Merle Bernedoodles are beautiful, friendly dogs that are perfect for families and first-time dog owners. Here’s a deeper dive into the breed and how to find your very own Merle Bernedoodle.
1. A Merle Bernedoodle is a cross between a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Standard Poodle with a very specific coat pattern and color, typically bluish-grey, red, or chocolate with spots or speckles of black or very dark brown.
Te most common Merle patterns found in Bernedoodles are: Merle Phantom, a pattern with merle markings on the body and white noses, legs, and chest.
- Merle & White, a combination of white and merle markings all over the body.
- Tri-color Merle, a combination of black, rust, and white coloring and merle markings.
Many Merle Bernedoodles are also born with light blue or partially blue eyes, or their eyes may be two different colors (wall-eyed).
The nose and paws may also display the merle pattern.
2. Merle Bernedoodle Genetics
Merle Bernedoodles are created by breeding Bernese Mountain Dog and Standard Poodles.
The merle gene is a dilution gene that lightens whatever a dog’s coat color would otherwise have been without the gene.
Once this gene is introduced and expressed, the dog’s coat is left with black or very dark brown patches and spots of color unevenly dispersed among the coat.
The merle gene is found exclusively in domesticated dogs, and it does naturally appear in some breeds.
3. When two merle dogs are bred, it’s called a Double Merle.
There’s a good chance the resulting puppies will be born blind and deaf, or at least with visual and hearing impairments.
This is because Double Merles lack hair pigments produced in the inner ear and are extremely prone to congenital eye defects.
While Double Merles may appear to be albinos, they are not.
They simply lack normal levels of pigment due to dangerous breeding issues.
As a result of this lack of pigment, Double Merles are also more prone to getting skin cancer.
4. A Phantom, Ghost, or Cryptic Merle displays very little to no merle pattern and may be misclassified as non-merles
The only way to see if your dog is a phantom merle is to do a DNA test.
Phantom merles when bred to non-merles do not produce any other than cryptics and solids. They will not produce a typical merle dog.
If you are a breeder, it is important to test to see if your dog is a phantom merle to make sure that two merles are not bred together, which could result in a double merle dog.
It’s important to note that the coats of all Merle Bernedoodles can fade or change a little over time. This is due to genetics and can’t really be predicted ahead of time.
You can typically tell by six weeks of age if your Merle Bernedoodle’s coat will change.
The Berndoodle is not officially recognized by the AKC. However, you can register a Merle Bernedoodle with the United Bernedoodle Registry.
5. As long as the Bernedoodle isn’t a Double Merle, the merle pattern should have no effect on their health.
Merle dogs have the same life expectancy and can have the same excellent quality of life as solid ones.
Dog Genetics reports that some merle dogs may experience increased sensitivity to light and increased risk of skin cancer.
Bernedoodles as a breed are also more prone to hip dysplasia and eye issues than some other breeds.
According to the AKC, hip dysplasia typically occurs in large breed dogs and happens when the ball and joint of the hip deteriorate over time.
Eye issues may include sensitivity to light, partial blindness, or complete blindness.
Some Merle Bernedoodles are born with eyes that are too small for their skulls, a condition called microphthalmia. In these cases, the eyes will usually need to be removed.
6. Merle Bernedoodle Temperament
Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle, extremely intelligent and loyal. Standard Poodles are also playful and fearless.
Standard Poodles are hypoallergenic, which means Merle Bernedoodles are, too. That means they’re great for anyone with asthma or dog allergies.
Merle Bernedoodles typically have a pleasant and gentle temperament, and they are very curious and friendly.
Overall, Merle Bernedoodles are adaptable and easy to train, so they make great pets for first-time pet owners.
Merle Bernedoodles are great with kids, families, and generally all people.
Merle Bernedoodles can be quite sensitive, and they truly want to please their owners. As such, they need to spend a lot of time around people and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time.
They’re better suited for a household where they can spend lots of time inside interacting and playing with people.
7. The average price of a Merle Bernedoodle ranges from $3,000 – $5000
While regular coated bernedoodles can command a price between $2,000 to $4,000, merle bernedoodles are a tad more expensive.
The merle pattern is a bit more rare and desirable than others, so Merle Bernedoodles will likely cost more than ones with normal patterns.
8. Finding a reputable Merle Bernedoodle breeder involves doing a lot of research.
When you start your search for a breeder, use online searches and read reviews to get an idea of others’ experiences with the breeder.
You may also want to tap your network and see if any of your friends or associates have worked with a reputable breeder in your area in the past.
Your current vet or a local vet may also be able to recommend a reputable Merle Bernedoodle breeder in your area.
9. After finding a potential breeder, it’s important to either meet them face-to-face or arrange a call so you can get a better feel for them.
If at all possible, visit their location and note how clean and organized their breeding facilities are.
It’s also very important to see your potential Merle Bernedoodle’s parents and request to see their medical history to make sure they seem healthy and well taken care of.
Throughout the process, make sure you’re asking questions.
10. A reputable breeder will be more than happy to answer questions about their practices, the specific dog you’re interested in, the breed as a whole, and much more.
If the breeder seems annoyed by questions or if you feel like they’re withholding information, it’s time to find a new breeder.
The Humane Society of the United States has a great guide that will help you decide whether or not a breeder is ethical and reputable.
According to their guide, a responsible breeder keeps their dogs in a clean and spacious home, is transparent and open, keeps their numbers small, and wants to get to know you.
11. A responsible breeders will typically never sell a puppy online to someone they have never met, keep their dogs in crowded spaces or cages, or work with tons of different breeds.
Responsible breeders will usually want to meet you in person, and they’ll want you to sign a contract.
If you can’t seem to find a reputable Merle Bernedoodle breeder near you, try checking with local animal shelters or rescue organizations.
They may be able to help you find what you’re looking for, and at a fraction of the cost!
Merle Bernedoodles are beautiful, friendly dogs that are a great fit for families and first-time pet owners. As long as the breeding is done responsibly, a Merle Bernedoodle will live a long, happy life with its family.