Chihuahua People Forum banner

1 - 20 of 54 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Everyone!

As some of you may know, I'm new to the world of Chi's and I'm still in the learning stages. I've read so much info on the net and else where and one thing that keeps popping up is Merle. Some folk seem to think it's wrong to have and breed Merle Chi's, and others seem to think it's fine :rolleyes: I really don't understand and I'm totally confused :confused: Can someone explain what the problem is with Merle Chi's? It's only a colour, isn't it? What's so bad about owning this colour Chi or breeding this colour? I really don't get it? On one website I saw it said "Say NO to Merle!" Why?

Can anyone explain, please?

Thanks folks :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,764 Posts
It's kind of confusing. Someone here can tell you about the gene pool part of it. If you breed two dogs with merle in their background, your merle can be deaf or blind or be born with serious genetic issues or major problems. It's like breeding two dapples in the doxie world. I know the specifics of it but can't explain like some people on here can. I would be very careful if I ever got a merle. Would want to know history, parents, grandparents, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
454 Posts
From what I understand, if a dog carries a merle gene it is expressed and the dog is a merle. A dog can not carry merle recessively. Unfortunately while that may be so, in lighter color dogs it can be very difficult to impossible to see the merle coloring, especially in adult dogs. Merle as a single copy gene only affects coloring. Merle as a double copy gene can cause numerous problems, including deafness and blindness. This is why it is important that a merle dog never be bred to another merle dog. There has been speculation that the merle gene on its own can cause the dog to be bigger than average and a few other things but I think that comes more from people breeding just for what they consider a marketable color and not adhering to standard.

I don't have a problem with merle breeding as long as it is done by knowledgable breeders who health check and follow standard. The merle gene is in a lot of breeds and as long as the breeding is done responsibly it doesn't cause a problem.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,224 Posts
It is a tad confusing isn't it!!!

From what I've read I would never buy one, my friend who is buying a Chihuahua pup soon loves the colouring, but has said she would not buy one either.

Barbara x
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
From what I understand, if a dog carries a merle gene it is expressed and the dog is a merle. A dog can not carry merle recessively. Unfortunately while that may be so, in lighter color dogs it can be very difficult to impossible to see the merle coloring, especially in adult dogs. Merle as a single copy gene only affects coloring. Merle as a double copy gene can cause numerous problems, including deafness and blindness. This is why it is important that a merle dog never be bred to another merle dog. There has been speculation that the merle gene on its own can cause the dog to be bigger than average and a few other things but I think that comes more from people breeding just for what they consider a marketable color and not adhering to standard.

I don't have a problem with merle breeding as long as it is done by knowledgable breeders who health check and follow standard. The merle gene is in a lot of breeds and as long as the breeding is done responsibly it doesn't cause a problem.
It was first assumed that the gene could not be carried recessivly but I've read recently that this is not the case and hence from the end of march puppies born of merle parents can not be registered in the UK Kennel Club even if there are pups in the litter that do not have the merle colour.

It took them a while to get the KC to realise it could be carried and not present which is why the new rule only applied to puppies born after March.

I'd never have a Merle dog of any breed because of the health issues but also just because it's not my taste, Dalmations look good with spots but I'm not keen on it in other breeds.

I showed Matt a picture of a very dappled chi and he (not knowing what Merle was) said "Errr what's wrong with it?"

It shouldn't have been bred into pedigree Chi's though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,797 Posts
The unfortunate thing is that people are NOT well breeding them in the UK. they saw a market for a "rare" colour and they are selling them as just that. they are also "faking" the colour on pedigree papers now too - saying they are blue's or blue and chocolate. someone being unaware of the pattern wouldn't know the difference.

the other problem is that there are cryptic merles which are hiddern merles, they have the pattern as a young puppy but the pattern fades away and you can't see it. People being a novice could in effect want a merle and mate this cryptic merle to another merle to get a merle and would be doing a merle x merle mating.

They also do not test for the problems before breeding in the UK, which I think is an even bigger problem.

here are some links to the sites which can explain it more:
www.diademchihuahuas.50megs.com
www.lsu.edu/deafness/baerexpl.htm
www.vmdb.org/cerf.html
www.kandeechihuahuas.com/merles/ftlowille.html
www.picassochis.com/merles.htm
www.akcchf.org/news/index.cfm?article_id=138
www.ashgi.org/color/eyedefects.htm

There is loads of reading one there.

The FCI will be changing the standard also in July banning the pattern too. The UK has banned it as have Australia and Canada. I am not 100% certain but I think there are some countries in Europe which haven't banned the breeding but have banned the pattern in the show ring.

Don't get me wrong, there are some good breeders of merles who test and who are very careful what they do but unfortunately they don't seem to do this in the UK.

