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Sheltie Coat Colors

Shelties come in a variety of colors. Excerpt from the CKC breed standard:

The coat should be double, the outer coat consisting of long, straight, harsh hair; the undercoat short, furry, and so dense as to give the entire coat its "stand-off" quality. The hair on face, tips of ears and feet should be smooth. Maine and frill should be abundant, and particularly impressive in males. The forelegs well feathered, the hind legs heavily so, but smooth below the hock joint. Hair on tail profuse. NOTE: Excess hair on ears, feet and hocks may be trimmed for the show ring. Colour black, blue merle, and sable (ranging from golden through mahogany); marked with varying amounts of white and/or tan. Faults: Coat Short or flat, in whole or in part; wavy, curly, soft or silky. Lack of undercoat. Smooth-coated specimens. Rustiness in a black or blue coat. Washed out or degenerate colours, such as pale sable and faded blue. Self-colour in the case of blue merle, that is, without any merling or mottling and generally appearing as a faded or dilute tricolour. Conspicuous white body spots. Specimens with more than 50 per cent white shall be so severely penalized as to effectively eliminate them from competition.

EYES medium size with dark, almond-shaped rims, set somewhat obliquely in skull. Colour must be dark with blue or merle eyes permissible in blue merles only.

Below are some photos indicating the variety of colors you might run across.

Sable and White

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Often a paler sable than the counterpart at right

Black factored sable and white

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Usually a mahogany colour with black overlay

Sable Merle and White

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Usually has silvery hair on edges of ears which may be the only identifying color trait.  Merling in coat of pure for sable merle may not be evident. eyes may be brown, blue or merled.

Black factored and white factored
sable merle - may be a pinto/piebald or double merle

Note presence of silvery merling on face and body. Merling more obvious than in pure for sable merle pictured to left.

Black white and tan (also known as tricolor)

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Note tan markings on face and upper leg areas

Black and white (also known as bi-black)

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Note absence of tan markings

Blue merle white & tan (also known as blue merle)

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Any shade of grey with black patches, & tan markings

Bi-blue merle (also known as bi-blue)

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Note absence of tan points

Sable headed white

Tricolor headed white

Blue Merle headed white


Double dilute/double merle (sometimes hearing and/or sight impaired)

Primarily white including the head


Note mixture of black and brown hairs

Dilute Tricolor

Note faded black coat color


This is a variation on the tricolor gene - note tan points above eyes


White head, colored body