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5 Dog Breeds That Can Have a Merle Coat

Updated on December 23, 2016

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 Australian Shepherds are the dog breed that is most associated with the Merle gene. Australian Shepherds with the Merle gene will often have icy blue eyes. Australian Shepherds 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 resulting in the puppy developing blindness or deafness, this will happen to 1 in 4 of the puppies in the litter, statistically.

2. Corgies

The Corgi is a beautiful breed 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, classically working dogs, known for their high intelligence can come in a Merle coat pattern. Typically though of coming with a white and black coat, Merle Border Collies are the least common color pattern found naturally in Border Collies. 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 little of four or more will be born 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.

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    • Camille Harris profile image

      Camille Harris 17 months ago from SF Bay Area

      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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