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Merle Goldendoodle: Everything You Need to Know About The Rare Groodle Color - PawSafe

Merle Goldendoodle: Everything You Need to Know About The Rare Groodle Color

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

merle Goldendoodle

Merle Goldendoodles or Groodle look like living works of art with their mottled coat appearance and often colored eyes. They are also more than just good looks with their charmingly loving and playful personalities.

One of the benefits of owning a Merle Goldendoodle is low-shedding coats, though not hypoallergenic. This makes them great for those who prefer a low-maintenance pet. This is not to say they don’t need quality shampoo baths and occasional safe doggy perfume spritzes. 

Overall, the Merle Goldendoodle is an excellent breed for families looking for a friendly, low-shedding, and trainable pet. Let’s delve into a comprehensive Merle Goldendoodle guide with expert sources like The Goldendoodle Handbook.

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Merle variations of popular dogs like Merle Pomeranains, English Bulldogs, Frenchies, and even Pitties have spiked in popularity. Merle coloring involves dark patches mottled unevenly over a lighter background of the same color. 

There is vigorous debate regarding how many dogs create Merle Goldendoodles. Some claim Purebred Merle Poodles don’t exist, meaning three breeds are involved. Others claim that Poodles can be Purebred Merles, making two breeds in Merle Goldendoodles. More into this matter in the next section. 

Overall, Merle Goldendoodles are a unique and popular mixed breed dog that combines the best traits of the Golden Retriever and Merle Poodles. They are best known for their sharp intelligence and affectionate personalities.

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History & Origins of Merle Goldendoodles

The first Goldendoodle was bred in the United States in the 1990s by crossing a Golden Retriever with a Poodle. The goal was to create a dog with the friendly and outgoing nature of the Golden Retriever and the intelligence and low-shedding coat of the Poodle. 

Merle Goldendoodles are not a recognized breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Some breeders claim that you can register Merle Poodles under the multi-colored category as long as you can prove their ancestry. However, they can’t perform in dog shows. Still, most people agree that you can’t honestly register a Merle Poodle.

Now, the controversy surrounding Merle Goldendoodles comes when determining where the Merle gene came from in Poodles.

Merle Goldendoodle Genetics: Where Do Merle Goldendoodles Come From?

The Merle gene is responsible for the unique coat pattern seen in these dogs, but where did this gene come from?

The merle gene is a dominant gene (M) that creates a mottled or speckled pattern on the coat of a dog. Merle gene presence is unquestioned in breeds like Great Danes, Dachshunds, Cardigan Corgies, and Australian Cattle dogs. However, Merle in Poodles is not as obvious. 

Some breeders believe that Merle has always existed in the breed. However, it never presented because breeders always prioritized breeding solid Poodle colors. When they finally started breeding parti coloured Poodles, the Merle gene finally became more common in the Poodle breed.

Others claim that outcrossing with a merle-carrying breed occurred at some point in a Merle Poodle’s line. This means that even if you test their ancestry, Merle Poodles with outcrossed roots will show as Purebred after about 4 to 5 generations

Breeding Merle Goldendoodles is a very delicate process. This is because breeding two merles could result in a double merle, with many health issues like blindness, deafness, and organ failures. 

What’s more is that red, White, Cream, Apricot, and heavily marked Partis are easily cryptic merles (the merle is physically undetectable). Cryptic Merles increase the chances of breeding double Merles. 

Ultimately, DNA tests will let you know your dog’s ancestry. You may find only two breeds involved in your Merle Goldendoodle, meaning a Purebred Poodle contributed to the Merle. You may also find three breeds, meaning Merle was introduced through another breed.


Moyen Poodle 

Physical Characteristics of Merle Goldendooles

Merle Goldendoodles have a sturdy, muscular build and a wavy or slightly curly lower-shedding coat. Depending on the Poodle parent’s size, they can be classified as standard, medium, miniature, or toy Merle Goldendoodles. 

Merle Goldendoodles typically have blue or green expressive eyes that convey their friendly and affectionate nature. Their muzzles are a bit broader than a Poodle’s, and their droopy, feathered ears frame their face. The hair on their face is typically straighter than the Poodle’s. 

How Big Do Merle Goldendoodles Get?

Standard Merle Goldendoodles range between a height of 21 to 24 inches (53 to 61 cm).

And weigh 50 to 90 pounds (23 to 41 kg). Mini Goldendoodles are 14 to 17 inches (36 to 43 cm) tall and weigh 15 to 30 pounds (7 to 14 kg).

Kinds of Merle Groodles

The Merle Goldendoodle coat is wavy and way less curly than a Poodle’s. It comes in various colors and patterns, each with its unique characteristics. Here are some of the different kinds of Merle Goldendoodles:

Blue Merle Goldendoodle

The unique coat is mostly blue-gray with black patches. They have green or blue eyes and a black nose.

