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Merle Pomeranian: Characteristics, Temperament, and Care - PawSafe
Dog Breeds

Merle Pomeranian: Characteristics, Temperament, and Care

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

merle pomeranian

The Merle Pomeranian is a unique and popular breed of dog known for its striking coat pattern. Aside from their striking appearance, Merle Pomeranians are also known for their friendly and outgoing personalities. 

They are intelligent, affectionate, and loyal pets that make great companions for families and individuals alike. They may have a few special requirements, like swapping your regular collars for a comfy canine harness to protect their sensitive tracheas.

However, potential owners should know Merle Pomeranians can be prone to specific health issues, such as deafness and eye problems. We have consulted expert guides like The Complete Manual to Pomeranians for a complete Merle Pom guide and breed profile.

You can get red or blue merle Pomeranians and occasionally even very rare tri-colors. Other rare merle poms include:

  • Chocolate merle Pomeranians;
  • Lilac or lavender merles; and
  • Double merle or white merles.

One of the most popular types of Merle Pomeranians is the Blue Merle Pomeranian. These dogs have a blue-gray coat with black or dark gray markings, giving them a unique and striking appearance. 

Just like the Merle Pitbull and Merle Frenchies, Pomeranians aren’t natural carriers of the Merle gene. Therefore, outcrossing probably  occurred at some point in the Merle Pom’s line to introduce the gene. 

Overall, Merle Pomeranians are a unique and eye-catching breed that makes great pets for those looking for a small, affectionate companion.

Check out this stunning Merle Pom with his head held high: 

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Genetic Basis of Merle Coloration: Understanding The Merle Color 

Merle is a genetic trait that affects the coloration of a Pomeranian’s coat. It results from a dominant gene, called the “M” gene, responsible for the merle pattern.

This gene is not natural to Pomeranians but can be found in other dog breeds, such as Australian Shepherds, Dapple Dachshunds, Australian Cattle Dogs, and Cardigan Welsh Corgis.

There are three possible ways the Merle gene found its way to Poms:

  1. Outcrossing – where a breed with the Merle gene, such as Corgis or Mini American Shepherds bred with Poms for the gene. 
  2. Crossbreeding with a Merle – carrying breed to result in mixes. 
  3. Merle Pomeranians have always existed, but we didn’t know about them. This is unlikely since, historically, there have only been artistic depictions of colors like white, cream, orange, and red.

The M gene is responsible for diluting the base color of a Pomeranian’s coat, resulting in a mottled or speckled appearance. The merle pattern can vary in intensity, with some Pomeranians showing a light speckling and others displaying a more pronounced pattern.

Breeders must create heterozygous merle Pomeranians with one (M) copy to prevent health issues like deafness. However, breeding two heterozygous merle Pomeranians together can result in homozygous merle offspring, which can be problematic.

It’s worth noting that some breeders will intentionally breed two Merle Pomeranians together to produce a “Double Merle” Pomeranian. Studies show dogs with red or light coats are likelier to be hidden merles, increasing the chances of breeding the unhealthy double merle.

The Merle gene can have different effects on a Pomeranian’s coat, depending on whether the dog is homozygous or heterozygous for the M gene. Homozygous merle Pomeranians (MM), which inherit the M gene from both parents, can display a more pronounced merle pattern and may have a higher risk of health issues, such as deafness and blindness.

It is important for Pomeranian breeders to understand the genetic basis of merle coloration and to carefully select breeding pairs to avoid producing puppies with health issues. While the merle pattern can be visually striking, it is essential to prioritize the health and well-being of the dogs above aesthetic considerations.

History of the Pomeranian

Pomeranians get their name from the Pomerania region, which spans parts of modern-day Poland and Germany along the Baltic Sea. The breed’s ancestors were larger sled dogs used in this region for various tasks, such as herding livestock and pulling carts.

The Pom, also known as the Zwergspitz in some countries, is the smallest of the spitz breeds. Queen Victoria played a huge role in making these dogs famous and was credited for reducing the Pom to toy size from 30 pounds.

Physical Characteristics of Merle Pomeranians

What Do Merle Pomeranians Look Like?

Merle Pomeranians are known for their distinctive coat pattern, characterized by patches of diluted lighter color on a solid, darker base color. The merle pattern can appear in various colors, including blue, red, chocolate, and black.

