What is a Merle Poodle [Explained]

A merle Poodle is a bit different from the typical Poodle breed. For starters, the species is rare and on the expensive side. However, they make great family pets and have many positive qualities.

So, what is a merle Poodle? The merle Poodle is unique due to their spotting and coloring, thanks to a particular dominant gene.

what is a merle Poodle
What is a merle Poodle?

From size and shape to important breeding facts, there’s a lot to know about taking proper care of your merle. So if you’ve been thinking about getting a pet Poodle, specifically the merle Poodle, I will explain everything you need to know before taking home your adorable pup!

What Is a Merle Poodle?

Merle Poodle contains leopard-like patterns and similar coloring from top to bottom. Their shape is square, and the breed has long faces, necks, and legs. However, the Poodle comes in different sizes, such as Toys, Miniature, and Standard.

merle Poodle photo shoot
A merle Mini Poodle on a perfect natural lighting photo shoot. (Image: Instagram/christopher.the.poodle)

The Poodle’s coat produces soft, coarse, curly, or corded fur. A merle pattern is certainly in Poodles, and the design is also in Dachshunds, Austrian Shepherds, and Cardigan Welsh Corgis.

Although breeding is possible with the merle gene, creating a Poodle with only one is best. If the dog accidentally inherits both genes, the Poodle will likely have health problems, including blindness and deafness. So, when breeding, safety is key to improving their quality of life.

Important Breeding Facts

Before purchasing a merle Poodle, let’s go over essential facts, as it isn’t purebred due to the unique gene. The merle breed may exist solely due to breeding standards and the importance of having an aesthetically pleasing pup. A better-looking dog sells at a higher price point.  

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older merle Poodle dog
An old merle Poodle dog with mouth wide open.

Additionally, there’s controversy over breeding merle’s. If a mix is bred with a Poodle repeatedly, DNA may classify the pup inaccurately and label the dog as purebred instead of mixed. On the other hand, some argue that the gene occurs in Poodles naturally.

Can You Register a Merle Poodle?

While tricky, you can register your merle Poodle through the American Kennel Club. First, you must list where the pup comes from, including documents to prove both parents’ registration.

It’s important to note that the American Kennel Club doesn’t have a particular merle color for this breed. Although, registration is possible as long as the pup lists as a multi-colored Poodle and not as a merle Poodle. So, list the color which closely resembles your Poodle and mark accordingly.

There is a downside if you plan on registering your merle Poodle in an American Kennel Club dog show. Sadly, merle Poodles can’t participate due to their multiple color patterns, and the United Kennel Club doesn’t recognize merle Poodle coats.

Next, I will uncover the “What is a merle Poodle” question regarding their looks.

Merle Poodles and Appearance

Merle Poodles have bright blue or partially blue eyes.

close-up merle Poodle
A close-up look on a rescued merle Poodle. (Image: Instagram/merlepoodle)

Thankfully, the merle Poodle covers a few of the same coat colors to distinguish the two different genes, including:

  • Chocolate
  • Blue
  • Parti

The chocolate color is a rarity and often hard to see. Typically, the Poodle has a dark black or brown coat with tints of blue. A blue merle Poodle contains gray and white patterned spots and is a blueish gray color.

The third traditional merle color combines the two, called a parti. These Poodles contain a wide range of coloring, including a blue-gray with the following colors, white and red, white and brown, and white and black.

It’s essential to know the right coloring because, in some pups, the merle gene hides in cream, white, and red Poodles. In these cases, it’s hard to spot the gene visibly, which leads to unknowingly breeding two pups with the same gene.

Their coat becomes gray as the dog breed ages, but the original color remains. Don’t worry, as the merle Poodle’s coat doesn’t fade compared to other Poodles. Many pups contain a dilute gene that evolves, but not the merle.

The Merle’s dilute gene occurs upon birth.

Size of a Merle Poodle

The size of a typical merle Poodle varies depending on the breed. While on the smaller side, there are differences between the three types, which include the following:

  • Miniature Poodle, 13 pounds, 10-15 inches
  • Standard Poodle, 40-55 pounds, 15 inches

Knowing the average size and optimal weight is vital to keep in mind for your Poodle’s overall health.

The Health of a Merle Poodle

The health of a merle Poodle depends greatly on genes. Single genes are best, and if it’s double, that’s where you get into trouble.

