What is a Blue Merle French Bulldog?
A Blue Merle French Bulldog is a combination of a specific coloring and pattern which can be present in Frenchies. The Blue coloring is the result of a set of recessive genes making it only display if this is passed on by both parents. The Merle gene despite being rare is Dominant. It only requires one copy of this Merle gene to be present in order to display the Merle patterning.
The Blue gene is located in the D Locus which is often referred to as the Dilution gene but can also be referred to as Blue. With this being a recessive gene it requires a copy to be passed on from each of it’s parents to be present. This means if both parents possess two Blue gene then all of their puppies will also be Blue. However if you take a Blue and a Blue carrying Frenchie and breed them then only half will be Blue. It is also possible for two non Blue Frenchie’s to produce a Blue puppy as long as they both carry one copy of the Blue gene. In this case one quarter of their offspring will be Blue.
The Merle gene is not related to coloring like the Blue gene but changes the pattern that is displayed. There are a different combinations of the Merle gene which display in different ways, The first is when their isn’t any Dominant Merle gene present, this will display as a regular Frenchie without the pattern being present.
The second is when there is one Dominant Merle gene, this is what is commonly referred to as a Merle dog. This displays itself as a patchy pattern across the French Bulldog usually with smaller patches around the face and neck and slightly larger across the body. When this is present on a Blue French Bulldog it will be seen as lighter and darker patches of fur
The Final combination is when there are two dominant Merle genes, this is referred to as a Double Merle. Unfortunately these dogs are born with serious health issues and should therefore never be targeted in breeding. Due to this two merle dogs should never be bred as this will result in a 1/4 chance of a Double Merle being born. These dogs rarely have long lives and are born with an almost certainty of health issues.
Merle Health Issues
Whilst there is debate around the health implications of a single Merle there are claims of a number of extra health concerns that can present themselves. A study into the Merle gene and it’s origins shows a clear link between hearing problems and a single Merle gene. You can read the study published in the US National Library of Medicine here.
- Deafness – There is an increased risk of deafness or hearing issues compared to a regular Frenchie
- Blindness – Dilation of the pupils can be an issue which can lead to night blindness and in some cases complete blindness.
- Further Eye Issues – There is also a risk of eyes being off centre, additional eyelids, missing tissue or in some cases being born without eyes.
- Immune Deficiency – A high risk of a having a weakened immune system.
The above are all additional risks on top of those found in regular French Bulldogs. Before buying a Merle Frenchie it adds extra importance to checking the health of the puppy and parents.
French Bulldog Health Issues
It is widely accepted that French Bulldogs have a large number of health concerns. Whilst good breeding can alleviate some of the issues below is a list of common health problems, how to spot them and manage them if possible. All of these are in addition to the known Merle Health issues.
Whilst not unique to Frenchies they are known to suffer more than other breeds. This will usually display in red/raw patches often around their paws. Also it can show through watery eyes, ear infections or sneezing. If you suspect allergy issues it is best to discuss with a vet around possible treatments.
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS)
Due to their short snouts it can lead to issues around their breathing. This usually results in snoring and noisy breathing. It can however lead to retching, regurgitaion and vomiting and it certainly lowers their tolerance to heat. Due to this it’s best to ensure they are not over exposed to heat as this can quickly turn into heat stroke due to their inability to cool themselves quickly.
Skin Fold Dermatitis
Whilst we love their wrinkles and skinfolds it can lead to issues within these folds. It is important these areas are checked for redness and sores, you will usually see your Frenchie attempting to lick/scratch any irritated areas.
Due to the shape of the French Bulldog they can have issues in keeping their ears clean. Often these areas become breeding grounds for bacteria. In order to clean them the first rule is not to put anything inside the ear, this often just compacts any dirt within the ear. It is best to use an ear cleaner to break down the dirt.
As a result of the eyes standing more predominately on their face they are at risk of eye issues. They can also be born with small amounts of tissue sticking out of their eye. If you notice this or any redness/lumps around the eye your best bet is a trip to the vet.
Back and Spine issues
Unfortunately it is more common in Frenchie’s for them to have issues around their back and necks. This often results in back pain and sometimes slipped discs. Often these issues will display themselves later in life and it is best to consult a vet.
How Much is a Blue Merle French Bulldog?
With the Blue color being a recessive trait it does not appear naturally very often. However due to targetted breeding programs it is now more common and whilst more expensive not overly so. The Merle pattern despite being a dominant trait is also uncommon. This is due to a number of reasons but mainly due to the health concerns surrounding it.
Due to the rarity of both Blue and Merle you would expect any Blue Merle to come at a higher price than a regular Frenchie. However this isn’t the case due to many being aware of the Merle health risks. If you are looking for a dog to breed I would recommend avoiding a Merle due to the complications that could be had with potential Double Merle offspring.
Are Blue Merle French Bulldog’s recognised by the AKC?
Neither Blue or Merle are recognised by the AKC as an official French Bulldog color. By extension this means that the Blue Merle is also unrecognised. This is due to differing reasons.
Blue is designated as a Fad color for the French Bulldog. Whilst this term is often used with regards to fashion as something that will pass it means something slightly different in dogs. A color is often referred to as a Fad when it offers no benefit to the overall breed either in Health or Temperament. The Dilution gene which leads to Blue coloring is also linked with increased health issues around the skin.
Merle is disqualified due to it’s long list of health concerns. Breeding Merles is often frowned upon due to there being no reason to do so on health grounds. Whilst there is still debate about health concerns of single Merles in French Bulldogs there is the risk of Double Merles. Due to this they are not recognised and are very unlikely to be recognised in the future.