17 Merle Dog Breeds: A Closer Look at their Unique Coat Patterns

Merle Dog Breeds

Last Updated on September 6, 2023 by Fumipets

17 Merle Dog Breeds: A Closer Look at their Unique Coat Patterns


Merle coat patterns in dogs create a distinctive and eye-catching appearance, with speckled or marbled patches of color on a lighter background.

Several breeds exhibit this unique coat pattern, and while it doesn’t affect their temperament, responsible breeding is essential to minimize potential health issues, especially in double Merle dogs. The intensity and coloration of Merle patterns can vary, adding to the individuality of each Merle dog’s appearance.

Merle Dog Breeds

The pigment variations in the hair, eyes, and paws are how the hereditary trait known as “merle” manifests itself in animals. Merles are just more attractive and, regrettably, more prone to health problems like cataracts and hearing than other breeds of canines.

A merle dog’s variegated hair of black, brown, or white is its most distinctive feature. These varieties are also distinguished by their odd or blue irises. Depending on the hue of the hair, there are two major categories: scarlet merle and blue merle.

The 17 Merle Dog Breeds

1. Australian Shepherd

Due to their frequent association with the merle DNA, Australian Shepherds are at the top of this ranking. Ice-blue irises and a variety of liver or black hair colors set these canines apart. When purchasing an Australian Shepherd dog, exercise caution. In order to create “more merle” pups in the brood, some impolite breeders have turned to mating two merle-coated parents. One in four pups who have two male traits crossed will become blind or mute.

2. Border Collie

First-rate work dogs include Border Collies. It’s interesting to note that Collies, the strangest naturally-bred merle type, are spotted in black and white. The hair of a border collie can be soft or dense. Adults typically measure 30-55 pounds and stand 20 inches tall.

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3. Smooth Collie

You don’t need to stress about cleaning Smooth Collies because, as their name implies, they have a thinner hair. A Smooth Collie is the ideal playmate if you need one. You will need to do a lot of activities to regulate their energy, or you will have to deal with their mischievous side. You can anticipate them to have either blue or brown irises, or even one blue and one brown.

4. Dachshund

Germans love the Dachshund breed of canine. It’s interesting to note that some of the most beloved canines in the US are sausage dogs. But how did a little canine win over so many hearts? Their strong characters contain the solution. They make excellent watchdogs because they are courageous, watchful, and intelligent.

5. Great Dane

The Great Dane is a giant of a dog that carries itself with the grace of a god; no wonder it is frequently referred to as the “Apollo of dogs.” These dogs have been roaming the earth for centuries and have worked their way up from priced family dogs treasured for their bravery, friendliness, and dependability.

Although they are docile creatures, Great Danes can also be fierce and defensive when necessary. Unwanted visitors will have to deal with a formidable adversary. They are fantastic for families with kids and genuinely care about everyone’s happiness. Three color variations of this enormous pure breed are available: merle, harlequin, dilute, and enigmatic merle.

6. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

The eldest canine originally from the British Isles, the Welsh Corgi, is related to the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. As herding dogs, cardigans have a lengthy history of devotion. A typical sweater can be as long as 13 inches and weigh anywhere from 11 to 15 kg. Say no more if you enjoy company—a Cardigan Welsh Corgi will provide it for, on average, 14 years.

7. Shetland Sheepdog

Shelties with blue merle coats can be categorized as tri-color Shelties with color modifications. The abundance of black hairs gives the lengthy coat a blue-grey aspect. These gorgeous dogs are endowed with color alteration genes, which give their coats their distinctive look and rarely one or two blue eyes.

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Crossing two blue Shetland merles is not advised because the offspring could be born mute, stupid, or both.

8. Chihuahua

Due to its unique color pattern, merle Chihuahuas are quite alluring to canine owners and fans. Merle Chihuahuas typically have blue or black patches on their variegated hair. Chihuahuas with cocoa patterns are also available. Chihuahuas are beloved pets because they are affectionate, endearing, and brave. They can, however, also be energetic and sly.

