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Merle English Pit Bull: Facts, Details, Pictures

Now that you’re looking to own a unique and eye-catching dog, you might consider owning a merle English pit bull. As adorable and one-of-a-kind as these dogs might look, it’s always essential to research any potential issues that you encounter owning one.

The merle English pit bull is part English bulldog and terrier and typically has a mottled coat and light eyes. However, it can be prone to genetic health issues such as deafness and sterility if bred improperly and can be incredibly expensive. Do enough research before you decide to own one.

So, you’re trying to figure out more about the merle English pit bull. You may be concerned about potential health problems or the costs of having one. Or, if you want to learn a bit more about this beautiful dog type, whatever it may be, read on!

The History Of The Bulldog And Terrier Breeds

Before getting to know a bit more about the merle-coated English pit bull and any potential health issues, it helps to look at their history as a breed. So, if you do a bit of sleuthing, you’ll find that the pit bull breed is descended from several iconic English breeds.

As evident by their robust, stocky, and broad frames, the pit bull was initially bred for one thing: to be a fighting dog. However, the breed began to emerge in the early 19th century in the United Kingdom as the intentional result of crossing the terrier and the Old English bulldog breeds.

However, the pit bull is technically not a particular breed of dog but rather a category under which several breeds can fall. These hardy breeds include the American bulldog, American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, and American bully.

Historically, the pit bull is not a breed recognized by the American Kennel Club due to its fearsome reputation as a dog bred for fighting. But pit bull breeders in the U.S. worked around this by renaming the breed as Staffordshire terriers, officially recognized in 1935.

Since this breed reached public recognition and more English and American legislators banned dog fighting in the 19th and 20th centuries, it retired from its original purpose. As a result, many bred this dog breed for hunting, guarding, and companionship.

So, in modern times, you’re much more likely to find the pit bull as a breed adapted to family living. In fact, the pit bull breed is frequently referred to being a “nanny dog” due to its caring and affectionate temperament. It is mainly present when children are nearby.

Merle English Pitbull
Merle English Pitbull

What Is A Merle Coat?

Now that you know more about the pit bull breed and its fascinating history, you’ll want to learn more about the merle coat and what makes it so interesting and unique.

The merle coat coloration can be defined as a genetic trait inherited from the dog’s parents and includes a mottled, multi-color coat pattern, light eyes, and a host of other characteristics.

Merle coats are an assortment of colors such as white, brown, black, red, and grey, typically with a base coat interspersed with contrasting patches. The most common varieties of merle include the blue merle, a coat with blue-tinted patches, and the red merle, a coat with reddish-brown tinted patches.

Usually, dogs with a merle coat have light blue eyes, pink paw pads, and noses. However, on occasion, merle coats can also include eyes that are darker in color and Heterochromia, a trait whereby the eyes are different colors. This phenomenon usually occurs with one eye being brown and the other blue or green.

But it’s also necessary to acknowledge that the merle coats don’t just occur amongst pit bull breeds. Some of the most famous examples of breeds that can have the merle coat trait include the bulldog, the Pyrenean shepherd, the border collie, the dachshund, the Great Dane, and the Chihuahua. 

Interestingly, the merle coat occurs most commonly amongst the similar-looking Australian shepherd and the border collie breeds, which can be host to rare merle coat combinations such as lilac and tan merle.

The frequency of merle coats occurring depends a lot on the breed of the dog; as said before, merle is very common amongst shepherd breeds. However, this desirable trait is rare for breeds like the dachshund, the corgi, and the Chihuahua. It can fetch prices in the thousands of U.S. dollars.

The Pros And Cons Of Merle English Pit Bull Ownership

So, you have your heart set on the idea of having an English pit bull with a merle coat, and you’re interested to know more about the benefits and possible risks. In that case, you’re in the right place! This comprehensive guide will explain the intricacies of owning a merle English pit bull.

Merle English Pit Bull Genetic Issues

With any prized genetic traits amongst animals such as dogs, especially purebreds, you must always watch out for potential health risks. That goes to say, it’s the same for merle-coated dogs.

Suppose you remember anything about high school biology. In that case, with genetic traits such as the merle coat amongst dogs, the inheritance of the feature can be best represented by the Punnett square of dominant and recessive traits.

Merle coats are coded as a dominant trait amongst dogs. Therefore, they are represented with the symbol of M. In contrast, a coat pattern that isn’t merle in coloration is represented by the lowercase letter m. 

The merle coat pattern is Heterozygous. Or incompletely dominant, which is shown as Mm. So, the merle coat is an intermediate form of the traits of both parents. Thus, both parents must be homozygous (wholly dominant or recessive). For a feature to have heterozygous offspring.

