Merle French Bulldog Guide: Everything You Should Know

French Bulldogs are one of the most interesting breeds out there and one reason is the variety of colors they come in. The merle French Bulldog is one of the most rare-colored Frenchies. If you’ve ever seen one of these unique, patterned-coat pooches, you probably took a second glance. Their look is quite charming, and, as we all know, French Bulldogs are adorable as it is!

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Aside from its rarity, there is much to know about a merle French Bulldog. Today, all your questions will be answered, including how this special dog is bred, what they look like, what their health is like, how to purchase one, and if they are good pets.

What is a Merle French Bulldog?

A merle French Bulldog is like your standard Frenchie in that it’s small in size, friendly, and one of the most loyal pets out there. What’s different about a merle French Bulldog is its show-stopping coat.

While common Frenchies have a solid color coat, a merle French Bulldog’s coat has a base color with patches of irregular or regular stripes and spots that can be several different colors (we’ll get to that later). These special patterns are what make the merle Frenchie easily identifiable and highly sought after.

Where Does a Merle French Bulldog Come From?

Selective breeding is how a merle Frenchie comes to be. What many people don’t know is that a merle French Bulldog is not a purebred Frenchie. As we know, a purebred dog has parents of the same breed.

French Bulldogs are bred with dogs that have the merle gene, usually a chihuahua, to create a merle French Bulldog. After this, two merle French Bulldogs can be bred to create more, but, again, this would mean the puppies are not purebred since the parents aren’t. Because of this, the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize the merle French Bulldog as a standard breed color.

Blue merle
Blue merle tan french bulldog

What Are Other Color Variations?

The merle coat comes from a dominant gene that becomes diluted by other genes. When this happens, different merle colors occur.

Lilac Merle

The lilac merle French Bulldog has a chocolate brown and blue base coat color and light-colored eyes. The blue fur is diluted, revealing the lilac color. This is the most uncommon of the merle Frenchies and could cost you up to a whopping $30,000.

Black Merle

A black merle is created when a dominant gene is black; eventually, other coat colors appear. These colors are commonly black, tan, or fawn.

Blue Merle

A blue merle French Bulldog is often called a blue-gene breed. However, it has a diluted black coat that appears to be blue. A neat thing about blue merles is that they have a bright blue eye color throughout their life and maintain a lighter colored eye than your regular Frenchie.

What Issues do Merle French Bulldogs Have?

French Bulldogs, in general, are known to be prone to several medical issues. As we mentioned before, the merle French Bulldogs are crossbred. This means that health problems are almost always certain, and even more so if two merles are bred.

Here are some possible complications to be aware of:

  • Intertrigo: inflamed skin caused by skin folds rubbing together
  • Brachycephalic Obstructive Syndrome (BOS): difficulties breathing due to small-sized skull
  • Perineal Hernia: displaced pelvic, and abdominal organs
  • Luxating Patella: a dislocated patella (kneecap)
  • Atopic Dermatitis (Atopy): an allergy to an environmental substance
  • Epilepsy: reoccurring seizures

Eye and Ear Defects

The m-locus (merle) gene creates the distinctive merle coat and can also mean visual and auditory problems. This is a big reason why breeding two merle dogs is strongly discouraged.

Possible Vision Problems:

  • Blindness: no sight in one or both eyes
  • Jagged Pupils: the pupil has jagged or irregular edges resulting in light sensitivity
  • Microphthalmia: eyes are unusually small or barely there, making it difficult to see
  • Cataracts: cloudiness on the eye lens, which can lead to blindness
  • Corectipia: the pupil is lower than normal; usually doesn’t severely affect a dog unless other eye issues are present

A merle French Bulldog can also suffer from hearing loss either at birth or as it develops over time.

Because a merle French Bulldog is susceptible to several health complications, it’s never a bad idea to have pet insurance to provide financial support if needed.

Merle frenchie
Black merle french bulldog

What Should I Know About Purchasing a Merle French Bulldog?

