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Merle Husky – Facts, Details, Pictures

Merle Huskies are beautiful with their unique color pattern, but they are at risk for health issues. Because of this, merle Huskies are controversial, with many breeders avoiding breeding merles. 

Merle Husky Facts

First, it’s important to know the Husky’s history. They are descendants of the Siberian Taimyr wolf. They were first domesticated by the Churchuri tribe 4,000 years ago. 

The tribe used them to pull sleds, as well as for companionship. They first came to America in 1908, where they participated in the All Alaska Sweepstakes. 

They soon gained notoriety as sled dogs. They became popular as sled dogs in New England. Eventually, they became popular as companions around the country. They were recognized by the AKC in 1930. 

Merle Husky 

Merle Huskeis are not considered purebreds. The merle gene is thought to have been introduced by breeding Huskies with other breeds, who carry the merle gene. 

Cryptic Merles 

Cryptic merles have the merle gene, but it’s not visible. Merle is a partially dominant gene, which usually means it’s expressed if there’s only one copy of the gene. 

However, recessive red merles may not have visible patches. Sable merles can also be missed, because they are difficult to differentiate from a regular sable coat. 

Some merles have a shortened version of the merle gene, which causes it to not be expressed. They can still pass the merle gene to their offspring, even though they don’t appear to be merle. 

Double Merles 

When two merle dogs are bred, they create double merles. Double merles are at a higher risk of health issues. Double merles can also occur when a merle is bred with a cryptic merle. 

If both parents have one merle gene, about 25% will be double merle. Two double merle dogs will only produce double merles. 

Merle Husky Appearance

Huskies are graceful, and slightly longer than they are tall. They have a double coat, and erect medium-sized ears. They have a thick undercoat, and a medium length topcoat. They have a long, bushy tail that they use to keep themselves warm in cold weather. 

Merle Husky Appearance

Merle Huskies have a mottled appearance. They have dark color patches with a lighter background color. Merle can affect eye color and skin color as well. 

Huskies can be either blue or red merle. The merle gene causes patches of hair to be diluted. Blue merles have gray, silver, and black in their coats.

Red merles have a light cinnamon to dark liver patches on their coat.

Merles may also have copper points on their face and legs. They may look similar to tri-color dogs, but tri-color dogs do not have the mottled or marbled effect. 

Double merles will have a predominantly white coat. They may also have very light blue eyes, and pink noses and paw pads. 

Merle Husky Price

Merle Huskies can be a bit more expensive than average. However, reputable breeders often avoid actively breeding merles.

The average price for a husky is $1,000. Prices for registered Husky pups ranges from $800 to $2,500. Show quality Huskies cost more, up to $3,000.  

Merle Huskies can’t be AKC registered. They can cost anywhere from $400 to $2,000. 

Merle Husky Rarity

Merle Huskies are considered rare, despite the merle gene being dominant. Most breeders try to prevent merles, because of the associated health risks. 

However, some breeders do breed merles. They ensure that they don’t breed double merles. 

Merle Husky Life expectancy

Huskies can live for 12 to 14 years. Merle Huskies may live this long, if they aren’t impacted by serious health issues. Your dog’s lifespan is determined by their genetics. However, you can maximize their lifespan by providing a healthy diet, exercise, and routine veterinary care. 

Merle Husky Size and weight

Merle Huskies are medium sized dogs. Females are a bit smaller than males. They will grow to 20 to 22 inches tall, and weigh 35 to 50 pounds. Males will reach 22-24 inches tall, and weigh 45-60 pounds. 

Merle Husky Health

Huskies are typically healthy dogs. However, they are prone to some health issues. Genetic testing has lowered the risk of many health issues.

Genetic testing can reveal health conditions that can be passed on to offspring. These dogs are not bred, so they don’t pass on the condition. Over time, the amount of dogs with the health condition is reduced with this practice. 

There are some conditions associated with merles, and particularly double merles. 

Hearing Impairment 

Merles are at a higher risk of deafness than other colors of Husky. 3% of merles are deaf in one ear, and 1% are deaf in both ears.  Double merles are at a much higher risk, with 10% being deaf in one ear, and 15% being deaf in both ears. 

This occurs because merle causes a lack of pigment in some areas. A lack of pigment in the inner ear can cause the tiny hairs and nerves to die. This leads to deafness. 

Not all merles with hearing issues are completely deaf. It’s also possible for them to have some hearing loss, while still having some hearing. 

Dogs who are deaf may not respond to commands or everyday noises. They can be less active, and difficult to wake when sleeping. They may bark excessively, or be easily disoriented. 

Vision Problems 

Merles are at a risk of blindness as well. One condition that causes blindness is microphthalmia, which causes small eyes. They are also at a risk of problems with the iris, which affects vision. Pupillary membranes are present when a dog is born, but typically disappear within their first few weeks of life. Merle dogs may keep these membranes, which can lead to small vision issues or blindness. 

