Merle Cavapoo: All About This Rare Colored Designer Dog


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A Merle Cavapoo playing outside

The Cavapoo is a designer dog breed that is the adorable cross of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Toy or Miniature Poodle. 

Also known as Cavoodles or Cavadoodles in other countries, Cavapoos are highly attached to their humans and make excellent family pets. 

First mixed in Australia in the 1990s, the intention was to cross the lovable, pleasant nature of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with the hypoallergenic, intelligent Poodle.

Poodle crosses have been rapidly gaining in popularity due to the inherent genetic traits of the parent breed. Poodles are highly trainable, intelligent, and loving dogs, with a hypoallergenic coat that makes them ideal for people with allergies.

They are medium energy dogs suitable for apartment or city dwellers provided they are adequately exercised. They are small, entertaining dogs that don’t shed much and are ideal for families.

Being a mixed breed dog, Cavapoos can take after either one of the parent breed’s genetics. They can stand from 9 to 14 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 9 and 15 lbs.

Their coats can be wavy or curly, and be black, tan, apricot, white, or merle. 

What is A Merle Cavapoo?

Merle is not a color, but rather, it is a coat pattern in which the color is speckled and appears ‘faded’ in some areas. This is called a dapple pattern in some breeds, and it gives a better indication of how the coat will look.

Patches of solid color (typically white, black, or tan) will be combined with a milder color in a merle dog (gray or light red). The pale color is caused by a mutation in the gene that controls coat color. 

The pigmentation of the hairs is inaccurate, and they appear to be considerably lighter. For example, a blue merle’s gray color is black hair that has been altered by the merle gene and seems pale gray. 

A merle coat’s hairs can range from light gray to virtually white, with darker gray hairs in between. Individual hairs can come in various hues, which makes them stand out. This is true for all merle dogs, whether blue, red, or sable. 

Because the merle gene, which causes this coloration, is technically faulty, there is fear that a dog with a merle coat may be more susceptible to specific health problems.

When a dog has a single copy of the M or allele, it is said to have the merle gene. If the gene was present in the lineage, an allele is the variation form of the gene that can appear at any moment.

Merle dogs have the genotype Mm, which means they have one merle allele and one non-merle allele. Mm, dogs can be bred with non-merle canines. This breeding will result in a litter around half merle, or Mm.

You get a double merle litter when you breed two merle dogs, often known as an MM. When two merles are coupled, there is a 25% chance that each puppy will be a double merle.

Great care must be taken in breeding merles. The accidental breeding of two merle dogs may result in a litter with deaf and blind puppies. 

The majority of double merles are white, with occasional blotches. They come with a slew of health issues, as well as a high risk of hearing and eye problems.

What is the Rarest Color of Cavapoo?

Cavapoos with black coat color is rare. Complete black coloring is irregular in the breeding world because it’s usually a recessive trait from the Poodle. It’s improbable that the entire litter will be black if two dark-colored Cavapoos are bred together.

Additionally, most tri-colored Cavapoos will have black as their primary color. White dots will also appear on their chest and stomach. 

Tri-colored Cavapoos are uncommon or rare because breeding a multi-colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with a multi-colored Poodle necessitates using a multi-colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

How Much do Merle Cavapoos Cost?

Merle Cavapoos are much rarer than solid colored Cavapoos and will cost several hundred dollars more. Buyers of merle dogs are often willing to pay more, driving the price up further. You can expect to pay between $1,500 and $3,500 for a merle Cavapoo.

In contrast, a standard Cavapoo costs between $1,000 and $3,000. 

The pedigree, lineage, size, and age of a Cavapoo influence its price. It is also dependent on how much money breeders spend on health examinations.

A word of caution is in order here. Unfortunately, Cavapoos are susceptible to the vulnerabilities that plague all favorite breeds due to their immense popularity.

