Merle Pitbull: Your Complete Guide

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Merle pitbulls are pitbulls that display the merle color mutation, which typically causes irregular patches or swirls of color on their coat. While pitbulls come in many colors, the merle color is a recent color that has taken the dog world by storm. That said, some people love the merle color, but other people despise it. Therefore, there is a lot of controversy in the dog industry about the Merle pitbull. The good news is that we’re here to clear things up and give you an in-depth look at the Merle pitbull breed.

Merle pitbulls are popular because the color variation is desirable to look at; if you’ve seen a Merle pitbull, you know they’re gorgeous dogs. Unfortunately, the merle gene that causes the color variation can also alter more than the appearance of the Merle pitbull. In fact, some of these changes can impact the dog’s health and lifestyle. Some common issues with the merle gene include eye discoloration, and hearing and eyesight problems. For these reasons, people are on the fence about making the Merle pitbulls a household breed.

Still, there is a lot of other considerations to focus on when it comes to the Merle pitbull because the merle gene doesn’t always cause these negative changes. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Merle pitbulls.

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Quick Look at the Merle Pitbull

Merle pitbulls are a diverse breed, but as they’re pitbulls with a genetic mutation, Merle pitbulls share similar characteristics to other pitbulls. Below is a chart that outlines some quick facts about the Merle pitbull breed.

Weight/Height 30 to 60 pounds, 17 to 20 inches tall
Coat Type Short, one layer
Grooming Needs two out of five bones
Shedding two out of five bones
Temperament Affectionate, alert, emotionally intelligent
Good With Kids four out of five bones
Good With Other Animals three out of five bones
Intelligence three out of five bones
Easy to Train four out of five bones
Energy Level four out of five bones
Barking Habits two out of five bones
Lifespan 11 to 13 years

What Is the History of the Merle Pitbull?

The history of the Merle pitbull is an interesting one. Since Merle pitbulls are a variation of the pitbull breed, they share the same history. That said, things began to change for this particular breed during the 1920s and 1930s. Historically, pitbulls were bred as practical dogs. The breed was used for hunting, sports, tracking, and even protection. For these reasons, most weaknesses were bred out from the pitbull breed.

When the Merle pitbull was first introduced, the color was appealing but the health risks were not. Therefore, many breeders simply bred out the merle gene. This occurred over many years, so the Merle pitbull is a rare breed. That said, Merle pitbulls exist today but the breed is more rare than other types of pitbulls. The rarity of the breed has boosted the Merle pitbull’s value and appeal in recent years.

Still, the Merle pitbull’s history contains a lot of controversies. In fact, the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) stated that the breed should not be bred because of the potential health benefits that the merle gene has. For this reason, the ADBA does not register Merle pitbulls and stopped doing so in 2005. This has increased the rarity of the breed, which is why they’re challenging to find today.

What Do Merle Pitbulls Look Like?

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As expected, Merle pitbulls look like pitbulls. The biggest variation is their color, which is commonly red, buckskin, and black. Many Merle pitbulls also have spots on their smooth and short coats. Some Merle pitbulls also have eye colors that are different or a variation from the normal pitbull color. Merle pitbulls also share their size and stature with other pitbulls, so they have a similar height and weight to standard male and female pitbulls.

What Size Is a Merle Pitbull?

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Merle pitbulls vary in size depending on the gender of the dog. A male Merle pitbull is about 35 to 65 pounds. On the other hand, female Merle pitbulls are between 30 and 50 pounds. In many cases, female Merle pitbulls can be significantly smaller. On average, Merle pitbulls are not the tallest dogs and have a height that’s between 17 and 20 inches at the shoulder.

What Is a Merle Pitbulls Coat Type?

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Merle pitbulls have a short coat with smooth hair, so their coat is soft to touch. These dogs also have coats that are spotted, which is a side effect of the merle gene. Some common colors include red, black, and buckskin. Merle pitbulls can also have a rugged coat, but all Merle pitbulls have a single layer of hair, which makes them less resistant to cold temperatures.

What Is a Merle Pitbulls Temperament?

Merle pitbulls share a temperament with other pitbulls; there is not much variation. These dogs are well-behaved and easy to train due to their intelligence. Merle pitbulls are also personable dogs, so they’re friendly and affectionate around people. Pitbulls are also known for loving children, and the breed is typically confident and not aggressive. If a Merle pitbull bites, it’s usually out of fear.

Are Merle Pitbulls Affectionate?

Merle pitbulls are affectionate dogs. It’s a common misconception that pitbulls are aggressive dogs, but they’re not aggressive unless provoked. Overall, Merle pitbulls are great family dogs and love to display affection around their owners. In fact, Merle pitbulls like to share beds with their owners, so be ready for another sleeping companion.

