FOR THE LVE OF CHIHUAHUAS!
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER
APRIL 2008: CCA AGAIN DENIES MERLE CHIHUAHUA DISQUALIFICATION!!!!
PLEASE NOTE: MERLE CHIHUAHUAS HAVE ***NOT*** BEEN DISQUALIFIED! INDEED, THE BEAUTIFUL - AND HEALTHY - MERLE CHIHUAHUA REMAINS FULLY AKC REGISTERABLE - AND ***YES***, THEY ABSOLUTELY ***CAN*** CONTINUE TO BE SHOWN IN AKC CONFORMATION EVENTS!! THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR THE BREED AND FOR THOSE WHO CARE ABOUT PRESERVING ITS BEAUTIFUL - AND COLORFUL - HISTORY!!
Welcome to my Merle Chihuahua page! Ever wondered just what the story is behind the "Great Merle Chihuahua Debate" and the TRUTH behind those negative comments you have heard? Far from accurate, there is MUCH MISinformation out there about the beautiful merle Chihuahua and in fact these allegations of sight and hearing problems in single merle Chihuahuas are utter fabrications being spread by those desperate to "win" the debate at the cost of the truth! FACT: ALL SINGLE MERLE CHIHUAHUAS CERF & BAER TESTED HAVE PASSED - NOT ONE HAS HAD A PROBLEM WITH SIGHT OR HEARING! FACT: NO TEST RESULTS EXIST PROVING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A SINGLE COPY OF THE MERLE GENE AND HEALTH ISSUES IN THE CHIHUAHUA AND NO GENETIC EXPERT HAS PROVIDED ANY DATA PROVING ANY HARM TO THE BREED CAUSED BY A SINGLE COPY OF THE MERLE GENE!! Furthermore, the genetic expert "quoted" by the anti-merle sector to further their cause has written a REBUTTAL stating that G. Lambert has MISquoted him and MISunderstood and MISapplied his previous research on the merle gene that in no way, shape or form applies to the single merle Chihuahua! If you want to know the TRUTH about the merle Chihuahua so you can make up your own mind based upon FACTUAL evidence and not false accusations and propaganda, please read further. Thank you. THE BEAUTIFUL - AND HEALTHY - MERLE CHIHUAHUA: THE FACTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES!
If you have been a part of the Chihuahua world for a while now, or have recently begun researching the merle Chihuahuas, you may be aware of the merle Chihuahua debate, or have come across certain websites and statements about the merle Chihuahuas (and/or breeders of the merle Chihuahuas) that are very negative and are simply not true. I felt that it was important to set forth the other side of the argument and the FACTS about these special and beautiful little dogs that a small (but vocal) minority of breeders unsuccessfully petitioned the Chihuahua Club of America to disqualify from being exhibited, and the TRUTH about the merle Chihuahua refuting the statements this same minority of breeders continue to make in an effort to cast a disparaging shadow over these very special dogs and those breeders who would choose to include the merle Chihuahuas in their breeding programs.
The AKC standard states that there is NO disqualifying for color or pattern within this wonderful little breed and that ANY color -- solid, marked or splashed (splashed certainly seems to describe a merle Chihuahua, don't you think?) -- is permissible. And after carefully considering the multiple petitions put forth by the anti-merle sector to disqualify the merle Chihuahua and the evidence regarding the breeding of these beautiful dogs, along with the desires of the majority of its membership, the Chihuahua Club of America handed down its final decision to fully accept the merle Chihuahua, stating that no disqualification was appropriate or would be given and that the standard would continue to stand as it does - with NO disqualification for color or pattern. Unfortunately, the CCA's decision hasn't stopped the anti-merle breeders from continuing their campaign of misinformation against the merle Chihuahua (and negative statements and attitudes toward those who breed the merle Chihuahua), and because some people may run across these derogatory and untrue statements against the merles and merle breeders on the Internet I felt it was important to create this page in order that the truth about the merle Chihuahua be spoken and heard.
You may ask, just WHAT is their prejudice against these exotic little dogs (and sadly, yes, those who breed them)? Well, we all know that, unfortunately, intolerance and bigotry towards anything (or anyone) perceived as "different" has existed since the beginning of time. And there has sadly been within the dog show community at different times and in different breeds rifts that have arisen because of certain people who decide this or that pattern or color should not be allowed in "their" breed. Also, people are often threatened by something they don't understand. There are those who because they do not know where the first merle Chihuahua came from have come up with their own unproven "theories" and "conjecture" as to where this beautiful pattern came from (although this argument seems odd to me because I'm sure they don't know where the first of any of a number of variations of the Chihuahua came from). As far as where the merle gene came from in Chihuahuas, I guess to me that's sort of like asking where the brindle gene came from, or the long coat, or any of a variety of other color/pattern combinations found in the Chihuahua. Who can say who the very first brindle Chihuahua was, the first long coat Chihuahua, or the very first merle Chihuahua? There are known merles traced back at least 20 years, and that is such a long time ago that who can say that there were not others? Especially in light of the fact that a lot of dogs that are known to be merle were unfortunately not registered correctly. It is truly impossible to say for certain which dogs in any given pedigree are merle and which for certain are not, especially if those dogs were hidden merles so the markings would not even indicate the merling pattern as spotting or the like, as quite a number of merles have been registered. (There is such a thing as a hidden merle (the merling being masked by another color) but still this dog is genetically considered a merle.) These unproven "theories" that the merle Chihuahua is a mix with this breed or that are just that - unproven theories. There is absolutely no evidence in this regard upon which to base a decision to ban the merle Chihuahuas. After 20 plus years of known merle Chihuahuas, would they not be full blooded Chihuahuas in any event at this point? I'm not saying I don't care what happened or whether or not the gene was introduced by another breed (a number of other breeds have been introduced into the Chihuahua through the years to give us the Chihuahuas of today) or whether the merle in Chihuahuas was a spontaneous mutation that occurred, from which sprung forth the merles of today. I'm saying NO ONE KNOWS the answer as to where merles came from in the Chihuahua and barring any evidence there is no justification for banning the merle Chihuahuas based upon unproven theories.