Unscrupulous or unethical breeders are typically unconcerned about temperament, health, or conformation. As a result, some Cavapoos have severe health and behavioral problems. If you’re considering getting a Cavapoo, be cautious about who you buy or adopt a puppy from. 

Only buy from reliable and well-known breeders with solid references. It would be best if you never bought a puppy from a backyard breeder, a puppy mill, or a pet retailer. Reputable breeders breed for temperament and screen their breeding dogs for several diseases to ensure that they do not pass on a genetic illness proclivity.

Are Merle Cavapoos Rare?

Yes, merle Cavapoos are way rarer than their solid-colored counterparts. The merle gene is rare in Poodles and near non-existent in King Charles Spaniel’s Cavalier. 

In addition, AKC does not recognize merle Poodles but has registered several merle Poodles under their base coat color. 

Merle is not a color. It refers to the dappling or mottling pattern in some coats, creating patches of paler shades. 

The pale colors are caused by the mutation in the merle gene, making the coat appear significantly lighter. For example, the gray on a blue merle is from black hair that has been altered and lightened. 

Are Merle Dogs Unhealthy?

Merle dogs with a single merle parent can have the same level of health as solid-colored dogs. They live as long as their counterparts without the merle gene and are just as powerful, athletic, and intelligent. All offspring from responsible merle breedings can be healthy and enjoy a long life. 

However, so-called “merle-to-merle” breeding happens, and health issues arise. Some reckless breeders use this to increase the number of merle puppies available.

A solid-colored dog is coupled with a merle dog in responsible breedings. Fifty percent of the litter will be merle, and 50 percent will be solid.

Merle dogs are more desired and can be sold for a higher price; hence some breeders wish to produce more. 

In the worst-case scenario, two merles paired together produce a litter that is 1/4 solid, 1/2 merle and 1/4 double merle.

Double merle dogs come with many health problems, including a high chance of being born blind and deaf. 

The relatively light coloring of double merles makes them identifiable. They have a lot of white on their faces and lack pigmentation around their eyes and nose. 

These dogs are unwell and prone to various diseases due to their significant lack of pigmentation. For example: 

  • Hearing loss can range from mild deafness to total deafness.
  • Microphthalmia is a rare disorder in which the eyeballs are so small that they must be removed.
  • Visual impairment ranging from partial to complete blindness
  • Skin cancer is caused by a loss of pigmentation and a lack of UV protection.

These canines have trouble in social situations since they can’t hear or see well. They frequently battle with fear and anxiety, cannot communicate correctly with other dogs, and are unable to be off-leash due to a poor recall.

They are frequently startled and surprised due to their low vision and hearing. Owners must train these dogs with extreme caution to show them that the world is a safe and predictable place.

Two merles should never be bred.

Is Merle A Defect?

No, the merle gene is not a defect but rather a hereditary pattern found in the coat of some dogs. Merle may influence any coat color and comes in various colors and patterns. The merle gene causes mottled color areas in a solid piebald coat and blue or odd-colored eyes and skin pigment.

The merle gene causes light mottling patterns on the coat, and often, blue or odd-colored eyes, otherwise known as heterochromia iridum.

The merle gene is present in dogs with a single M, or “allele.” A dog with one merle parent and one solid-colored parent is referred to as Mm. 

However, if two merle dogs are bred, the litter would be categorized MM, or double merle, which is where the problems start.

Double merle dogs have a host of health problems in addition to having a high chance of being born deaf, blind, or both. The double merle mutation causes dogs to be white and has a higher risk of deafness, blindness, and infertility inherited homozygously.

Two merles should never be bred, and merle breeders have to take great care in ensuring there is no possibility of accidental breeding. 

What are the Coat Colors of Merle Cavapoos?

The Cavapoo has a soft, curly coat in various colors, including apricot, red, tan, white, black, bi-color, and tri-color.

Bicolor Cavapoo – Cavapoos can have bi-colored coats that are black and white, apricot and white, red and white, tan and white, or any other two-color pattern. 

