The blue merle Labradoodle is a color variation of the Labradoodle mix.
Blue merle Labradoodles will have blue fur with spots or patches of black. The blue coloring can range from light blue to a deeper gray.
This coloring is very popular, and quite uncommon. But, dogs with merle coloring can be at higher risk for health issues, including vision and hearing problems.
What is a Blue Merle Labradoodle?
Like all Labradoodles, the blue merle Labradoodle is a cross between a purebred Labrador Retriever and a purebred Standard Poodle.
With first generation mixes like this, all traits are left up to chance, including coat type, size, and temperament. Your puppy could be any combination of its parents!
Labradoodles with blue merle coats will have a grey or a bluish base, and patches or spots of black covering them.
The exact positioning and size of their black markings will vary from one dog to the next, making each one truly unique.
Blue merle is one of the most common color combinations of merle coats available. But, it’s still a striking and popular color variety.
And, blue merle Labradoodles are the most likely Doodle type to have blue eyes.
So how does such an interesting coat color happen?
Blue Merle Labradoodle Genetics
The blue merle Labradoodle is a mixed breed. So, he will inherit genes from both a Labrador and a Poodle that can impact his appearance, temperament, health, and more.
However, neither Poodles nor Labrador Retrievers typically carry the merle gene.
So, in order for you to get a blue merle Labradoodle, your mixed pup must have another breed type in his DNA with the dominant merle gene. This breed will be able to pass the merle coat gene on to your Labradoodle puppy.
This is why your blue merle Labradoodle may also end up with blue eyes, even though neither the purebred Lab or the purebred Poodle will.
In simple words, a blue merle Labradoodle must have more than just Poodle and Lab in his DNA.
Perhaps you have a Labradoodle Collie cross. Or a Labradoodle Australian Shepherd cross.
The Double Merle Gene
In order to get a blue merle Labradoodle, some breeders may decide to breed one merle Labradoodle with another merle Labradoodle.
This might seem like a great idea to guarantee a merle puppy. But, it can actually be detrimental to your dog’s health.
The double merle gene can lead to a high likelihood of issues, including vision and hearing loss.
In some cases, dogs with the double merle gene can be completely blind or deaf. Some may even be both.
Luckily, responsible breeders will take care to reduce the chances of these issues by eliminating the double merle gene in litters.
This means, a merle Labradoodle should only ever be bred with a solid color Labradoodle.
Blue Merle Labradoodle Temperament
Because blue merle Labradoodles must get their color variation from a different breed, their temperament can actually be quite unpredictable.
As we’ve already learned, mixed breeds can inherit any trait from either parent.
So, if you have a blue merle Doodle that is actually a Labradoodle Australian Shepherd mix, it could be anywhere between the temperaments of its two parents.
Generally, Labradoodles are friendly, affectionate, playful, and energetic. And, many of the dog breeds that have the merle gene are working dogs, known to be intelligent, energetic, and loyal.
So, a blue merle Labradoodle may have these traits.
The best way to predict what your dog’s temperament will be like is to interact with the parents, and socialize and train your dog from a young age.
Make sure you find out from your breeder exactly how your blue merle Doodle is being bred, and if possible, try to meet the parent dogs in person.
Blue Merle Labradoodle Training and Exercise
Trainability and exercise needs will be influenced by your puppy’s genetics just as much as their appearance and temperament.
Generally, a blue merle Labradoodle is easily trained. But, again, the best way to predict your mix’s trainability is to interact with their parents.
Start training and socializing from a young age.
Positive methods will help you to build and reinforce a strong bond with your dog.
And, it can be a great way to avoid any potential stubbornness.
These dogs will generally need at least 60 minutes of exercise a day as adults. This could be retrieving a ball, going for a hike with you, or just running around the dog park.
Without enough exercise, they may start to show unwanted and undesirable behaviors.
Blue Merle Labradoodle Health
As we mentioned earlier, the double merle gene is related to some serious health issues surrounding your dog’s vision and hearing.
However, aside from this, a blue merle Labradoodle will be prone to any other genetic health issue prevalent in its parent breeds.
So, this will include the Poodle and Labrador. But, it will also include the breed from which your Doodle got their coat color.
Common health issues that Labradoodle owners should be aware of include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- von Willebrand’s disease
- Ear infections
Breeders should be able to show you clean certificates of health for your blue merle Labradoodle.
How to Groom a Blue Merle Labradoodle
The best products and techniques to groom a blue merle Labradoodle will depend on the coat type they inherit from their parents.
Labradoodles can have one of three coat types – hair, fleece, or wool.
And, your Labradoodle’s coat type may also be influenced by the breed that has given them the genetics for the blue merle coloring.
So, it will really depend on the traits your individual dog inherits.
Generally, Doodles with straighter hair coats will shed more heavily, but suffer fewer coat tangles.
Those with fleece or wool coats may shed considerably less. But, they will need a lot more grooming in order to work tangles out of their curly fur.
Many Labradoodle owners prefer to take their Doodle to a progressional groomer.
Aside from their Coat
On top of brushing and bathing, your blue merle Labradoodle will also need his ears cleaned and checked regularly to keep them free of wax that could build up and lead to ear infections.
His nails should also be trimmed on occasion, to keep them from cracking or splitting. If you aren’t confident doing this, most dog breeders will be able to do it for you.
Like all dogs, the blue merle Labradoodle could also be prone to dental disease.
To keep his teeth as healthy as possible, brush his teeth daily with a dog-friendly toothpaste and toothbrush.
Finding a Blue Merle Labradoodle Puppy
A blue merle Labradoodle might not be easy to find, since it isn’t pure Labradoodle. Some other breed will be involved in the mix.
And remember the risks of double merle-related health issues when searching for a puppy.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your puppy’s parents to ensure one of them is a solid-colored Labradoodle.
It’s a good idea for you to try and meet the parent dogs used in this mix, since a non-Labradoodle breed will be involved in some way.
This can add an extra layer of unpredictability. But, meeting the parent dogs involved can help you see how your puppy may turn out.
Generally, Labradoodles cost over $1000, no matter what their color. The prices of blue merle Labradoodles can vary a lot, since this color is uncommon, but your Doodle won’t actually be a regular Poodle Labrador mix.
Is the Blue Merle Labradoodle Right for You?
Whilst the blue merle Doodle can look striking, it can be prone to certain health issues, especially if he is bred by an irresponsible breeder who doesn’t understand the impact of the double merle gene.
These dogs can make wonderful family dogs for the right home. But, you should find out which breed has given them the genetic code for a merle coat to further predict their temperament, health, and care needs.
Is the blue merle Labradoodle your dream dog?
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References and Resources
- Armstrong, J. ‘Color Genes in the Poodle’, University of Ottawa (1999)
- ‘Merle’, UC DAVIS Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
- Coren, S. ‘Your Dog’s Coat Color Predicts his Hearing Ability’, Psychology Today (2012)
- Webb, A. & Cullen, C. ‘Coat Color and Coat Color Pattern-Related Neurologic and Neuro-ophthalmic Diseases‘, The Canine Veterinary Journal (2010)
- Buzhardt, L. ‘Genetics Basics – Coat Color Genetics in Dogs‘, VCA Hospitals
- Schmutz, S. & Berryere, T. ‘Genes Affecting Coat Color and Pattern in Domestic Dogs: A Review‘, Animal Genetics (2007)
- Howell, T. (et al), ‘Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior‘, Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports (2015)