As the name signifies, Merle Pitbull is a Pitbull with the merle coat pattern. Due to their unique color patterns and strikingly beautiful appearance. There is also some controversy surrounding this color pattern in Pitbulls.

But before we dig deeper into the color combinations and appearance of these dogs, we will first take a look at the origin and history of these Pitbulls. So, let’s begin.

Origin and History of the Pitbulls

Pitbulls have their roots in England, where they were created by mixing Terriers with Bulldogs. The puppies that were born as a result of mixing these two dogs would then be called Bull Terriers. As for the term Pit in their names, it has an interesting back story attached to it.

The Bull Terriers would be placed inside a pit full of rats. A dog would have to kill the most rats to be declared the winner. This led to the term Pit being added to their names.

These dogs were then brought to the U.S. in the later years of the 19th century. There, after being bred for some years, they were named American Pitbull Terriers, huge and energetic dogs. They were popular for their intimidating temperament and huge size. They were initially used for dogfighting, but those traits were repressed once dog fighting became illegal in the U.S.

Appearance and the Merle Coat Color

A Merle Pitbull looks like any other Pitbull, except for its strikingly beautiful and unique color pattern. The ‘Merle’ pattern is genetic in a dog’s coat and can be defined as blotches of a darker color over a lighter shade of the same color. This makes a Pitbull appear more attractive than the Pitbulls with other color combinations.

When it comes to other physical features of these dogs, they are similar to the rest of the Pitbull breed. They are medium-sized dogs with a muscular built. They have pointed ears that don’t need to be trimmed, but some dog owners prefer to crop them for aesthetic reasons.

They have thick and short tails, and their head is medium-sized. The shape of their skull is flat, and their muzzle also has a nice shape.

Their eyes color depends a lot on the color of their coat. The same gene responsible for their coat color also affects the color of their eyes. They may have striking blue eyes or an odd-colored pair, such as one can be brown and the other blue.

Is Merle a Natural Coat Color in Pitbulls?

Merle’s color pattern is a result of a gene that used to appear in initially Pitbulls. But any Pitbull born having a Merle pattern would bring some health issues along with it.

Studies suggest this color pattern was present in some dogs and is a result of a natural gene, but this is not the case now with a Pitbull. Any Merle Pitbull you come across would be a result of controlled breeding and is merely being bred for its unique coat pattern. So, it is safe to conclude that the Merle pattern is not a natural coat color in a Pitbull.

Effects of Merle Coloring on Health

As mentioned earlier, some controversies surround this color pattern in a Pitbull. Much of this is about the health concerns this gene brings with it. The Merle coloration is dominant, meaning any dog with a single merle gene will have a merle coat pattern.

According to the research “Prevalence of Deafness in Dogs Heterozygous or Homozygous for the Merle Allele,” published in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine, dogs with two dominant merle genes are more susceptible to have auditory defects and vision impairments. This is why, in 2005, American Dog Breeders Association stopped registering puppies born from merle-merle breeding. In 2013, the UK Kennel Club also followed suit and stopped registering puppies born from merle-merle crossings.

Merle Pitbull Personality and Temperament

Some may think a Pitbull has a hostile reputation and an aggressive temperament. But the reality is quite the opposite. When it comes to a merle Pitbull’s temperament, it is loving and affectionate towards its owner. These dogs are loyal and love to cuddle with their families. They are also very gentle and loving towards the children and love to play with them. But they need to be trained properly and should be taught the correct way to socialize and interact with kids.

Pitbulls are also considered people pleasers because they constantly want to make their owners happy. They want their owners’ attention which is one of the main reasons behind their obedient nature. To make their owners happy, they will follow every command. This personality trait can also become a problem if their owners are not nice. In such cases, the dog can be easily manipulated to become dangerous and menacing.

Activity Requirements of a Merle Pitbull

A merle Pitbull is an active and high-energy dog, which is why it needs regular physical activity. You should take it for daily walks and ensure it gets plenty of exercise to release its energy. This dog is best suitable for families that have an active lifestyle. If you don’t have time to take this dog out for walks or have a sedentary lifestyle, you shouldn’t bring it home. Instead, you can look for a more laid-back dog, such as an English Bulldog or Chow Chow.

Additionally, if you live in an apartment or have a small space, this dog is not for you. They are best in homes that have open spaces, such as a backyard, so they have a place to play around and stay active.

Grooming Needs of a Merle Pitbull

When it comes to grooming a merle Pitbull, there is not much difference here. A merle Pitbull needs the same amount of grooming as any other Pitbull dog—except Pocket Pitbull, a mixed breed whose needs are slightly different from other Pitbulls.

