A Complete Guide to the Blue Merle Chihuahua
Blue Merle Chihuahuas are a popular breed among dog enthusiasts and breeders alike, and they make excellent companions. Although Merle is not the most distinctive coat pattern for a Chihuahua, they are also not the most readily available.
It is no surprise that they are quite popular, given the fact that this smallest of dogs already has a charming and assertive personality to match. They are undeniably adorable and extremely affectionate with the people in their lives who they can trust, but they can also be quite sassy.
According to the American Kennel Club survey, a purebred Chihuahua ranks 33rd out of 196 breeds in terms of popularity. Owning or adopting a merle Chihuahua is a joyous occasion; however, it entails much responsibility and can lead to disagreements.
After considering this, we will look in greater depth at the merle Chihuahua and the story of why they are not universally accepted. To learn more about them, here are the things that you need to know to get started.
What Are the Characteristics of a Merle Chihuahua?
So, what exactly is a merle Chihuahua, and what exactly is the source of the controversy surrounding this breed? Known as Merle, the Chihuahua breed has a distinctive and beautiful pattern in its coat that distinguishes them from the rest of the pack.
It indicates that the Chihuahua possesses the merle gene, which has been linked to various health issues. According to the American Kennel Club, a Chihuahua’s Merle markings or coat pattern is one of the standard markings or coat patterns.
Although it is a conventional marking, it is also one of the most difficult to achieve through breeding methods. In contrast to its base color, merles have spotted or mottled coat patterns that are usually accented with blue or black splashes and blue or black markings.
When it comes to other breeds, this coat color is referred to as “Dapple.”There are also known variations of the merle Chihuahua breed on the market. Chihuahuas of the Merle colouration include the Dapple Chihuahua, Blue Merle Chihuahua, Chocolate Merle Chihuahua, and Longhair Chihuahua.
The merle pattern is said to be the best in a blue or chocolate merle, with blue being the most in-demand color subjectively. If you want to compete in dog shows, you might find it difficult to get started.
Dogs can only compete in dog shows if their owners have registered their dog with a kennel club and that dog meets all of the requirements. However, you will only be able to register your merle Chihuahua with the American Kennel Club if a few specific criteria are met.
This is because the coat pattern has been linked to a few health concerns since it will be difficult for the owner to become a member of the American Kennel Club.
Even the Chihuahua Club of America made a statement on merle breeds in recent years. Chihuahuas with Merle markings should only be allowed to be registered in limited circumstances, according to the group.
Additionally, they believe that more ethical breeds are available for people to own, breed, or adopt.
What does the Merle Chihuahua resemble or look like?
The Merle Chihuahua is not dissimilar from any other Chihuahua breed in appearance. The Chihuahua is known for its small stature, but it has an endearing personality to go with it.
When it is standing at the withers, its body is slightly longer than its height, giving it a terrier-like demeanour. According to the (AKC) American Kennel Club’s breed standard, Chihuahuas should have a well-rounded “apple dome” skull, which may or may not include a Molera (skull ring).
Additionally, it should have large round eyes and erect ears, among other characteristics. A Chihuahua’s height ranges from 5 to 8 inches, and its weight does not typically exceed 6 pounds.
Due to crossbreeding, merle Chihuahuas may be smaller or larger than purebred Chihuahuas, depending on the individual.
There are two types of this breed: the smooth-coated (also known as smooth-haired) and the long coat (also known as long-haired), both of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
The term “smooth coat” does not necessarily imply that their hair is smooth because it can have a whiskery feel at times. On the other hand, a long hair coat has finer guard hairs that are much smoother and a downy undercoat.
Continuing the theme of long coats, if the puppy has a long coat, it can be difficult to tell whether or not it has a merle coat. I discovered a YouTube video that explains some of the most important facts about merle Chihuahuas.
Chihuahua puppies with blue eyes are also featured in the video, which is adorable! A merle Chihuahua with blue eyes! | Kelly Swift’s Sweetie Pie Pets are adorable! Now that we’ve learned quite a bit about the merle Chihuahua and the breed standards, we can talk about the breed’s controversies.
What Is the Source of the Merle Pattern Controversy?
It was not until 2007 that the merle coat pattern was considered a part of the breed standard. When the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom decided not to register any puppies carrying the merle gene because of the health risks associated with it, it was the beginning of the end.
By the end of the same year, they had officially amended their breed standard to exclude dogs with merle genes from the competition.
The initiative has received support from other countries, particularly the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, which represents the major kennel clubs in 84 countries and has voted to disqualify the initiative.
After a vote was taken in 2008, the AKC decided to allow merle dog owners to register and compete in AKC events with a few restrictions. Per the Chihuahua Club of America, merles should never be bred to another breed of merle to avoid the production of double merle puppies.
