Skip to Content

Merle French Bulldog: The unusual Frenchie (With Pictures)

Merle French Bulldog: The unusual Frenchie (With Pictures)

I love French Bulldogs. They are my favorite breed. After Golden retrievers of course! But have you heard of the Merle French Bulldog color? Probably not. I know I haven’t until recently!

French Bulldogs are kind and fun dogs. They are easygoing and playful. Which is why they are so popular.

Merle Frenchies have the same traits. But they also have the merle gene. This gene is what sets them apart from other Frenchies. Because of this gene, they have a unique coat coloration and irresistible blue eyes. This gene is what gives them the merle coat, or merle pattern.

The Merle French Bulldog or also known as the Blue Merle French Bulldogs is a stunning dog. But, we can’t only focus on that. The truth is, there is so much wrong with this mix.

In this article you will why you shouldn’t buy one. I will also explain where the merle gene comes from. And lastly, you will learn more about their health issues. And there are many!

merle french bulldog photogenic and cute

Instagram: @merlefrenchbulldog

Merle French Bulldog Characteristics

We’ve mentioned the blue Merle French Bulldog, but that blue color isn’t a sky-blue shade. It’s actually a grey color with a blue hue to it. This means that blue Frenchies are actually grayish Frenchies.

But, besides blue, the merle coat comes in other shades too, for example, black merle.

Merle is a French Bulldog coat hereditary pattern that dilutes random areas of the coat to a lighter color while leaving patches of the original color. When a French Bulldog has the “M” Merle allele and a negative “m” copy of the Merle allele, it gets this condition. (M/m) is a Merle French Bulldog.

When two French Bulldogs who are both carriers of (M/m) are bred together, there is a 25% chance that each youngster will be homozygous (M/M) for the merle trait. (M/M) carriers, commonly known as double merle, have a high rate of vision and hearing issues.

All merle French Bulldog colors

The Merle is sadly not purebred, and they are also not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Besides this, there is a lot of debate around them. But, that doesn’t take away from their beauty.

What does a Merle Frenchie look like?

Merles have a speckled pattern on their coat, uneven skin pigmentation on their nose and paws, and blue or odd-colored eyes. Blue merle and red merle are the two most common merle coat colors.

The merle gene not only affects the coat color, but it also changes the dark pigment in the eyes of French Bulldogs, turning them partially or completely blue or odd-colored. When it comes to skin color, the merle gene can turn the paws and noses of French Bulldogs pale pink.

Despite their alluring appearance, potential Merle French Bulldog owners should be warned that they are the consequence of improper breeding techniques and are prone to hearing problems and blindness.

What is a double Merle French Bulldog?

A French Bulldog with two copies of the dominant “M” allele is known as a Double Merle (M/M). They are affected by ocular defeats and deafness, and are a result of poor breeding techniques. These dogs are also known as ‘fatal whites,’ because to their lack of color in their coat.

Double merle dogs are a problem topic for many breeders worldwide. French Bulldogs have sparked a lot of debate, with many official organisations refusing to register pups that are the result of merle-to-merle breeding.

Is the Merle French Bulldog purebred?

Because the merle gene does not naturally appear in this breed, Merle French Bulldogs are not purebred. Merle French Bulldogs are the consequence of selective breeding, and are produced by mating a French Bulldog with a merle-carrying dog, such as a Chihuahua. The American Kennel Club does not recognize the merle French Bulldog as a pure breed.

Merle double (M/M) Merle will always be passed down to the puppies of French Bulldogs, hence they should not be bred together. Responsible breeders should match a Merle (M/m) French Bulldog with a non-Merle (m/m) French Bulldog to generate merle offspring. Merles will make up roughly half of the litter, and there will be no Double Merles.

merle french bulldog on grass

Merle gene

Everyone agrees that Merle Frenchies are beautiful. Their merle pattern is unique and will make everyone stop and stare. But do you know where the merle gene comes from?

This gene is not usual in Frenchies. To get the merle gene Frenchies to have to be bred with dogs that have the gene. For example, a Chihuahua. The point is to breed regular Frenchies with merle Chihuahuas.

Even if you breed a Merle Frenchie and a normal Frenchie, the puppies can’t be considered purebreds because the parents aren’t purebreds. I know this is a bit confusing. But that is the reason why the AKC doesn’t accept them.