9. Koolie

Australian Koolies are descended from the tenacious Koolie canines that were brought from Britain to Australia hundreds of years ago. Koolies are available in red and blue merle for merle fans. Koolie merles frequently have eyes and noses that match the color of their fur.

Due to their high level of intellect, this tenacious species will serve you well as a professional canine. Prevent the Koolie from being too disruptive by keeping them occupied.

10. Pit Bull Merle

Pit Bull merles mimic regular Pit Bulls, with the exception that their pale main hair is covered in black patches of color. Other traits include having blue eyes or irises of an unusual hue, though occasionally they have one blue and one dark eye. Additionally, you can anticipate a smooth cranium with a lovely face, attractive ears, and a short tail with a stout base.

11. Beauceron Merle

The notion of employment has completely won over this French canine. They are natural security canines with a history in law enforcement and are not particularly friendly with outsiders. If you want to put them in social settings, you must educate them early.

Beaucerons serve as protectors of the helpless, tiny, and feeble. Take care to avoid becoming their owner rather than the other way around.

12. Merle Pomeranian

Small dogs with subdued blue hair are known as merle Pomeranians. The eye, snout, cheeks, and eye surround hues can all be affected by the merle trait, which also affects hair color. These little pups are courageous and will take on larger dogs. They tend to be pleasant but can occasionally be cheerful.

13. Catahoula Leopard Dog

The merle trait is responsible for the leopard-like hair of a Catahoula Leopard Dog. You can count on them to guard their families and warn their proprietors of any strange activity. These colorful, medium-sized canines have a brief hair that is simple to maintain and come in a variety of hues. They are great running companions.

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14. Pyrenean Shepherd

A rugged or smooth visage, almond-shaped eyes, and a slightly lengthy and well-supported frame are traits of this type.

Pyrenean Shepherds are medium-sized canines with trapezoidal heads and slightly rounder shoulders. They can be very vocal, passionate, and animated in addition to demonstrating love.

15. Old English Sheepdog

Although this canine may sound dated, don’t be fooled. Its past doesn’t go back much further than the 19th century in England, where because of its enormous size, speed, and intellect, it was trained to be a hunting dog. But the privileged were charmed by their striking features, carefree temperament, and large hearts.

Despite being a big breed, this beautiful dog is docile and loving.

16. Hungarian Mudi

The Hungarian Mudi is an expert at farming because it has been doing so for many years in Eastern Europe. This medium-sized canine has blue spots that stand out against its black hair. They are only permitted to compete in the Miscellaneous Class because the AKC does not formally acknowledge them as pure breeds.

17. Cockapoo

This endearing dog is a mix between the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle. Many admirers believe that this canine embodies all of the qualities that a dog owner could ever hope for. Sadly, the AKC does not formally acknowledge Cockapoos. This mix loves the companionship of children and is very loving and lively.


Merle poochies are incredibly attractive and have won the affection of many. It’s interesting to note that no two merles look alike. Despite their handsome appearance, they are prone to health issues like blindness or both hearing. You might avoid some of these dangers by purchasing a puppy from a licensed breeder.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Merle coat pattern in dogs?

A Merle coat pattern in dogs is characterized by a mottled or speckled appearance with patches of color on a lighter background. It’s often associated with a marbled or swirled effect on the dog’s coat.

Which dog breeds commonly exhibit Merle coat patterns?

Several breeds are known for their Merle coat patterns, including the Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Dachshund, Great Dane, and Shetland Sheepdog, among others.

Are Merle dogs prone to any specific health issues?

Merle dogs, especially those with two Merle genes (double Merle), can be at a higher risk of congenital deafness and vision problems. Responsible breeding practices can help reduce these risks.

Are Merle coat patterns linked to a particular breed’s temperament?

Merle coat patterns do not typically affect a dog’s temperament. A dog’s behavior is primarily influenced by genetics, upbringing, and socialization rather than its coat color or pattern.

Can Merle coat patterns vary in intensity and coloration?

A5: Yes, Merle coat patterns can vary significantly in intensity and coloration, from light or blue Merle to dark or red Merle, depending on the breed and individual genetics. These variations make each Merle dog unique.




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