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Merle French Bulldogs: Exploring The Colorful Charm Of Merle Frenchies - PawSafe

Merle French Bulldogs: Exploring The Colorful Charm Of Merle Frenchies

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

Merle French Bulldogs

The Merle French Bulldog is a stunning and adorable companion breed an eye-catching coat pattern that makes it one of the most expensive dogs to get. They are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and lovable personality. The Merle gene mutation gives them a unique and beautiful pattern on their fur. However, it can also come with possible health risks so be sure to research before gettin one of these cuties.

Just like normal Frenchies, these pups are pretty care-intensive. They may require extra medical check-ups, oral hygiene with brushing and dental additives, and potentially higher medical bills. Still, no matter the maintenance needs, these canines are rising dramatically in popularity. 

If you are looking for a faithful companion with lots of energy, this may be the right breed for you. So we’ve consulted some experts sources like The French Bulldog Bible to give you the complete guide to Frenchies in merle coloring.

Double merles may have large sections of white coat, which can make them harlequin merles.

While Merle is a naturally occurring color in many dog breeds, Frenchies are not one of them. This means that most Merle Frenchies, just like Merle Pitbulls, aren’t purebred dogs because they need a Merle-carrying breed added to them. 

Check out this owner introducing his precious Merle Frenchies:

Where Did the Merle French Bulldog Come From? History and Origins

Where Did the Merle French Bulldog Come From? History and Origins

Merle French Bulldogs share the same history as normal Frenchies up until they had the Merle gene introduced. The breed’s origins can be traced to England, where it was developed as a smaller version of the English Bulldog.

Many lace workers from Nottingham, England, relocated to France for better job opportunities during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. They brought their toy-sized Bulldogs with them, which quickly gained popularity among the locals, especially in Paris.

These Bulldogs became a fashion statement and were favored by French society, including artists, writers, and nobles. Soon, breeders added other breeds for specific traits, like the Rat Terrier for the signature upright bat ears and the Pug for the shorter snout.

By the late 19th century, the French Bulldog had become a beloved companion dog and was recognized as a separate breed from the English Bulldog. The breed gained recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1898. However, remember that Merle is not an acceptable color to the AKC. So while merle is popular color that fetches higher prices, it’s not part of the French Bulldog breed standard.

But How Did We Get Merle Frenchies?

So, French Bulldogs aren’t natural carriers of the Merle gene, unlike breeds like Merle Cardigan Welsh Corgis and Cowboy Corgis. Therefore, there two basic ways that breeders created Merle Frenchies,

  1. Modern cross-breeding with merle-carrying breeds like Cardigan Corgis, Miniature American Shepherd or Dachshunds to introduce the merle gene and have merle Frenchie mixed breeds.
  2. Outcrossing that occurred somewhere in the French Bulldog’s line further back. This way, even if two Frenchies are used during breeding, a dog with natural Merle, like the Catahoula Leopard dog, was added at some point. 
  3. Or Merle Frenchies always existed, but we didn’t know about it (unlikely, as there are no historical records of merle coloring in French Bulldogs).

To have a merle dog, one of the parents of the dog must be merle, so it this implies that in most cases, breeders bred their French Bulldogs intentionally to get the sought-after color. To have merle puppies, one of the parents must be merle, so it’s not something that happens accidentally.

Some sources on the internet claim that merle Frenchies are the result of a cross between a Frenchie and merle Chihuahua. The problem with this is that Chihuahuas do not naturally carry a merle gene either. 

What Are The Physical Characteristics Of A Merle French Bulldog Dog?

What Does a Merle French Bulldog Look Like?

What Does a Merle French Bulldog Look Like?

Merle French Bulldogs have unique fur patterns and eye colors ranging from blue, green, or brown. They may have one blue and one brown eye, although eyes of two different colors is disqualified in their breed standard. They have the Frenchie’s signature large bat-like ears and are of a small to medium size with a strong build.

In terms of body structure, merle French Bulldogs typically exhibit the same compact and muscular build as other French Bulldogs. They have a sturdy, medium-sized frame with a broad chest, well-developed shoulders, and a thick, powerful neck. Their legs are short and muscular, supporting their body and giving them a low-to-the-ground appearance.

Just like the long hair that distinguishes Fluffy Frenchies, the unique and captivating Merle coat pattern adds an extra element of visual appeal to their appearance.

Due to their rare colorings, Merle French Bulldogs have become an attractive option for disreputable breeders trying to make money from the rare color. So be careful to thoroughly research any breeder before you google “merle French Bulldog puppies for sale near me.”

Color and Coat

Merle Frenchies have the typical French Bulldog’s short, smooth, and fine coat, although it is possible to get merle long-haired Frenchie. The merle Frenchie is not hypoallergenic and they are prone to shedding throughout the year.

