What is a Merle chihuahua?
When bringing up types of chihuahuas, a Merle chihuahua isn’t an official “type” recognized by the AKC for chihuahuas, but rather a special coating type for dogs. The Merle is a gene modifier that affects the pigmentations in dogs that changes the color of their coating. The gene also affects the color of their eyes which normally results in blue eyes or more unusual colors.
Chihuahuas and other dogs with the Merle gene have an appearance of fascinating colors with blotches or spots all over their coating. Popularity of this coating in chihuahuas has recently had a huge spike in the last 20 years. research suggests that this type of coating in chihuahuas has been around for about half a century and has been fabricated as a purebred chihuahua, although untrue.
The Merle gene is not a natural occurrence in chihuahuas which is evidence of cross breeding somewhere down the lineage. Around a decade ago the Kennel Club has taken a stance against the Merle chihuahua by ending registration of chihuahuas with the Merle gene. The stand against this is applaudable considering the health issues involved.
Merle chihuahua health risks
The controversy involving this coating is the major health risks involved with the type. Merle dogs of all breeds have a very high risk of being born blind or deaf. Some may not be born this way, but later may develop the health conditions. The chihuahua may suffer from full deafness or partial deafness, skeletal problems, heart problems, and reproductive issues.
Breeding two Merle parents together should never be done, as the risks for the pups being born with these conditions are extremely high. So high that the kennel club has banned the registration of Merle chihuahuas. We highly dissuade the breeding of these types of chi’s together so as not to punish any dogs life in such a way.
Some suggest that breeding a solid colored Chihuahua’s with a merle have safe outcomes. Contrary to these suggestions, studies have shown that even when doing this, there are still a significant amount of pups born with these health problems. Some Merle chihuahuas however are lucky and live their entire life without suffering from any of these symptoms.
However some dog owners do love to own and care for disabled dogs. My faith in humanity is always restored when I see people posting pictures or videos of themselves loving their blind dogs.
Phantom Merle Chihuahua
Or also known as a cryptic merle, is a chihuahua that contains the merle gene but doesn’t show any signs of being a merle. The identifiable coating colorations and blue eyes may not occur in the chihuahua. Scientifically named an “atypical merle” the phantom merle is still able to produce merle pups.
We recommend if you’re a breeder to have your chihuahua tested to make sure that your chihuahua doesn’t have the hidden phantom Merle gene.
Buying a merle chihuahua
Regardless of the controversy and pitfalls involved with this style of chihuahua coating, buying one will set you back quite a pretty penny. Anywhere from $2,000-$10,000 everywhere you look. Not to mention the hidden health cost fees involved with owning one. If you do happen to find one for a few hundred dollars, you are either lucky or there may be something very wrong with the dog.
The coating on these chihuahuas are remarkably beautiful and the price tag is a direct relation to that. You may wish to inquire on the parents of the puppy to make sure both parents aren’t Merle, as the puppy runs a higher risk of health conditions.
Please be aware that these dogs suffer from many health conditions and if you do decide to purchase one, please take care of the health of the Chihuahua as responsibly as you can.
Merle chihuahua quick information
- Merle chihuahuas are not purebred and therefore may have a slightly different temperament.
- May suffer from ocular and auditory health problems.
- Price tag ranging from $2,000-$10,000.
- May be smaller or larger than a purebred due to cross breeding.
- The pigment modifier may chang the color of the coat (normally white or lighter colorations) and eyes (normally blue).
- The Merle gene is a dominant gene and not recessive.
- A chihuahua can have the Merle gene with no signs of being a merle also known as a “Phantom Merle”
- Many other breeds have the Merle gene including Dachshunds, Collies, Great Danes, American Pit Bull Terriers, and quite a number more.
- Unable to register a chihuahua with the Merle gene.
- Other specialty coatings that may be mixed with Merle are blue merle chihuahuas and brindle chihuahuas.