A border collie is a type of herding dog, and the blue merle is one of the many color variations that this breed can be. A blue merle border collie has white forelegs and chest and a light gray hue that is mottled and patchy throughout the rest of its body.
The border collie breed originated in the border area between England and Scotland. Their value came from their talent for herding sheep and allowing the shepherds there to maintain vast flocks. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995. Because of their athletic abilities and keen intelligence, border collies are often regarded as one of the smartest dog breeds and frequently compete in dog sports and agility courses.
Border collies are friendly and exuberant dogs that require regular exercise. They are a slightly high-strung breed and, without proper exercise and stimulation, can become destructive. Because they have a strong, instinctual need for herding people and objects, they do best with older children. These dogs shed seasonally, and their long hair does need to be cared for regularly. The lifespan of a border collie is between 10 and 17 years, slightly longer than other similar sized dog breeds.