Merle Goldendoodle: Info, Genetics, Traits & FAQ (With Pictures)

Merle Goldendoodle smiling at the camera

The merle Goldendoodle is one of the designer dog breeds that are appealing not only because of its sweet personality but also because of its gorgeous coat pattern.

Being one of the most popular Doodle breeds, the merle Goldendoodle has more than enough charming traits to become one of the top choices for many aspiring dog owners.

If you are searching for an adorable companion and are keen on getting to know the merle Goldendoodle, you have come to the right place.

This guide is complete with all the important facts and details about this hybrid. Let’s begin!

What Is a Merle Goldendoodle?

Merle Goldendoodle sitting on grass with leash
Image credit: archie__dood / Instagram

The merle Goldendoodle is the offspring of a Poodle and a Golden Retriever that sports a distinct merle coat pattern. Merle Goldendoodles have dark-colored patches over a lighter base coat color. This designer breed is known for its intelligence, unique appearance, and friendly disposition. 

This one-of-a-kind dog breed can sport a beautiful merle coat pattern due to having a dominant merle gene. Merle dogs such as the blue merle Goldendoodle can also have blue eyes and pink noses.

And while a dog breed such as the blue merle Goldendoodle is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), it can still be registered with the Designer Breed Registry and Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC)

These hybrids are likewise eligible to be registered with the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR), and the partner program of the American Kennel Club for mixed breeds, AKC Canine Partners.

Are Merle Goldendoodles Rare?

Merle dogs like the merle Goldendoodle are quite rare. This is due to the meticulous breeding techniques needed to produce them.

For starters, the purebred Poodle and Golden Retriever are not known to naturally carry the merle gene.

It is even stated in the breed standards of the United Kennel Club (UKC) that merle coloring is a disqualifying trait among Poodles.

For a dog breed such as the Goldendoodle to achieve a coat with a merle pattern, a breed that carries this gene needs to be introduced into the mix. Usually, a Border Collie or Australian Shepherd is chosen for this purpose. 

However, some breeders firmly believe that purebred Poodles are naturally able to carry the merle gene. They argue that Poodles can appear to be cryptic or hidden merles.

As such, producing a merle Goldendoodle is quite complicated and requires careful breeding and thorough genetic testing to ensure that only one copy of the merle gene is passed on to the offspring. 

Because of all these intricacies, merle Goldendoodles do not come by. If anything, they are amongst the rarest Doodle variants out there.

Merle Goldendoodle Appearance

Blue merle Goldendoodle puppy lying on green grass
Image credit: kobethegraymamba / Instagram

Merle Goldendoodles are very similar to every other Goldendoodle in terms of physical appearance. Apart from their merle coat, they possess the same traits that characterize Goldendoodles.

Depending on its size variation, a full-grown merle Goldendoodle can measure anywhere from 13 to 23.6 inches and weigh between 25 and 75 pounds

They have soft-textured and nearly hypoallergenic coats that can be curly, wavy, or straight. Typically, merle dogs will exhibit dark patches with light coloring all over their bodies.

This is true for the blue merle Goldendoodle, chocolate merle Goldendoodle, red merle Goldendoodle, merle phantom Goldendoodle, and merle parti Goldendoodle.

These canines are also slightly longer than they are tall. They tend to have proportionate muzzles, long eyebrows, and mustaches. In addition, their oval-shaped eyes can be dark brown or blue. 

Their eye rims, paw pads, and noses can be black or brown and usually have pink spots due to the merle gene. Meanwhile, merle Goldendoodles have ears that are set low and hang close to their cheeks.

Furthermore, their chests are moderately wide, and their feathered tails are carried up.

All things considered, these dogs are the same cuddly Goldendoodle with a unique coat that makes them even more attractive dogs.

If you want to see just how attractive a merle Goldendoodle puppy’s coat is, watch the video below:

Meet Beau! He's our new merle Goldendoodle (F3)

READ NEXT: All Goldendoodle Colors and Patterns Explained (With Pictures)

Different Types of Merle Goldendoodles

Merle Goldendoodle sitting in the kitchen
Image credit: kobethegraymamba / Instagram

Merle Goldendoodles come in different types and varieties depending on size, coat feature, and coat color. With this, potential owners have several options when choosing a merle Goldendoodle pup.