Red Merle Goldendoodle

Red Merle Goldendoodles have mostly reddish or brown coats with white patches. They have blue or green eyes and a pink or black nose. 

Chocolate Merle Goldendoodle

Chocolate Merle Goldendoodles have a coat that is mostly chocolate brown with light brown patches. 

Lilac Merle Goldendoodle

The coat is beige or light brown with lilac or lavender patches. 

Double Merle

Double Merle Goldendoodles have a coat that is primarily white with patches of any color. They have blue or green eyes and a pink nose. Double Merle Goldendoodles result from breeding two Merle Goldendoodles, which can lead to health problems such as blindness or deafness.

Phantom Merle (Cryptic)

Phantom Merle Goldendoodles have a coat that is mostly black with tan or markings. They have the Merle gene but mostly look bi or tri-colored.

Merle Goldendoodle Temperament and Behavior

Merle Goldendoodles are known for their friendly and outgoing temperament. They are typically very social and love to be around people, making them great family pets. Merle Goldendoodles are Golden Retriever-level mellow, happy, loving, playful, and intelligent dogs.

They are also known for their intelligence and trainability, which makes them a popular choice for service and therapy work. They are also eager to please their owners and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods.

Regarding behavior, Merle Goldendoodles are generally well-behaved and easy to train. They are also known for their high energy levels, so they require regular exercise and playtime to stay happy and healthy.

Remember that Merle Goldendoodles can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. They thrive on human interaction and can become destructive if left to their own devices for too long. 

See also:

Why do dogs smack their lips when petted?

Why do my dog’s pupils get big when he looks at me?

Health Concerns in Merle Goldendoodles

Common Health Issues

As with any breed, certain health concerns may affect a Merle Goldendoodle. Studies show that deafness affects 9.2 percent of dogs with the merle allele, with 3.5 percent in single merles and 25 percent in double merles.

  • Hip dysplasia: This genetic condition affects the hip joints and can lead to arthritis and mobility issues.
  • Ear infections: Merle Goldendoodles may be more prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears if their ears are not cleaned regularly.
  • Eye problems: Some Merle Goldendoodles may risk developing eye problems such as cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
  • Thyroid issues like hypothyroidism. 
  • Cancer: Studies show that Goldens are one of the most cancer-affected breeds, with more than 50% prevalence.
  • Neurological issues like epilepsy.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD), which causes issues with blood clotting.
  • Immune problems like Addison’s Disease, where the body doesn’t make enough of certain hormones.
  • Allergies: Like many other breeds, Merle Goldendoodles may suffer from allergies, which can cause skin irritation and itching.
  • Moderate issues like obesity, dental issues, allergies, and skin infections.

It is important to note that not all Merle Goldendoodles will develop these health issues, and many can be prevented or managed with proper care and attention.

Life Expectancy

On average, a Merle Goldendoodle can live anywhere from 10 to 15 years. However, this can vary depending on many factors, such as genetics, diet, exercise, and overall health.

Merle Goldendoodle Grooming and Maintenance

Merle Goldendoodles require regular grooming and maintenance to keep their coat healthy and shiny. They have a thick, curly coat that can grow quite long if left untrimmed.

  • Brush their long-wavy or curly coats at least twice a week to prevent matting and keep their coat healthy. 
  • Use a mild dog shampoo monthly to clean their coats.
  • Trim the hair around their eyes, ears, and paws regularly to prevent matting and irritation. It is best to take them to a professional groomer every 6-8 weeks for a full trim.
  • Clean their ears with vet-approved wipes every two weeks to prevent any wax or debris buildup.
  • Brush their teeth twice a week and also use a canine rinse to prevent tartar buildup and maintain good oral health.
  • Monthly Nail trimming with a pet clipper prevents overgrowth and discomfort.

Training a Merle Goldendoodle

Merle Groodles are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. However, like all dogs, they require consistent training and positive reinforcement to learn and retain new behaviors. Socialization, obedience training, and crate training are dog training essentials. 

Merle Groodle Feeding and Nutrition

Feeding a Merle Goldendoodle is similar to feeding any other dog. The diet should be balanced, nutritious, and appropriate for their age, weight, and activity level. A diet high in protein (25%+), vitamins, carbs, minerals, and fiber is best for this breed.

Feeding your Merle Goldendoodle high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs is vital. It is also recommended to avoid foods that contain fillers, artificial preservatives, and additives. 

Merle Goldendoodles should be fed two to three small meals per day to prevent bloating and other digestive issues. It is also essential to provide fresh, clean water at all times.