French Bulldogs are very popular pets due to their laid-back demeanor, cuddly personality, and ability to get along well with other pets and humans. They’re great family dogs and live well in small or large spaces. Since merle Frenchies are so rare, they aren’t easy to find and come with a large price tag when you do.

Where to Find Them

Since breeding merle French Bulldogs isn’t an easy task, it’s not so easy to find a breeder. Responsible breeders must find a merle dog and a purebred French Bulldog to breed, complete health checks, and ensure that both dogs are at least fairly healthy before breeding. Then, of course, breeding takes time and money. With that said, finding a merle French Bulldog is also not so simple.

It will require research to find a reputable merle French Bulldog breeder, and when you find one, they may already have homes lined up for new puppies since people wait around for this notable pup. Because of this, you will probably want to consider options before you bring your new fur baby home.

Since making sure the merle French Bulldog you choose to purchase is as healthy as possible, it’s crucial to consider several important questions.

While rescuing French Bulldogs is always an option to consider, finding a merle French Bulldog up for adoption is close to impossible. This isn’t to say it can’t be done. Since some owners can’t care for a pup as they planned for various reasons, many great dogs end up in shelters. There are organizations, like this one, to specifically find rescue French Bulldogs.

Cost

It’s clear that the beautiful merle French Bulldog is pretty remarkable. When you think about the time and money it takes to breed a Frenchie, their popularity, and how hard merles are to come by, the lofty price tag isn’t too shocking. The standard French Bulldog can already cost a couple of thousand dollars, and a merle is even more at several thousand or more dollars. As we mentioned earlier, the rarest lilac merle has been spotted at close to $30,000.

When getting a pet, it’s also important to consider additional costs, including food, beds, toys, leashes, collars, shampoo, and pet insurance. Some of these only need to be purchased occasionally, and since French Bulldogs are small dogs, their needs (such as a small bed) usually set you back less than those of a larger dog.

How Do I Care for a Merle French Bulldog?

If you decide to become a merle Frenchie parent and finally bring your new fur child home, there are a few things to know about caring for it. The good news is that, overall, they are fairly easygoing dogs.

Grooming

Merles don’t shed too much, but regular hair brushing can minimize their shedding and keep them clean between baths by ridding them of excess dirt.

Since Frenchies shouldn’t spend too much time outdoors due to their previously mentioned breathing issues, a bath every few months is usually enough.

It’s also important to keep their skin folds and ears clean to avoid infection. You can do this by using a wipe or a clean, wet wag before thoroughly drying.

Exercise

A merle French Bulldog doesn’t require much exercise, which makes them great pets for all types of people, including those that aren’t so active. One to two short walks a day is plenty. Here are several options for playing with your Frenchie.

Training

French Bulldogs are known to be stubborn, so remember to be patient when it comes to training. However, they do like to appease their owner, and they definitely love treats.

Food

Of course, you need to feed your merle French Bulldog. Many Frenchies are able to eat most foods. However, regulating their eating is important since they don’t exercise too much. If you notice them gaining weight, reduce their food or switch to a limited-ingredient diet. Consult with a vet to ensure your pup is eating right and maintaining a healthy weight.

Is it Ethical to Buy a Merle French Bulldog?

We know that the crossbreeding required to make the enchanting merle French Bulldog leads to health problems. However, it’s completely up to each individual to decide if buying a merle is a good choice. On one hand, taking a merle Frenchie home means it’s not ending up in a shelter. And we all know that there are already too many pups without homes. On the other hand, some may say purchasing this rare breed encourages breeders to continue crossbreeding.

There are trustworthy breeders out there doing their best to breed healthy Frenchies. It’s up to potential dog owners to weigh the pros and cons and search for a breeder they trust.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that the merle French Bulldog is a stunning breed. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to this special pup: health issues, cost, and caring for them, and now you have all the information needed to make the right decision for you.

For information on another rare breed, check out the Blue French Bulldog.