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the sable merle debate 

It seems that there are still a lot of people in this 'collie world' who  have no understanding of the Merle gene.  I will try to briefly explain once again. Every collie carries two allele for colour, one from the mother and one from the father. They can also carry separate modifier genes that can significantly alter the appearance of the genes they have inherited. Put simply, MERLE is a modifier gene. There is NO SUCH THING AS A BLUE MERLE GENE. The blue merle Collie is actually a TRICOLOUR that also carries a Merle gene that modifies the black by diluting it to blue. Every blue merle, regardless of the colour of its parents, has received one tricolour gene from each parent, and is itself a tricolour. However from one parent it also received a MERLE gene that modified the black and diluted it to blue. When we mate a shaded sable to a blue merle, we can produce four genetic types. 
1) the puppy can receive one tricolour gene from either parent and no merle modifier gene, this puppy will be TRICOLOUR. He cannot ever pass on ANY gene other than tricolour. 
2) the puppy can receive one sable gene from one parent and one tricolour gene from the other parent, and NO merle gene. This puppy will be SHADED SABLE, exactly the same as any other shaded sable. He carries no dilution gene, he will never pass on a merle gene. 
3) the puppy can receive a tricolour gene from both parents PLUS the merle modifier from the blue parent. This puppy will be BLUE MERLE. He will not carry a sable gene, he will be like any other blue merle puppy and can have a glorious clear blue colouring. 
4) the puppy can receive a sable gene from one parent, and a tricolour gene from the second parent, plus the Merle modifier. This puppy will not be a blue merle because he is sable and not tricolour. The Merle gene will modify the sable, making it paler with darker patches. This puppy can be born with one or two blue eyes. He will be SABLE by phenotype (his actual appearance with regard to the standard colour), but by genotype (his genetic colour type)  he will be a SABLE MERLE because he has the merle modifier gene.
 If the sable merle puppy has a blue eye, or two blue eyes, this is a fault in the breed standard because sables are required to have two dark eyes, however this is only one fault, it is not a disqualification. Every dog has at least one standard fault, there is no such thing as a perfect Collie. Cow hocks ARE a dis-qualifier fault but we still see many dogs winning with cow hocks!. However a blue eyed sable would never be placed inside a show ring, but such puppies can make beautiful pets. 
Now we come to a serious question. How many people are dna testing to discover if their collie is actually cea free?  I can prove that dogs found clinically free of cea often have TWO affected genes. Unfortunately the majority of breeders seem to prefer to fool themselves and more importantly the public into thinking they have cea free collies (because they have a certificate given by clinical examination to 'prove it', when in truth around 70-80% actually have TWO affected genes. In the UK my guess is that at least 90% of collies have TWO affected genes. If breeders continuously mate together affected dogs they will continue to produce the occasional blind puppy, I prefer to try and avoid this whilst it is still possible. 
Why  are people so afraid to own a beautiful blue merle collie, who is amongst the very small number of blue males in the UK that are proven to carry one clear gene, just because his sire is a shaded sable? is that crazy or what? 
Are we going to allow those few breeders, whose narrow minds are incapable of growing beyond EGO and fear, to limit us? or do we stand firm in protection of this noble breed and try and breed HEALTHY dogs to the best of our ability, using genetics to guide us?

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The sable merle debate 

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seems that there are still a lot of people in this 'collie world' who  have no understanding of the Merle gene.  I will try to briefly explain once again. Every collie carries two allele for colour, one from the mother and one from the father. They can also carry separate modifier genes that can significantly alter the appearance of the genes they have inherited. Put simply, MERLE is a modifier gene. There is NO SUCH THING AS A BLUE MERLE GENE. The blue merle Collie is actually a TRICOLOUR that also carries a Merle gene that modifies the black by diluting it to blue. Every blue merle, regardless of the colour of its parents, has received one tricolour gene from each parent, and is itself a tricolour. However from one parent it also received a MERLE gene that modified the black and diluted it to blue. When we mate a shaded sable to a blue merle, we can produce four genetic types. 

