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The Merle Poodle: Everything You Need To Know

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The Merle Poodle is a beautiful dog with a unique coat color. This coat type for Poodles has become increasingly popular in recent years, and there is a lot of interest in learning more about them. 

This post will cover the Merle Poodle’s physical appearance and size, colors, temperament, and other frequently asked questions about this breed. We hope that you find this information helpful and informative.

Let’s jump right in.

Merle Poodle

What Is A Merle Poodle?

A Merle Poodle is a type of Poodle that has mottled patches of color on its coat. The exact colors and patterns vary from dog to dog, but they all have one thing in common: they are absolutely stunning to look at! 

In addition to their beautiful coats, merle poodles are also known for being intelligent, playful, and affectionate.

However, there’s also some controversy around this coat type for Poodles. When improperly bred, merle Poodles can have more health issues than traditional Poodles. Which is why many people feel strongly against breeding them.

There are ethical ways to breed merle Poodles, but unfortunately, because they command a higher price, some breeds take shortcuts to make extra money.

What Are Merle Poodles Genetics?

In order to produce a merle Poodle, only one parent needs the merle gene. This is because the merle gene is what’s known as incompletely dominant. That means that even if only one parent has the gene, there’s a chance their offspring will inherit it.

This is why they are a more expensive coat type. It’s much rarer for them to be born (when done ethically), which means they’re in high demand.

If both parents have the merle gene, then there’s a 75% chance their offspring will also be merle. However, if both parents are merle, then there’s also a 25% chance their offspring will be double merle.

Double merle is a term used to describe a dog with two copies of the merle gene. Double merles usually have a lot of white markings on their coat and can also be deaf or blind. 

This is why it’s so important to only breed merle Poodles with non-merle Poodles.

Are Merle Poodles Purebred?

PC: @wolfpack_poodles

It’s difficult to say with 100% certainty whether merle Poodles are purebred or not. But, many people believe the merle gene is not native to Poodles, and the only way for it to exist in the breed was through crossbreeding.

Many think a Poodle was mixed with something like an Australian Shepherd at one point to get the merle coat in their gene pool. But, through many years of breeding merle Poodles with other standard Poodles, their appearance is virtually 100% Poodle, with a merle coat.

What’s The Difference Between a Merle Poodle & Brindle Poodle?

Poodles come in many colors, but two of the most striking are the merle and brindle patterns.

While they may look similar at first glance, several distinct differences exist between these two coat colors.

For one, merle Poodles have a mottled coat with patches of color against a darker background. On the other hand, Brindle Poodles have a striped coat with lighter and darker stripes running perpendicular to each other.

In addition, brindle Poodles typically have a solid-colored muzzle, while merle poodles often have a lighter-colored nose.

Finally, merle Poodles are typically born with blue or green eyes, while brindle Poodles usually have brown eyes.

What’s The Difference Between a Merle Poodle & Parti Poodle?

While they may look similar at first glance, there are actually a few key differences between these two coat types.

For starters, merle Poodles have a mottled coat that is made up of patches of two or more colors. This coat pattern is created by a genetic mutation and is relatively rare in the Poodle population.

In contrast, parti Poodles have a coat that is divided equally into two contrasting colors, such as black and white. This coloration is not caused by a genetic mutation and is actually quite common among Poodles.

Another subtle difference that helps tell the two apart is the distribution of color on the body. Merle Poodles typically have patches of color that are randomly distributed. In contrast, parti poodles usually have a more symmetrical coat with one large patch of color on the back and smaller patches of color on the face, chest, and legs.

Lastly, merle Poodles often have blue or green eyes, while parti Poodles typically have brown eyes.

The 7 Different Merle Poodle Coat Colors

1) Red Merle Poodle

red merle poodle
PC: @minibernedoodlesofgeorgia

The first coat color on our list is the red merle Poodle. This coat color is characterized by a rich, deep red hue with darker patches of color throughout. Also blended into the coat are patches of white.

They are a beautiful blend of different shades of red, from dark to light, with accents of white throughout their coat.

Red merle poodles are relatively rare and are often mistaken for brindle poodles at first glance.

2) Black Merle Poodle

Black merle Poodles are one of the more striking and unique coat colors. They have a black base color with patches of lighter colors throughout. These patches can be any color but are usually gray, silver, or white.

They are a beautiful blend of different shades of black, from dark to light, with accents of gray, silver, or white throughout their coat.

Black merle poodles are relatively rare but one of the most beautiful coat patterns.

3) Blue Merle Poodle

blue merle poodle
PC: @bluetheminipoo

Blue merle Poodles are another unique and beautiful coat color. They have a blue base color with patches of lighter colors throughout. These patches can be any color but are usually gray, silver, or white.

Their blue coloration comes from a dilution of black pigment and is often mistaken for a black coat at first glance.

4) Chocolate Merle Poodle

chocolate merle poodle
PC: @puddlestheminipoodle

Chocolate merle Poodles have a chocolate brown base color with patches of lighter colors throughout. These patches are usually gray, silver, or white.