Below are the different types of merle Goldendoodles according to size:

  • Toy Merle Goldendoodle: The toy merle Goldendoodle is the smallest size and measures around 13 inches, and weighs about 25 pounds or less.
  • Miniature Merle Goldendoodle: The miniature merle Goldendoodle is larger than the toy size, standing between 14 and 17 inches and weighing around 26 to 35 pounds.
  • Medium Merle Goldendoodle: The medium merle Goldendoodle is the next larger size, typically measuring from 18 to 20 inches in height, and is around 36 to 50 pounds.
  • Standard Merle Goldendoodle: The standard merle Goldendoodle is the largest size variation, standing around 21 to 23.6 inches in height and weighing between 51 and 75 pounds.

The following are the varieties of merle Goldendoodles according to their coat features:

  • Curly Coat Merle Goldendoodle: The curly coat merle Goldendoodle sheds the least among all other Goldendoodle variations in this category. They are considered the most suitable options for allergy sufferers; however, they also have the highest grooming requirements.
  • Straight Coat Merle Goldendoodle: The straight coat merle Goldendoodle takes after its Golden Retriever parent’s coat. They are the easiest to manage in terms of grooming but are also the variety that sheds the most. 
  • Wavy Coat Merle Goldendoodle: The wavy coat merle Goldendoodle is the most common variety among Goldendoodle hair types. They require regular brushing and shed a bit more than the curly coat type but less than the straight coat merle.

Below are the types of merle Goldendoodles in terms of color:

  • Blue Merle Goldendoodle: The blue merle Goldendoodle inherits a black coat from a black dog parent, but due to the presence of a dominant merle gene, will appear to have a grey, black, and white marbled coat instead of a solid color. Blue merles can also have blue eyes and pink noses.
  • Chocolate Merle Goldendoodle: The chocolate merle Goldendoodle has a chocolate coat that exhibits a merle pattern. Instead of having a solid color, they will have dark golden or brown patches over a tan base coat color. They are also called red merle Goldendoodles.
  • Merle Phantom Goldendoodle: The merle Phantom Goldendoodle has distinct markings found in its eyebrows, legs, tails, and chest. They usually sport a combination of colors such as black, red, silver, or chocolate. These are usually combined with a light golden, red, brown, gray, or cream color.
  • Merle Parti Goldendoodle: A merle parti-color Goldendoodle is a predominantly white Goldendoodle with patches of black, brown, red, apricot, or cream color. 

Due to the diverse gene pool of the merle Goldendoodle, they can come in various types and merle puppy colors depending on the specific dominant and recessive genes they inherit from their parent breeds.

Merle Goldendoodle Color Genetics

Close up of a merle Goldendoodle lying on the floor
Image credit: archie__dood / Instagram

For a Goldendoodle to have a coat with a merle pattern, it needs a copy of the merle gene (M). 

This dominant gene affects the dog’s coat by partially diluting its color. This results in a Goldendoodle with patches of dark color together with a lighter shade of the same color.

The merle gene dilutes the black pigment called eumelanin, which is responsible for the black, brown, blue, and isabella shades. 

This is why the two merle-colored Goldendoodles commonly seen are the blue merle Goldendoodle and chocolate merle Goldendoodle.

When breeding merle Goldendoodles, it is crucial that only one copy of the merle gene is passed on to the Goldendoodle.

This is because having two copies of this gene can result in serious health defects such as deafness and blindness.

To do this, breeders need to carefully pair a merle Goldendoodle with a non-merle dog. Because of this, screening the breeding stock is required to ensure that there is only one merle parent in the mix. 

Also, because merle can be present in the recessive red allele, appropriate genetic testing must be performed to ensure that the generations of the Goldendoodle are safe from double merle combinations. 

Merle Goldendoodle Temperament and Personality

A merle-colored Goldendoodle is an intelligent, sweet, and lively family companion. It is because of these traits that they are perfect choices for first-time owners and experienced owners alike.

The combined cheerful and friendly nature of its Golden Retriever and Poodle parents makes this hybrid very suitable for households with children and other dogs. 

The blue merle Goldendoodle, like the other color variants of the breed, is also friendly with strangers and tends to have a low prey drive like Golden Retrievers. 

And when properly socialized, a merle Goldendoodle will grow to be one of the most well-behaved canines.

Training the merle Goldendoodle is easy due to its intelligence which is thanks to its Poodle parent. 

However, if they inherit the highly active nature of the Border Collie or Australian Shepherd, they would have higher exercise requirements. 

