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Merle Pug – Everything You Need to Know

Pugs are small dogs with characteristic large heads and sparkling eyes. Being intelligent and social, these dogs are excellent companions and ideal house pets. Merle Pugs are differentiated from pure-bred pugs by their distinctive coat pattern and color. These features occur due to a gene called merle or dapple, which is absent in standard pugs. Merle gene is due to the poor production of melanin pigment. Additionally, they may have blue eyes or a combination of two different colors.

Merle Pug Pros and Cons  

Pros    Cons    
Family DogComplications in breeding 
Suitable for apartment livingProne to gain weight

Merle Pug Basic Information  

  • Name: Merle Pug
  • Height: 25-33 cm
  • Weight: 14 to 18 lbs
  • Coat: Short
  • Color: Apricot to fawn, silver, and black
  • Energy: Low to medium 
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Activities: Walking and sniffing, fetch games, tug games, scent games, swimming, agility games, trick games, free play with mental stimulation toys.
  • Group: Toy group, mastiff
  • Barking Level: Low
  • Shedding Level: High
  • Litter Size: 4 to 6 puppies
  • Life Span: 13 to 15 years

Pug Vs. Merle Pug: A Comparison   

Features  PugMerle Pug
  Image                                                   
Height25-33 cm25-33 cm
Weight14 to 18 lbs14 to 18 lbs
SizeSmall Small
GroupToy group, mastiffToy group, mastiff
Children CompatibilityHighHigh
Family CompatibilityHighHigh
Pets CompatibilityMedium to highMedium to high
Barking LevelLowLow
Shedding Level HighHigh
Hypoallergenic  NoNo
Grooming Needs  Low to mediumLow to medium
Overall Health  MediumMedium
Energy  Low to mediumLow to medium
Exercise Needs  MediumMedium
Trainability  Medium to highMedium to high
Complication in Breeding  HighHigh
Life Span  13 to 15 years13 to 15 years

Merle Pug Personality

A typical Merle Pug features a massive head with short snouts and curled tails. Their longer tongues hang out, constantly giving them a funny face. Their protruding eyes and many forehead wrinkles work together to showcase a range of human emotions like surprise, happiness, and curiosity. They have a short and smooth coat with speckled blue-gray or bluish patches. They get along well with other animals and kids. Due to their short faces, they cannot tolerate heat. Hence, they can be allowed to dip in the pool during summer. Additionally, these dogs are pretty sedentary therefore don’t require much space, so they incredibly fit in apartments. Further, they are known to sleep for up to 14 hours per day.

Friendliness Overview   

Affection Level                              High  
Family-Friendly     High     
Kid-Friendly     High    
Pet-Friendly     High     
Strangers-Friendly     High 

Adaptability Overview      

Good for New Pet Owners     High 
Good for Apartment Living     High     
Sensitivity Level     Medium    
Tolerates being alone     Low    
Cold Tolerance     Low to Medium  
Heat Tolerance     Low

Merle Pug Temperament

Merle Pugs are playful and crave attention. To attract attention, they delight their pet parents with their clownish nature. They are very affectionate who expect the same to be reciprocated. Being very social, these dogs cannot tolerate loneliness for longer. They have a medium temperament which makes them a popular choice of pet.  

Merle Pug Training

Merle Pugs have good learning skills during their puppy stage. Therefore, it is better to start training your puppy as early as six months of his life. For this, you may enroll them in puppy training classes to promote their social behavior. Since they have shorter attention spans, their training duration should be limited to 10-minutes. A reward-based positive reinforcement technique works well on them.

Additionally, they thrive on praise and may require some small treats. As these dogs are sensitive, harsh training methods don’t work on them. Instead, you can take advantage of their social behavior and pleasing nature to train these dogs.  

Also, it is essential to potty train your pup by establishing a potty break routine every 2 to 4 hours. Although pugs control their bladder well, they may have to be appropriately guided to their designated potty area to avoid dirtying the house.  

Trainability Overview     

Easy to Train     Medium 
Intelligence     Low to medium 
Prey Drive     Medium    
Tendency to Chew, Nip & Play-bite     High
Tendency to Bark or Howl     Medium to high
Wanderlust Ability     Low

Merle Pug Exercise Needs

Merle Pugs are prone to obesity. Therefore, they require moderate exercises daily featuring simple walks or playtime. They can also withstand competitions involving rallies, agility, and obedience. However, their short legs and breathing challenges prevent them from swimming. Also, they should not undergo exhausting activities, especially in a humid climate.  

Exercise Needs Overview       

Energy Level                                     Medium    
Exercise Needs                                Medium   
Playfulness                                       High     
Intensity       High

Merle Pug Grooming

The Merle Pug’s coat is short and smooth. Since they are susceptible to shedding, they should be brushed using a medium bristle brush twice a week. They can rarely be bathed when they are dirty or begin to stink. You can avoid using shampoos while washing them as it will irritate their skin and damage their coat. Additionally, your canine’s nails have to be trimmed regularly along with their facial wrinkles. For this purpose, you can use a cotton swab dipped in warm water. To prevent infections from building between the folds, run a cotton swab dipped in petroleum jelly. To cleanse their ears, you can use a cotton ball or soft tissue, while you can use damp tissues to wipe their nostrils. Additionally, while grooming, notice signs of ear infections.