The common Merle colors include:

  • Red merle (dark brown/ reddish on a lighter shade);
  • Blue merle (Black on gray background);
  • Isabella (brownish/dark yellow on pale yellow ) – rare;
  • Tricolor merle (Usually blank on a blue base with red or tan markings); and
  • Harlequin merle (merle markings on a white base coat).

This video shows an adorable Blue Merle Frenchie:

How Big Do Merle Frenchies Get?

On average, Merle French Bulldogs stand between 11 to 12 inches (28 to 30 cm) tall at the shoulder. The weight of a merle French Bulldog usually ranges between 16 to 28 pounds (7 to 13 kg). 

However, it’s important to note that some individuals may fall outside this range, with some being slightly smaller or larger.

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We don’t endorse any specific breeding practices but advocate for ethical breeding and dog welfare. We encourage exploring adoption first. Countless wonderful dogs from all breeds await their forever homes in shelters. Remember, with #AdoptDontShop. You can give a deserving rescue a second chance at happiness.

How Do Merle Frenchies Behave? Merle French Bulldog Temperament 

How Do Merle Frenchies Behave? Merle French Bulldog Temperament 

Merle French Bulldogs are typically happy, friendly, affectionate, and social but alert and even-tempered dogs. These pups thrive on being the center of attention and are impressively attuned to your emotions, making them extremely empathetic. 

These pups may not be the easiest dogs to train, as they rank 109 out of 139 in working and obedience intelligence. Still, their giant personalities make up for the extra patience and commitment you may need to train them. 

They are sensitive dogs and do not do well with harsh treatment.

The Merle Frenchie Genetics

The unique merle pattern is the result of a specific gene known as the “merle gene.” Research shows that this gene affects the distribution and pigmentation of the dog’s coat, giving rise to the beautiful patterns seen in merle Frenchies.

The standard merle coat pattern has two main features: a lighter base color (like blue or gray) and random patches of darker color. In addition to the standard merle, there are two other merle variations: dilute and harlequin.

Dilute merles have a softer dilution of the coat color without any distinct dark patches. On the other hand, harlequin merles have a white base coat with big patches of darker merle color.

However, it’s important to note that the merle gene can also be associated with certain health issues. When two merle French Bulldogs are bred together, there is a chance of producing puppies with what’s called a “double merle” pattern. Double merles, also known as “homozygous merles,” inherit two copies of the merle gene, which can lead to an increased risk of various health problems.

Double merle French Bulldogs are more likely to have vision and hearing impairments, such as partial or complete deafness and eye abnormalities. This is because the merle gene affects the development of the inner ear and the pigmentation of the eye, making them more susceptible to these issues. It’s important for breeders and owners to be aware of these potential health concerns and take proper care of double merle Frenchies, including regular veterinary check-ups and appropriate accommodations for their specific needs.

Health Issues With A Merle French Bulldog Dog

Health Issues With A Merle French Bulldog Dog

Merle French Bulldogs possess unique genetics, making them vulnerable to certain health issues not typical of other French Bulldog breeds. These can include vision and hearing difficulties, skin sensitivities, and digestive troubles.

A study showed that dogs with the Merle allele have a 0.9% chance of developing deafness in both ears and a 2.7% chance in one. There is also a greater risk of blindness in Merle Frenchies since the merle gene may interfere with the eye’s coloration. Skin problems are many and varied, from a tendency toward allergies, to color dilution alopecia or hair loss.

These dogs are also short-snouted, increasing their risk of breathing issues like Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAOS). Frenchies with this condition keep coughing like they have something stuck and find it hard to breathe.

Except for blindness and deafness, these dogs are also at risk of diseases like:

  • Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome – A study showed that Frenchies are 39 times more likely to contract airway syndrome.
  • Respiratory illnesses due to the shortened snout, sometimes causing dry heaving in the breed.
  • Eye problems, with signs like pink bumps around the eye, are rampant in this breed. 
  • Degenerative Myelopathy affects the spine, causing muscle weakness and lack of coordination. 
  • Intervertebral disc disease commonly causes hind-leg paralysis.
  • Stenotic nares, referring to narrow nostrils that makes breathing harder.
  • Hip (and elbow) dysplasia, where the hip doesn’t connect well to the thigh.
  • Luxating Patella, referring to kneecaps that slip out of place.
  • Skin fold dermatitis is an infection caused by moisture and particles in wrinkles. Research has shown that flat-faced breeds like Frenchies are at the highest risk.
  • Mild to moderate issues like obesity, allergies, stomach sensitivity, and dental problems.

It’s vital to breed only healthy Merle French Bulldogs with no known health issues and steer clear of breeding two Merles together, as this could bring about more severe health problems in their progeny. To ensure good health, vets should do regular check-ups to detect potential issues early.

Training & Exercise Needs Of A Merle French Bulldog Dog

Training & Exercise Needs Of A Merle French Bulldog Dog

Merle French Bulldogs have some distinctive needs for training and exercising. To keep them fine, you must supply the appropriate amount of physical exertion and mental stimulation.

