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Basic Sheltie Colors

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The Basic Sheltie Colors

These three beauties represent the three basic colors in Shelties; merle, sable, and black.
The one on the left is a merle, which happens to be a blue merle. There are also sable merles.
The middle dog is a sable.
On the right is a tri-colored Sheltie (black and white with tan markings.) A black and white Sheltie that has no tan markings is called a bi-black.
All Shelties have some white on them. Shelties also come in color-headed whites and mis-marks. Those dogs have over 50% white on them and are not acceptable in AKC conformation competition. While there is nothing that says they may not compete, the rules on color in the Sheltie standard are as written:

Color
Black, blue merle, and sable (ranging from golden through mahogany); marked with varying amounts of white and/or tan. Faults-- Rustiness in a black or a blue coat. Washed-out or degenerate colors, such as pale sable and faded blue. Self-color in the case of blue merle, that is, without any merling or mottling and generally appearing as a faded or dilute tri-color. Conspicuous white body spots. Specimens with more than 50 percent white shall be so severely penalized as to effectively eliminate them from competition. Disqualification-- Brindle.

For more pictures representing many more color variations, please go to the following link, which will open up a separate page in another website. More colors and pics, click here. The double merle color, also pictured on that page, comes from the breeding of two merles together. Double dilute/double merles frequently are deaf and/or blind, sometimes being born without eyes. Such dogs cannot live a normal life and are often put down at birth. Thus, it is NOT recommended that merle to merle breedings be done, although unfortunately, many breeders still do them anyway!

All colors are permitted to compete in performance events. Other organizations, such as the UKC and the International Dog Shows do permit these dogs with excess white to compete and win in conformation. While these dogs are by no means rare or unusual, unfortunately there are some unscrupulous breeders who try to represent them as such and sometimes charge extreme prices.