Moyen Poodle on carpet
A Moyen Poodle with a ball lying on a carpet. (Image: Instagram/penny_the_poo_dle)

A merle with two genes has the potential for significant ear and eye issues. In addition, multiple organ failure is also a concern. Overall, the health of the parents reflects the health of their offspring.

Therefore, it’s essential to test both parents genetically, so the Poodle lives a fulfilled and healthy life.

Despite the pups’ genes, the breed is quite sensitive to sunlight, so they seemingly have a higher chance of developing skin cancer. But, aside from skin exposure risks, other health issues arise in merle Poodles.

Health Conditions and Diseases

There are certain health conditions to be aware of when it comes to merle Poodles. Some health conditions include the following:

  • Epilepsy, seizures
  • Allergies
  • Hip Dysplasia, hip out of position
  • Hypothyroidism, underactive thyroid
  • Von Willebrand’s disease, blood clotting
  • Cushing’s disease, pituitary/adrenal tumor
  • Addison’s disease, hormonal
  • Gastric dilation Volvulus, bloating

While the list is long, it’s essential to know that most merle Poodles are healthy! While some pups inherit genetic issues, some health conditions reflect the lifestyle and poor living circumstances. But, with proper love and care, Merle Poodles live up to fifteen years!

Taking Care of Your Merle Poodle

The typical grooming schedule is three to six weeks. Daily brushing is a must to keep a fresh-looking coat and avoid matting.

different colored dog foods
Different dog dry foods arranged on a table.

Bathing is essential every few weeks, or possibly shorter if your Poodle is outside a lot. Remember to use a safe shampoo that’s pup-friendly, as merle Poodles have sensitive skin.

It’s also a great idea to take care of your Poodle’s body parts to check for dirt, prevent tear stains on their faces, and keep an eye for infections.

Lastly, don’t forget to brush your pup’s teeth, as it’s a crucial hygiene step to prevent tartar.


Taking good care of your Poodle means taking care of their overall health and nutritional needs. For example, give your pup two or three meals daily to avoid overfeeding and weight gain.

A balanced diet includes healthy carbohydrates, fats, and animal protein to ensure proper vitamins, minerals, and development. Try a wet, high-quality animal protein as it’s one of the best food items for your Poodle. You can also try dry food.

The standard-size Poodle requires one and a half to three cups of dry food daily. Miniature Poodles get away with about a cup of dry food every day. Lastly, Toy Poodles only need about half a cup of food daily.

Getting Exercise

Merle Poodles requires a lot of physical activity, around an hour of exercise each day. However, don’t let that scare you, as you can easily fit in a couple of walks per day. Also, spacing out activities is still adequate if you’re in a time crunch.

Poodles love swimming which is an excellent form of exercise if you own a pool!

Taking Your Merle Poodle Home

When you first bring your new friend home, there are a few things to remember. First, if you suffer from allergies, it’s time to rejoice because merle Poodles are a part of the hypoallergenic club! All dog breeds produce allergens, but Poodles are fabulous for a lower allergy risk!

Teacup Poodle running grass
A gray Teacup Poodle with a toy running on the grass.

Also, keeping them safe is critical as they don’t like being alone. Moving to a new living space is an adjustment. Play with your Poodle often as you welcome the cuddly pup into your family.

While the merle is a family-friendly dog, you’re better off if you have older kids to avoid injury.

Another perk of taking home a merle Poodle is they train quickly!

Training Your Merle Poodle

Many merle Poodles learn commands in as little as five repetitions or less. Keep training sessions short and sweet to avoid boredom. From easy to advanced, you’ll house train your pup in no time!

Treat your dog with positive reinforcement. They’ll love it!

Cost of Owning a Merle Poodle

Owning a merle Poodle is expensive and varies depending on size, age of pup, and location. While there’s a hefty price range, it costs $800 to $5,000 per dog as you purchase through a registered breeder.

Taking care of a dog isn’t easy, but taking your cuddly merle Poodle home for the first time will be worth the hassle.

Final Takeaways

What is a merle Poodle? Although breeding merle Poodles comes with risks, they make excellent pets if you breed with caution. Avoid producing two merle Poodles, and you’ll create a healthier pup.

While the dog is a popular choice for owners, the merle Poodle comes with a significant price and controversy. However, it’s worth the hassle if you want a calm, sweet furry friend. Merle Poodles are easy to take care of and train, making a great addition to your family, even for allergy sufferers!

Overall, while there are pros and cons, I hope this guide helps you feel educated and relieved as you take your next steps towards owning your future merle Poodle!

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