They are a beautiful blend of different shades of chocolate brown, from dark to light, with accents of gray, silver, or white throughout their coat.

5) Silver Merle Poodle

Silver merle Poodles have a silver-grayish base color with patches of lighter colors throughout. These patches are white more often than not.

6) Sable Merle Poodle

sable merle poodle
PC: @copperheadpuppies

Sable merle Poodles look similar to chocolate merle Poodles but have a lighter base for their coat. Their light brown base is filled with patches of varying shades of brown with some white mixed in as well.

7) Phantom Merle Poodle

phantom merle
PC: @sterling_doodles

Phantom Merle Poodles are one of the rarer coat colors. They have a base color of black, blue, silver, or brown with patches of lighter colors throughout. These patches are more commonly gray, silver, or white.

Phantom merle poodles are often mistaken for parti poodles at first glance but can be distinguished by their merle coat pattern.

What Is a Cryptic Merle Poodle?

A Cryptic Merle Poodle has the merle gene, but it’s not present in their coat. Or, if it does present itself, it is so subtle that it is barely noticeable.

This is due to the fact that the merle gene is incompletely dominant, meaning that it’s not always expressed in the coat, even when present.

So, a Cryptic Merle Poodle is one that carries the merle gene but doesn’t show it outwardly. However, they can still produce merle offspring if bred with another dog.

This is why it’s important to test for the merle gene before breeding two Poodles, even if they don’t appear to be merle.

Does a Merle Poodle Change Color As They Age?

No, a merle Poodle’s coat color does not change as they age. The coat color is determined by the genes and will remain the same throughout their lifetime.

However, the coat may get lighter as they age, and some hairs turn gray, but this is due to changes in pigment and is not indicative of a change in coat color.

Merle Poodle Appearance & Traits

Size (Weight & Height)

Weight and height will depend on the size of the Poodle, with Teacup Poodles being the smallest and Standard Poodles being the largest.

Teacup Poodles typically weigh under 6 pounds and are less than 10 inches tall at the shoulder.

Toy Poodles typically weigh between 6 and 9 pounds and are roughly 10 inches at the shoulder.

Miniature Poodles usually weigh between 12 and 17 pounds and stand no taller than 15 inches at the shoulder.

Standard Poodles, on the other hand, can weigh anywhere from 40 to 70 pounds and stand as tall as 27 inches at the shoulder.

Coat Texture & Length

The coat of a merle Poodle can be either curly or straight, though it is most commonly curly.

The coat length will depend on the size of the Poodle, with Standard Poodles having the longest coats and Teacup Poodles having the shortest.

Teacup and Toy Poodles usually have a coat that is between 2 and 4 inches long.

Miniature and standard Poodles typically have slightly longer coats, but it ultimately depends on how often their owner has them groomed.

Shedding & Grooming

All Poodles, regardless of coat color or type, are considered to be non-shedding dogs.

However, this is a little misleading. All animals with hair or fur will shed. The degree to how much they shed will vary, but they all will shed some of their coat.

Poodles don’t shed nearly as often as other breeds, but they do shed a little.

Because they shed very little, it is important to brush them regularly to prevent mats and tangles from forming.

They are considered a relatively high-maintenance breed when it comes to brushing. This is because their long hair can become a tangled mess pretty quickly if not brushed regularly.

Ideally, they should be brushed every day.

Another aspect of their grooming that needs a little more attention than other breeds is ear cleaning.

Poodles have long, floppy ears that can trap dirt, debris, and moisture. This can lead to ear infections if not cleaned regularly.

Which is why it is recommended to clean their ears at least once a week.

When it comes to the other areas of grooming, they require a similar amount of care.

They should have a bath every 2-3 months on average,

Their nails should be trimmed every few weeks, and their teeth should be brushed at least once a week.

Are Merle Poodles Hypoallergenic?

All Poodles are considered to be hypoallergenic dogs.

This is because they don’t shed very much, if at all.

The dander, which is what people are actually allergic to, is trapped in the coat and not released into the air like it is with other breeds that shed more frequently.

So, if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic breed, a merle Poodle is a good choice.

Ears & Tail

Merle Poodles have long, floppy ears that hang down close to their head.

They also have a long, curly tail that is sometimes docked.

Docking is the process of removing a portion of the tail. It is typically done for cosmetic reasons but can also be done for safety reasons in certain professions.

Nowadays, docking is not as common as it once was and is actually illegal in some countries.

Eye Color

Merle Poodles can have a variety of different eye colors.

The most common are brown and black, but they can also be blue, green, or even heterochromatic (two different colors).


smiling dog
PC: @juniperridgewv

The average lifespan of a merle Poodle is 12-15 years.

This is about the same as the average lifespan of other Poodle coat colors. The only time a merle Poodle would have a shorter lifespan on average is when they are unethically bred and are “double merles.”

Common Health Issues

All Poodles are prone to certain health issues, and merle Poodles are no different. Some of their more common health conditions are Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism, eye problems, patellar luxation, epilepsy, and hip dysplasia.

As mentioned earlier, Merle Poodles can also be at risk for deafness and blindness when improperly bred.

