Characteristics Of Merle Pitbulls

Merle Pitbulls: Understanding the Rare Color Variant

Are you a fan of Pitbull? Have you ever encountered a Pitbull with a unique and mesmerizing coat color that you couldn’t identify? Chances are, you may have stumbled upon a Merle Pitbull. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about this rare and controversial color variant.

What Is a Merle Pitbull?

A Merle Pitbull is a Pitbull variety that has a Merle coat pattern. Merle refers to a patchy, mottled coat with irregular markings. This type of coat is caused by the Merle gene. Merle Pitbulls have become increasingly popular in recent years because of their unique appearance.

The exact origin of the Merle Pitbull is unknown, but the Merle gene is believed to have been introduced to the breed through crosses with other breeds, such as the Catahoula Leopard Dog or Catahoula Bulldog. This breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, but it is recognized by the United Kennel Club.

Merle Pitbulls have the same temperament as any other Pitbull. They are loyal, loving, and protective of their family. They need to be properly socialized and trained to be well-mannered and obedient.

What do Merle Pitbulls look like?

Merle Pitbulls have a unique and striking coat color that will turn heads. The merle pattern can range from blue, gray, silver, chocolate, and even red. The dilution of colors creates a mottled or marbled appearance, and some Merle Pitbulls may have white markings on their chest and paws.

How does the Merle gene work?

The Merle gene is a dominant gene, which means that if a dog inherits even one copy of the gene from either parent, it will show the Merle pattern.

Dogs with two copies of the gene (one from each parent) can have health issues, such as hearing and vision problems, so reputable breeders avoid breeding two merle dogs together.

Blue Merle
Blue Merle

Key Characteristics Of Merle Pitbulls

1. Vital Stats

Merle Pitbulls are a unique color variation of the American Pitbull Terrier breed that possess several vital stats that set them apart from other Pitbulls. Here are some of the vital stats of Merle Pitbulls:

  • Height: Merle Pitbulls typically stand between 18 and 21 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Weight: Merle Pitbulls typically weigh between 30 and 60 pounds, with males generally larger than females.
  • Life Expectancy: The life expectancy of a Merle Pitbull is typically between 12 and 14 years.

2. Appearance

Merle Pitbulls have a distinct and striking appearance that sets them apart from other Pitbulls. Here are some of the key characteristics of their appearance:

  • Coat Color: The most notable feature of a Merle Pitbull’s appearance is its coat color. Their coat is characterized by a mottled or swirled pattern of diluted color on a solid base. The base color can be any solid color, such as black, blue, red, or fawn. The diluted color is typically silver, blue, or gray. The pattern is unique to each dog and can vary in intensity and distribution.
  • Coat Texture: Merle Pitbulls have a short, smooth coat that is easy to maintain. They shed moderately year-round and require regular brushing to keep their coat healthy and shiny.
  • Eye Color: Merle Pitbulls can have a range of eye colors, including blue, green, amber, or brown. They can also have heterochromia, meaning each eye is a different color.
  • Nose Color: The nose color of a Merle Pitbull can be black, blue, or liver, depending on the color of its coat.
  • Body Type: Merle Pitbulls have a muscular and athletic build. They are medium-sized dogs that typically stand between 18 and 21 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 30 and 60 pounds.
  • Head Shape: Merle Pitbulls have a broad and square-shaped head with a short, wide muzzle. Their ears are often cropped but can also be left natural.
  • Coat Length: Merle Pitbulls have a short, smooth coat that is easy to maintain.

3. Temperament

Merle Pitbulls are known for their loyal and affectionate temperament. They are highly social dogs and enjoy being around people and other pets. Here are some key characteristics of their temperament:

  • Affectionate: Merle Pitbulls are known for their love of people and desire for attention. They thrive on human interaction and form strong bonds with their owners. They are loyal and protective of their family and will do anything to keep them safe.
  • Intelligent: Merle Pitbulls are highly intelligent and eager to please their owners. They are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement training. They excel in obedience training and can also be trained for agility, flyball, and other dog sports.
  • Energetic: Merle Pitbulls are active dogs that require plenty of exercise and playtime. They enjoy going for walks, hikes and runs with their owners. They also enjoy playing fetch and other games challenging their physical and mental abilities.
  • Good with children: Merle Pitbulls are generally good with children when socialized properly from a young age. They are patient and gentle with children, but as with any dog, it is important to supervise interactions between dogs and children.
  • Protective: Merle Pitbulls are naturally protective of their owners and can be territorial with strangers. Early socialization and training can help them behave appropriately in social situations.

6. Training and exercise

Training and exercise are important for the physical and mental well-being of Merle Pitbulls. Here are some tips for training and exercising your Merle Pitbull:

  • Positive reinforcement training: Merle Pitbulls respond well to positive reinforcement training. Use treats, praise, and affection to reward and discourage bad behavior. Avoid using physical punishment or harsh training methods, as this can lead to fear and aggression.
  • Socialization: Early socialization is important for Merle Pitbulls. Introduce them to different people, animals, and environments from a young age to help them feel comfortable and confident in various situations.
  • Obedience training: Merle Pitbulls are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them great candidates for obedience training. Enroll them in obedience classes or work with a professional trainer to teach them basic commands like sit, stay, come, and heel.
  • Exercise: Merle Pitbulls are active dogs that require plenty of exercises to stay healthy and happy. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, such as brisk walks, jogs, or runs. They also enjoy playing fetch, tug-of-war, and other interactive games.
  • Mental stimulation: In addition to physical exercise, Merle Pitbulls require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Provide them with puzzle toys, interactive feeders, and other mental stimulation games.
  • Consistency: Consistency is key when it comes to training and exercise. Set a regular schedule for training and exercise and stick to it. This will help your Merle Pitbull learn good habits and stay on track for a healthy and happy life.

