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The Truth About Merle Colored Poodles

What is a Merle Poodle?

Are Merle Poodles Purebred?

Where did the Merle pattern come from?

Does AKC recognize Merle poodles?

Should I buy a Merle poodle?

What is a Merle Poodle?

First, let's consider what "merle" is. Merle is not a color, but a pattern found in several dog breeds including the Australian Shepherd and the Border Collie. It's best described as "dappling" of color inside a lighter dilute of coloring.  You will see a sort of marbling of light and dark color, such as black spots inside gray splotches.  This color pattern is genetic. In addtiion to the dappling of color, dogs with the merle patterned often come with odd colored eyes, such as blue, with one or both eyes being partiallly or completely blue. These dogs are more commonly deaf and blind as well. If you would like to learn more about the merle gene and how it affects dogs, we recommend you visit a site such as Laboratory Veterinary Genetics Labratory website.

Are Merle Poodles Purebred?

No! There is no such thing as a purebred merle poodle.  The merle gene just suddenly appeared in poodle over the last decade or so. This gene has never been found in poodles before.

 Where did the merle pattern come from?

The most likely explanation of the gene appearing in poodles is the crossbreeding with another dog that carries the gene. The resulting puppies, now carrying the gene, were registered with the AKC, CKC, and other national registries under a different color code and passed off to unsuspecting puppy buyers as a purebred poodle.

Does the AKC recognize merle poodles?

The AKC does NOT RECOGNIZE MERLE POODLES! There is no color/patter/marking code for the merle pattern in poodles. In addition, anyone found to be registering merle poodles can face penalties/revocation of their AKC registration privileges. 

Should I adopt a merle poodle?

Although you have the right to adopt any dog you wish to adopt, we cannot responsibly recommend  anyone adopt a merel poodle. These poodles are not purebred. With the gene origin unknown in the poodle, increased risk of deafness and blindness, as well as the unknown genetic risks that can come from mixing breeds, it's a risk we feel no one should take. 

The color pattern is beautiful and we will be the first to admit it.  A pretty dog doesn't mean a purebred dog and it definitely doesn't mean a healthy dog. Therefore, we recommend that you avoid any poodle with the merle coloring if you are looking for a happy, healthy, purebred poodle!

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