Leopard Merle Pitbull – All You Need To Know


What is a Leopard Merle Pitbull?

A Leopard Merle relates to a unique patterning effect alongside a rare genetic coloring. The way this is achieved is completely different to that of a Leopard and will likely be more patchy and less consistent on a Pitbull. The coloring which is often referred to as Leopard relates to the Chocolate/Brown coloring which can be achieved in a number of ways.

There are two different genes which lead to chocolate coloring of which both are recessive. This requires both parents to contain the gene to be able to pass it on, this can mean that two non-chocolate parents can have a chocolate puppy. On the other hand due to the different chocolate genes it can also mean that two chocolate parent could have a non-chocolate puppy.

The Merle gene relates to a specific patterning, this presents itself as mottled pieces of fur which can be either faded or more pronounced dependent on the color. The consistency of this however can result in larger patches compared to that of a leopard spots. This gene is a dominant gene however which means only one copy needs to be passed on by a parent

The final way in which you can obtain a Leopard Pitbull is through dog safe dyes as shown in the clip below.

Can I breed a Leopard Merle Pitbull?

Whilst it is possible to breed a Leopard Merle Pitbull it is not always advisable for a number of reasons. This mainly relates to the Merle genetics as it is linked to a number of health concerns as listed below.

  • Deafness – There is an increased risk of deafness or hearing issues compared to a regular Pitbull
  • 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

Whilst these are rare in a Merle Pitbull they become common in Double-Merle’s. A Double Merle is where a dog contains two copies of the Merle gene. It is considered highly irresponsible to breed two Merles for this reason.

Where to buy a Leopard Merle Pitbull?

You will be unable to find Leopard Merle Pitbull’s for sale by a registered breeder as they are not recognized by the AKC. Whilst there are a number of unregistered breeders who are responsible it is important to do due diligence. This is especially the case when it relates to potential leopard merle puppies due to merle specific health concerns.

If you were to find one for sale you should request a vets professional opinion around potential health issues. Potential health concerns may not be obvious at a glance.

What’s a Leopard Merle Bully?

A Leopard Merle Bully relates to a specific type of Pitbull under the Umbrella term. There are often 4 types of dog which fall under this term.

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • American Bully

There are shared genetics between the different breeds but there is a real variety between heights and sizes.

Leopard Merle American Pit Bull TerrierStatistics
Weight30 – 65 Pounds
Height17 – 20 Inches
Lifespan10 – 12 Years
Leopard Merle American Staffordshire TerrierStatistics
Weight50 – 80 Pounds
Height17 – 19 Inches
Lifespan12 – 14 Years
Leopard Merle Staffordshire Bull TerrierStatistics
Weight24 – 38 Pounds
Height14 – 16 Inches
Lifespan12 – 16 Years
Leopard Merle American BullyStatistics
Weight65 – 85 Pounds
Height13 – 20 Inches
Lifespan10 – 12 Years

What is a Double Leopard Merle?

When we typically refer to a Leopard Merle Pitbull we are talking about the possession of one positive and on negative gene M/m. This displays the Merle coat in the ways we have outlined so far through this article. This means mottled patches of fur displaying in a different color in addition to either a solid or piebald coat dependent on the rest of the Pitbull’s genetics.

A Double Merle Pitbull refers to when there are two positive Merle genes M/M. Double Merles are associated with having a large increase in a number of health issues. It is widely accepted that breeding dogs where there is a known chance of producing a Double Merle to be unethical. A Double Merle will present itself with a largely white coat with small patches of darker fur. This is recognizable as being effectively the reverse coloring seen in a regular Merle.

Are there Health Concerns for Leopard Merle’s?

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.

Pitbull Health Specific Health Concerns

Hip Dysplasia – This is a common issue amongst a number of dogs. It is however especially present in larger breeds. The easiest to spot symptoms will relate to a reduced range of movement of the hind legs along with a reluctance in jumping, running and climbing stairs.

Heart Disease – Pitbull’s can be prone to heart disease including a congenital heart disease in the form of aortic stenosis. It is important that you buy from a reputable breeder and discuss this issue with them to ensure your dog has been bred to have a healthy heart.

Skin Infections – There are a wide range of different skin issues which can affect a Pitbull such as Dermatitis, Mange, Dry skin and Allergies. Common signs of skin issues will often display themselves as red irritated areas on their skin. If these are spotted you should contact a vet for tailored advice. The best way to prevent skin conditions is to ensure preventative measures are put in place. This includes regular flea treatment and a consistent grooming routine.

Hypothyroidism – Hypothyroidism is where the thyroid produces incorrect hormone levels, this will present itself in the form of increased weight or lethargy and is often first identified in middle-aged dogs. If these signs are showing then a vet should be contacted who will perform blood tests to identify if the issue is thyroid related. This is often treatable using medication and will likely also be combined with a diet plan

How much does a Leopard Merle Pitbull Cost?

Despite the rare coloring/pattern it is unlikely that breeders will achieve the desired Leopard print effect. Due to this it is unlikely to command a premium price compared to regular Pitbull’s. Premium prices are usually reserved for dogs with consistent results through breeding. Due to this pattern being highly inconsistent it does not fall into the category. Where this is achieved it may lead to a small premium for a unique looking pet.