Merle Frenchie is a rare and fascinating color variety of the French Bulldog. It’s also a controversial crossbreed that raises ethical questions. Here are the things you should know about the merle variety of the French Bully.
Merle Frenchies are a controversial topic in the French Bulldog fan community. The dogs have a very unusual light grey or light amber coat with spots or even completely white coat with several rare spots (double-merle). However, breeding merle dogs isn’t without its risks as these dogs have a much higher chance of suffering from genetic diseases and deformities that might result in a life in agony.
1. Merle Frenchie is not a pure breed
The merle variety of French Bulldog is not a pure breed. To achieve the merle coat coloring other dog breeds have to be added to the “pot” and a merle Frenchie has at least one non-Frenchie ancestor. Although not recognized internationally as a French Bulldog variety, the merle Frenchies can be registered by the AKC.
2. The genes behind the merle
The genotype of the merle dogs is Mm – one allele for merle (M) and one allele for non-merle (m). Breeding a non-merle dog with a merle dog will result on average in a litter of puppies that are half merle and half non-merle.
Breeding two merle dogs together will result on average in a litter of puppies that are half merle, one quarter non-merle and one quarter double merle.
3. Blue Eyes
Merle Frenchies have blue eyes because of the same gene that causes their merle coloring. The pigment dilution caused by the merle gene (M-locus) lightens their eye color. Another gene that causes blue eyes in French bullies is the ALX4.
Moreover, in some cases the merle gene results in heterochromia iridum, which is a condition that causes the eyes to be different colors.
4. Merle Frenchie puppies are harder to find and more expensive
There are not many Frenchie breeders who breed merle dogs. Therefore, the puppies are hard to find and if you do find one, expect a much higher price, double or even more (merle frenchie puppies can be obtained for as much as 8.000 USD). This is somewhat ironic considering that when you decide to buy a merle Frenchie puppy, you have to accept the fact that there is a high chance your dog will have severe health problems.
5. Health issues
While the merle gene affects mainly the dog’s coat color, it might also affect it’s health. And unfortunately, there is a series of health problems that these dogs have a high chance of suffering. Blindness and deafness is a common problem in merle frenchies. Moreover, there’s a higher risk of deformities like stunted limbs, hip dysplasia, heart conditions, cataracts, colobomas and other eye deformities, allergies and immuno-disorders.
6. Ethical questions
The Frenchie community often discusses whether it’s even right and ethical to breed and buy merle Frenchies. Is it right to risk a crippling condition in a puppy just to please the human eyes? Is it ethical to pay a breeder money for a merle puppy even if it’s to save it from being killed or does this rather affirm these breeders that they should keep on breeding merles? These are just some of the questions Frenchie fans are trying to answer in what it often a very heated discussion.
Do you like rare varieties of not-so-rare dog breeds? Then how about discovering all the rare Dalmatian varieties?