Because of the genetic implications of double merle dogs’ hearing and vision, they are frequently found to have hearing and vision impairments. There are various other health issues to consider, such as skin cancer, follicular Dysplasia, and many others.
Therefore, they do not recommend breeding two merle dogs and have deemed it unethical to continue doing so. According to the organization, breeders who have purposefully bred merle dogs with specific color patterns should be on the lookout for hidden merle puppies.
Hidden merles, also known as cryptic merles, are characterized by small patches of merle or the absence of any merle pattern. If you know your dog may be a hidden or cryptic merle, your dog must be subjected to genetic testing to determine whether or not the trait is present.
What distinguishes a Merle Chihuahua from other Chihuahuas
Some dog owners and breeders are interested in getting a merle Chihuahua because they can have blue eyes, among other characteristics, which is something that some breeders and dog owners want.
Sometimes it only has one blue eye, which is rare. This is entirely due to the presence of the merle gene in them. So, in addition to having a stunning coat, they can also have crystal blue eyes, which distinguishes them as extremely rare.
Even though the coloration of many Chihuahua’s eyes is blue when they are born, the coloration does not last for long or last forever. After approximately 9-16 weeks, the color changes into a permanent shade.
They have luminous ruby dark or ruby eyes, or they can be light in color (hazel). The blue eyes of merle dogs, on the other hand, may remain blue throughout their entire lives.
It is also more expensive than other breeds due to its genetic makeup, which contains many genes from other colored families. It also appeals to many dog breeders because it is difficult to produce an ideal merle Chihuahua with the correct markings and patterns.
Even though several kennel clubs have advised against breeding it, it remains one of the most in-demand breeds.
Do Kennel Clubs such as the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognize the Merle colouring?
The Chihuahua dog breed does not naturally or historically exhibit the color Merle, which is an artificial color. Unfortunately, there is no definitive evidence of where and when it all began.
The merle gene, according to some, is passed down through outcrossing between specific Chihuahua breeds and other dog breeds that also carry the merle gene.
In contrast to other breeds, many kennel clubs did not recognize the Chihuahua’s merle color because it does not occur naturally in the breed line of the Chihuahua dog breed.
The ChihuaAmerican Kennel Club and the Chihuahua Club of America, on the other hand, recognize it as a standard marking for Chihuahuas and use it as such.
You can register your merle Chihuahua and compete in formal breed-specific dog shows as long as you adhere to the rules and regulations of the organization.
You can participate in informal or fun dog shows that are not sanctioned by any Kennel Club and are not required to register with them.
Remember always to include if your puppy has merle markings, even if they are only barely visible or hidden when you register your puppy.
However, even if you intend to sell merle Chihuahuas to people in other countries, the statement has no real significance.
Even if you have all the necessary AKC paperwork, it will still appear unregistered in countries that do not allow registration. Now, let’s get a little more technical and talk about its genetic makeup.
Genetics of Merle Chihuahua
Merle is a gene modifier, which means that it affects the way other genes express themselves. It follows that the merle affects the coat color of the dog and the skin pigment, hair, and even the color of the dog’s eyes.
According to veterinarian Lynn Buzhardt, the dog’s color is caused by the combination of two colors. These are colored black (eumelanin) and red (hemelanin) (phaeomelanin).
As I previously stated, the gene modifier merle is a merle derivative. It has the potential to alter eumelanin, or the black pigment, to produce other colors, which could affect the color of the dog’s eyes and nose.
It can influence the color of the hair and coat by controlling the intensity of the phaeomelanin or the red pigment, making the color stronger or weaker, respectively. In summary, the color of a dog’s coat will always be determined by the genes passed down to him.
The gene will eventually modify the two essential pigments and be responsible for the dog’s physical characteristics. It is also the reason for the development of harmful health conditions.
Chihuahuas of the Merle coloration are more prone to developing hearing impairments and sensory issues. Another disadvantage of having a double merle is that they may live for less time than an ordinary Chihuahua.
It’s important to remember that the merle gene is dominant and will manifest itself approximately half of the time.
Because of this, for the sake of ethical breeding practices, it is recommended that two merle dogs not be bred together to reduce the likelihood of producing a double merle puppy.
The Effects of Merle Colouring on Health & Behaviuor
A few studies have suggested that the merle gene is associated with a higher incidence of sensory or auditory problems in dogs.
According to a study report that was published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2009, the prevalence of deafness in merle dogs was higher than in other dog breeds. This was especially true for older dogs.
Another study found that dogs with merle and double merle coats, which typically have blue eyes, are more prone to auditory and ophthalmologic abnormalities than other breeds of dogs.
