeding her.
 
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