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Information about Merles:
A Pomeranian Paradise
#1 "Angel" - blue merle
with tan points
#2 "Angel" (in back) with
"Sugar" (non merle)
from "Co-C0" (cho & tan parti) & "Angel"
#3 "Daisy" (Pepi x Angel)- wolf sable merle
#4 and her puppy, Sassy
(Co-Co x Daisy) - also a
wolf or cream sable merle
These three (#5, #6, and #7) are from two litters but both have the same parents:
"Lance" and "Angel".
#5 "Dutchess", litter mate to #6 "Dot"
**Both are blue merle extreme piebald partis
#7 "Thunder" - chocolate merle
with one blue and one green eye
The merle gene is relatively new to the Pomeranian breed. It is a dominate gene that weakens the primary color of the dog. This gene will often alter the dog’s eye color in part or whole (mixes it with blue). The dog’s skin, pads, lips, nose, eye lids, etc., may also be spotted, reflecting the dilution of color. There are many gorgeous examples of merles now present in the Pomeranian breed.
MM – a double dominant merle - This dog has two merle parents - This dog received a merle gene from each parent ***Do NOT breed a merle dog to another merle. While a merle dog from a merle and non-merle parent is healthy (Mm), merles bred to merles (MM) can throw significant issues such as eye defects including blindness, eye deformity, deafness, skeletal issues, and weakened sperm production. This mostly occurs in the white offspring resulting from a merle to merle breeding (approximately 25% of the time).
Mm – a merle dog - has only one merle parent
mm – a dog without the merle gene present although it may (or may not) have a merle parent
A merle dog MUST have a merle parent. However, it is imperative for one to be careful when wanting to breed a merle dog. The safest breedings are with the darker colored dogs because it shows the merle characteristics much more readily than a lighter colored dog. Merles crossed with blacks produce blue merles (a distinctive diluted black). When crossed with chocolate, a chocolate merle can be born, and when crossed with red, produces red merles. However, one cannot be sure whether a light colored dog carries the merle gene (light orange, cream, white, sables, brindles, etc.) unless a genetic or color test is performed.
If a merle dog has a litter with sable or light colored puppies, it is very difficult to tell whether the puppy is a non merle dog or a "Phantom merle". The only way to visibly tell is to (possibly) see a slight spot of blue in one eye. (See the dog, Sean White #9, pictured above). Sean White is a very light cream merle parti (appearing white). The only tell tale signs that he is a phantom merle are his blue eye and mottled nose/skin. Why is this important to know? If a breeder unknowingly bred the “phantom merle” to a merle, there is a strong chance that 25% of the puppies would be double dominant and have serious defects such as eye, vision, or hearing issues.
**It is easiest to tell at birth whether the dog is a merle or not – (unless a phantom merle has been produced.)
When breeding for merles, the best colors to use for the non-merle parent are blacks, blues, chocolates, or black/blue/chocolates with tan points. It is said that nearly 50% of the offspring will be merle when using this breeding regiment. In my experience, however, it has been about half to a third of the offspring. **When in question on whether a phantom merle has been produced, it is best to test the dog's genetics, neuter the dog, or alert the owner that the dog may be a merle and not to breed it to another merle (so that the health of future puppies is not compromised).
A dog that is not a merle (or phantom merle) but has a merle parent cannot pass the merle gene onto his/her offspring. This dog can also be bred back to a merle. Only then could it produce a merle in his/her litter.
There is a lot of confusion about a merle parti dog that is mostly white (or even a phantom white merle). I breed merle partis. Many of my parties are extreme piebalds. They may LOOK like a double dominant merle-to-merle breeding, BUT THEY ARE NOT!!!! I would NEVER EVER cause any problems to any of my furry children, I love them too much for that. I enjoy raising dogs. Money is an added benefit to support my addiction, but my dogs' health, happiness, and well-being come first. To my knowledge, NONE of my dogs have ever had a hearing or vision issue. The only Pomeranians that are serious health risks for this is when a merle has been bred to another merle (including phantoms).
I DO NOT recommend breeding any merle to a cream or solid white (not a parti) - you may not know you have a merle and therefore, this could cause future problems - especially if the dog is sold to someone who knows nothing about the merle issues. I have also heard of issues with other breeders when breeding an ice white to merles - same type of issues as breeding merle to merle. Please stick to breeding merles with darker colored dogs (although you will get some light colored dogs, they won't have the health issues).
*A merle gene is actually a heterozygote of an incomplete dominance gene
#9 "Sean White"
"Pepi" x "Angel"
I don't have a picture of Sean white overall, but he was a cream extreme parti (looked white) with blue eyes.