So, if you want a purebred Frenchie, then the Merle dog is not for you.

We also have to mention double-merles or double-merle French Bulldogs. There are many irresponsible French Bulldog breeders who only go for the money. Now, the merle coat is becoming more and more popular. And breeders know that.

So, they will do anything to get as many merle Frenchies. Some breeders might even try to pair two Merle French Bulldogs, which comes with a serious risk. With double merles, 25% of the puppies have a serious chance of being double merles.

Sadly, this can result in substantial removal of pigment, which can negatively affect sight and hearing. Double merles are almost white, they have blue eyes and very often are born with eye deformities and other serious health problems.

Color variations of the Merle French Bulldog

Did you know that there are three color versions of merles? Other hues of merles exist depending on the dominant gene that is diluted. Because they are rare French Bulldogs, the colors Black, Blue, and Lilac are three of the most sought-after.

Merle Black

When the dominant gene in a French Bulldog is black, the dog is known as a Black Merle French Bulldog. The other coat colors are pushed out as a result of this. The dominant gene comes through in the three Frenchie hues black, tan, and fawn, giving the Black Merle its color and moniker.

Merle Lilac

The Lilac Merle French Bulldog is the rarest of the French Bulldogs, making them the most difficult to find. The Lilac hue is essentially a mix of chocolate and blue base coat colors. The blue tint is diluted once more, allowing the lilac color to shine through. The Lilac Merle also has light-colored eyes that last throughout their lives and are the color that is most likely to cause health problems.

Merle Blue

The Blue Merle French Bulldog is commonly referred to as a blue-gene dog breed, however, they are actually black Frenchies with a little diluted base color, giving their hair a blue tinge. Blue Merle French Bulldogs have a unique look to their eyes. They can keep their vivid blue eyes from puppyhood through adulthood and then have lighter eye colors than regular French Bulldogs.

two merle french bulldogs

Instagram: @merlefrenchbulldog

What makes a Merle French Bulldog special?

With its typical small size and bat ears, the Merle French Bulldog resembles a regular pure breed French Bulldog. They have a huge square head with a short snout and highly wrinkled skin above the nose. They have muscular and compact bodies.

The coat of the Merle French Bulldog distinguishes them from other breeds. Their coat has a base color with irregular or regular striped patches and dots of various colors. They are the most sought-after breed due to the presence of these unusual markings.

Another distinguishing trait is the bright blue eyes, which are induced by the ALX4 or merle gene. A French bulldog without the ALX4 gene, on the other hand, will most likely have brown eyes. The blue tint of the eyes can also be caused by low melanin levels or a lack of amino acids in these dogs.

They are versatile dogs who don’t require a lot of activity, making them ideal for apartment living. They get along well with other animals, children, and humans, making them companionable.

Living with a Merle French Bulldog

The Merle French Bulldog is a loving, playful, charming, and alert breed. These canines are outstanding watchdogs due to their intelligence.

Furthermore, these dogs are devoted to their owners and expect their attention and affection. They are easily trainable due to their appealing character. They don’t bark as much and are more entertaining to be around, which makes them adorable. However, if they aren’t properly trained, they may become obnoxious, aggressive, and bark frequently.


If you take advantage of their docile, amusing, and clever disposition, the Merle French Bulldog is easy to train. They have a limited attention span but are quick learners. Positive reinforcement and treats work effectively with them. They must find a good balance between their everyday food and rewards because they are prone to obesity. Because they are not aggressive dogs, obedience and agility training are not appropriate for them. They are also noted for their obstinacy, which necessitates a tough and constant approach.


Merle Because French Bulldogs are not high-energy dogs, they do not require a lot of exercises. However, they must engage in at least 30 minutes to 1 hour of physical activity each day to avoid becoming obese. Exercise also helps children maintain their stamina and improves their coordination. For them, simple workouts such as walking once or twice a day are sufficient. However, you should avoid putting them through intense exercises because their short snouts might cause them to become breathless rapidly. Furthermore, these dogs must be supervised when near water because their tiny legs make them prone to drowning.


Merle French Bulldogs have a low shedding rate. As a result, they require less upkeep. Brushing their hair once or twice a week helps to maintain them clean and reduces shedding. Bathing them every two to four weeks is also sufficient. To avoid skin infections, it is critical to wipe the wrinkles above their nose. Peroxide and moisturizers are both excellent options. Furthermore, because they are prone to dental ailments such as irritated gums, tartar accumulation, and foul breath, you must wash their teeth every day or two. Apart from that, their ears must be cleansed and their nails must be filed.

