Border Collie Red Merle – Everything You Need to Know

Border Collie Red Merle is a purebred dog with a red patterned coat and comes with adorable features and looks. Border Collie Red Merle is a red patterned variant of the Border Collie breed. ‘Merle’ simply means a genetic pattern on a dog’s coat. The AKC recognizes 17 different coat colors that range from black and white to red, lilac, brindle, merle, and more. Border Collie Red Merle comes on this esteemed list and is recognized by the AKC.

The Border Collie breed is primarily a herding dog developed to herd and control sheep on the hilly borders between Scotland and England. Notably, the evolution and existence of these dogs are as old as that of humans. Their ancestors were used for herding and guarding sheep and were once considered the biggest asset of a Shepherd. Interestingly, they are known to herd the sheep alone with eye contact. The Word Collie means ‘Sheep dog’ in Scottish and reflects Scottish heritage.

A Red Merle Border Collie is only a Border Collie dog with red hues and patterns resulting from the genetic pairing of a dominant Merle gene from one parent and a recessive gene from the other parent. A merle gene causes the patches of color in a coat and affects skin pigments. 

The Merle gene can affect all coat colors. The Red Merle is a pattern of brown and black and is usually called Red. Merle gene doesn’t just affect the coat colors but also the colors of eyes, nose, and paw pads. Border Collie Red Merle and other Border Collies share the same distinguishing characteristics except for the coat colors. Border Collie Red Merle was rare and unique until the last decade. The mesmerizing look of this beautiful dog is characterized by the dapples of red hues on fluffy white fur and will have one say how adorable they are.

Border Collie Red Merle Pros and Cons

Highly energeticHealth conditions
IntelligentBreeding is complicated
Playful and affectionateHigh shedding

Border Collie Red Merle Basic Information

  • Name: Border Collie Red Merle
  • Height: 35-45 inches
  • Weight: 9 to 20 pounds
  • Size: Medium
  • Coat: Double coated
  • Color: Red patterns and dots on white coat
  • Group: Herding dog
  • Activities: Agility, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, sheepdog trials, herding events
  • Barking Level: Low
  • Shedding Level: High
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Energy: High
  • Litter Size: 4 – 6 cups
  • Life Span: 12 – 15 years
  • Other Names: Welsh Sheep Dogs, Northern Sheepdogs, Highland Collies, and Scotch Collies
  • Breed Recognition: The American Kennel Club (AKC)

Border Collie and Red Merle Border Collie: A Comparison

FeaturesStandard Border CollieBorder Collie Red Merle

OriginAnglo-Scottish BorderAnglo-Scottish Border
Height35-45 inches35-45 inches
Weight9-20 pounds9-20 pounds
Size MediumMedium
GroupHerding dogsHerding dogs
Children CompatibilityHighHigh
Family CompatibilityHighHigh
Pets CompatibilityMediumMedium
Barking LevelLow Low 
Shedding LevelMedium to highMedium to high
Grooming NeedsHighHigh
Overall HealthLowLow
Exercise NeedsHighHigh
TrainabilityEasy Easy 

Agility, obedience, showmanship,
flyball, tracking, sheepdog trials, herding events
Agility, obedience, showmanship,
flyball, tracking, sheepdog trials, herding events
Complication in breedingNoNo
Litter Size4-6 puppies4-6 puppies
Lifespan12-15 years12-15 years
Other NamesWelsh Sheep Dogs, Northern Sheepdogs,
Highland Collies, and Scotch Collies
Welsh Sheep Dogs, Northern Sheepdogs,
Highland Collies, and Scotch Collies

Border Collie Red Merle Personality

Border Collie Red Merles looks like a lighter version of Australian Shepherds. They are medium-sized dogs that grow around 35 – 45 inches and weigh about 9-20 pounds. They are double-coated with a rough outer coat and soft undercoat. They are not hypoallergenic. 

The coat can be of two types: coarse or smooth. The coarse type is medium length and can be seen with featherings on the legs, chest, and belly. The smooth variety is short with minimal feathering. The red merle coat color comes with patches of red fur with white markings on the chest, feet, neck, and tail. This dappled effect results from the dilution of the pigments caused by the merle gene. Border Collie Red Merle puppies can have blue eyes with various blue shades.

Interestingly, Border Collie Red Merle  has blue eyes, a pink-colored nose pigmented with red patterns called a butterfly nose. The tail has feathers and reaches to the hocks. The ears are erect with droopy tips. These gorgeous angels treat your eyes and senses with their angelic and delightful looks.

Friendliness Overview

Affection levelHigh

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment livingLow
Good for new ownersLow
Sensitivity levelHigh
Tolerates being aloneLow
Cold toleranceHigh
Heat toleranceHigh

Border Collie Red Merle Temperament

Border Collie Red Merles are cute fluffy pooches that are hardworking, steadfast, and energetic. They are primarily herders and have extraordinary instincts. Being natural herders, they herd anything that moves, including cars and kids. They bark, nudge, and nip even at the noises of children due to their strong instincts. They are intelligent, witty yet curious, and like to wander off sniffing around. They are athletic and not just excel at agility but also sheepherding, fly ball, dock diving, and a game of frisbee. They are affectionate and loving and make a great family companion. They do well with kids and other pets of the family. 