Finding a Merle Goldendoodle Breeder

Finding a reputable breeder should be your top priority if you’re interested in getting a Merle Goldendoodle. Here are some tips to help you find a responsible and trustworthy breeder:

1. Research

The first step in finding a Merle Goldendoodle breeder is to do your research. Look for breeders online and read reviews from other customers. Check their social media pages and website for photos of their dogs and facilities. Make sure they have a good reputation in the dog breeding community.

2. Ask for Referrals

If you know someone who owns a Merle Goldendoodle, ask them for a referral. They can recommend a breeder that they had a good experience with. You can also ask your veterinarian or local dog club for recommendations.

3. Visit the Breeder

Once you have a list of potential breeders, visit them in person. This will give you a chance to see the puppies and their living conditions. You can also meet the breeder and ask questions about their breeding program, health testing, and socialization.

4. Health Testing

A responsible breeder will perform health testing on their dogs before breeding them. Make sure the breeder you choose tests for common health issues in Goldendoodles, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and eye problems. Also, ensure they give you the coat color gene testing to avoid getting a double merle.

5. Contract and Guarantees

A good breeder will provide you with a contract and health guarantee for the puppy. The contract should outline the responsibilities of both the breeder and the buyer. The health guarantee should cover any genetic health issues that may arise in the future.

How to Adopt & Rescue a Goldendoodle: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adopting a Goldendoodle can be a fulfilling experience that brings joy, companionship, and a wagging tail into your home. These poodle and golden retriever crosses are known for their intelligence, sociability, and hypoallergenic coats. If you’ve made the decision to adopt rather than shop, you’re not only getting a wonderful pet but also giving a home to a dog in need. Here’s how you can go about it, featuring trusted organizations across various countries.

Step 1: Research and Decide

Before applying for adoption, make sure you understand the breed’s characteristics, needs, and common health issues. Goldendoodles are generally friendly and good with families but also require regular exercise and grooming.

Step 2: Find a Reputable Rescue Organization

Choose an organization that has a transparent adoption process and positive reviews. Some notable organizations based on your location include:
United States:
Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue
iDog Rescue
Doodle Rock Rescue
United Kingdom:
Doodle Rescue UK
Doodle Trust
Pet Rescue Australia
Canadian English Doodles

Step 3: Apply for Adoption

Each organization has its own set of requirements and application forms. Carefully read through them and submit your application. Most organizations will assess your suitability as an adopter before matching you with a Goldendoodle.

Step 4: Meet and Greet

Once your application is approved, you’ll typically have a chance to meet available Goldendoodles to find the right fit for your family. Some organizations even require a home visit to ensure a suitable living environment.

Step 5: Finalize Adoption

After selecting your future fur baby, you’ll need to fill out final paperwork and pay an adoption fee, which usually goes towards covering veterinary and care costs for the organization’s rescue dogs.

Step 6: Bring Your New Friend Home

Prepare your home with the necessary supplies like food, a leash, toys, and grooming tools. Once everything’s set, you can bring your new Goldendoodle home and start your life together!

Adopting a dog is a commitment that brings great rewards. By choosing to adopt, you’re giving a second chance to a deserving animal and gaining a lifelong friend.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the different colors of Goldendoodles?

Goldendoodles come in various colors, including cream, apricot, red, black, and chocolate. Some Goldendoodles may also have white markings on their coat.

How much is a Merle Goldendoodle?

Merle Golden Doodles for sale vary on the breeder but mostly go for around $3000. You wouldn’t be surprised to find an even more expensive Merle Goldendoodle.

What is a Merle Goldendoodle?

A Merle Goldendoodle is a Goldendoodle with a unique coat pattern that features a mottled or swirled coat with patches of a darker color on a lighter background. Merle Goldendoodles can have a range of colors, including blue, red, black, and chocolate.

Where can I find a reputable Merle Goldendoodle breeder?

It is essential to do your research and find a reputable breeder when looking for a Merle Goldendoodle. You can start by checking with local breeders or searching online for breeders with good reviews and a history of producing healthy, well-tempered puppies.

Are Merle Goldendoodles rare?

Merle Goldendoodles are rarer than other Goldendoodle coat colors, but they are becoming more popular as their unique coat pattern gains attention.

Is a Chocolate Merle Goldendoodle different from a Brown Merle Goldendoodle?

Most people use brown and chocolate interchangeably when referring to dog coat colors. Therefore, both Chocolate and Brown Merle Goldendoodles have lighter brown markings on a darker background.

What is the rarest color of a Goldendoodle?

The rarest colors of Goldendoodle are those requiring recessive genes. These include chocolate, apricot, red, cream, and Champagne Goldendoodles. However, the rarity of different coat colors can vary depending on the location and breeder.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Merle Goldendoodle is a unique and beautiful mixed dog breed that is gaining popularity among dog lovers. They are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities, as well as their lower-shedding coats that make them a great choice for people with allergies.

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.