Symptoms of Dog Ear Infections:

  • Head shaking
  • Scratching the affected ear
  • Dark discharge
  • Odor
  • Redness and swelling of the ear canal
  • Pain
  • Itchiness
  • Crusting or scabs in the ears

Contact your vet immediately if you notice the above symptoms. 

Grooming Overview     

Amount of Shedding                       High
Tendency to Drool     Low   
Tendency to Snore     High
Easy to Groom     High   

Merle Pug Health

In general, all pugs are brachycephalic breeds- short-headed. Due to the shape of their head, their nostrils and throat tend to block the air passage resulting in breathing difficulty in dogs. Additionally, they may develop deafness confined to one or both ears. Some of the significant health concerns in Merle Pugs include:

Health Overview       

Basic Health    Low to medium 
Weight Gain Possibilities    Medium to high 
Size    Low to medium

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS): As the nostrils are short, they often experience breathing difficulty. Although all pugs suffer from breathing difficulties, some pugs are more affected than others and show various symptoms such as:

Symptoms of BOAS in dogs:

  • Loud Breathing and Snoring
  • Intolerance to exercise or heat.
  • Collapse
  • Gagging
  • Regurgitation
  • Vomiting

Treatment: Surgery is the only option available.

Eye problems: They may be completely blind or have a less acute vision. Some of the other issues related to their eyes include:

Corneal ulcers: Pugs develop corneal ulcers due to their flat faces and prominent eyes. These ulcers are painful and may cause other symptoms such as:

Symptoms of Corneal ulcers in dogs:

  • Squinting 
  • pawing or rubbing the eyes
  • Redness and excessive discharge or tearing.

Treatment: Depending upon the severity of the ulcer, either pain-relieving medications like antibiotics, eye drops, ointments, or surgery may be advised. 

Proptosis: Brachycephalic breeds are vulnerable to proptosis due to their shallow eye sockets.

Symptoms of Proptosis in dogs:

  • Popped out eyeballs
  • Swollen conjunctiva
  • Dryness of the conjunctiva and the cornea.

Treatment: Depending upon the severity of the disease, your veterinarian may recommend surgery.

Dry Eye: A condition in which the eye doesn’t produce enough tears.

Symptoms of Dry Eye in dogs:

  • Eye irritation causing redness
  • Squinting
  • Excessive Blinking
  • A tendency to keep their eyes closed

Chronic dry eyes may lead to ulcers.

Treatment: Based on severity, artificial tear drops or even surgery may be prescribed. 

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a heritable condition that occurs when the thigh bones don’t fit aptly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint. 

Other Causes of Hip Dysplasia: 

  • Injuries 
  • Excessive weight gain 
  • Wrong exercises 

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia: 

This condition can exist with or without symptoms, and some of the notable signs may be present on one or both rear legs. They include:  

  • Pain  
  • Lameness 

Treatment: X-ray screening for hip dysplasia, medication, and hip replacement through surgeries may also be preferred. This condition, if ignored, can be life-threatening.

Skin Infections

Pugs are prone to yeast infections, staph infections, demodectic mange, or walking dandruff with heavy skin folds. Moreover, poor production of melanin leads to merle color, which indicates skin problems such as sunlight hypersensitivity and sunburn.

Pug Dog Encephalitis: Pug encephalitis is an inherited autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and death of the brain tissues. 

Symptoms of Pug Dog Encephalitis:

  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Circling
  • Appearing lost or disoriented
  • Behavior changes
  • Weakness 
  • Stumbling
  • Blindness
  • Abnormal gait
  • Coma

Treatment: Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disorder, leading to death.  

Merle Pug Diet and Nutrition

Merle Pugs are not active dogs which causes them to gain weight quickly. So, you must restrict their feeding thrice a day for 6-month pups while twice a day for puppies aged more than six months. Additionally, limit the number of treats you feed your pet to prevent obesity.  

Merle Pug Living Condition 

The Merle Pugs have short coats, so they need protection against cold weather conditions. For this reason, you may have to keep them covered with jackets or sweaters while taking walks during the colder months. Similarly, their smaller snouts make it difficult for them to adjust to hot weather. Additionally, these dogs are prone to separation anxiety; hence they shouldn’t be left alone for long.   

Adding a Merle Pug to Your Family

Things to Remember Before Breeding 

Pugs are not naturally merle because they are not purebreds. For pugs to be merle, one of the parents must have a merle gene. This merle parent could be a Merle Pug or a different dog breed with a merle gene. The resultant offspring may or may not be merle. Therefore, even if the puppies in a litter don’t seem to be a merle, it is vital to DNA test the puppies for the presence of a merle gene. Additionally, crossing pugs this way leads to genetic mutations and results in health complications. Hence, Merle Pugs are unrecognized by AKC.  

When two Merle dogs mate, they give rise to double merle offspring. These pups have two merle genes which mean they are prone to serious health complications. Hence it is best to avoid buying or breeding these pups. 

Cost of a Merle Pug Puppy  

The price of a pug depends on your resident location. A standard pure breed pug costs anywhere between $1000 and $3000. Hence, a Merle Pug will not cost more than this range.  

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Merle Pug Videos

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Merle Pug Images

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