As such, engage them in more activities to keep them fit. Have your merle Goldendoodles swim, run, and hike with you.

Merle Goldendoodle Lifespan and Health Issues

Merle Goldendoodle celebrating his birthday
Image credit: archie__dood / Instagram

Merle Goldendoodles have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. While they tend to live long, they can still be susceptible to certain health issues, some of which are linked to their merle coat.

Below are the health issues of merle Goldendoodles:

  • Congenital Deafness: Due to their merle gene, merle Goldendoodles are at risk for genetic defects such as congenital deafness. This occurs because the lack of pigment in the inner ear causes the cochlea’s sensory nerve cells to die. Double merles are at a greater risk of being born deaf because of this.
  • Merle Ocular Dysgenesis: Merle ocular dysgenesis is a genetic eye defect wherein the merle Goldendoodle’s irises are deformed, resulting in blindness. A double merle dog is more prone to exhibiting this defect, which is why two merle dogs should never be bred together.
  • Color Dilution Alopecia: Color dilution alopecia occurs when there is an abnormality in the merle Goldendoodle’s hair follicles, causing hair loss. A blue merle Goldendoodle is more prone to developing this condition due to its dilute color. 
  • Elbow and Hip Dysplasia: Elbow and hip dysplasia are bone conditions that occur when there are deformities in the elbow and hip joints of the merle Goldendoodle. This is also common among Golden Retrievers and Poodles.

Many of these health problems can be avoided by ensuring that a merle dog will only be bred with a non-merle dog.

Carelessly breeding two merles will likely increase the chances of having an unhealthy Goldendoodle litter.

That said, when purchasing a merle Goldendoodle pup, you should choose among trustworthy breeders who responsibly test and screen their breeding stock to avoid double merles.

RELATED: Goldendoodle Lifespan: How Long Do Goldendoodles Live?

How Much Does a Merle Goldendoodle Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

The average price of merle-colored Goldendoodles is between $700 and $3,500. You can expect to pay more for chocolate, parti, phantom, and blue merle Goldendoodle puppies coming from champion bloodlines.

Meanwhile, you can also adopt and choose to provide a forever home to an abandoned merle Goldendoodle.

Aside from the puppy price, there are other expenses that you need to prepare for once your pup arrives. These are the necessary items your pet needs to easily transition into its new life with you.

Below are the initial expenses of a merle Goldendoodle:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$50 – $100
Food and Water Bowls$10 – $30
Bed$30 – $180
Crate$30 – $370
Leashes and Collars$15 – $50
Toys$20 – $40
Grooming Essentials$30 – $160
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$50 – $200
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $300
Initial Vaccine Shots$75 – $200
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Dog License$10 – $20
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$525 – $2,240

These amounts can serve as your guide in budgeting for your new pup. Your actual expenses may differ from the estimates depending on your preference for the items and procedures.

RELATED: How Much Does a Goldendoodle Cost? (2023 Price Guide)

Places to Find Merle Goldendoodle Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Merle Goldendoodle puppy looking at the camera outdoors
Image credit: kobethegraymamba / Instagram

If you are planning to get a merle Goldendoodle, you must look for responsible breeders who adhere to ethical breeding practices. 

To help you with this, I have listed some sources you can check to find chocolate, parti, phantom, or blue merle Goldendoodle puppies for sale

  • Colorado Golden Doodlebugs – Colorado Golden Doodlebugs have been in the breeding business since 2000. Ever since their establishment, they have been dedicated to producing quality Golden Retriever and Goldendoodles, including blue merle Goldendoodles. Puppies from this breeder come with a two-year health guarantee, vaccinations, deworming, and microchipping. 
  • Twin Creek Puppies – Established in 1999, Twin Creek Puppies is focused on producing Doodle breeds like the merle Goldendoodle with sound temperaments and excellent health. Their puppies are exposed to a puppy curriculum that includes an introduction to scents, sights and sounds, crate training, and socialization.
  • JennaLee Designer Doodles – JennaLee Designer Doodles offers mini, medium, and standard Goldendoodles that are raised with puppy culture protocols. Their breeding stock is carefully screened for health issues before they are bred to ensure that they produce puppies with sound physical and temperamental qualities.

You can also check out our list of Goldendoodle breeders for more options.

RELATED: 10 Best Goldendoodle Breeders (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

Meanwhile, if you want to save a dog’s life and spend less at the same time, adoption is your best option. You can check out our ultimate guide to dog adoption for some tips.