  • Training: Positive reinforcement is great for Merle French Bulldogs. Consistency is essential when training these doggos, as they can be obstinate. Obedience training, socialization with other dogs, and leash training should be factored in.
  • Exercise: These furballs need moderate daily exercise to avert obesity and health issues. They need short walks for 30 to 45 minutes and indoor and yard workouts. But their short snouts and sensitive respiratory systems make them prone to overheating, so take care.
  • Mental Stimulation: Alongside physical exercise, Merle French Bulldogs need mental stimulation like puzzle toys or interactive games to ward off monotony which can lead to aggressive conduct.

Be careful when exercising Merle French Bulldogs, considering their delicate respiratory systems. Still, they are active and lively dogs that need loads of love and communication from their owners.

Feeding And Nutrition Requirements For A Merle French Bulldog Dog

Merle French Bulldogs require specific feeding and nutrition for proper health and growth. It is essential to know the right food portions based on weight, with the food having protein as the most abundant (25%). Have your dog checked for underlying health issues, since problems like liver, kidney, or hearts issues all need specialized diets. 

Also, monitor your pup’s weight, as they are prone to obesity. Ask a vet before changing food. It is also possible that Merle French Bulldogs may have allergies or sensitivities. If you see any odd signs or symptoms, contact a veterinarian.

Grooming and Maintenance Of A Merle French Bulldog Dog


Although Merle Frenchies have short coats, they need regular brushing to prevent matting and keep the coat clean. Cleaning any wrinkles is necessary to prevent infections due to water and debris trapped in the wrinkles. 


Bathing supports coat health, hygiene, and comfort. Aim to bathe these dogs monthly with quality shampoo and dry them thoroughly to prevent them from itching after grooming

Other grooming 

Eye issues can be prevented with regular eye wiping with an eye solution. Clean ears once or twice a week with dog ear wipes to reduce ear infections. Trim nails with the right dog nail cutter to keep them comfortable on walks.

Are Merle French Bulldog Good With Kids and Other Pets?

Merle Frenchies are excellent with kids but must be monitored around kids to avoid accidents. They behave well around other animals, especially if properly socialized. Socialization is important for Frenchies as they can be quite feisty and tenacious.

A Suitable Home For A Merle French Bulldog Dog

  1. People who live in smaller spaces;
  2. Owners that will adequately research proper breeders;
  3. A home without allergic people;
  4. People with a mildly active lifestyle;
  5. People who want a small dog; and
  6. Owners ready for the possibly heftier vet bills.

Pros And Cons Of Owning A Merle French Bulldog Dog

Owning a Merle French Bulldog has some special benefits and challenges. It’s important to know the good and bad of having this pup as a companion before you decide.


  • They are cuddly and love to play, making them perfect family pets.
  • Their eye-catching coat patterns are unique.
  • Moderate exercise and adaptable to both city and country living.


  • Certain health issues like deafness and eye problems come with their genes.
  • Their flat faces can lead to breathing issues.

What Is The Cost Of A Merle French Bulldog Dog

What Is The Cost Of A Merle French Bulldog Dog

Merle French Bulldogs for sale can be quite pricey. The cost depends on many factors, such as genetics, breeders, availability, and location.

For example:

  • In the USA, Merle French Bulldogs may cost from $5,000 to $10,000.
  • In the UK, prices range from £2500 to £8,000.
  • In Australia, they can be as much as $5,000 to $15,000.

It’s wise to buy from a reliable breeder who tests for genetic disorders. Be wary of dogs offered on websites like craigslist. Merle French Bulldogs can have health issues like deafness and eye deformities. So, research the breed, color, and any possible breeders thoroughly before deciding to get one.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Merle French Bulldogs rare?

 Yes, Merle French Bulldogs are considered rare, and their price can be significantly higher than other French Bulldog varieties. This is true even if merle is not recognized French Bulldog color.

Do Merle French Bulldogs have many health issues?

The Merle gene can increase the risk of health problems such as deafness, blindness, and skin problems in French Bulldogs. Therefore, it is essential to buy from a reputable breeder who can ensure good health outcomes.

Do Merle French Bulldogs Bark A lot?

No, Merle Frenchies aren’t considered heavy barkers. They bark only when they feel they have to to alert you of something. They may also bark when bored or feeling lonely. 

How Long Do Merle Frenchies Live?

Merle Frenchies live for about 10 to 12 years. However, it’s important to remember that Merles can experience more health issues affecting their lifespan compared to normal Frenchies.

Final Thoughts 

The Merle French Bulldog is a one-of-a-kind breed. It’s known for its unique Merle coat pattern. This pup has become a favorite among pet lovers around the world. Owning a Merle French Bulldog requires extra attention. They are small and delicate, so health issues can arise if not cared for properly.

But, having a Merle French Bulldog can be very rewarding. They are loving, faithful, and full of fun. They make wonderful companions for families and individuals alike.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.