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Rare Colored Pomeranians and Chihuahuas

By Dr Tracey Tonkin.

According to geneticists, the merle color pattern did NOT naturally mutate in either the Chihuahua or the Pomeranian breed. It's hard to imagine why anyone would risk introducing outside genetic faults into the healthy breeds, but it was probably motivated by money. The breeders profiting from these poor dogs are marketing merle puppies as a “rare deviation” and selling them at higher prices than excellent pedigree show prospects from accredited show breeders.

As the gene does not occur naturally in either breed, a "merle" Chihuahua or Pomeranian, by definition, cannot be anything but a crossbreed, no matter what the breeder claims about it being "pure".

The problem of merles is so bad that effective March 2009, The Kennel Club (England) General Committee banned registration of any progeny produced by merle colored Chihuahuas. A similar ruling has been made about Pomeranians. They are seeking to eliminate the merle gene by forbidding the breeding of any dogs of that color.

No puppies will be Kennel Club registered from a mating of merle sire or dam. If European, Australian and New Zealand breeders are careful not to use American bloodlines, it is hoped the merle gene can eventually be eradicated from these breeds, thus removing the awful health problems associated with the merle coloration.

A merle Pomeranian cannot be legally papered in New Zealand with Dogs NZ. If the dog is "papered" the breeder might be using a dodgy organisation like The Master Dog Breeders Association, which is one of several profit-making websites worldwide, set up for the sole purpose of making dangerous, unhealthy crossbreeds look legit to con unsuspecting buyers by providing "papers" they print themselves.

Merle has been popularized as a rare “designer” color by unscrupulous breeders who are more concerned with money than health and type.  Some breeders have actually doubled-up on the color, breeding two merles together to strengthen the merle color. This practice has proved disastrous, producing Chihuahuas with life-long, and expensive to treat health defects such as blindness, deafness, or gruesome deformities as described in this article on merle color genetics by Gloria Lambert.

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