10 Facts about merle chihuahua

The A merle chihuahua is a very attractive breed to dog lovers and breeders. Merle chihuahuas are not very rare but it is not easy to come across one in shelters or in the market. This smallest breed is so popular, with its charming and strong character. They can show a huge amount of love and loyalty toward their parents, but they can be very sassy too.

According to an AKC (the American Kennel Club) surrey, A purebred chihuahua ranks 33 out of 196 breeds in popularity.

Being the parent of a merle chihuahua is a great source of joy and happiness. However, there are some facts you should know about this cute dog.

having said that, We will deep dive into the world of this magical breed, and the true story behind why some owners don’t prefer to own merle chihuahuas, especially breeders. So, are you still interested to know more about merle chihuahuas? Here are 7 facts you should know about them.

1. Merle is considered a gene modifier

What a lot of owners ignore is that merle is a gene modifier, which means that it can affect how other genes will manifest. 

In other words, besides the coat color, this gens has an impact on other parts such as eyes and skin pigment. For example, the Merle gene can affect the chihuahua’s skin pigment, resulting in light and dark spots at the bottom of the coat. 

2. A merle chihuahua can have blue eyes


Some merle chihuahua can have blue eyes or only one blue eye. Heterochromia is the name of this beautiful appearance. But, the bad news is that a chihuahua with one or more blue eyes will be more sensitive to sunlight.

Sadly, The merle gene modifier may lead to some unwanted health issues. These beautiful creatures are easily prone to vision and hearing issues. These problems will appear when the dog is still a puppy and will accompany them all his/her life

AIn addition, The pigmentation of the skin of a merle chihuahua develops skin issues because of ultraviolet radiation and sunburns.

Because of this fact, unlike a standard chihuahua, a merle chihuahua can get skin cancer easily.

3. You should never mate two merle chihuahuas

As we said before a merle chihuahua can suffer from varied health issues. So please never try to pair two merle chihuahuas, because doing so will make the situation even more complicated. Mating two merle chihuahuas together will result in a litter of “double Merle”. This means having even more ear, skin, and vision issues. Or even a shorter lifespan compared to a normal chihuahua.

Breeding a merle chihuahua with a standard chihuahua is a very good option, especially with black-and-tan, solid black, chocolate, and blue coats.

4. Some organizations can’t register merle chihuahuas 

mere chihuahua puppy

Before 2010, almost all groups consider merle chihuahua a purebred and have the eligibility to take part in the show.

Though, after June 2010, some organizations such as Canadian Kennel Club and the UK Kennel Club don’t recognize anymore Merle chihuahuas as purebred. In other words, these two organizations will never register merle chihuahua.  

Even so, the AKC American Kennel Club still give the opportunity for a merle chihuahua to be registered with them, after checking a few factors. 

Here is what they say about Merle chihuahuas “due to the number  of colors and patterns occurring in the Chihuahua breed, the ethical breeding of the Merle pattern can be much more difficult than in other breeds who limit the allowed colors and patterns.”

Also, In New Zealand, Dogs NZ doesn’t allow registration of merle chihuahuas.  Because they think that a merle chihuahua is anything but a crossbreed. As the Merel gene does not occur naturally in the breed. However, you may come to cross a “papered” merle chihuahua, because the breeder may use a private organization such as The Master Dog Breeders Association to register his/her Merle chihuahua.

5. The age of merle chihuahuas

merle chihuahua age
source: pupvine

There are two opinions about the age of the Merle gene. Some experts think that this gene has existed since the 1940s, and others claim that the Merle gene age is only 20 years.

However, no one of these two groups has tangible proof of what they claimed. Because there is a lack of scientific articles and/or books about the appearance of this gene.

With that said, at least we have an idea about this gene and how old it is.

6. why the Merle gene is present in other breeds?


Maybe at some point during the last century, the merle gene was bred into a line of chihuahuas.

Some dog breeds such as dachshund, Great Dans, and Australian Shepherds have the Merle color gene naturally.

Some breeders think that a merle chihuahua is a result of mating a standard chihuahua with a breed that has that gene naturally. They believed so because there was no record of a merle chihuahua before the 1940s.

7. Unexpected Results

The chances of getting a very large chihuahua are high. Because the merle gene comes from larger dogs and even if it was hidden for several generations it may manifest at any point. In addition, to that the chances of having a deaf or blind chihuahua are high

As we mentioned before this gene is dominant and the problem with it is that it acts on other genes. So, in order to produce the color, it lightens and whitens and this au cause the defects. In other words, when the chihuahua’s coat is whitened, the ears and eye pigments also whiten. Therefore, making the chihuahua deaf or blind or both because the nerves endings atrophy and die.

 According to Idexx “Health Problems Associated with the Merle Allele – Both heterozygous merle (Mm) and homozygous double merle (MM) dogs may exhibit auditory and ophthalmic abnormalities including mild to severe deafness, increased intra ocular pressure, ametropia, microphthalmia, and colobomas. The double merle genotype may also be associated with abnormalities of skeletal, cardiac and reproductive systems.”



The Ghost merle is the result of pairing a Merle chihuahua with cream or sable-colored chihuahua. It carries the Merle gene but doesn’t display the Merle coat pattern.

A ghost Merle is not a Merle chihuahua at all. Mating ghost merle with another merle will have a catastrophic result because the double Merle litter will have nasty health issues.

So in order to avoid litter full of health problems, and if you suspect that your chihuahua may be a ghost merle, it is advisable to perform a genetic test.

Also if there is a possibility to register your ghost merle, you have to indicate that your dog is Merle, even if the manifestation of this gene is not visible on your chihuahua.

Doing so will prove that you are responsible and an ethical chihuahua owner.

09. Merle chihuahua temperament

Despite their coat color, merle chihuahuas and standard chihuahuas share the same traits. They are confident, outgoing, and a little bit feisty. Their little shape and behavior make them very loveable. However, it is not advisable to buy a merle chihuahua if you have kids or any of the larger dog breeds. 

While this might work if your chihuahua is well trained, be sure that even with her/his small size your chihuahua will ask to be the household’s alpha dog.

In fact, your merle chihuahua will need a lot of supervision, because she might become aggressive. For this reason, we recommend you start training your merle chihuahua at a very young age.

Never underestimate the aggressiveness of these little creatures, their bite can really hurt someone. In general, chihuahuas of all colors tend to bark and nip a lot, sometimes doing so can provoke a larger dog to attack them, which will result in very bad damage.

In order to avoid some unwanted behaviors that your little dog can develop such as excessive barking, barking at night, biting, being clingy, etc. You should train them on time. 

Socialization at a very young age is a must if you want to be cool with other dogs and kids at the dog park. 

In addition, merle chihuahuas have an excess of energy. So, in order to help them release that extra energy, you should tire them out with regular exercises.

10. Merle chihuahua price

Due to their beautiful colors, the price of Merle dogs of any breed is slightly more expensive than solid-colored dogs. Also, some breeders will ask for high prices when the merle pattern in the breed is rare. However, the price tag of a merle chihuahua ranges from $ 15,00 to $10,000.

Before buying a merle chihuahua you should think a lot about their health issues.

Last word

Whether you want a merle chihuahua as a pet to love and enjoy or you want to participate in a dog show, take the time to do a deep dive about merle chihuahua.

It is recommended to seek your veterinarian’s advice and to talk to reliable breeders and other merle chihuahua owners before adopting one.

However, being the owner of a merle chihuahua is a great choice. With proper care, training, and nutrition, your Merle chihuahua will be a great pet.


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