Below, you will find a quick reference to the basic colors shelties come in:



Ranges from golden to mahogany and is the most common color. If you are confused as to whether you have a mahogany sable or a tricolor, part your dog's hair. If you see brown under the black, you have a mahogany sable. If you see only black or gray, you have a tricolor.



A black body coat with tan and white markings. Tricolor is sometimes confused with mahogany sable, see "sable" above.


Blue Merle

Ranges from powder blue to gun-metal gray, with varying amounts of black, white and tan markings. Genetically, a blue merle is a tricolor with a dilute gene (the merle gene) applied over the base coat of black. In effect, where the dilute gene touches the black, it dilutes to a shade of gray.



A black coated dog, but without the tan markings.



Is the same as a blue merle, but without the tan markings.


Sable Merle

A sable dog with the dilute merle gene applied over it. Sable merle is considered by some to be a controversial color as it is not directly addressed by the AKC Standard for Shetland Sheepdogs. There are no health issues associated with the sable merle, just as there are none with the blue merle. Only in double strength (double-dilute) does the merle gene cause any problems.


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