Are Merle French Bulldogs Healthy?

Sadly, the merle gene doesn’t only make the dogs look different. There are a lot of health issues that come with this gene. This gene can cause hearing, sight, and blue eye defects.

To add to that, if you mix two Merle Frenchies it will even be worse. There is actually a 86% chance of those dogs being deformed, deaf or blind!

They can even have neurological defects, immune disorders, and extensive allergies. In the worst case, those poor puppies die!

Do you think this is worth it? I think not. No matter how pretty they are, it’s not worth it. I am sure you would rather have a healthy dog.

I don’t think you’re a bad person if you have one of these dogs. But, the fact is it’s not really okay.

Lastly, I want to add that the Merle French Bulldog has the shortest lifespan.

If there are no health difficulties or other complications, a Merle French Bulldog can expect to live for about ten years. Nonetheless, merle French Bulldogs are predisposed to visual and hearing problems, especially in double merles, due to their hereditary propensity.

A Merle French Bulldog’s lifespan is influenced by factors such as exercise and food.

Eye defects

I mentioned above that Merle Frenchie has a lot of eye issues. I want to go into more depth on that.

Merles have blue eyes. That is if they are even born with eyes. I know this sounds scary, but it’s the truth. Now, this isn’t only a problem in these dogs. Generally speaking, dogs with light-colored eyes are more prone to having severe eye problems. Dogs that have light eye colors, like blue, tend to lose their sight very early in their life, compared to dogs with darker eye colors.

Missing an eye

French Bulldog breeders can’t promise you a healthy dog. They have no idea how the litter will be. There is a big chance some of the puppies are born without an eye. Or even without both eyes!

Sometimes the puppies will even have eyes. But they will be so deep in the socket that you can’t even see them!

Wandering eye

The wandering eye is an eye misalignment in which the eyes drift out.

merle french bulldog wandering eye illustration
Exe issues your Merle French Bulldog can experience

Starburst Pupil

This is something like an eye cleft. Cataracts can also happen. This condition is the most dangerous, It’s also deadly.

Where can I buy a Merle French Bulldog?

It’s no surprise that people desire to have French Bulldogs as pets. The Merle French Bulldog is a sought-after pet that is not only unique in terms of looks, but also very rare. That’s why it’s so hard to find a reputable breeder. So before making a final decision, make sure you’ve done your research on this breed variety.

The breeding of a merle French Bulldog isn’t easy or cheap. That’s why there aren’t many Merle French Bulldog breeders, owing to the numerous complexities that come with breeding. Another problem is the fact that most states now have specific criteria that must be followed in order to breed and sell these adorable Frenchies.

Make sure that the breeder fits all of the following criteria.

  1. You’ll want to make sure that a DNA test and DNA profiling are both available from a canine department. This ensures that you are purchasing a genuine Merle French Bulldog.
  2. Ascertain that all necessary precautions and vaccines have been taken. Tick, worm, and flea treatments are included. You’ll also want to write this down, along with your puppy’s vaccination history.
  3. Obtain a complete veterinarian examination and a health guarantee. A year is the optimal time frame.

I would advise you to check with the AKC to see whether your breeder has filed paperwork, however the Merle color is not recognized by the AKC. The AKC has blacklisted a number of colors of French Bulldogs, so you should do some more research before purchasing any type of French Bulldog.

How much is a Merle French Bulldog puppy?

The Merle French Bulldog isn’t only rare. They are super expensive too! Your normal Frenchie costs between $1,500 and $3,000. But the Merle costs between $6,000 and $8,000 dollars! That is a big difference.

Of course, this is only their price. But, they have many health issues too. So you can’t forget the vet bills either. The price could also vary for different colors of merle. Some could be more expensive than others.

That is if you manage to buy one! They are very rare to find.

Interesting facts about the Merle French Bulldog

Merle French Bulldogs are a stunning sight to behold, and they’re becoming increasingly popular due to their unique color and looks. Here are some interesting facts about this rare color variation.