For example, one of the dog’s parents might have a white coat, shown as the recessive ww. And the other has a black coat, shown as the dominant B.B.; therefore, the heterozygous offspring will be grey or Bw

Genetic inheritance is significant and relevant to the merle English pit bull topic because they can be victims of congenital abnormalities like many varieties of dog breeds. Including defects resulting from poor-breeding practices such as inbreeding. 

Since merle coats are relatively rare amongst dogs from the pit bull breed, dogs from the same parents that have the merle coat are often bred with each other in order to ensure that their offspring will also have the trait. However, a dog with a merle coat might be predisposed to related genetic health issues.

Any related dogs are more likely to have the same or similar likelihood of suffering from an inherited illness. Therefore, if they are siblings and breed with one another. The offspring will subsequently have a far higher chance of suffering from that illness as both parents have the merle coat.

Examples of frequent health complications amongst so-called “double merle-coat” dogs, including the pit bull, are full or partial deafness, blindness, sterility, and an increased likelihood of suffering from skin cancer. Their exceptionally light-sensitive skin, which has less melanin, increases this likelihood.

However, suppose you’ve done your homework prior to adopting your precious puppy to ensure that their parents aren’t related. In that case, you likely won’t encounter any health issues. Merle-coated dogs that are the product of healthy breeding practices are far less likely to suffer from the aforementioned ill health.

Ethical Concerns

When you’re thinking about getting a dog, it’s also important to acknowledge whether or not you want to adopt the dog or purchase it from a breeder.

Considering the rarity of the merle English pit bull, merle is already a rare trait amongst a very niche dog breed. So, the likelihood of finding a dog that is a merle English pit bull in a shelter or adoption center is very low. 

So, you would likely purchase a puppy from a breeder, which can be an ethical issue in itself due to the frequent practice of inbreeding. Therefore, it’s very important to consider these aspects before you own a merle English pit bull.

The Potential Costs

Another potential snag in your plan to own a merle English pit bull can be the expense of getting one. Since this type of dog is so uncommon, the price of a puppy can easily reach several thousand U.S.D. Some cost an eyewatering 30 000 USD.

Also, there might be unforeseen costs when adopting a merle English pit bull, especially if the dog suffers from health complications that result from inbreeding. So, unless you want to pay staggering vet bills, it’s crucial that you acquire the merle English pit bull from responsible breeders and contact their references beforehand.

The Illegality Of Pit Bulls

Another consideration you should make is to check whether or not you can legally own a pit bull within your city or country. For example, the U.S. cities in which owning a pit bull is prohibited or heavily restricted include Washington, San Francisco, New York, and Miami.

The following countries and regions also place bans or restrictions on owning a pit bull: Ireland, Malaysia, France, Malta, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Ukraine, Israel, and many more.

Many governments enforce prohibitions because the pit bull is often thought of as aggressive and unpredictable due to some still breeding them to be fighting dogs. This is in addition to their lack of official recognition by the American Kennel Club and subpar pit bull breeding practices.

However, it’s also important to remember that some pit bulls are bred poorly to be more aggressive and territorial. Although most pit bulls are bred to become loving and highly affectionate family dogs

As the old saying goes, “there are no bad dogs, just bad owners.” So, if you obtain this special dog from good breeders and treat the dog with due care and respect, there is a significantly decreased chance that the pit bull will turn out to be aggressive. 

The Amazing Characteristics Of The Pit Bull Breed

Now that we’ve laid out the ins and outs of owning a merle English pit bull let’s take a look at the best traits of the pit bull breed in general.

Known as “America’s dog,” the pit bull is, let’s face it, a staple of early Americana and a quintessentially American dog. Since the early 19th century, many European American settlers bred the pit bull to be a family companion as well as a guard dog, which makes sense considering their protective nature.

Many breeds that fall underneath the “pit bull” category are similar in build and temperament. Physically, they are usually broad-shouldered, compact, and muscular. However, despite their intimidating appearance, they are incredibly affectionate, active, playful, and exceptionally patient, especially with small children.

Despite this, suppose a person or another dog appears to be threatening a pit bull’s owner or any family member. In that case, the pit bull will often respond with full force. They do not shy away in the face of danger and will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love, making them highly loyal and family-oriented dogs.

Pit bulls that are part English bulldogs often have a similar stocky build, with classic bulldog droopiness, and are also quite mellow, loving, and friendly. But the traits of a bulldog make them slightly less active and aggressive to strangers, and they much prefer snoozing.


So, now that we’ve gone through the pros and cons of owning a merle English pit bull, you’ve discovered that this type of dog is often prone to health issues if subjected to poor breeding practices. However, if you do your research and find an ethical breeder, your dog likely won’t suffer from these.

Whatever mix of breeds your merle English pit bull may be. You will undoubtedly find a loving companion, proactive guard dog, and new family member all in one. Unlike their undeserved reputation as pit bulls, the merle English pit bull is a truly warm, courageous, and gentle gem of a dog.

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