I belive the last vote in the US was very close to being a ban but they can only vote on it every 5 years (I think)

There are merle poms and pugs now which are something which was also never seen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
If you want a cross by a cross, pay a lot less for it because it is a cross but don't pay a pedigree Chi price for a non pedigree pup and further encourage the irresponsible money making breeding of these pups.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,248 Posts
i love the merles and would love to have one
but unfortunatly they cannot be registered here in the uk also yeah breeders want over the top prices for an unregistered pup saying its rare also seen one that says it comes with akc papers still dont think thats any use in the uk

if i seen one for a reasonable price i would maybe go for it but i doubt that will happen here in the uk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
i love the merles and would love to have one
but unfortunatly they cannot be registered here in the uk also yeah breeders want over the top prices for an unregistered pup saying its rare also seen one that says it comes with akc papers still dont think thats any use in the uk

if i seen one for a reasonable price i would maybe go for it but i doubt that will happen here in the uk
Do you really think it's unfortunate that the UK KC banned them from being registered? They're clearly not pedigree surly it's a good thing even if you like them I love Loki but I'd never want non pedigree pups to be wrongly registered in a pedigree breed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
Just thought I'd add I didn't that to sound bad just wondered if you thought the ban was a bad thing I know some like them but apart from merle breeders I've not known anyone to dissagree with them not being registered here any more. KC papers aren't needed for a pet really anyway only for show or breeding and to give better assurance of their pedigree so I think the merles being banned is necessry for the majoirty to better avoid the genes and their associated issues. It of course doesn't stop those who do want them from breeding them though but might help avoid the 'rare' high price sales done just for the money.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,248 Posts
im quite indifferent to it i understand it had to be done for the good of the breed but as ive said before im not right into this breed standered breed ethics and stuff not against it either but i only go on my personal preferences and ive loved every merle ive seen my 2 chis are full pedigree kc registered pups but i never bought them for that reason

i just go with my heart and if i came acrossed a reasonably priced merle that i liked yes id prob want it

but im not against the bann and im not for the bann im indifferent and just like the look of merles
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
454 Posts
It was first assumed that the gene could not be carried recessivly but I've read recently that this is not the case and hence from the end of march puppies born of merle parents can not be registered in the UK Kennel Club even if there are pups in the litter that do not have the merle colour.

It took them a while to get the KC to realise it could be carried and not present which is why the new rule only applied to puppies born after March.

I'd never have a Merle dog of any breed because of the health issues but also just because it's not my taste, Dalmations look good with spots but I'm not keen on it in other breeds.

I showed Matt a picture of a very dappled chi and he (not knowing what Merle was) said "Errr what's wrong with it?"

It shouldn't have been bred into pedigree Chi's though.
I have read that too. I don't believe that though and many others are skeptical too. In all other breeds the merle gene is a dominant gene. It can not be carried without expression. What is more likely than it suddenly appearing in dogs with no merle parents only merle lines is that one of the parents was a cryptic merle. Cryptic merles are a lot more common in chihuahuas that most other breeds because of the many colors a chihuahua comes in. A chihuahua who is predominantly white and has cream or fawn markings that was born of a merle parent can very likely be a merle dog who does not appear to express the gene. You would assume that this meant the dog only carried the gene when in fact the dog does express the gene but the markings are obscured by the absence of color in the coat. Merling only shows on pigmented areas of the coat because it is essentially a pigment fading gene. When the coat is already without pigment or the pigment present is already very light it can be impossible to detect. Many other breeds are successfully bred with the merle gene. It is just a risky business without knowledge and willingness to test for the gene if the dog comes from merle lines. Not because it can be carried recessively but because the dog could be a cryptic merle.

Another big reason why merle is so controversial in the chi world is because the color is a rather recent addition to the variety of colors a chi can come in and there is a lot of speculation that this is due to crossbreeding and paper hanging. I can see this as very possible, especially since small breeds, such as the dachshund, are known to be crossed with chis and they are commonly found in the merle pattern (dapple). It wouldn't take much to breed out the looks from the dachshund but keep the merle pattern.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,797 Posts
What worries me in chihuahuas is that the amount of colours which they already come in - breeds which have merles don't tend to have lots of colours like chihuahuas do.

According to merle breeders it arrived from being a genetic mutation however I had never seen one until the last 8 years or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Hi Everyone,

We hope that we can give some sort of insight...

Historically,...

All dogs carry the merle gene, some breeds have an active gene and others have dormant genes. Chihuahua's carry a dormant merle gene.

if there is a dormant gene it can not just switch itself on it has to be activated by a an active merle gene.

The only way to activate the merel gene is to introduce a breed / dog that has an active merel gene. So if chi's only have dormant genes then it had to be a breed that has an active merle gene, for example dachshund.

And so the merle gene was activated.... those puppies that were merleMm were then bred to a non-merle M+ (pure chi) and then those were again bred to another pure chi and so on. Over the last 30 - 40 years selective breeding with merle and non-merle dogs have created the pure merle chi. But in essence they are ultimately still cross breeds albeit very far back.

As already been mentioned previously, merle dogs of all breeds have associated health problems for example, deafness and blindness.

We hope this sheds a little light on the subject, ofcourse we are happy to answer any questions you may have.....
 
1 - 20 of 54 Posts
Top