Brushing: They have short and smooth hair that doesn’t need a lot of cleaning or washing. Brushing once a week is enough for keeping their coat clean and tangle-free. It also helps in keeping their skin healthy because the natural oils in their hair are spread across their skin. Regular brushing sessions also help in keeping shedding in control.

Bathing: Regarding their baths, it only needs a bath once a month. If bathed too much, they will lose the natural oils from their skin which can dry out their skin and cause skin infection.

Ear Cleaning: Like any other dog, a Pitbull’s ears also need to be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent wax buildup and subsequent ear infections.

Nail Trimming: Just like other body parts, looking after a dog’s nails is as important. You should regularly check your dog’s nails and trim them whenever you find them long. To safely trim their nails, you can use dog nail grinders specifically designed for this purpose.

Oral Hygiene: It is also very important to frequently check and clean your Pit’s teeth and gums. It will prevent your dog from developing any mouth-related diseases and keep his dental health in good condition. But always use toothpastes that are formulated specifically for a dog. Never use toothpaste made for humans or other pets.

4 Reasons to Get a Merle Pitbull

Before you bring home any dog, it is important to do some homework and educate yourself about its living needs and its temperament. This is why we have listed down 4 reasons for which you should consider bringing home a Pitbull.

4 Reasons Not to Get a Merle Pitbull

Although these dogs have a lot of admirable qualities and personality traits, there are certain things that make them less desirable to some people. So to give you a clear picture, we have listed down 4 reasons that make a merle Pitbull the least favorite to some.

Health-Related Issues

As we already know, the merle pattern is a result of a gene that brings along some other health issues as well. For this reason, a merle Pitbull is considered to be a dog prone to some serious health issues.

Below we have discussed the common health risks faced by a merle Pitbull in detail. So, let’s take a closer look at these health concerns.

Ocular Defects: The merle pattern in dogs is a result of a gene that is also responsible for vision-related issues in dogs. So a merle dog is more prone to have vision problems such as microphthalmia—a condition that causes ocular pressure and colobomas.

Hearing Defects: Another serious health risk these dogs face is the loss of hearing. They may be deaf in one or both ears, and initial studies suggest the merle gene is responsible for partial or complete hearing loss in dogs.

Hip Dysplasia: Like any other heavy dog, a merle Pitbull is also more susceptible to suffering from hip dysplasia. This is a bone and joints related disease and can cause limpness in a dog.

Demodex Mange: This is the most common disease in Pitbulls. Demodex Mange happens as a result of mite infestation in a dog’s fur. While the immune system of other dogs is strong enough to get rid of such infestations, a Pitbull cannot. Thus, all of their body becomes infected, and they lose a lot of their hair. This also results in dry skin patches that easily cut open, bleed, and become infected.

Obesity: Any large size dog is prone to become obese. As the merle Pitbulls are also large in size, obesity is also a health risk. Thus, to keep them healthy, it is important to provide them with plenty of exercises and nutritious food. The dogs that are not given the amount of physical exertion required for their bodies or are being fed unhealthy food, may become overweight.

Adopting a Merle Puppy—What You Need to Know?

A merle Pitbull is a rare and unique dog that can only be found with breeders. They don’t occur naturally and are specifically bred after picking dogs that have the merle gene in them. This breeding process also contributes to their high prices.

As it is clear from the discussion above, a merle Pit is more inclined to face serious health issues, so you need to check its health before you bring it home. It is also advised to check its parents’ health to ensure it is healthy and doesn’t have any serious health concerns.

You should also get a puppy checked by a vet and ask the breeder to show you their past vet records. 


A healthy merle Pitbull is known to live for 12 years. This is an average lifespan for any Pitbull. But if it is a double merle, its life may be shorter than other Pitbulls.

Regular vet checkups are vital to keeping your Pit’s health in check. You should also ensure your dog eats a healthy and balanced diet and is given the amount of exercise his body needs.


Although a merle Pitbull is a unique and attractive dog, the health risks associated with it make it controversial. Many people don’t consider owning these dogs worth the time and effort. Another thing that makes these dogs less desirable by dog lovers is their high price. As finding a merle Pitbull is rare and is only bred by controlled breeding, buying and owning one becomes very expensive.

But other than the problems associated with this dog, it has a reputation of being a loyal and affectionate dog. It loves to please its owner and is very obedient. The unique color pattern, strong body, and overall loving demeanor make Merle a good pet and family dog.

With proper care, devoted time, and undivided attention, this dog proves to be a loyal companion to many dog owners. But if you are a beginner and don’t have any prior experience of owning any dog, keeping a merle Pitbull can be challenging. As they are inclined to become deaf after some time, training them can be difficult for novice owners.

So, these things should be kept in mind before you bring home a merle Pit.

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