Border Collie Red Merles are playful and love the attention of their humans. They are highly sensitive to their owner’s every cue, from a whistle to raising an eyebrow. They form close bonding with their families and are protective. They are one of the most intelligent dog breeds and are ranked in the top 10 of all dogs. Their dynamic temperament includes

  • Loving 
  • Playful
  • Agile
  • Energetic
  • Intelligent
  • Athletic
  • Hardworking
  • Alert
  • Strong-minded
  • Independent

Border Collie Red Merle Training

Border Collie Red Merles are tricky to train and need perseverance and consistency in training. Like any other dog breed, they require early socialization and proper training. They are obedient, and Border Collie Red Merles become the perfect puppy to live with positive reinforcement. They love being around people, and treats and cuddles do wonders while training. Border Collie Red Merle puppies can be trained in commands and tricks as early as 3 to 4 months. They have high energy levels and, if not appropriately met, will lead to destructive behaviors like digging and chewing. Always clarify the alpha position with your dog while training. Following the routine while training and sticking to a schedule will make training sessions a breeze. They also look forward to the training sessions, playing fetch, and this helps in training regarding behavioral corrections. They enjoy playtime and tricks, and this mental stimulation keeps these dogs happy. 

Trainability Overview

Easy to trainHigh
Prey to driveMedium
Mouthiness tendenciesMedium
Barking and Howling tendenciesLow
Wanderlust tendenciesMedium

Border Collie Red Merle Exercise Needs

Border Collie Red Merles are energetic dogs and require lots of daily exercises. They are always eager to learn new things and look for new adventures. They love to play with toys, walk, hike and run. They excel at agility, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, sheepdog trials, and herding events. A daily exercise of 2 hours with a big fenced yard keeps them physically and mentally stimulated. A proper exercise routine helps the dog with the following benefits.

  • Social Interaction
  • Weight Control
  • Stress Relief
  • Behavioral Corrections like excessive chewing, persistent barking
  • Brain Stimulation
  • Strengthening Muscles
  • Routine Toileting
  • Mental Health and Happiness

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy levelHigh
Exercise needsHigh

Border Collie Red Merle Grooming

Border Collie Red Merles are low maintenance dogs though they shed round the year. They are easy to groom, and the coat needs to be brushed 2-3 times per week. Brushing helps remove clump hair and pull out the loose fur during shedding. One of the essential parts of grooming is bathing which keeps the dog clean. However, frequent bathing causes dry skin and itches. Bathing your dog using shampoos with ph. Balanced for dogs, pet wipes will keep your dog’s coat fresh, clean, and shiny. They can also be bathed once a week. However, daily brushing helps to keep the fur from knots and tangles

Ears should be cleaned and regularly checked as they are prone to ear problems. Brush their teeth daily to prevent plaque and other dental problems. Never brush the teeth with a stiff brush as it will harm the gums and teeth. Also, make sure to use dog-friendly toothpaste. Clean their eyes and trim their nails as a part of everyday grooming needs. Their toenails need to be checked once a week as longer nails may harm and injure the dog. You can trim the toenails with a commercial dog nail trimmer or with the help of a vet or professional groomer. 

Grooming Overview

Easy to groomHigh
Drooling tendenciesLow
Amount of sheddingLow

Border Collie Red Merle Health

Border Collie Red Merles are healthy dogs and may not develop any health concerns. But it always helps to know when to take your pup to the vet.

General healthLow
Weight gain tendenciesMedium

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is outwardly a painful disease that occurs when the bones of the back legs do not fit properly in the joints. While some dogs will exhibit symptoms, the majority of canines will not. Hip dysplasia is primarily genetic, although other causes such as accidents, excessive weight gain, and inappropriate training can also cause it. Even though this disease is fatal, therapies range from medicine to hip replacement surgery. To avoid this problem, avoid breeding dogs with hip dysplasia parentage and get annual examinations.

Other Causes of Hip Dysplasia: 

  • Injuries 
  • Excessive weight gain 
  • Wrong exercises 
  • This condition causes defects or injury to the hip bones and joints and worsens without treatment.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs include:

  • Reduced activity and movements
  • Reluctance to rise, jump, run or climb
  • Lameness in the hind limbs
  • Reducing thigh muscle mass
  • Swaying, “bunny hopping” gait
  • Grating in the joint during movement
  • Enlarging shoulders
  • Pain
  • Stiffness

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Many eye infections involve the retina’s slow deterioration. In the initial phases, puppies become night-blind. As it progresses, they lose their eyesight during the daytime as well. However, most canines slowly adapt to their slight or complete sight loss as long as their home surroundings remain the same.

Epilepsy: This is the most prevalent neurological disease in canines, concerning about 0.75 percent of the population. Epilepsy is a broad name for disorders characterized by repeated, uncontrollable seizures caused by a brain defect.  