Merles Have Unique Coats and Eyes. Merles are recognized for their exotic coats, which are available in a variety of colors and shades. From blue merle to black merle and even fawn merle, there’s a merle for everyone. Everything is both lovely and wild. Depending on the hue merle they are, they may have blue eyes.

The Merle Shade is a Type of Genetic Condition. Merles can have a genetic condition that causes their eyes to be different colors, resulting in unusual colored eyes.

Do Not Breed Two Merle Dogs. A reputable breeder will understand that two merles should not be bred. Many health problems can be caused by two merles. Blindness, deafness, or both are common in double merles.

How is the Merle Coat Made? Merles have a genotype of Mm, which implies they have one allele of M for merle and one allele of m for non-merle. When a solid color is bred to a merle, half of the litter will be merle. A double Merle Frenchie could end up seriously ill.

Merles are extremely hard to find. Many breeders do not produce Merles, and finding one can be difficult. It’s critical to find a respected, capable breeder.

Merle French Bulldogs are sweet and affectionate. French Bulldogs are known for their loving, outgoing personalities, and merle French Bulldogs are no exception. They are terrific companion dogs and have a gentle attitude.

The AKC only accepts classic French Bulldog colors. You won’t be able to compete in AKC events. Merles aren’t an AKC-approved color. If you want to show your French Bulldog, this is merely an issue.

Unusual variations of the “Merle gene”

While you probably learned by now that the Merle Frenchie is incredibly rare, there are some other merle color pattern variations that are even harder to find. They all fall under the merle category, but are a bit different from the standard one. Those are the Harlequin, Tweed and Cryptic Merle Frenchie.

What Is A Harlequin Merle French Bulldog?

What Is A Harlequin Merle French Bulldog?A Harlequin Merle French Bulldog has the merle gene as well as the harlequin co-dominant modifying gene. The coat of a harlequin merle is mostly white with big black spots that are fully pigmented. Almost all of the grey or marbled spots of a conventional merle coat are replaced with white due to the genetic sequence.

What Is A Tweed Merle French Bulldog?

A Merle Tweed The Tweed merle modifier is present in the French Bulldog, which transforms the grey of a blue merle or the light brown of a red merle into a variety of grey, brown, and tan hues. Some breeders think that tweed and harlequin merle are the same pattern, while others maintain that there is a “genuine tweed” gene with no white patches in the coat. Nonetheless, this is a very unique coloration in a French Bulldog.

What Is A Cryptic Merle French Bulldog?

A cryptic merle French Bulldog is a Frenchie with only a few little patches of merle or none at all. Despite the fact that these French Bulldogs appear to be non-merle, they may have the merle gene and produce merle pups.

This French Bulldog can be a Single Cryptic (m/CR) with one copy of the Cryptic allele and one negative copy of the merle allele, or a Double Cryptic (CR/CR) with two copies of the Cryptic allele.

Merle French Bulldog breeders

When looking for a Merle French Bulldog breeder, it is important to do your research and make sure that the breeder is reputable and responsible. A good breeder will have a deep understanding of the breed, and will be able to provide information on the health and temperament of the puppies. They will also be able to provide information on the health of the parents, and will be willing to answer any questions you may have.

In addition to asking questions and doing research, it is also a good idea to visit the breeder in person. This will give you the opportunity to see the puppies and their parents, and to get a feel for the breeder’s facilities and the overall health and well-being of the dogs.

When purchasing a Merle French Bulldog, it is also important to be prepared for the potential health issues that can be associated with the merle gene. These can include hearing and vision problems, as well as skin and coat issues. A reputable breeder will be able to provide information on these potential issues, and will be able to help you make an informed decision about whether a Merle French Bulldog is the right breed for you.


The Merle French Bulldog is a stunning dog. You can’t deny that. But we can’t only focus on their looks. There are so many health issues these dogs face. It’s not fair to let them suffer only because we want a unique dog.

But there are many downsides of Merle Frenchies. They are very hard to find, incredibly expensive, and if you’re wondering can merle Frenchies be AKC registred — no, they can’t.

Of course, if you want one, then go ahead. But do more research. learn more about this dog. You might change your mind. Just rethink it. If you have one, I hope your dog is healthy and well. I really hope they have no health issues.

My name is Jackie and I am a veterinarian with a degree in veterinary medicine. With extensive experience in treating various animals, I am known for my compassionate and personalized approach to animal care.