This is why it is important to only purchase a merle Poodle from a reputable breeder.

If you are considering adding a merle Poodle to your family, be sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder. This way, you can be sure that your pup is healthy and will have a long, happy life.

Trainability & Intelligence

Poodles are considered to be one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs.

They can be very easy to train and are often used in circus acts, and other entertainment shows because of their high intelligence and trainability.

Merle Poodles inherit these same traits and are just as easy to train as any other color of Poodle.

Whether you’re looking for a family pet or a working dog, a merle Poodle would make an excellent choice.

Activity Level & Exercise Needs

Merle Poodles are a relatively active breed. They need daily exercise in the form of walks, runs, or playtime.

Also, because they are a very intelligent breed, they need plenty of mental stimulation to keep their minds occupied. This can be done through toys, puzzles, or additional training.

Without enough mental & physical stimulation, merle Poodles can become bored, leading to destructive behaviors.

So, if you’re looking for a dog that will stay active with you, a merle Poodle is a good choice.

Temperament & Behavior

Do Merle Poodles Bark A Lot?

Merle Poodles are not known for being yappy or barky dogs.

They are actually quite calm and quiet, especially for a breed of their size.

Of course, every dog is different; some may bark more than others, but on average, merle Poodles are relatively quiet.

Do Merle Poodles Like To Cuddle?

Yes! Merle Poodles love to cuddle and be close to their owners.

They are very affectionate dogs that love nothing more than spending time close with their favorite people.

Are Merle Poodles Good With Kids?

Yes, merle Poodles are generally good with kids. They can be a little energetic at times, but, for the most part, they learn quickly to be careful around little ones.

Of course, as with any dog, it is important to supervise young children around merle Poodles and teach them how to properly interact with dogs.

Are Merle Poodles Good With Other Dogs?

Yes, merle Poodles are good with other dogs. They are not known for being aggressive or territorial and usually get along well with other canine companions.

Again, as with any dog, it is important to properly introduce your merle Poodle to other dogs and supervise them when they are together, especially at first.

In general, the more positive experiences they have with other dogs when young, the better they’ll be with dogs.

Are Merle Poodles Good With Strangers?

Merle Poodles are not known for being particularly suspicious or aggressive around strangers.

They are usually friendly and curious when meeting new people.

Socialization is also important when it comes to helping them be good with unfamiliar people as well. For example, if they only interact with you and your family their whole life, they’re more likely to be wary of strangers.

Are Merle Poodles Good Apartment Dogs?

Yes, merle Poodles can make good apartment dogs. They are not known for being particularly destructive or noisy and usually do well in smaller living spaces.

The smaller variations of merle Poodles do best in apartments (teacup, toy, and miniature), but standard merle Poodles can also do well as long as they get exercise.

What Is The Price Of A Merle Poodle Puppy?

PC: @bravo_the_poodle

Merle Poodle puppies can range in price from $1500 to over $4000.

The price will depend on the breeder, the parents’ pedigree, coat color, and other factors.

If you are looking for a merle Poodle puppy, be prepared to pay a higher price than you would for a non-merle Poodle.

It’s especially important to be careful when dealing with a breeder that sells merle puppies. You have to do your due diligence and ensure they’re reputable and breeding their puppies ethically.

As mentioned earlier, unfortunately, there are many unethical breeders out there who are looking to make a quick buck by selling sick or unhealthy merle Poodles.

Always make sure you are getting your puppy from a reputable breeder.

Merle Poodle Breeders

It’s important to remember that when merle Poodles are born, it’s quite rare when it’s done correctly. This means finding the merle color you’re looking for at any time might be challenging.

However, there are a couple well-known breeder directories that you can look at to see if any merle Poodle puppies are available.

One is Greenfield Puppies, and the other is Lancaster Puppies.

Both websites allow many breeders to list their new liters and enable you to contact them.

Remember to always do additional research and to make sure they have the necessary requirements to be a reputable breeder. Just because they’re listed on the website doesn’t mean they should automatically be accepted as reputable.

This isn’t to say that people have had poor experiences with puppies from those sites, just to highlight the importance of doing your own due diligence.

Other Merle Breeds

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Is merle a natural color in poodles?

No, merle is not a natural color for poodles. The colors that are considered natural for poodles are black, white, brown, cream, apricot, red, silver, gray, or café-au-lait.

It’s widely believed that at one point, a Poodle was mixed with another dog with a merle gene to enable Poodles to have merle coats.

How much is a Blue Merle poodle?

A Blue Merle poodle can range in price from $1500 to over $10000. The price will ultimately depend on the breeder, the parents’ pedigree, the uniqueness of the coat, and other factors.

If you are looking for a Blue Merle poodle, be prepared to pay a higher price than you would for other coat types.

Final Thoughts

The Merle Poodle is a beautiful coat type that is unique and often sought after.

Merle Poodles can come in many different colors, sizes, and shapes. They are loving and intelligent dogs that make great companions.

If you are thinking about getting a merle Poodle, be sure to do your research and purchase from a reputable breeder.

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