1) the puppy can receive one tricolour gene from either parent and no merle modifier gene, this puppy will be TRICOLOUR. He cannot ever pass on ANY gene other than tricolour. 
2) the puppy can receive one sable gene from one parent and one tricolour gene from the other parent, and NO merle gene. This puppy will be SHADED SABLE, exactly the same as any other shaded sable. He carries no dilution gene, he will never pass on a merle gene. 
3) the puppy can receive a tricolour gene from both parents PLUS the merle modifier from the blue parent. This puppy will be BLUE MERLE. He will not carry a sable gene, he will be like any other blue merle puppy and can have a glorious clear blue colouring. 
4) the puppy can receive a sable gene from one parent, and a tricolour gene from the second parent, plus the Merle modifier. This puppy will not be a blue merle because he is sable and not tricolour. The Merle gene will modify the sable, making it paler with darker patches. This puppy can be born with one or two blue eyes. He will be SABLE by phenotype (his actual appearance with regard to the standard colour), but by genotype (his genetic colour type)  he will be a SABLE MERLE because he has the merle modifier gene.
 If the sable merle puppy has a blue eye, or two blue eyes, this is a fault in the breed standard because sables are required to have two dark eyes, however this is only one fault, it is not a disqualification. Every dog has at least one standard fault, there is no such thing as a perfect Collie. Cow hocks ARE a dis-qualifier fault but we still see many dogs winning with cow hocks!. However a blue eyed sable would never be placed inside a show ring, but such puppies can make beautiful pets. 
Now we come to a serious question. How many people are dna testing to discover if their collie is actually cea free?  I can prove that dogs found clinically free of cea often have TWO affected genes. Unfortunately the majority of breeders seem to prefer to fool themselves and more importantly the public into thinking they have cea free collies (because they have a certificate given by clinical examination to 'prove it', when in truth around 70-80% actually have TWO affected genes. In the UK my guess is that at least 90% of collies have TWO affected genes. If breeders continuously mate together affected dogs they will continue to produce the occasional blind puppy, I prefer to try and avoid this whilst it is still possible. 
Why  are people so afraid to own a beautiful blue merle collie, who is amongst the very small number of blue males in the UK that are proven to carry one clear gene, just because his sire is a shaded sable? is that crazy or what? 
Are we going to allow those few breeders, whose narrow minds are incapable of growing beyond EGO and fear, to limit us? or do we stand firm in protection of this noble breed and try and breed HEALTHY dogs to the best of our ability, using genetics to guide us? seems that there are still a lot of people in this 'collie world' who  have no understanding of the Merle gene.  I will try to briefly explain once again. Every collie carries two allele for colour, one from the mother and one from the father. They can also carry separate modifier genes that can significantly alter the appearance of the genes they have inherited. Put simply, MERLE is a modifier gene. There is NO SUCH THING AS A BLUE MERLE GENE. The blue merle Collie is actually a TRICOLOUR that also carries a Merle gene that modifies the black by diluting it to blue. Every blue merle, regardless of the colour of its parents, has received one tricolour gene from each parent, and is itself a tricolour. However from one parent it also received a MERLE gene that modified the black and diluted it to blue. When we mate a shaded sable to a blue merle, we can produce four genetic types. 
1) the puppy can receive one tricolour gene from either parent and no merle modifier gene, this puppy will be TRICOLOUR. He cannot ever pass on ANY gene other than tricolour. 
2) the puppy can receive one sable gene from one parent and one tricolour gene from the other parent, and NO merle gene. This puppy will be SHADED SABLE, exactly the same as any other shaded sable. He carries no dilution gene, he will never pass on a merle gene. 
3) the puppy can receive a tricolour gene from both parents PLUS the merle modifier from the blue parent. This puppy will be BLUE MERLE. He will not carry a sable gene, he will be like any other blue merle puppy and can have a glorious clear blue colouring. 
4) the puppy can receive a sable gene from one parent, and a tricolour gene from the second parent, plus the Merle modifier. This puppy will not be a blue merle because he is sable and not tricolour. The Merle gene will modify the sable, making it paler with darker patches. This puppy can be born with one or two blue eyes. He will be SABLE by phenotype (his actual appearance with regard to the standard colour), but by genotype (his genetic colour type)  he will be a SABLE MERLE because he has the merle modifier gene.
 If the sable merle puppy has a blue eye, or two blue eyes, this is a fault in the breed standard because sables are required to have two dark eyes, however this is only one fault, it is not a disqualification. Every dog has at least one standard fault, there is no such thing as a perfect Collie. Cow hocks ARE a dis-qualifier fault but we still see many dogs winning with cow hocks!. However a blue eyed sable would never be placed inside a show ring, but such puppies can make beautiful pets. 
Now we come to a serious question. How many people are dna testing to discover if their collie is actually cea free?  I can prove that dogs found clinically free of cea often have TWO affected genes. Unfortunately the majority of breeders seem to prefer to fool themselves and more importantly the public into thinking they have cea free collies (because they have a certificate given by clinical examination to 'prove it', when in truth around 70-80% actually have TWO affected genes. In the UK my guess is that at least 90% of collies have TWO affected genes. If breeders continuously mate together affected dogs they will continue to produce the occasional blind puppy, I prefer to try and avoid this whilst it is still possible. 
Why  are people so afraid to own a beautiful blue merle collie, who is amongst the very small number of blue males in the UK that are proven to carry one clear gene, just because his sire is a shaded sable? is that crazy or what? 
Are we going to allow those few breeders, whose narrow minds are incapable of growing beyond EGO and fear, to limit us? or do we stand firm in protection of this noble breed and try and breed HEALTHY dogs to the best of our ability, using genetics to guide us?