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Blue Merle x Blue Merle

Discussion in 'Sheltie Colors' started by Matsuki, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. Matsuki

    Matsuki Forums Enthusiast

    Aug 2, 2015
    Tokyo, Japan
    So after visiting the vet (good friend's family so love that I can trust them) the whole family was loving Sansa and saying considering everything about her, it would be a shame if I chose not to breed her. Obviously at 3months old, I have plenty of time to decide but I was browsing the forums and reading about the deafness common in double merles when I remembered both Sansa's parents are both blue merles...


    Her litter consisted of another female blue merle (with one blue eye) and a female tri...no double merles


    Sansa is definitely not blind, nor does she seem to have any hearing difficulty so I'm not too worried about her but just messing with the color calculators and such, the likelihood of double merles seems so high that wouldn't many consider breeding two blue merles together like this quite reckless? (especially when one can breed to a tri and get virtually the same offspring without the risk of a double merle?)
  2. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Honestly the number of times I've heard this about Tully, and had people wanting to have puppies to my Tully (as if I'd breed her to their mutts). People always think pretty dogs should be bred, but it's important to consider so many other factors - and that's why I tell people to go to a breeder who knows what they are doing.

    In today's age yes I'd say it is reckless. Deska has double merle matings in his pedigree several generations ago, and I do think that was a irresponsible from someone who has been breeding for 50+yrs, even if it was before they banned merle breedings. I don't understand either why breeders would keep doing this, it's a bit of a cruel way to guarantee yourself a merle.
  3. Matsuki

    Matsuki Forums Enthusiast

    Aug 2, 2015
    Tokyo, Japan
    I think it also had a lot to do with her father being the breeder's pride and joy Japan Kennel Club champion but as you say, it wouldn't be to just any other dog.

    OK, so I'm not crazy...it's weird cause in every other aspect they've come across as a really knowledgeable breeder that genuinely cared about each animal. Maybe the image I have is of another adult offspring of their champion....some of their older blue merle listings seem to have pics like that with an explanation. Sansa's listing only talked about how the mother was on the small side...but I never asked directly so there's the possibility that the image isn't of the mother like it seems to indicate. I'll have to ask when I speak to them next.
  4. tofu pup

    tofu pup Moderator

    Aug 28, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yes, merle-merle breeding is frowned upon (even illegal in some places). It's possible that the breeder lucked out by not having any double merles in the litter.

    It's also possible that the breeder "took care of" any double merle puppies at birth. No need to tell the puppy buyers about that...

    As to breeding your bitch... it's lovely of your friends to pay you the compliment, but unless you are willing to show her, do her health testing, educate yourself about the breed, join a club, find a mentor, risk losing the puppies, risk losing their mother, take time off from work to care for newborns, and turn your house over to screaming, pooping ambulatory puppies for four to six weeks post weaning, please don't.

    I am sure that Sansa is a wonderful companion. But unless a breeder/judge/someone who knows the standard well determines that she has outstanding qualities as a Sheltie, she doesn't need to be bred.
  5. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Sage

    Nov 13, 2014
    I certainly have no sense of breeding, but there must be a reason that this is forbidden here in Denmark.

    From Breeding Restrictions:
    Two Shetland Sheepdogs with the color blue merle may not be mated together.
    A Shetland sheepdog with the color blue merle may not be mated with a sable.
  6. labgirl

    labgirl Forums Sage

    Feb 22, 2009
    Suffolk, UK
    Blues merles carry a merle and non-merle gene (Mm), compared to the non-merle dog (mm). Merle colouration is believed to be caused by the Silv gene, which is linked to pigmentation.

    Merle dogs in any breed can suffer from slightly raised levels of deafness, compared to normal coloured breeds. A study on blue merle dachshunds, comparing them to non-merle dachshunds, found they had a nearly 9% increased risk of deafness. There is less clear evidence for the increased risk of blindness.

    The thing is, no one is quite sure why the Silv gene causes this, though it seems linked with pale pigmentation around the ears and eyes.

    Anyway, when you breed merle to merle (Mm) x (Mm), the mating has a 1 in 4, or 25% chance of a pup being a double merle. The litter will produce DMs (MM) along with normal merles and ordinary coloured dogs. (Mm, mm, MM, Mm).

    While a double merle can have normal hearing and vision, many will have ear or eye deformities, to the point some have no eyes at all. These pups are often disposed of by the breeders as a consequence of the mating, unless they have really good merle markings, in which case they will be kept for breeding.

    Now, as you say, why breed merle to merle, when the risks of a DM are so high? Well, when you have a DM (MM) you can breed them to a non-merle (mm) and guarantee a litter of all merles (Mm).

    Does that make it ethical? Absolutely not, but some people want colour over health. Merle to merle breedings cannot be registered with the Kennel Club in the UK, which has largely stopped them occurring (I have yet to come across a UK double merle), though it would not prevent the breeding of merle to merle and a false registration (with a tri or sable parent replacing one merle) being submitted.

    In short, it is not the sort of thing I would expect from a breeder who cared deeply about their dogs' health.
  7. labgirl

    labgirl Forums Sage

    Feb 22, 2009
    Suffolk, UK
    That is very interesting. I suppose it is because there is a risk of a sable being a cryptic merle, thus accidentally creating a merle to merle breeding. Though I would have thought it quite rare.
  8. Cara Sandler

    Cara Sandler Forums Enthusiast

    Jul 11, 2015
    Absolutely, breeding two merles is beyond reckless. It is irresponsible and shouldn't ever be done.
  9. tesslynn

    tesslynn Forums Enthusiast

    Mar 3, 2014
    I am of the opinion that there are probably enough breeders, and breeding is serious business, not a pastime and should be left to those really in the know. Too many dogs for the amount of good homes available, so why add to the overpopulation issue? A dog's coat doesn't make the dog any better, it is their personality, their health, their soul & spirit, etc. not the color of their fur. Some are prettier than others, genetics produces some crazy results. You just can't always predict how that DNA will align, why chance that stuff???
  10. ianandenya

    ianandenya Forums Regular

    Sep 20, 2015
    it is the same rule over here in the netherlands. it is not allowed due to health risks involved!

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