Merle Chihuahuas Health and Information
Merle chihuahuas is always a hot debate in the chihuahua community! Here is our take on merle chihuahuas, what you need to know and how to decide if one is right for you!
what is a Merle Chihuahua?
Merle or “Dapple” as referred to in other breeds) is a gene modifier which changes the pigmentation of the base colour causing lighter spots. For example, a black dog with the presence of the merle gene will create a blue merle. Merles create very interesting and unique coloured dogs, sometimes they may even have blue eyes.
Facts about blue merle chihuahuas:
The merle gene is dominant in breeds such as sheep dogs, border collies, dachshunds and Great danes. It is argued that the merle gene is not naturally present in the chihuahua breed and must have been introduced as a result of cross breeding. Every type of dog in the evolutionary chain comes from a single source. It is through years and years of gene modification that we have come to know all the different breeds we have today.
The merle chihuahua was considered a purebred dog by the AKC, CKC, & KC was eligible for show in the past. Rules have thus changed. As of June2010 according to the Canadian Kennel club, merles, Canadian or foreign born are not eligible for registration and are disqualified for show. This is in attempts to weed out the merle chihuahua completely and discourage breeders from breeding merles. Since less than 2% of chihuahuas in the USA * are actually shown, there is still a large percentage of merles being born.
Merles have been present in the chihuahua breed since the 1940′s perhaps even earlier*. We think this is a long 70+ years to just ignore them or consider them crosses!
The merle gene is dominant! This means that one parent must directly and physically exhibit the trait in order to pass it down to its off spring even if it is only a tiny patch. The merle gene is not one that lies dormant for years and then one day will surface. Note: the merle gene also effects dogs who have light, white or beige colouring. Since the merle gene creates lighter patches, it is possible for the merle pattern to not be visually present in light coloured dogs. These are known as ghost or phantom merles.
Is there an increase health risk with merle chihuahuas ?
-No. Not if bred responsibility, chihuahuas that carry the merle gene are happy healthy dogs no different from any other chihuahua. The problem can lie when two merles are bred together. This double merle gene can create dogs with a greater probability of deafness and/or blindness. This condition is not inclusive to chihuahuas and goes for any breed bred with a double merle gene. Did you know the merle gene also responsible for giving giving Great Danes beautiful Harlequin markings? If two harlequin danes are bred together, there is also the same increased risk of deafness and blindness. Side note: we used to own danes as well so have quite a lot of experience in the breed too !
Do merles need special care ?
-If they are healthy, without vision and hearing problems then nope! Use caution with blue eyed merle chihuahuas as they may be more sensitive to sunlight due to their pale pigmentation.
Are merles rare?
– Not particularly no. A high quality merle conforming to the chihuahua breed standards may be, as with any irresponsible breeder quality dogs are not the priority. A chocolate merle is less common, as is a long coat merle. We are proud of the quality, disposition and conformation of our merles!
You may have visited other chihuahua sites that claim merle free lines. What does all this mean and why should I be concerned ?
-The breeder is simply stating they do not have or breed merle chihuahuas. Do they voice their personal option on the matter? If you see this on a site, make sure to stop by and ask them why. Placing a badge stating a particular option, does not make one more legit or responsible over another breeder. If you love the flashy markings of a merle, be sure your merle is bred (as any dog) in a responsible and caring manner.