Are Merle Pitbulls Good With Kids?

Merle pitbulls are known for being good with kids. These dogs are good with kids because they’re confident and patient dogs. Plus, their large size makes them harder to injure if they’re playing with children. You should always watch your Merle pitbull around children because they can bite if they’re scared. That said, they’re typically calm and attentive around children.

Are Merle Pitbulls Good With Other Animals?

Merle pitbulls are confident dogs, so they’re good with other animals. This makes Merle pitbulls good with other dogs and cats. That said, Merle pitbulls can become aggressive if they’re frightened and provoked. For this reason, we recommend socializing Merle pitbulls at a young age and introducing them to other animals at a young age.

Are Merle Pitbulls Aggressive?

Merle pitbulls are not aggressive. These dogs are playful and confident and won’t bite unless provoked (in most cases). That said, Merle pitbulls can get aggressive if they get scared. Still, the breed is not aggressive on average. This makes Merle pitbulls great dogs to have around.

Do Merle Pitbulls Bark a Lot?

Merle pitbulls don’t bark that often; they’re considered moderate barkers. While they can bark when provoked, there’s typically a reason that they bark. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about them barking as much as some other breeds. They might bark when they see people and other animals, though, so that’s something to keep an eye on. With training, you can reduce their barking frequency.

Are Merle Pitbulls Intelligent?

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Merle pitbulls are not the most intelligent dogs but they are smart. Plus, they have a high level of emotional intelligence, and they like people. These traits make Merle pitbulls easier to train than other dogs because they listen to their owners. You can teach them a lot of commands, but it might take longer to learn some commands compared to a more intelligent breed like the German shepherd.

Are Merle Pitbulls Easy to Train?

Merle pitbulls are easy to train because of their emotional intelligence. You can teach them many commands, and they love to listen to their owners. That said, Merle pitbulls do have selective hearing when it comes to training. Selective hearing means that they might not want to listen to some commands at times. This takes more training to overcome but doesn’t pose a big risk to their progress.

Are Merle Pitbulls Energetic?

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Merle pitbulls have high energy as puppies and love to chew on things. You should always have toys or bones in your home that Merle pitbulls can chew on. If you don’t, these dogs live to chew on your clothing or hand (but gently!). That said, Merle pitbulls do calm down as they grow older. Still, they have high energy levels compared to other medium-sized dogs.

Are Merle Pitbulls Good Apartment Dogs?

Merle pitbulls need a lot of exercise because of their high energy and tendency to chew on things. While they don’t bark often and are not aggressive, they’re not the best apartment dogs based on their temperament and size. That said, Merle pitbulls can be good apartment dogs if the apartment is large enough to give them adequate space.

Are Merle Pitbulls Good Watchdogs?

Merle pitbulls make good watchdogs. These dogs are good watchdogs because they don’t bark unless they’re provoked. They’ll bark at other people, other animals, and people that enter your home. Therefore, Merle pitbulls can alert you to dangers and be a good watchdog when needed. That said, Merle pitbulls see most humans as friends, which is their one main flaw as a watchdog.

Are Merle Pitbulls Good Service Dogs?

Merle pitbulls are good service dogs. While there are many misconceptions about pitbulls and their aggressive nature, Merle pitbulls are not violent animals. These dogs make good service dogs because they can easily pull wheelchairs and provide guidance for people with disabilities. Merle pitbulls can also provide people with support and stability if they’re not well-balanced.

Merle pitbulls are also emotionally intelligent dogs. Because of their intelligence and people skills, they can also be used as emotional support animals (ESAs). The only drawback to using a Merle pitbull as an ESA is their size, which can limit their ability to enter some locations.

How to Care for a Merle Pitbull?

Merle pitbulls are affectionate dogs with high levels of energy. This breed also has a genetic mutation that might cause some health problems as they grow older. Therefore, caring for a Merle pitbull is not as simple as caring for other pitbull breeds. Still, they are smart and great around people so caring for them is not too challenging.

Do You Need to Groom a Merle Pitbull?

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Merle pitbulls have short coats, which means you don’t need to groom them as often as dogs with longer coats. You should still have them groomed once every few months to prevent skin conditions and knotting. Because they don’t need to be groomed often, you should bathe them often. This can prevent skin and other health issues. Plus, who doesn’t love a clean dog?

Do Merle Pitbulls Shed?

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Like most dogs, Merle pitbulls shed. That said, their short coat is only one layer thick, so they shed less than other dogs. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about too much shedding if you have a Merle pitbull around the house. Merle pitbulls may also shed more in some environments than others. This depends on the season.