They have a well-proportioned body with a relatively short back. They are known for their fox-like faces and hair resembling a mane. 

They have a wedge-shaped head with a short and pointed muzzle, and their ears are erect and set high on the head. Their eyes are dark and round, with a lively and intelligent expression. They have a plume-like tails over their backs.

Coat and color

The coat of a Merle Pomeranian is thick and fluffy, with a soft undercoat and a longer outer coat. The merle pattern can appear in different variations, including:

  •  Blue merle with a light blue-gray base with dark gray or black patches;
  •  red merle –dark brown on a lighter shade;
  • chocolate merle like this pup; 
  • Tricolor merle–Usually blank on a blue base with red or tan markings;
  • Harlequin merle –merle markings on a white base coat; and
  • Lavender Merle Pomeranian has a lighter, more muted coat with lavender or gray spots.

How Big Do Merle Pomeranians Get?

Merle Poms are small dogs weighing only 3 to 7 pounds (1.4 to 3.2 kg) at a height of 8 to 11 inches (20 to 28cm).

Merle Pomerenian Temperament

Merle Pomeranians are vivacious canines characterized by their lively, playful, and curious temperament. They are alert and quick to react to changes in their environment, displaying confidence despite their small size. 

The Merle Pom’s protective instincts further enhance their endearing temperament, making training and socialization crucial for a balanced behavior. While sociable and affectionate with owners and loved ones, they can also be vocal, using their alert nature to communicate. 

Believe it or not, Poms pack a punch regarding intelligence. They stand at the 23rd position in the dog intelligence ranking, according to Dr. Coren, and can quickly learn tricks and commands.

Health Concerns in Merle Pomeranians

Like all dog breeds, Merle Poms have breed-specific health concerns and issues relating to the Merle gene, like blindness and deafness. Research shows that Merle dogs have increased susceptibility to congenital blindness and deafness and cardiac, skeletal, and neurological issues.

Eye Problems

Merle Pomeranians are prone to various eye problems, including cataracts, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy. Cataracts can lead to blindness if not treated, while glaucoma can cause eye pain and pressure. They also have other eye issues like Microphthalmia, starburst pupils (small eye), and Corectopia (dropped pupils), especially if they’re double merle.

Deafness

Merle Pomeranians are also susceptible to congenital deafness, which means they are born deaf. This condition is more common in dogs with the Merle coat pattern. 

Deafness happens from a lack of pigment in the inner ear, which can affect the development of the auditory system. Research shows they have a 0.9% chance of developing deafness in both ears and a 2.7% chance in one.

Skin Disorders

Merle Pomeranians are prone to multiple skin disorders, including allergies, dermatitis, hot spots, and color dilution alopecia. These conditions can cause itching, redness, and discomfort for the dog.

Musculoskeletal issues 

These include luxating patellar (rotating knee cap) and hip and elbow dysplasia, where the joints and sockets don’t connect.

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) due to their high metabolism rate 
  • Collapsed tracheas due to their tiny and fragile necks 
  • Thyroid issues like hypothyroidism 
  • Heart diseases like heart murmurs or irregular heartbeat
  • Pharyngeal Gag Reflex (reverse sneezing)
  • Moderate issues like dental problems, obesity, ear infections, and allergies

Caring for a Merle Pomeranian

How to Groom a Merle Pom 

Merle Pomeranians have a thick, double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and shiny. 

Coat brushing

Brush their coat at least twice a week to remove any loose hair and prevent matting. During shedding season, which occurs twice a year, they may need to be brushed more frequently. 

Bathing

Bathing them monthly when necessary with gentle shampoos, as frequent bathing can strip their coat of natural oils.

Nail trimming

Monthly nail trimming with a guillotine-shaped pet clipper is also important to prevent discomfort and injury.

Brushing their teeth

Brush their teeth twice a week and use chews and dental rinses to improve dental health.

Ear cleaning

Clean their ears biweekly with canine wipes to prevent infections. 

Professional haircut

Pomeranian professional haircuts, like the lion cut, keep your Pom looking cute and tidy. 

Dietary Requirements

Merle Pomeranians have a high metabolism and require a diet that is rich in protein (at least 25%) and nutrients. Divide their meals into two portions to prevent hypoglycemia risk (low blood sugar).

