French Bulldogs are sweet creatures that look oh so irresistible. If you’re thinking of getting one for a pet, the merle French Bulldog will surely stand out among other Frenchies.
But then again, you’ve probably heard about all the controversies that surround this dog’s coat color. So, what’s the real deal behind merle Frenchies?
If you want to get all your merle Frenchie facts straight, you’ve come to the right page. Dog Food Guide, your go-to site for all your dog-related questions, is here to reveal everything you need to know about merle French Bulldogs, including the whys behind their distinct coat pattern, common health risks, and more.
What Is A Merle French Bulldog?
A French Bulldog is among the most sought-after small dog breeds worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. This one-of-a-kind, miniature bulldog looks so adorable with its large bat ears and compact yet muscular frame.
Besides that, a French Bulldog is also a great companion for city dwellers. They’re adaptable and they don’t mind cramped spaces. They also love to be around people, kids, and even other pets. What’s more? They’re excellent watchdogs.
Now that you know what to expect from French Bulldogs, let’s talk about merle Frenchies. What are they and what’s the difference?
A merle French Bulldog is still a French Bulldog. But unlike your regular Frenchies with their cream, white, fawn, or brindle and piebald markings, a merle French Bulldog is characterized by its unique mottled patches, also known as merle pattern.
So, What Gives These Dogs Their Unique Coat Colors?
Frenchies didn’t always have this cool coat color. So when a breed variation with dark patches was introduced, dog lovers just can’t get enough of it.
But, what’s the reason behind these dogs’ blotchy coats? Well, this can all be explained by their genetic structure.
Merle French Bulldogs (and merle dogs in general) carry the merle gene. The merle gene is responsible for the merle dog’s blotched pattern. Besides French Bulldogs, dog breeds like the Shelties, Collies, and Australian Shepherds also carry this gene.
More About The Merle Gene
As mentioned, the merle gene, aka the “M-Locus,” is the culprit behind the merle patterning in merle dogs. Deemed as a dominant gene, merle dogs carry the genotype Mm, which refers to one allele for merle (M) and one non-merle allele (m).
So, what does this mean? You can expect half of the litter to be merle french bulldog puppies and half of it to be non-merle puppies when you breed one merle dog with one allele of M with a non-merle or standard french bulldog with an mm genotype.
7 Things You Need To Know About Merle French Bulldogs
Besides the merle DNA, there are a couple more things you need to know about a merle French Bulldog – 7 facts to be exact. What are they? Check out below.
The Merle Coat Pattern Comes In Different Shades
Yes, you read that right. Merle Frenchies come in various merle colors. The dominant color is often cream, fawn, and white, and these are usually mixed with darker hues. All of them (like the blue merle) look adorable, but here are the most well-liked:
Blue Merle French Bulldog
Blue merle French bulldogs are arguably the most popular and the most eye-catching of the bunch. And yes, blue is also among the rarest merle colors.
Interestingly, the blue hue found in a blue merle French Bulldog is a diluted version of black Frenchies.
Lilac Merle French Bulldog
From afar, the blue merle French Bulldog and lilac merle Frenchies may look alike. A closer look, though, will show that lilac merle French Bulldogs show off a stunning purple hue. This is because, unlike the blue merle French bulldog, lilac merle Frenchies lack the brown gene.
Isabella Merle French Bulldog
A mix between a blue and chocolate gene results in a champagne-like coat color. Right now, this color combination is considered the priciest and rarest among all merle Frenchie colors (even rarer than the blue merle or the blue fawn French Bulldog).
Chocolate Merle French Bulldog
The chocolate merle French Bulldog is another must-see merle Frenchie, thanks to its dark brown coloring. Besides that, these cross-bred Frenchies usually have captivating green or light brown eyes.
Black Merle French Bulldog
A black merle French Bulldog, as the name suggests, is recognized for its black coat with patches of light brown or light gray. They may also have blue eyes.
A Merle Frenchie Usually Have A Stand-Out Eye Color
Besides their quirky coat color, merle Frenchies also stand out because of their dazzling light-colored eyes (think bright blue eyes). Many blue merle French Bulldogs carry this feature.
