You may have heard these terms and wondered exactly what they mean. Chihuahuas come in virtually any color combination and a wide variety of patterns. Common colors are fawn, red, cream, chocolate, brown white and black.
What is a blue Chihuahua?
A blue Chihuahua is simply another color. Breeding one is difficult because you have to mix different colors including fawn and brown in hopes of getting one. The gene involved with the color is recessive, (a gene that gets trumped by a more dominant gene) so the chances are very low that a puppy may have the gene and the possibility that a puppy may have a full blue coat are even lower. For these reasons the blue Chihuahua is rare and much sought after. They are known to have the same temperament and traits as any other Chihuahua.
The Merle Chihuahua
Although many describe “merle” as only a pattern, DNA testing identifies the “merle” gene but not the variety of colors and patterns seen in the coats of dogs with the gene. But unless you are talking to a geneticist, when people describe a dog as a merle they are referring to their coat pattern.
It is very common and popular in the Australian Shepherd breed and relatively common among Collies and Shelties. But there is some controversy among Chihuahua owners and breeders as to whether it is a risk for Chihuahuas.
At first glance the “merle” gene is dominant however, it is incompletely dominant. A dog that carries the double merle gene is not a pure-breed. The “double-merle” dogs are white with a few merle-colored spots. The only way you can produce a “double-merle” is by breeding together two merles. This statistically will produce a litter that is ¼ solid colored, half will be simple merles and ¼ will be double-merles.
The merle gene not only alters the base coat color, it also modifies eye color and coloring on the nose and paw pads. The merle gene occasionally changes the dark eyes to blue.
Health issues can occur when there are two copies of the merle gene. They have a higher risk of being deaf. Recent research indicates that the majority of health issues occur in dogs carrying both piebald (spotted with two colors, usually black & white) and the merle gene. Dogs who are “double-merle” may be deaf, blind or both and can carry ocular defects in blue or colored eyes, causing blindness. Don’t shy away from getting a merle Chihuahua. Just be sure that if you get one from a breeder that he or she is a responsible one. A good breeder knows how to produce healthy merle Chihuahuas.
Deaf, blind, and those that are both can have good lives when cared for properly. There are a variety of internet groups that are dedicated to supporting caregivers of such dogs.