If you’re considering adding a merle Dachshund to the family, education should be your first step in ensuring it’s a good fit.
From their long bodies to their flabby ears, there’s something about Dachshunds that is instantly lovable. Even when they’re stubborn or resistant to change, they have a way of putting smiles on the faces of everyone around them.
When considering getting a Dachshund, a coat is one of the main factors researched. Specifically, a merle or dapple coat. When you think this sausage dog couldn’t get any cuter, you find a picture of one on Instagram, and your heart soars. This unique coat pattern is sought after from breed to breed, and the Dachshund is no different.
Here are the most interesting facts about the merle Dachshund, including everything you need to know.
Before scrolling down this list of interesting facts about merle Dachshund, check out: 8 Best Long Hair Dachshund Haircuts – With Pictures! (2023) and 12 Best Dachshund Breeders in the USA! (2023).
What Is a Merle, or Dapple, Dachshund?
A dapple Dachshund is simply a Dachshund who possesses the merle gene. Dachshunds, Australian Shepherds, Corgis, Great Danes, and Catahoula Leopard Dogs are some of the most common breeds that carry the merle gene.
If a dog has a merle coat, it has patches of different colors of fur, blue or rare-colored eyes, and possibly affected skin pigment. It’s visually striking and considered very stunning. Since it’s rare, it’s highly sought after, and prospective owners will often pay a pretty penny.
In Dachshunds, a merle coat is often called a “dapple” coat. Merle and dapple can be used interchangeably when describing this type of coat on a Dachshund. Now that we’ve established what a merle Dachshund is, here are some interesting facts to help you determine if it’s a good fit!
1. Merle Dachshunds Are Considered Rare by Breeders
As previously mentioned, merle Dachshunds are more expensive because the gene is rare. In fact, breeders have to be very careful when breeding them to avoid giving them a double dose of the merle gene.
Breeding them successfully requires time, dedication, patience, and genetic testing. This is why the merle Dachshund typically costs more than its tan or black and tan counterparts.
Although a solid black is the rarest color of Dachshund, merle or dapple follows close behind. This rarity in coats makes them highly desirable among prospective owners. This is one of the reasons why breeders can charge considerably more for merle Dachshunds than other types.
2. Merle Dachshunds Might Be More Prone to Health Problems
Unfortunately, the merle Dachshund is more prone to health problems than its black and tan or solid tan counterparts. The large reason for this is that merle Dachshunds carrying a double dose of the merle gene are much more likely to develop vision and hearing problems.
Here are some common health problems merle Dachshunds run into:
- The merle gene can cause vision problems and blindness. In rare cases, double dapples can be born without one or both eyes.
- The merle gene is a double-edged sword, as it can also cause either partial hearing loss or total deafness. Dachshunds, in general, are prone to ear issues, including ear infections.
- Back problems: Due to their long backs, Dachshunds are prone to Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). This can greatly hinder their quality of life, causing severe pain and sometimes even paralysis.
- Dental disease: Like most small dogs, Dachshunds aren’t exempt from developing dental disease. In fact, their crowded mouths make it easier for food and bacteria to become lodged in their gums, leading to dental disease.
- While obesity can affect any dog of any size, it can greatly impact a Dachshund’s quality of life since their short statures have difficulty holding extra weight. Being cautious of your Dachshund’s diet and taking them for long walks can help limit their risk of becoming obese.
If you’re looking into getting a merle Dachshund, be sure to ask potential breeders about their process for breeding and if the parents have had genetic testing done. Asking questions is one of the main ways to ensure your pup is happy and healthy.
3. Merle Dachshunds Are Known for Their Fun-loving and Loyal Natures
In addition to their gorgeous coats and captivating eyes, merle Dachshunds are especially known for their fun-loving and loyal natures. Much like Chihuahuas, Dachshunds have a tendency to bond to one person and love them with their whole sausage bodies.
There’s never a dull moment with a Dachshund, especially a merle! They’re a great option for apartment living or young professionals. However, they’re not recommended for small children because of their long backs. Older, considerate children will do fine with this lovable breed.
The Merle Gene Is Usually Only Considered as ‘Dapple’ When It Comes to Dachshunds
It’s true. There’s a reason most people never hear of a “dapple Australian shepherd” or a “dapple Catahoula Leopard Dog.” It’s because the word dapple almost always exclusively applies to Dachshunds! While merle and dapple are interchangeable regarding Dachshunds, that’s not always the case with other breeds.
The merle gene is prevalent in many breeds, as previously mentioned, yet the Dachshund is the only one to hold the title of a “dapple” type dog.
5. Merle Dachshunds Can Be Stubborn, Vocal, and Sometimes Hard to Train
Many find it endearing and quirky, but the merle Dachshund is not without its occasional caveats. Sometimes stubborn, vocal, and hard to train, the merle Dachshund is ideal for experienced dog owners who are used to being gentle and firm in training.
Dachshunds thrive on correction and routine. Without it, they can run rampant and even become destructive and standoffish. Diligent training, daily routines, exercise, and enrichment are key to keeping the merle Dachshund content and happy.