Tricolor Cavapoo – Apricot, red, tan, white, and black make up the Cavapoo coat’s tri-color scheme. Colors can be applied to various parts of the canine body, and patches of color can sometimes be seen. 

White Cavapoo – A splash of color, such as red, apricot, tan, or black, is frequently seen on Cavapoos with solid white coats. Completely white Cavapoos are rare but possible. 

Black Cavapoo – A puppy can be born with an all-black coat that lasts its entire life, depending on the parents and their DNA. There are no color splashes in a solid black coat. Because it’s usually a recessive trait from the Poodle, complete black coloring is rare in the breeding world.

Red Cavapoo – The coats of red Cavapoos can be black, solid, or light in color. They’re available in various colors, including red, chestnut, and strawberry blonde. Red is a fairly common color because of the ruby-colored King Charles Spaniel.

Red Cavapoos can be easily created by crossing this with an apricot-colored Poodle. White dots sometimes accompany the crimson/red body color.

Tan Cavapoo – Tan Cavapoo coats are available in single colors or with white, black, or apricot hints. This coat is relatively standard because of the black and tan or ruby coloring of a King Charles Cavalier. Tan Cavapoos can also be made by combining cream and apricot-colored Poodles. 

Chocolate Cavapoo – The chocolate brown coat usually is solid across the body, with white patches on the toes, chest, and forehead. Chocolate Cavapoos are similar to black Cavapoos in that they have a recessive gene, making them rarer than apricot or red Cavapoos. Chocolate Cavapoos are nearly always made from a brown or black Poodle.

Phantom Cavapoo – The phantom coat color is black with tan markings, often around the legs, chest, cheeks, nose, and underside of the tail when seen in natural light. Some phantom coat puppies have white abstract marks on various parts of their bodies.

Apricot Cavapoo – Tan Cavapoo coats are available in single colors or with flecks of white, black, or apricot. The black and tan or ruby coloring of a King Charles Cavalier makes this coat extremely prevalent. Tan Cavapoos can also be caused by crossing cream and apricot-colored Poodles.

Sable Cavapoo – Sable coats include a mixture of black and brown patterns throughout the coat, with undertones that appear as the puppy grows older. The coat may also have brown and silver flecking. Sable is a scarce coat color, and it’s one of a kind because a sable Cavapoos coat lightens over time.

Gold Cavapoo – The tone of gold Cavapoo coats is often a solid dark color that turns gold when exposed to the sun’s light. The gold color is seen all over the coat, with white accents on the nose, chest, toes, forehead, chest, and chin. 

What is A Merle Parti Cavapoo?

A merle parti-colored Cavapoo is a dog with more than 50% white on its coat. The remaining colors can be any of the accepted colors like brown, black, tan, apricot, or red. Breeders often favor solid colors over parti-colors. 

Are There Any Toy and Miniature Merle Cavapoos Available?

Yes, Cavapoos are also available in toy and miniature sizes. Toy Cavapoos reach a shoulder height of around 12 inches, while Miniatures reach about 14 inches. This will be influenced by factors such as the Cavalier mother’s size and the Poodle to which she is bred.

What is A Merle F1 Cavapoo?

F1 hybrids are used in genetics and selective breeding. The number indicates the generation. One purebred Poodle parent and one purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parent make up the first generation of F1 Cavapoo puppies.

Puppies having one purebred Poodle parent or one purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parent and one F1 Cavapoo parent are known as F1b Cavapoos.

What is A Merle Cavapoochon?

The Cavapoochon is a triple-cross dog that combines the most significant characteristics of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Toy Poodle, and Bichon Frise. As a result, you’ll have this cute small dog who will always look like a puppy! This hybrid is thought to be formed out of the most popular breeds, combining the best qualities of each.

Cavapoochons may appear in colors that aren’t as common in the Cavapoo breed.

Because the Cavapoochon’s fluffy coat is significantly more hypoallergenic, it may be a good choice for folks with severe pet allergies.

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