It’s important to note that any vision impairment in a merle dog can be passed on to offspring. Mild deformity in the parents can lead to severe vision problems in offspring. 

Skin Cancer 

Skin cancer is also higher in merle dogs, particularly double merles. This is because of their light colored skin and white hair. This makes them more sensitive to sunlight than other colors. 


Merle Huskies can also develop arthritis. The condition is similar to arthritis in humans. It causes the joints to swell, which leads to pain and stiffness. You may notice that they have difficulty moving or walking, particularly early in the morning. 

 There’s no cure for arthritis, but it can be managed with medication. Exercise can also help to minimize arthritis symptoms. 


Epilepsy can be caused by trauma to the brain, metabolic issues, or toxin ingestion.  When there’s no underlying cause that can be found, it’s called primary epilepsy.

Huskies are at a higher risk of this type of epilepsy. 

The symptoms include drooling and involuntary muscle movements. They may fall over, kick their legs, or drool. They may also lose control of their bowels and bladder. 

Seizures typically start when a dog is 6 months to 3 years old. They can last for 30 seconds to 5 minutes. 


Merle Huskies may also get bloat. This occurs when gas gets trapped in the stomach. As food digests, more gas continues to form. If not treated, the increased pressure can cause the stomach to twist. 

If the stomach twists, the condition is fatal in about half of cases, even with veterinary care. 

 Bloat causes the stomach to swell or bloat. It also prevents gas, pee, or poop from passing. Dogs will usually retch, without productive vomititng. The condition is very painful, so pain is often the first thing that you will notice. 

Bloat can be treated, but time is of the essence. Dogs can go from beginning to show symptoms to death in only a few hours. 

The risk of bloat can be reduced by feeding your Husky a few small meals each day. Dogs who eat very quickly may also benefit from a slow feeder bowl. 

Merle Husky Behavior/Characteristics

Merle Huskies are very energetic and friendly. They are great with children. They are gentle with them, and are always up to play. They need lots of time with their family. 

They are friendly with everyone, as well as other dogs. They are excellent companions. 

They do well when they get plenty of exercise and socialization. Without it, they can develop behavioral issues. They may become destructive, or develop compulsive habits like frequent howling or licking. 

How to care for a Merle Husky

Merle Huskies require more care than most breeds, but Husky owners say that they are well worth it. They need lots of exercise, and regular grooming. 


Huskies can travel up to 150 miles in a day, and run at speeds of 30 mph. Merle dogs who are death or blind will be less active. Healthy Huskies, however, will need to run or walk 3 to 5 miles at least 4 days a week. You can also give them 1, or preferably 2, hours of exercise each day. 

They do best with a fenced in yard, which allows them to exercise and play. They are great escape artists, however. You’ll need to be sure they cant go over or under the fence. 


Huskies need regular grooming due to their double coat. They will shed their coat in the spring and fall. During this time, they should be brushed daily. This reduces the amount of hair they shed, and the time shedding takes. 

Begin by brushing their undercoat, and then brush their topcoat. Use a comb first, to remove any tangles. Then, use a paddle brush to remove dirt and shed hair. 


Huskies were originally bred as sledding dogs. When pulling a sled, they need to make decisions with little or no input from their owner. This means that they are very independent. 

This independence can make it difficult to train them. If you don’t have experience training strong willed dogs, you should consider taking them to an obedience class. 


Huskies need lots of socialization. They are highly pack oriented. They view their family as their pack, but they also need socialization with other dogs. 

They do have a high prey drive. This means that they will view smaller animals like cats as prey. If they will be around smaller animals, you’ll need to socialize them with these animals early. This will prevent them from seeing them as prey. 

How do you buy a Merle Husky?

When buying a merle Husky, it’s important to be sure the breeder is ethical. It’s important to know that merle Huskies can’t be registered, because they aren’t considered to be purebred. 

When buying a merle husky, you’ll need to be prepared for the health issues that it can bring. Most merle Huskies are healthy, but you should be prepared for issues related to vision and hearing problems before purchasing one, just in case. 

Finding Merle Husky Breeders 

Merle Husky breeders can be difficult to find. Your best bet is an internet search. However,  finding a breeder is only the first step. 

Ask Questions 

When finding a breeder, it’s important to ask questions. Ask them how they determine which dogs to breed. Do they perform genetic testing to be sure they aren’t producing double merles? Do they focus on breeding merle dogs, or do they put the health and temperament of their dogs first. 

Meet the Breeder and Parents 

It’s a good idea to visit a breeder before buying a merle Husky. This will allow you to see the dogs and their living conditions. It also gives you a chance to meet the dog’s parents. This can help ensure that the breeder is ethical. Unethical breeders aren’t concerned about their dog’s wellbeing, so dogs who live well are a good sign. 

Expect to Answer Questions 

You should also expect the breeder to ask you questions. Ethical breeders will want to be sure that their dogs are well taken care of. Expect them to ask about your intentions for the dog, and what their living conditions will be. They may also ask you about your previous dog ownership experience.