Difference Between A Dapple and Merle Dachshund


Is it the dapple (or merle) genotype that ramps up their price or the fact that they are of the miniature size variety? Or is it both?

What is the difference between dapple and merle?

From a genetic standpoint – there is no difference. Both dapple and merle dogs have an Mm genotype –

they have a single M (merle) dominant allele and an m (non-merle) allele. MM genotypes are double-merle or double-dapple whereas mm genotypes are non-merle.

The reason we typically use the term dapple for dachshunds instead of merle is that the Mm genotype in dachshunds expresses itself through white spots on the dog’s non-white coat.

In contrast, other dog breeds with the Mm merle genotype have darker spots on their lighter coat. Both the merle and the dapple coat types are caused by the same gene.

However, and both have the same risk – doubling the MM merle genotype results in a mostly white dog with huge risks for blindness and deafness.

Is a dapple Dachshund rare?

It is rare but that’s despite the M allele in the Mm dapple dachshund genotype being dominant.

However – on the contrary, it is dominant. Instead, dapple dachshunds are relatively rare because breeders are trying not to breed them too much.

That, in turn, isn’t because there’s anything wrong with dapple dachshunds – they are perfectly nice and healthy dogs – 

but because accidentally or intentionally breeding two dapple (Mm) dachshunds together can lead to double dapple (MM) dachshunds being born in their litter.

And the MM double dapple dachshund does have health issues such as increased risks for blindness and deafness. 

So, to avoid such accidents, many breeders and kennel clubs avoid breeding even “normal” single dapple (Mm) dachshunds.

How do you get a dapple Dachshund?

Dapple dachshunds are bred from other dapple dachshunds, like any other dog. Presumably, at one point in the past, a genetic mutation caused -

the Mm merle genotype that causes the pretty dapple/merle coats of dachshunds and other dogs. That’s similar to how we got people with blonde hair some ~11,000 years ago.

But, if you want a dapple dachshund today, you’ll just need to breed dapple (Mm) dachshund with a non-dapple (mm) dachshund.

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