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5 Dog Breeds That Can Have a Merle Coat


I love the merle coat on dogs and like sharing which breeds can have this type of coat.


The merle coat is characterized by a patchwork of colors such as tan, white, and black. The gene that cause merle coats in dogs can also affect eye color, such as causing ice blue eyes, and can also effect skin pigment. The dog most associated with the merle gene is the Australian Shepherd, however, many other dog breeds can carry the merle gene and have the beautiful merle coat. In this article, I will share the breeds that can carry the merle coat accompanied by beautiful pictures of these merle-coated dogs.

1. Australian Shepherds

Australian Shepherds top the list because they are the dog breed that is most associated with the merle gene. Australian Shepherds with the merle gene will often have icy blue eyes. They come in two merle variations; red and blue.

Due to the heavy demand on breeders for merle Australian Shepherds, some breeders practice irresponsible practices such as breeding two merle-coated parents together to achieve more Merle puppies in the litter, therefore increasing their profits. Breeding two merle-coated parents together can result in a puppy being born with two merle genes, which can result in the puppy developing blindness or deafness. This will happen to one in four of the puppies in the litter, statistically.


2. Corgis

The Corgi is a beautiful breed that is famous for being the favorite breed of the English Royal Family. Typically, the Corgi has a tan and white coat. However, Corgis can carry the merle gene, resulting in a merle coat.

Merle Corgis are in very high demand, resulting in merle Corgi puppies being sold by breeders for a premium, sometimes reaching up to $1500 for a single puppy.


3. Border Collies

Border Collies, classical working dogs that are known for their high intelligence, can come in a merle coat pattern. They typically come with a white and black coat, so merle Border Collies are the least common color pattern found naturally in the breed. As with Australian Shepherds, because of the high demand for merle-coated Border Collies, some breeders do practice unsafe breeding practices, which can cause health problems within the litter.


4. Dachshunds

Dachshunds can come in a red or blue merle color pattern. Although the merle color is not common for Dachshunds, it is an acceptable color according to breed registries. Merle Dachshunds can come as either short or long hair. Because the merle gene is dominant over other color genes, breeding a merle parent with a non-merle parent will statically guarantee at least one puppy in a litter of four or more with a merle-patterned coat.


5. Great Danes

Merle Great Danes are extremely beautiful and can result in breeding Great Danes with standard coat colors. Although the merle color pattern is considered to be a marked pattern by official registries, this rare color pattern is still sought out by many people who are looking to adopt a Great Dane.



Tcrip on August 24, 2020:

Also Pitbulls!

Bill on May 17, 2020:

They forgot to add Shelties.

muttley on October 29, 2019:

Catahoulas of course.

Meese on September 20, 2019:

Pembroke Welsh Corgis can't be merle. Cardigan Welsh Corgis can. Two very different breeds.

Del on August 10, 2019:

Anyone know the breed of dog as seen in the 2017 frontline plus commercial (found on YouTube)? Resembles a Berger Picard but looks like it is a blue Merle. White with gray long coat.

Cypher on March 24, 2019:

Nobody outside of Australia even seems aware of the existence of Koolies, but they have merle coats as often (or more often) than Aussie Shepherds. Beautiful dogs, I really want one. I don't know why Aussies seem to have caught on overseas but not Koolies. The short coat makes them easier to look after.

Kameko on December 16, 2018:

You should mention that any merle or dapple dog regardless of breed can have the double merle issue with blindness and or deafness. Labeling it to just Aussies is something you shouldn't do because someone could read this and think that breeding two merle great danes is safe.

Also, it is a 25% chance per pup to be a double merle. Still shouldn't do it, but this is how the odds work. You could end up with a full litter of double merles or none at all. Not a dice roll you want to bet on.

SPalmer on September 21, 2018:

What about rough and smooth coated collies??

Susan on August 21, 2018:

Merle Chihuahua exits also. Y are they not discussed

Cin on January 28, 2018:

My little girls is a long hair Chihuahua Toy Poodle mix...one blue/grey eye, one black....and a grey/white/black coat

N on January 25, 2018:

French bulldogs can be merle also

Jessica on January 02, 2018:

The Catahoula leopard dog is very well known for its Merle gene and pigmentation but seems to always be an ignored breed by dog enthusiasts for some unknown reason

Camille Harris from SF Bay Area on January 07, 2016:

Interesting! I always thought only Aussies could come in Merle. I would love to know what other breeds can come in brindle. I recently saw a beautiful American Greyhound with a brindle coat. Any ideas? :)

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