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Merle Boston Terriers: Understanding the Non-Standard Merle Gene

on April 15, 2023

If you're a fan of the Boston Terrier breed, you may have come across the term "Merle Boston Terrier." However, you may have also heard that this color pattern is not recognized as standard by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and other major kennel clubs. So, what exactly is a Merle Boston Terrier, and why is it considered non-standard? In this article, we'll take a closer look at the Merle gene and its effects on the Boston Terrier breed.

Merle Boston Terriers : Understanding the Non-Standard Merle Gene

What is the Merle gene?

The Merle gene is a genetic mutation that affects the coat color and pattern of dogs. It creates a marbled or speckled effect that can appear in different shades of gray, brown, and blue. While this gene is common in several breeds, such as the Australian Shepherd and the Border Collie, it is not a recognized color in Boston Terriers.

Why is the Merle gene non-standard in Boston Terriers?

The AKC and other kennel clubs have established strict breed standards for each recognized breed, including the Boston Terrier. These standards include guidelines for the dog's physical characteristics, temperament, and coat color. According to the AKC breed standard for Boston Terriers, the acceptable coat colors are black, seal, or brindle with white markings.

The Merle gene, while it can produce beautiful and unique coat patterns, can also cause health problems in some dogs. This gene can increase the risk of deafness, blindness, and other eye and ear problems. Because of these health concerns, the AKC and other kennel clubs do not recognize Merle Boston Terriers as standard and discourage breeders from intentionally breeding for this color pattern.

Understanding the risks of the Merle gene

If you're considering getting a Boston Terrier with a Merle coat pattern, it's essential to be aware of the potential health risks. Dogs with the Merle gene can be more susceptible to several health issues, including deafness, blindness, and eye abnormalities. It's also essential to note that the Merle gene can be unpredictable in its expression, and two Merle dogs should not be bred together, as this can increase the risk of health problems in their offspring.

The Importance of Choosing a Reputable Boston Terrier Breeder

While the Merle gene may create a striking and unique coat pattern in some breeds, it is not recognized as standard in Boston Terriers. This is due to the potential health risks associated with this gene, including deafness, blindness, and eye abnormalities. If you're interested in getting a Boston Terrier, it's important to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs.

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3 comments
by Dale on August 26, 2023

As noted by April, below, this was a gene that was bred into the boston terriers. You probably do not have to go far back in the lineage to see where it came to be inbred.

by Sandi Weightman on June 14, 2023

It’s a mutation and still a purebred. There are all kinds of mutations and it depends on whether that mutation is carried on through off springs.

by April on April 16, 2023

It is non-standard in Boston terriers because it had to be bred into this breed through another breed or breed cross that carries the merle gene, and therefor is not even a purebred Boston terrier.

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