Feed them high-quality dog food that is specific to small breeds. Owners should avoid feeding their Merle Pomeranians table scraps or human food, which can lead to weight gain and other health issues.

Exercise Needs

Merle Pomeranians are active dogs that require 30 to 45 minutes of daily exercise. They enjoy short walks and playtime and can also benefit from indoor activities such as playing fetch or using puzzle toys. Owners should ensure that their Pom gets enough exercise to prevent obesity and other health problems.

Training a Merle Pomeranian

Merle Pomeranians are intelligent and eager-to-please dogs that can be trained with consistency and patience. It’s paramount to start training early and use positive reinforcement to get the best results. Socializa, crate train, and obedience train your Pom for best results.

If you’re having trouble training your Merle Pomeranian, seek help from a professional dog trainer. They can provide personalized advice and guidance to help you and your dog succeed.

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Finding a Merle Pomeranian Breeder

When looking for a Merle Pomeranian breeder, it is essential to do your research and find a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs. Here are some tips to help you find a responsible breeder:

  • Start by searching for breeders online.
  • Contact the breeder and ask questions about their breeding program, the health of their dogs, and any genetic testing they have done.
  • Ask to see the puppies and their parents in person to see their health and temperament. 
  • Look for a breeder who is a reputable breed club or organization member.
  • Avoid breeders who have a large number of dogs or seem more interested in making a quick profit than in the well-being of their dogs.

Adopting a Merle Pomeranian from a Rescue

Adopting a Merle Pomeranian from a rescue can be a rewarding experience for both the dog and the new owner. It may be tough to adopt a Merle Pom because of their rarity and cost, but you can try your luck.

When adopting a Merle Pomeranian from a rescue, it is vital to research the rescue organization thoroughly. Look for a reputable rescue with experience with the breed and a good track record of placing dogs in loving homes.

Once you have found a rescue organization, the next step is to fill out an adoption application. The application will typically ask for information about your home, lifestyle, and experience with dogs. The rescue may also require a home visit to ensure your home is safe and suitable for a dog.

Popular Pomeranian rescue organizations include:

When adopting a Merle Pomeranian from a rescue, it is essential to understand that the dog may have behavioral or medical issues that must be addressed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find Merle Pomeranians for sale near me?

Merle Pomeranians are a popular breed, and you may be able to find them for sale through a breeder, pet store, or online marketplace. Researching and finding a reputable seller is vital to ensure you are getting a healthy and well-bred puppy.

How much does a Merle Pomeranian puppy cost?

The cost of a Merle Pomeranian puppy can vary depending on the breeder, location, and demand. On average, you can expect to pay between $30000 and $5,000 for a Merle Pomeranian puppy.

What is a red merle Pomeranian?

A red Merle Pomeranian has a red base coat and darker brown markings. The merle pattern is characterized by a mottled or speckled appearance with patches of darker and lighter fur.

What is a chocolate Merle Pomeranian?

A chocolate merle Pomeranian has a chocolate-colored base coat and darker brown on top. The merle pattern can vary in intensity and may appear as patches or speckles of darker and lighter fur.

What is a double merle Pomeranian?

A double merle Pomeranian is a Pomeranian that has inherited the merle gene from both parents (MM). This can lead to various health issues, including deafness and blindness.

What is a white merle Pomeranian?

A white Merle Pomeranian has a white base coat and darker markings like gray. The merle pattern can vary in intensity and may appear as patches or speckles of darker and lighter fur. However, some white Merle Pomeranians are double merles. 

What is a lavender merle Pomeranian?

A lavender merle Pomeranian has a light purple or lavender base coat and merle markings. This color is relatively rare and highly sought after by some Pomeranian enthusiasts.

Is It Easy to Potty Train a Pomeranian?

Pomeranians have smaller bladders than other large breeds. Therefore, they may be able to hold pee for only a short time, making potty training slightly harder. However, they’ll get the hang of it with proper training.

Final Thoughts

Merle Pomeranians are a unique and eye-catching breed that has become increasingly popular recently. While they may be more expensive than traditional Pomeranians, their distinctive coat pattern and charming personality make them a worthwhile investment for many dog owners. However, it is essential to note that the Merle gene can also be associated with health issues such as deafness and blindness.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

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.