Does the AKC Accept Merle? A Guide to Register A Merle Dog

Merle dogs are known for their unique coats. They have an irregular pattern in their coat in the form of patches or swirls that come in different colors. 

Owners of dogs that have a merle coat often wonder if they can register their dog in the American Kennel Club. In this article, we are going to answer all the questions regarding Merle dogs and their registration to the AKC. 

Does the AKC accept Merle? The AKC accepts Merle in dog breeds where the color is well-established. If there’s no documented evidence that merle color is well-established in a certain dog breed, then this breed is no longer eligible for registration and will not be accepted by the AKC.

Continue reading to know what Merle breeds can register in the AKC, the reason why Merle dogs are no longer recognized by the AKC, and how to register in the AKC for a Merle.

What Is Merle Dog? 

a photo of a merle pit bull to whether the akc does accept merle

A Merle dog is a dog that is characterized by having irregular-shaped patches and swirls in more than one color on its coat. The appearance of the merle color in any dog mainly depends on the dog’s genetic makeup and whether it has the gene responsible.

Here are some examples of breeds that have Merle genes: 

  • French Bulldog
  • English Bulldog
  • American bully
  • Louisiana Catahoula
  • Dachshund
  • Labradoodle
  • Miniature Australian Shepherd
  • Miniature American Shepherd
  • Rough Collie
  • Border Collie
  • Australian Koolie
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Welsh Sheepdog
  • Mudi

You can also check out these guides on Merle Pit Bulls and Merle American Bullies for more useful information.

Are Merle Dogs Better?

Merle Pit Bulls are not better than other dogs. They may be highly unique in appearance compared to other dogs, but the merle gene doesn’t have any effect on the dog’s behavior or physical abilities in any way.

The dog’s behavior and physical ability will depend mostly on which breed it comes from as well as its training and the overall living conditions provided for it.

Keep in mind that raising a dog is a big responsibility, and you shouldn’t get a merle dog just for its unique appearance. Make sure that you have the time and resources needed to provide them with good living conditions the same way you would with any other dog.

Are Merle Dogs Rare? 

Purebred Merle dogs are extremely rare. This coat color is the result of a specific mutation in the dog’s genes. It’s not common for this mutation to appear naturally in dogs because not all dogs carry the merle gene, so it’s often achieved through selective breeding or inbreeding.

What Happens If You Mix A Merle Dog with Another Merle?

If you mix a Merle dog with another Merle, you’ll be putting the resulting offspring at high risk of developing various problems with their hearing and eyesight.

Breeders often resort to two merle dogs to produce more merle puppies that they can sell at a high price. This process is known as inbreeding, and it often has negative consequences on the health of the puppies as they will be carrying more of the merle gene.

The ideal and healthy mix is to breed a solid-colored dog with a Merle dog in order to produce an offspring that carries 50%of each parent’s gene, thereby reducing the health risks that come with carrying the merle gene.

Does the AKC Accept Merle?

The AKC has announced that it will not be accepting merle dogs in breeds with no documented evidence that merle color is well-established. However, there are some specific Merle breeds that are still allowed to register, which are:

  • Australian Shepherd
  • Rough Collie
  • Border Collie
  • Smooth Collie
  • Great Dane
  • Long-Haired Pyrenean Sheepdog
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Bergamasco
  • Beauceron
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Dachshund (color known as dapple)

Why Has The AKC Stopped Accepting Certain Merle Dogs?

The AKC has stopped accepting certain merle dogs because there is no documented evidence that merle color is well-established in these breeds, which means that this color is not historically occurring in those breeds and that it doesn’t appear through natural breeding.

How to Register A Merle Dog in the AKC?

If you have a purebred merle dog that’s among the accepted breeds, you can easily register it by submitting an application along with the necessary documents and paying a registration fee.

You need to mail in the application along with two clear pictures of the Merle dog; one picture is from the front view to show the facial characteristics, and the other is from the side view. Make sure that you shoot down to the eye level of the dog and that the dog is in a standing position. 

After mailing the application, the colors department of AKC will review the pictures and assign an accurate color since the merle color is not a standard color in most dog breeds,

The registration process takes about three weeks, and once the application has been processed, you will receive the registration papers.

Related Questions

What’s the Difference Between Merle and Brindle? 

The difference between merle and brindle is the shape of the pattern on the dog’s coat. The merle coat pattern is random as it looks like patches and swirls over the dog’s body. Meanwhile, the brindle pattern is uniform as it looks like tiger stripes over the dog’s body. 

Where to Get a Merle Dog?

You can get a merle dog directly from a breeder. However, make sure that the breeder has a good reputation and follows the ethical standards of breeding. Since merle dogs are rare and expensive, you are unlikely to find them in rescue shelters or pet stores.

Why Are Merle Dogs More Expensive? 

Merle dogs are more expensive because this pattern is rare, and there’s a higher demand for it. Keep in mind before purchasing that even though merle dogs are more expensive, that doesn’t mean they are bred through ethical practices or that they will be perfectly healthy. 

Will The Dog’s Coat Color Change with Age?

The dog’s coat color will change with age as it may gradually become lighter or darker as the dog get older. The change in coat color is usually a result of direct exposure to sunlight for extended periods of time or taking certain medications that affect the dog’s hormones.

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Helpful Resources

What Is A Merle Dog?

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