The following are some rescues you can contact to find a merle Goldendoodle:

  • International Doodle Owners Group (IDOG) Rescue – IDOG Rescue is a foster-based rescue dedicated to saving and rehoming abandoned Labradoodles and Goldendoodles like blue merle Goldendoodles. Rescued dogs are given proper medical attention, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and microchipped.
  • Doodle Dandy Rescue – Doodle Dandy Rescue focuses on rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming dogs such as merle Goldendoodles. They are a volunteer-based rescue that partners with shelters and provides training and vet care for rescued dogs.
  • Doodle Rock Rescue – Doodle Rock Rescue is a non-profit rescue composed of volunteers who rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome abandoned dogs like blue merle Goldendoodles. Rescued dogs are placed in foster homes until they get adopted. To date, they have already successfully rehomed over 1,200 dogs.

In addition, you can read our 10 best Goldendoodle rescues as additional resource options.

If you don’t want to spend even a single penny for a merle Doodle, check out our guide on finding free puppies.

RELATED: 10 Best Goldendoodle Rescues for Adoption (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

Dog Name Ideas for Merle Goldendoodle Puppies

A merle Goldendoodle’s name should be as cute and charming as the pup itself. That said, if you still haven’t decided on what to call your pooch, I have listed some dog name ideas for you.

Below are some dog name ideas for female merle Goldendoodle puppies:

  • Piper
  • Patches
  • Abby
  • Sadie
  • Heaven
  • Skye
  • Dakota
  • Ruffles
  • Bella
  • Lila
  • Keiko
  • Gigi
  • Winter
  • Toffee
  • Sprinkles

Here are some dog name ideas for male merle Goldendoodle puppies:

  • Beans
  • Prince
  • Smokey
  • Rocky
  • Milo
  • Jared
  • Todd
  • Taylor
  • Chewie
  • Murphy
  • Eli
  • Drew
  • Ash
  • Oreo
  • Bryce

Hopefully, you’ll be able to pick one from the options above. Whatever name you choose, saying it will surely bring joy to you and your loved ones as it represents your unique and lovable merle Goldendoodle pooch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Happy cute merle Goldendoodle lying on the field
Image credit: archie__dood / Instagram

What Is the Rarest Goldendoodle Color?

The rarest Goldendoodle colors are gray, blue, and silver. Unlike other Goldendoodles, these extremely rare coat colors only manifest after the second generation.

In addition, parti and phantom coat patterns are also considered rare among Goldendoodles. Similar to gray, blue, and silver, these patterns are only achieved after multi-generational breeding.

Can You Breed a Merle Goldendoodle?

Yes, a merle Goldendoodle can be bred. But careful genetic testing must be performed to ensure that a merle dog will only be paired with a non-merle dog. 

This is because a double merle Goldendoodle has a high chance of being born blind and deaf due to the pigmentation genes it has inherited.

Do Merle Goldendoodles Have Blue Eyes?

It is possible for merle Goldendoodles to have blue eyes, though not all merle Goldendoodle dogs will automatically have blue eyes.

Some merle Goldendoodles are born with brown or green eyes and later develop blue eyes.

Do Merle Goldendoodles Shed a Lot?

No, merle Goldendoodles are a very low-shedding breed. Because of this, these dogs require frequent brushings to prevent their hair from getting tangled and matted. 

In addition, regular haircuts are also a must for this hybrid.

Are Merle Goldendoodles Hypoallergenic?

Merle Goldendoodles are a nearly hypoallergenic dog breed. While no dog can ever be considered 100% hypoallergenic, the low shedding coats of merle Goldendoodles make them suitable pets for allergy sufferers.

Final Thoughts: Is a Merle Goldendoodle the Right Dog for You?

The merle Goldendoodle’s excellent qualities are what make it highly appealing to many pet lovers. They are not only sweet, lively, and intelligent but are uniquely attractive as well.

If you are keen on owning one, make sure to get your merle Goldendoodle from a reputable breeder.

This way, you can be sure that the puppy you’re getting is not only beautiful but also healthy and free from genetic illnesses.

Likewise, you need to make sure that you are also well-prepared and committed to caring for a merle Goldendoodle all throughout its life.

Are you thinking about owning this unique pooch? Let us know your thoughts about the merle Goldendoodle in the comments below!

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