What Should a Merle Pitbull Eat?

Merle pitbulls can become large dogs. Therefore, their calorie needs vary based on their size. The average Merle pitbull should consume between 900 and 1,800 calories per day. Merle pitbulls should eat diets that are high in protein and fiber, which supports their muscular body and digestive system. That said, you can include carbs in the form of treats after long sessions of playing. Merle pitbulls should also have a balanced diet of lean meats, fruits, and veggies. Make sure they eat their greens!

What Health Problems Do Merle Pitbulls Have?

Merle pitbulls have a genetic mutation, which is what makes them different from other pitbull breeds. For this reason, Merle pitbulls suffer from the same health problems as other pitbull breeds but with the addition of health problems that are caused by the merle genetic mutation.

Below are the common health problems that Merle pitbulls face.

  • Hearing impairment: moderate to deaf
  • Vision impairment: moderate to blindness
  • Microphthalmia: a condition that causes small eyeballs
  • Increased skin cancer risk: the lack of pigmentation in their skin increases the risk of damage from the sun
  • Hip problems in old age: from frequent running

These are some of the most common health issues associated with Merle pitbulls. Other health conditions depend on their diet, exercise, and exposure to the elements.

How Long Do Merle Pitbulls Live?

Merle pitbulls can live a long life that’s similar to that of other pitbull breeds. The average pitbull can live for between 11 and 13 years, and it’s not uncommon to see pitbulls make it to 14 or 15. That said, Merle pitbulls do have health concerns that can shorten their lifespan and quality of life.

Are Merle Pitbulls Expensive?

Pitbulls are not the most expensive dogs but because of the Merle pitbull’s rarity, they’re extremely expensive. In fact, some breeders have sold Merle pitbulls for over $30,000. With prices that can reach those heights, it’s important to make sure you find a Merle pitbull from a reputable breeder to ensure there are no health problems. On average, you can expect to pay between $15,000 and $30,000 for Merle pitbulls.

How Can I Find a Merle Pitbull Breeder?

Finding a Merle pitbull breeder is challenging because of how rare the breed is. These are dogs with a unique genetic mutation that’s hard to find, so only some breeders produce Merle pitbulls, and it’s often a game of luck. That said, you can find some Merle pitbulls that are not purebred dogs. These Merle pitbulls may have higher health risks but they’re more common to find and less expensive. When looking for a Merle pitbull breeder, we recommend looking online and reading reviews.

Can You Adopt a Merle Pitbull?

Yes, you can adopt a Merle pitbull. In fact, you can adopt any dog if they’re available at a shelter. If you want to adopt a Merle pitbull, we recommend reaching out to local shelters. That said, don’t get your hopes up because Merle pitbulls are rare dogs. You might have to make a long trip to find one, and Merle pitbulls that end up in shelters typically have hearing or vision problems associated with the Merle gene. You can also look online for Merle dog owners that want to part ways with their companion.

Are Merle Pitbulls Purebred?

Merle pitbulls can be purebred but it’s rare to find a Merle pitbull that’s purebred. Purebred Merle pitbulls are simply pitbulls that have the merle genetic variation. The variation provides them with their unique color and appearance. That said, there are mixed breeds that are more likely to carry the merle gene, which is what many breeders resort to for breeding Merle pitbulls. Therefore, a Merle pitbull being purebred depends on the breeder.

Are Merle Pitbulls Good for New Dog Owners?

Merle pitbulls and most pitbulls are great dogs for new owners. This is because pitbulls are not aggressive dogs and love to give and receive affection. That said, Merle pitbulls do pose some risks to new dog owners. The biggest risk is their health problems. Because the merle gene can cause blindness and deafness, this makes Merle pitbulls challenging to care for if they develop these conditions. Overall, they’re suitable for new dog owners if you’re prepared to care for them if things go wrong with their health.

Is a Merle Pitbull the Right Dog for Me?

Merle pitbulls are great dogs and can be right for many people. That said, there are some things to consider before adopting or purchasing a Merle pitbull. In fact, the biggest factor is typically the expensive price and potential health problems. Otherwise, they’re the right dog for many people looking for a furry companion. To help you make your decision, we’ll take you through the pros and cons of owning a Merle pitbull.

The pros:

  • Not aggressive
  • Confident
  • Social
  • Good with other animals
  • Good with children
  • Easy to train
  • Intelligent
  • Doesn’t shed a lot
  • Easy to groom
  • Affectionate

The cons:

  • Expensive
  • Very hard to find
  • Potential health risks associated with the merle gene
  • Not the best apartment dogs

If the good outweighs the bad for you, the Merle pitbull is the right dog for you!