Collie Eye Anomaly: CEA is an inherited developmental condition usually seen in breeds like Australian shepherds, Border Collies, Shetland sheepdogs, etc. This disorder can lead a dog to blindness. 

Deafness: A hereditary condition seen in Collies. There is every chance that the mixed breed puppy gets inherited. 

Cancer: The Australian Shepherd has a higher life expectancy than Border Collie, so they are predisposed to cancer as they grow older. Cancer can be remedied by surgical removal of tumors and chemotherapy. Yet, it is crucial not to ignore the signs and diagnose them earlier. 

Multi-Drug Sensitivity: This is a condition where the gene that transports specific prescribed medicines out of or away from the brain is incorrect, and the toxicity of the drugs poisons them. When you visit the vet, remind them that they are sufferers of MDS to be on the safe side.

Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome: A condition where white blood cells (WBC) are not released accurately from the bone marrow, preventing the dog’s immune system from opposing diseases. Most Collies generate symptoms of this at around seven months of age and can die soon after. A DNA swab can diagnose if they suffer from this syndrome early.

Cataracts: An affected eye will look clouded due to the formation of a white film-like coating over the eye lens. Such a condition should not be left untreated as it can result in blindness.

Obesity: Chihuahuas and their mixed breeds are prone to obesity, exacerbating hip and elbow dysplasia. This disorder negatively hits a dog’s health and durability. Obese canines exhibit an increased risk of heart disease, digestive disorders, diabetes, joint problems, and hypertension. 

Osteochondrosis Dissecans or OCD: Osteochondrosis Dissecans or OCD in dogs is a condition where the cartilage between the joints at the back of the animal becomes thin and weak, causing them to collapse.

Spay or Neuter: In spay, the ovaries or uterus in females is removed, and in the neuter, the testicles of the male dogs are removed. It is done to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy or fathering unwanted puppies and decrease the likelihood of certain types of cancer.

Eye Sensitivity: Merle Border Collies are generally susceptible to light. They suffer from redness of the eyes and discomfort when exposed to sunlight leading to eye infections and occasionally resulting in blindness.

Skin Sensitivity: It is commonly seen in Merle Border Collies. Symptoms include abnormal scratching, dry patches, and loss of hair.

Skin Cancer: Border Collie Red Merles are prone to skin sensitivity, and there are chances that they may be susceptible to skin cancer if exposed to UV rays for an extended period. If not treated timely, this may lead to death.

Recommended Tests for Border Collie Red Merle 

  • X-Rays 
  • CT Scan 
  • Eye Examination 
  • Physical Examination 
  • Blood Work

Border Collie Red Merle Diet and Nutrition

Border Collie Red Merle is a well-built distinctive dog, and they would need a large quantity of high-quality food. They should eat 1.5-2 cups of food every day. Each puppy is unique, and the correct amount and quality of food depend on their age, weight, activity level, health, and more. The meal can be split into two 2 cups daily. They are prone to obesity, and hence overfeeding must be avoided. Border Collie Red Merle pups can be given dry food, wet food, or both. They can also be fed with fruits and vegetables that provide carbohydrate energy. Never hesitate to consult a vet to meet your pup’s dietary requirements to keep them happy and healthy.

Border Collie Red Merle Living Condition

Border Collie Red Merle loves to be around their humans and is protective. They are not suitable to live in apartments or perfectly fit in homes with bigger yards. They excel in sports and love outdoor activities like walking, running, playing, agility, flyball, and visiting dog parks. They are also content and happy with indoor games, toys, and play sessions with their owners. They will be keen on seeking attention from their owners and suffer separation anxiety when left alone. They do well in homes with children and other pets and animals with early socialization. They have strong instincts and should be kept on a leash or within a fenced yard for safety. These breeds do well in both cold and hot weather conditions. 

Adding a Border Collie Red Merle to Your Family

Things to remember before adding a Border Collie Red Merle to your family

Getting a Border Collie Red Merle puppy from a reputable breeder is best to prevent unavoidable circumstances like health disorders and provide you with vaccination certificates. It is best to check with the puppy’s parents to ensure his health and happiness. Always remember the following red flags to avoid backyard breeders and puppy mills.

  • Puppies are available round the year.
  • You can choose from a variety of litter that is always available.
  • One will be promised any puppy they want.

Apart from the above, Red Merle Border Collies should be bred with proper skill and experience. A Merle-to-Merle Breeding results in double Merle pups(MM). This causes the puppy to develop health issues like partial or complete deafness, blindness, and skeletal defects. They may also be prone to high sensitivity to UV rays which causes skin cancer. Always beware of the breeder and ask for genetic documentation while purchasing a Border Collie Red Merle Puppy. 

Border Collie Red Merle Rescue Groups

  • Border Collie Society of America

Cost of a Border Collie Red Merle Puppy

The cost of a Cairn Terrier  Chihuahua puppy ranges from $1300 to $4500.

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