Double merles can suffer from various eye problems, ranging from vision loss to poorly formed eyes to complete blindness in extreme cases.
As for their temperament, there is no evidence to suggest that the merle coloration affects the dog’s behavior. On the other hand, they may be subjected to social instability and inadequacy.
It is common for them to be unable to interact with other dogs or their environment effectively because of sensory and hearing deficiencies. And as a result, they will be unable to adapt to and adjust to their new environment as they should.
However, aside from that, there isn’t much of a difference between their temperament and that of a typical Chihuahua. So, if you’re still interested, I’ll go into more detail about their personality in the following section.
Do Merle Chihuahuas Have a Good Temperament and Make Good Family Dogs?
The Merle Chihuahua is a fun-loving, expressive, and loyal canine companion. However, depending on how much of their personality they inherited from their parents, they could be friendly or hostile.
To avoid living with your dog’s undesirable temperament, socialization and training are essential unless you are prepared to accept their behavior as a part of their breed.
Children from the age of ten should not be kept in the same house as a Chihuahua because they are not used to loud noises and rapid movements.
They could also be easily frightened or provoked, and as a result, they may bite the children in the vicinity. This breed is extremely loyal and overprotective to a single individual.
Many Chihuahuas are suspicious of strangers and become agitated if they come into proximity to their owners. However, as long as they are properly trained and socialized from an early age, this dog has the potential to be exceptionally intelligent.
This behavior, on the other hand, makes them an excellent watchdog. Chihuahuas are peaceful with other Chihuahuas or other pets in the family. Still, they are not peaceful with other dogs, especially larger dogs, and they are not peaceful with strangers.
They tend to be kinship-oriented, so it is important to discourage this behavior from an early age. Despite their small size, they are not afraid and willing to defend their haven from intruders.
The Chihuahua’s most endearing characteristic is that they tend to prefer their dens and curl up in them with pillows or blankets when they get cold, which is adorable.
It is also enjoyable for them to spend time in the sun; however, this may be different in the case of the merle Chihuahua because they are more susceptible to sunburn and ultraviolet radiation.
Health Issues with the Merle Chihuahua
Despite their small size, Chihuahuas are strong and healthy dogs, but they are not immune to diseases such as heart disease and cancer. As the dogs grow older, they are also more susceptible to common health problems.
It is likely that when it comes to Chihuahuas with merle coloring, they will inherit specific health issues and potentially life-threatening diseases due to their genetic makeup. Due to a double merle gene, some individuals do not survive their first year of life.
Even though this sounds terrifying, there is still a chance to own a healthy merle Chihuahua. Many breeders out there strictly adhere to the breed standard, and you can put your trust in them.
Keep in mind that they could inherit health issues from their parents, so be on the lookout for these issues. Among the things you should be aware of are the following:
- Full or partial deafness: which is hearing impairment.
- Partial or complete blindness: which is sensory problems.
- Microphthalmia: is a hereditary eye disease characterized by abnormally small or poorly formed pupils in one or both eyes.
- The increased susceptibility to sunburns and ultraviolet radiation which results in skin cancer.
- Follicular Dysplasia: is a genetic condition that has the potential to cause hair loss in canines.
If you still want to own a merle Chihuahua, the best thing you can do is consult with your veterinarian about caring for them properly. However, if you intend to breed one, it is best to consult with registered breeders about more acceptable approaches that carry significantly less risk.
Do Merle Chihuahuas Cost More Than Other Chihuahuas?
Breeders frequently refer to Merle Chihuahuas as “rare” and use this as a selling point to differentiate their dogs from the competition.
In most cases, merle Chihuahuas are sold for significantly more than other Chihuahuas because they are perceived as being rare or unusual, as you might expect.
The average cost of owning a Chihuahua varies depending on various factors such as gender, age, health, and the color of the dog’s coat.
Nevertheless, most Chihuahuas are priced between $300 and $800, with “rare” breeds such as merle and blue Chihuahuas fetching upwards of $10,000 in some cases.
Furthermore, show quality dogs can be more expensive than other breeds. A possible explanation is that the good genes from their parents, who are considered quality dogs or champion-line breeds, may be passed down to them through the generations.
Furthermore, the location and breeder’s certification could impact the price. If the breeder has registered the dog with an official club, such as the American Kennel Club, they must adhere to the breeding standard.
This means they will have to pay more and do more to keep up with it. However, if you were to adopt it from a shelter, the cost would be significantly less expensive. As a result, I strongly advise adopting reputable rescue organizations.
Furthermore, some breeders will not even inform and educate buyers on why these dogs are so rare, in contrast, to rescue centers, which are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
They will at least inform you of the disadvantages of owning and breeding them.
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