Merle Genetics

I wanted to write a post today about the merle gene found in several different breeds including the Australian Shepherd, Collie, Border Collie, Sheltie, Great Dane, Daschund, Chihuahua, Pomeranian and more. When a Merle dog is bred to another merle dog it is typical to see 25% of the litter be what is reffered to as defective whites. This means the dogs are mostly white, and if they don’t have color around their ears & eyes, are typically vision and/or hearing impaired. More often than not, these puppies are culled at birth due to their genetic defects. For this reason, most consider this to be an unethical breeding practice.

I recently found out that the breeder I got my dog Ryder from is now breeding merle to merle and even worse, a client of mine just got a puppy from her that was a result of a Merle to Merle breeding. Luckily this puppy doesn’t seem to have any genetic defects, however to create that puppy she may have had to cull a few of it’s littermates at birth due to this merle to merle breeding practice. In my opinion, this practice is something that could and should be avoided because killing puppies you purposefully created seems so wrong.

I wish I had known of her breeding practices before purchasing my dog (even though I wouldn’t trade him for anything). Chances are that she may have even lied to me about Ryder and that he could actually be from a merle to merle breeding as well. There is no way of knowing for sure. She also sent me false paperwork (paperwork was for a black tri, not a merle) for his eye cerf a couple weeks after I brought him home. When I asked her about it, I was told that it was not incorrect paperwork.

The reason for this post is to encourage others to be aware of genetic defects in their breed of choice and to fully research the breed, their breeder, and their breeding practices. She had me fooled, and I knew what I was looking for. It wasn’t until I recieved the false paperwork that I knew something was a miss, so ask for the paperwork up front. Best of luck in choosing your pooch, and if possible, RESCUE! 🙂


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