Who knew a dog could be blue? Have you ever seen a blue merle long hair Chihuahua? Or did you even know it existed?
Blue is one of the coat colors of a chi, but it can be challenging to breed. It can be hit and miss. To get a blue merle Chihuahua, different colors need to be mixed, and at best, you can hope the outcome is blue. The color of a dog’s coat is determined by a recessive gene making it difficult to predict the outcome.
What is a Merle Chihuahua?
Among dog enthusiasts, merle refers to the coat pattern of a dog. If a Chihuahua carries one merle gene, it is acceptable. But, a double merle Chihuahua indicates that the dog is not purebred. The merle gene alters the base coat color of a dog, and it also modifies eye color, nose coloring, and the coloring of paw pads.
The Health of Merle Chihuahuas
Though the merle coat is highly sought after, any variations such as red merle Chihuahuas and lavender merle Chihuahuas may have more health issues.
Merle is a gene modifier and, while producing a pretty coat, can be the culprit when it comes to some health issues. For that reason, two merles should never be bred.
The merle gene can cause deafness and blindness in dogs.
Is Merle a Natural Color?
Historically, merle Chihuahuas did not exist in the breed even though other dogs had merle coats. There is a debate about how the color was introduced in Chihuahuas. Some people say that the merle coat was a result of a genetic mutation that occurred naturally.
The alternate theory is that merle coats were introduced by breeding the Chihuahua with another dog breed, which already carried a merle gene.
The merle pattern happens because the gene causes a dilution of color. That means that darker spots will appear in some places, and it will be lighter in others. The color splotches will appear in different shapes and sizes. They can also occur in different colors, as in a silver merle Chihuahua or a chocolate merle Chihuahua.
Merle Chihuahuas did not appear until around 15 years ago, so it is a pretty new color, and they are sold as rare. But remember, even though these dogs are popular, they are not the breed standard, and they may have health problems.
More to Know about Merles
The merle gene comes from larger breeds. If you get a merle Chihuahua, he is likely to be larger than the breed standard.
Chocolate merle Chihuahuas and other merles may look pretty, but they are rare because they are not natural. Many reputable breeders will not sell merle coated Chihuahuas because of the controversy surrounding them.
When the merle gene lightens the coat, it also affects other things. The inside of the ears and the eyes may also lighten, causing the dog to be deaf and blind.
Caring for a Merle Chihuahua
If your Chi is in good health, there is not much more to caring for a Chi with a merle coat than any other Chihuahua.
Chihuahuas are confident and resilient dogs, but they can be temperamental if not correctly trained. Chihuahuas are small dogs, so they will be quite cautious, so they do not get hurt. They are protective of their bodies, so quick movements around them may scare them.
If you start training and socializing your Chi early, this will benefit them. Start training them when they are puppies, so that you can teach them to be calm. People must also act calmly around the Chihuahua, so that the dog also learns to be calm.
Take your pup on social outings early on, so he learns how to behave around various people and in various situations.
Love and Attention
Chihuahuas are affectionate and need to be shown love and affection in return. They love to be held and snuggled regularly. Everyone in the family needs to show affection, so that he is comfortable with everyone and not just one person.
Chis are great with older children who are calm and loving, but they may be afraid and become aggressive with younger children if they get scared.
Chihuahuas like to burrow when they snuggle. If you have blankets available, your merle Chihuahua may burrow under the blanket and snuggle in for a long winter’s nap.
Feeding Your Merle
The metabolism of a Chihuahua puppy is relatively high. You should always make sure there is food available, so your dog does not become hypoglycemic. You can feed your adult chi twice a day.
Sometimes, Chihuahuas will play with their food. They may also take food and hide it in the furniture or some other little nook.
Chihuahuas will work off their food when they exercise. They have a lot of energy, but they can get enough exercise in small spaces because of their size. Even if you do not take long family walks, the Chihuahua will typically be able to burn off calories.
Is a Merle Chihuahua for you?
Because there is a lot of controversy surrounding the merle coated Chihuahua, you need to make your own informed choice when it comes to getting a Chihuahua in a standard color or looking for one with a merle coat.
Ensure you understand that merles are not purebred (even if the breeder tells you it is) and that breeding two merles can mean trouble for the puppies.
The merle Chihuahua is beautiful, but you need to be aware of the greater possibility of health issues that can come along with the merle coat.
If you are undecided, a brindle Chihuahua also makes an excellent choice. This coat pattern is also rare and can be difficult to find, but it has been around for a long time. Both parents must carry the recessive brindle gene to get a brindle coat (striped like a tiger).
Whatever coat you choose, you are sure to end up with a loving and affectionate companion.
Stephanie was born and raised in Saskatchewan and currently lives in Alberta, Canada. She started her career as a school teacher twenty years ago and has taught English Language Arts to students in grades three through twelve. She is currently exploring her love of writing and exploring topics she is interested in while also learning more in her field of expertise. She is passionate about lifelong learning.