Aside from giving merle Frenchies the merle color coat, the merle (M) allele can also give your dog a mottled pink nose and paw pads, as well as bright blue eyes or odd-colored eyes (wherein one iris is colored differently from the other). This condition is also called heterochromia iridis and is often a result of the merle gene.
Now, heterochromia iridis can also be a result of another gene called ALX4 or the low melanin levels in their body.
Merle French Bulldogs Are Not AKC-Registered Purebred
This may sound unbelievable, but it’s true. Unlike your fawn-, cream-, or brindle-colored French Bulldogs, a merle French Bulldog (whether it’s a black or blue merle French Bulldog) is not purebred. Why?
Your merle Frenchie might be 100% French bulldog now, but its genetic history tells another story. Somewhere along the breeding process, a non-merle French bulldog had to be bred with a merle dog from another breed (in this case – merle Chihuahuas) to give the usual fawn, white, or cream French Bulldog a merle color.
Now, you’re probably asking: Are merle French Bulldogs recognized by AKC? The answer is no. The merle color, sadly, is not considered a standard color or marking among Frenchies.
So, don’t get your hopes up if you’re looking forward to entering your blue merle French bulldogs in AKC show rings. AKC won't permit it. Nonetheless, your blue merles, even if they’re not pure breeds or AKC-recognized, still deserve to strut any other street or red carpet.
These Merle French Bulldogs Are Hard To Find
Search online for merle French Bulldogs, and you’ll quickly notice how hard it is to find puppies of this kind. But, it’s not impossible. There are still breeders out there.
A word of advice: Make sure you’re buying from a responsible breeder that knows color genetics. You can ask for the dog’s DNA test to confirm that the breeders are legit. Getting the dog checked by a veterinarian is also ideal.
Merle Frenchies Are More Expensive Than Standard French Bulldogs
Common French Bulldogs are already pricey, but the cross-bred merle French Bulldogs are more expensive since they’re rare and breeding these cutesies isn’t easy peasy. To give you an idea, standard Frenchies usually cost around $1500+. Merle Frenchies, on the other hand, cost around $6000+.
Some Merle French Bulldogs Are Prone To Health Issues
Many are worried about adopting a merle French Bulldog because they fear the health problems that merle Frenchies are known to have. But you know what? Merle French Bulldogs can grow healthy with minimal health issues as long as they’re responsibly bred (and taken care of).
Health problems often arise when breeders breed two merles together. Two merle dogs bred together result in the birth of a double merle.
Double merle dogs are usually born with birth defects and health issues. So, what kinds of genetic abnormalities are often seen in a double merle? See below.
- Stunted limbs
- Blindness or vision impairment
Expect Caring For This Cutesies To Cost More
Although non-double merles are generally healthy (so long as the breeders breed the dogs while prioritizing the dog’s health) French Bulldogs, in general, are quite high-maintenance.
Besides the need for artificial insemination and C-section to give birth, regular visits to the vet is a must since they are prone to various health problems, including:
- Immune disorders like skin allergies
- Hip dysplasia
- Juvenile cataracts and cherry eye
- Breathing problems
Why Are Merle French Bulldogs So Controversial?
Although a merle French Bulldog can grow up free from genetic abnormalities, many French bulldog purists still have a lot of negative things to say about a breeder breeding merle Frenchies.
For one thing, the breeder needs to ensure that the parents consist of one merle parent and one solid-colored parent to avoid double merles. The problem is, ghost merle Frenchies exist.
The ghost merle refers to standard cream or fawn-colored French bulldogs that do not show any merle pattern but carry the merle gene. Breeding this with another merle can still result in a double merle, which equates to genetic defects.
A merle French bulldog, just like any other Frenchie (or any other dog breed for that matter), remains adorable, affectionate, and a great furry companion regardless if they’re not an AKC-registered breed color.
Note, however, that irresponsibly bred merle Frenchies have higher chances of having birth defects. So, whether you’re looking for blue frenchies, or a blue fawn merle from any breed, you’d want to get it from an ethical breeder who prioritizes a dog’s health over a dog’s coat color.