Another argument that those who are opposed to the merle Chihuahuas bring up is that merles have "genetic problems" and will produce these in their offspring. It has been specifically alleged that all merle Chis have sight and hearing problems due to the merle gene and will "ruin the breed" because of this. This is nothing but hype and propaganda and is simply NOT TRUE and the tests prove it! Testing done recently on a number of individual merles and merle sired litters have revealed NO sight or hearing problems and the fact is that the beautiful merle Chihuahuas can be just as sound and healthy as their non-merle counterparts!! The fact is that ALL Chihuahuas carry the possibility of genetic problems not at all related to the merle gene and responsible breeding and knowing your lines and choosing breeding partners to breed away from any possible problems is paramount to any good breeding program, no matter what color or pattern of Chihuahua you breed! Again, this argument seems to miss the point: Let's make education and responsible breeding the issue - not the color or pattern of the dog being bred. There are some very basic and fundamental things to know when breeding Chihuahuas of any color: All Chihuahuas to be used in a breeding program should be tested and cleared for a number of conditions that are known to exist in this special little breed, including patellar luxation, heart murmur, among others. In addition to these tests, breeding stock should be CERF tested for any eye problems that may develop (CERF testing puppies as young as possible--prior to 12 weeks--yields the most accurate results for certain eye related problems), and it is highly recommended that dogs with excessive white (especially on the head), piebalds, and any dogs with blue eyes (no matter the color of the dog) be BAER tested for hearing problems (these sight and hearing tests can only be performed by a certified ophthalmologist and neurologist--ask your vet about these important tests!). Once your breeding stock has been cleared, there are a number of other considerations, and one that is of the utmost importance with merles is NEVER BREED MERLE TO MERLE as serious genetic defects in the puppies can occur! To avoid "hidden merles" it is best to avoid breeding merle to light colors, such as fawns, creams, sables, etc. Also, a breeder should inspect all puppies from a merle breeding very carefully at birth (often "hidden" merles have clues to their merle gene that may be very evident at birth but fade over time) and make certain that the dogs they produce are registered correctly in order that there be no question as to whether or not they are a merle. A very simple rule we can learn from other well-known merle breeds is merle is best bred to black: tri-color, with tan points, or solid; or other dark colors (blue and chocolate merle breedings produce beautiful slate and chocolate merle coloration). In this way, you will get the most vibrant coloring and will reduce the chances of a "hidden" merle. One way to avoid ever breeding a merle to a hidden merle is to never breed a merle-bred dog to a merle unless it has already been bred to non merle and produced a sufficient number of puppies to prove it is not genetically a merle. (If you have a doubt as to whether or not a dog is merle-factored, you can have the dog DNA'd for the presence of the merle gene.) It is really very basic and simple and certainly any responsible breeder who truly cares about their breeding program will not hesitate to put this extra care into the breeding of these beautiful little dogs, as they put care and effort into all of their breeding program. Yes, I share the concern of those who are against the merle Chihuahuas about those irresponsible breeders who will not heed this advice and will not take the necessary care in breeding merles. Just as now many irresponsible breeders do not take care to breed away from other problems associated with the breed such as bad patellae, heart murmur, etc. As always, responsible breeding comes down to personal responsibility, and we simply cannot punish responsible breeders because there are those breeders who may not choose to breed in a responsible manner. If we applied such logic we would say that NO breeders should be allowed to breed because there are some bad ones out there. And then our breed - these beautiful and special little dogs - would exist no more! No, their must remain caretakers of the breed to ensure that it continues and flourishes and remains strong and healthy. Some of those caretakers of the Chihuahua breed include merle in their breeding programs and some do not. It is simply a matter of personal choice.