6. The Gene Responsible for Merle Coats Is the Same in Every Breed
While there’s no conclusive timeline on when the merle coat first appeared, research shows that the merle gene is the result of an ancient mutation that goes back to the very first types of dogs and that it’s unlikely to have presented itself independently in various breeds.
Dog breeds that have inherited the merle gene include:
- Australian Shepherd
- Catahoula Leopard Dog
- Miniature American Shepherd
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi
- Pyrenean Shepherd
- Border Collie
Due to this, all the aforementioned breeds are known to develop sight and hearing problems related to the “double dose” of the merle gene, which includes Dachshunds.
While it can be daunting to consider that possibility, professional breeders spend their entire careers avoiding the double dose of the merle gene. As long as you go with a quality breeder, your pup should be happy and healthy.
7. Expect to Spend Over $400 on a Merle Dachshund
The price range for a merle Dachshund can range from $400 USD to $4,000 USD, with the average price being about $1,500 USD. This fee usually covers genetic testing and health screenings from a reputable breeder.
If you decide to invest in a merle Dachshund, searching for a reputable breeder should be your first step, in addition to educating yourself on the breed.
Avoid purchasing your merle Dachshund from a backyard breeder or puppy mill, as you may end up with a pup with a double dose of the merle gene, which, as you now know, can lead to exorbitant health problems down the road.
Relatively, $400 USD to $4,000 USD isn’t very drastic for a purebred dog. There have been documented cases of French Bulldogs costing $100,000 USD!
8. Celebrities Love Them!
Dachshunds are all the rage in Hollywood. In recent years, Dachshunds have soared in popularity among celebrities. From writer E.B. White to model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Dachshunds are an incredibly popular breed for their spunky, robust, and hilarious antics.
If you invest in a merle Dachshund, you’ll surely get a pup with star quality! They’re sure to steal the show, always.
History of the Merle Dachshund
The name Dachshund in German translates directly to “badger dog.” They were bred to dig and alert their owners to badgers and prey. In the 16th century, the dapple, or merle Dachshund, emerged.
The evolution of Dachshunds began when hunters wanted to breed a dog that could go up against badgers with their thick skulls, pelts, and sharp claws and teeth. Don’t let the Dachshund’s size fool you; being designed for such a job was a difficult task.
Breeders knew they had to modify a dog with short legs and firm paws, long snouts, and even longer backs to dive into badger holes. Additionally, they needed to have wide ribcages to give the dog strength to fight endlessly underground on the badger’s turf.
Additionally, breeders knew the dog needed to develop tenacity, fearlessness, and determination to stay at it until the job was done. When you think of a Dachshund being stubborn, it’s simply because of what they were bred to do.
Merle Dachshund Overview
While you know what to expect with the merle Dachshunds’ coats, it’s important to know their size, energy levels, and daily needs. Here’s a brief overview of the merle Dachshund:
- Size: Small-to-medium
- Breed type: Hound
- Expected weight: 16 to 32 lbs.
- Coat: Short-haired or long-haired
- Shedding: Moderate
- Best for: Experienced, savvy owners
- Daily dietary needs: ¼ cup to ½ cup twice daily
- Daily exercise needs: Moderate-intensity exercise twice daily
- Lifespan: 12 to 16 years
Personality and Temperament
These robust, strong-willed, stubborn, loving, and loyal dogs are endlessly hilarious and love to be the stars of the show. They do well in multi-dog households with dogs big enough to withstand their antics.
Dachshunds can be domineering and aren’t recommended to live alongside smaller dogs. They generally do best with other Dachshunds.
Since it’s biologically hardwired in their natures to hunt, they aren’t recommended for households with smaller animals, like rats, hamsters, or birds. Dachshunds are known for their notoriously high prey drives and may seriously injure other animals.
However, merle Dachshunds are generally happy-go-lucky and sweet, especially females. They’re quick to start the party and tend to be popular on social media for the way they clown around. As mentioned, they aren’t recommended for homes with small children and usually do best in adult-only households.
Frequently Asked Questions
Health screenings are extra important for merle Dachshunds as they can suffer from hearing or vision issues.
There is no evidence to show that merle dogs behave more aggressively than non-merle dogs.
The American Kennel Club recognizes “dapple” (otherwise known as merle) Dachshunds.
Conclusion for “Interesting Facts About the Merle Dachshund”
All in all, the merle Dachshund has beauty and brains. This spunky, charismatic, and courageous pup has so much to offer and is sure to make the best friend of a lifetime.
As long as you research a professional breeder and take time to educate yourself on the interesting facts about the merle Dachshund, you’re going to experience a love like no other.
Dachshunds, even merle ones, are sweet, strong-willed dogs with the best intentions. If you’re all about hilarious antics and a cute face to match, look no further than the Dachshund!
If you find this guide, “Interesting Facts About the Merle Dachshund,” helpful, check out:
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Learn more about Dachshunds by watching “10 Things Only Dachshund Dog Owners Understand” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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