Remember that every dog is different, and what works for one Merle Pitbull may not work for another.

7. Grooming and maintenance

Grooming and maintenance are important to keep Merle Pitbulls looking and feeling their best. Here are some tips for grooming and maintaining your Merle Pitbull:

  • Brushing: Merle Pitbulls have a short, smooth coat that requires minimal grooming. However, regular brushing can help remove loose hair and dirt and distribute natural oils throughout their coat. Use a soft-bristled or rubber curry brush to brush your dog at least once a week.
  • Bathing: Merle Pitbulls do not need frequent bathing, as this can strip their coat of natural oils. Aim to bathe your dog every three to six months or as needed if they get particularly dirty or smelly. Use a mild dog shampoo and rinse thoroughly to avoid any residue.
  • Nail trimming: Merle Pitbulls have strong, durable nails that can grow quickly if not trimmed regularly. Trim your dog’s nails every two to four weeks to prevent them from getting too long. Be sure to use a sharp nail clipper and avoid cutting into the quick, which can be painful and cause bleeding.
  • Teeth brushing: Dental hygiene is important for the overall health of your Merle Pitbull. Brush their teeth at least two to three times a week using a dog toothbrush and toothpaste. This can help prevent plaque buildup, gum disease, and other dental issues.
  • Ear cleaning: Merle Pitbulls are prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears and narrow ear canals. Clean their ears regularly with a damp cloth or cotton ball, and check for signs of redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any signs of infection, consult with your veterinarian.

8. Health Problems With Merle Pitbulls

Merle Pitbulls, like all dogs, are susceptible to certain health problems. Here are some of the health issues that can affect Merle Pitbulls:

  • Deafness: Merle Pitbulls are at a higher risk of developing congenital deafness, which means they are born deaf or lose hearing at a young age. This is because the Merle gene is linked to deafness in dogs. It is important to have your Merle Pitbull’s hearing tested as soon as possible after birth and to be aware of any signs of hearing loss as they grow older.
  • Eye problems: Merle Pitbulls can be prone to certain eye problems, including cataracts, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy. Regular eye exams can help detect these issues early on, and prompt treatment can prevent further damage to your dog’s vision.
  • Skin problems: Merle Pitbulls may be more susceptible to certain skin problems, such as allergies, hot spots, and skin infections. Regular grooming and maintenance can help prevent these issues, and prompt treatment can alleviate symptoms and prevent complications.
  • Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a common condition in many breeds of dogs, including Pitbulls. It is a genetic disorder that affects the hip joint and can lead to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent or manage this condition.
  • Obesity: Merle Pitbulls, like all dogs, can become overweight or obese if they do not receive enough exercise and are overfed. Obesity can lead to various health problems, including joint issues, heart disease, and diabetes. It is important to provide your Merle Pitbull with a balanced diet and regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
Red Merle
Red Merle

How much does a Merle pitbull go for?

The price of a merle pitbull can vary depending on several factors, such as the breeder, location, lineage, and demand. However, on average, a Merle pitbull can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 or more.

It is essential to note that buying a pitbull from a reputable breeder who health tests their dogs and provides proper socialization and care is crucial.

It is not recommended to purchase a pit bull from a breeder who does not prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs, as this can result in costly health issues down the road.


1. Are Merle Pitbulls more aggressive than other Pitbull breeds?

No, the coat color of a Merle Pitbull does not affect its temperament.

2. Can Merle Pitbulls be bred with other Pitbull breeds?

Yes, Merle Pitbulls can be bred with other Pitbull breeds as long as they are genetically healthy and meet the breed standards.

3. Can Merle Pitbulls be shown in dog shows?

Yes, Merle Pitbulls can participate in dog shows if they meet the breed standards set by the relevant kennel club. However, it is important to note that some kennel clubs, such as the United Kennel Club, do not recognize the Merle pattern in Pitbull breeds.

4. Is Merle Pitbulls a good family pet?

Merle Pitbulls make great family pets, as they are often very tolerant and loving towards children. They are also renowned for their athleticism and agility, making them great candidates for the gun dog, skill, and obedience sports.

With proper training, they can become excellent companion dogs and will be loyal and devoted to their families.

5. Is Buying A Merle Pit Bull Legal?

Most places don’t ban the breeding and sale of merle dogs. However, registering them in a kennel club can be a big headache. Some, like the American Kennel Club, don’t recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier breed. There is a high chance of you ending up with a shady breeder.

6. Is Merle Pitbulls Rare?

Merle Pitbulls are rare nowadays. You will have a harder time finding and adopting one of them, which is why you do not see many of them on the street.


Merle Pitbulls are a rare and controversial color variant that has become increasingly popular recently. While their unique coat color may turn heads, it is important to remember that they are no different than any other Pitbull breed in terms of temperament and care.

If you are considering getting a Merle Pitbull, research and find a reputable breeder who can provide information about your dog’s lineage and health.

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