In short, there remains a vocal minority of breeders within the Chihuahua community who have an agenda to ban the merle Chihuahuas and malign those who breed them. There are other Chihuahua breeders who may not understand the proper way to breed merles or who are listening to the hype and hysteria propaganda of the anti-merle campaign and for this reason are frightened of the pattern. Then there are those responsible and caring breeders who while they themselves do not choose to include merle in their breeding programs, do not engage in the anti-merle agenda and campaign of those attempting to ban the merles and malign merle breeders, and realize that while they choose not to breed the merle Chihuahuas, other responsible and caring breeders may choose to include merle in their breeding programs. Sadly, there are and have always been bad breeders out there and some of them breed merle and some of them do not. And then, there are those responsible and caring breeders who choose to include merle in their breeding programs. Yes, it is a gene that may require a little more homework and care in choosing breeding partners, etc., but for those who understand these requirements and are willing to put that little extra effort into their breeding program, the results can be very rewarding! No, the merle Chihuahua is not for everybody, but then that is one of the many (and there are many) wonderful things about Chihuahuas: there is literally a color, pattern and even coat length of Chihuahua for everyone's fancy!
Finally, and sadly, and this is a concern I am sure all of those who care for this breed share, there are those "breeders" (using the term very loosely) who will take advantage of what they perceive as any unusual characteristic - be it a more unusual color or pattern, super tiny size, overly big head, etc. (I've even seen on one website a made up name touting their "rare and unusual" Velveteen coated Chihuahuas!! Ugh!) - and then breed blindly for that characteristic and throw out sound breeding practices as far as health, temperament and conformation. The same type of thing happened with the Taco Bell craze ... that dog did not even come close to the proper type of a Chihuahua, and I'm certain the breed suffered for that commercial-induced popularity. :( I truly, truly wish this were not the case and that I could stop all the irresponsible breeders in the world! In addition, the outrageous prices that some are charging for their merle Chihuahuas is unacceptable in my opinion. There is simply no reason why a pet quality Chihuahua - based solely on the fact that it is a merle - should cost THREE TIMES what the same quality non-merle Chihuahua would be sold for. This type of greed is something I very much do not approve of and personally, while I am happy to see that the prices of the merles have fallen somewhat since they have become so popular, there is still no reason for the prices many are charging and I would like to see buyers become more aware and refuse to pay these inflated prices and those of us who are really striving to care for and preserve the breed take a stand and as a group refuse to become a part of the charge whatever the market will bear mentality problem. These dogs are so much more than a mere commodity! The quality of the dog is what should determine its price, thus discouraging those who are breeding merle for the love of money and leaving those who are breeding out of a love for the breed and who simply choose to include merle in their programs (which is exactly why DQing the merle patterned Chihuahua from the SHOW RING when they can still be registered and bred is just the OPPOSITE of what is good for the breed - we need to encourage more dedicated show fanciers and less those simply breeding for pets and money!). BOTTOM LINE: IS THERE REASON FOR CONCERN ABOUT THE IMPROPER & IRRESPONSIBLE BREEDING OF THE MERLE CHIHUAHUA? YES, JUST AS THERE SHOULD BE CONCERN ABOUT IMPROPER & IRRESPONSIBLE BREEDING OF ALL CHIHUAHUAS! Again, however, this is no reason for the out and out falsehoods and misinformation that the anti-merle people are propagating concerning merle Chihuahuas in general and in particular regarding the alleged blindness and deafness of a certain ex-merle breeder's merles - one of which is a little Chihuahua named Willy that is supposedly deaf NOT because he has been BAER tested - which is the ONLY way to test hearing in canines - but because his breeder claims he reads lips therefore he is deaf!! The Chihuahuas the anti-merle breeders claim to have had the sight and hearing problems were NEVER CERF tested, NEVER BAER tested - whereas ALL the merle Chihuahuas that have been CERF and BAER tested have had NO sight or hearing problems whatsoever! Doesn't this seem suspicious!?! If you don't like merle, then don't breed it, but please don't make up stories about Chihuahuas with sight and hearing problems when no veterinarian certified to make such diagnoses has ever done so! Yes, some merle breeders might be irresponsible and greedy. And that's very tragic indeed. But the fact that irresponsible and greedy breeders exist - and they exist for ALL patterns and colors of this and every other breed - is not a reasonable or justifiable argument for prohibiting responsible and ethical breeders from choosing to follow their own hearts and dreams for their own breeding programs, whether that includes merles or does not. No matter the color or pattern, in my opinion, a well bred Chihuahua is a precious little gift straight from Heaven!
Having said all that, I thought you might be interested in seeing a few pictures showing different merle coloration and patterns. Enjoy these photographs! And LOVE your Chihuahuas! These are truly the most precious and loving little dogs I have ever known, and they are completely dependent on us to keep them safe, healthy, happy and most all LOVED!
Chielle's Bailey Boy
(Sable Merle -- spots faded w/maturity as frequently happens with sable merles)
THESE ARE BAILEY'S (ABOVE) GORGEOUS MERLE BABIES!
(Blue Fawn Merle-left; Blue Merle-right)
I don't know about you, but I feel these little Chihuahuas would have been sorely missed if those opposed had their way!
NOTE: If you would like to learn more about merle Chihuahuas, or if you own or breed these beautiful little dogs (or are even thinking about breeding merle), please visit the Chihuahuas of a Different Color Forum - the place for information geared specifically towards the responsible breeding of the beautiful merle Chihuahua!
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