Merle French Bulldog

French Bulldogs surprised many in the American Kennel Club’s latest ranking of the most popular dog breeds by placing second. This little pooch seemingly came out of nowhere to box out long-time favorites like the German Shepherd and the Golden Retriever.

With all this dog breed has to offer in terms of aesthetics, personality, and ease of maintenance, it is not so hard to see why.

The Merle French Bulldog is one of the most popular varieties of the Frenchie breed. They have the merle gene, which gives them a unique appearance with mottled coat markings. The Merle Frenchie is just like any other French Bulldog in most ways, with a few differences.

Here is all you need to know about this unique variation of Frenchie dogs. This includes what they look like, what they need, and how easy they are to live for as well as what makes them different from other Frenchies.

What Is A Merle French Bulldog?

Merle French Bulldogs are a variation of the French Bulldog breed known for their unique, mottled, markings. The markings are usually mottled patches of a dark color, such as black, diluted blue, and lilac shades, on a white, gray, or even tan background.

For the most part, Merle French Bulldogs look like any other Frenchie with very few differences. Here are some of the defining physical features of a Merle Frenchie in addition to the merle coat markings.

Coat Type

The coat on a Merle French Bulldog is just like any other Frenchie’s in terms of length, texture, and thickness. It should be short and smooth to the touch with a sleek appearance. This short length is also uniform over the dog’s entire body.

Eye Color

Merle Frenchies differ from regular Frenchies in terms of eye color. While regular French Bulldogs have dark brown to black shades of eyes, those with the merle gene may have lighter shades like green or even blue.

These lighter colors are very common in double Merle French Bulldogs that are developed by breeding two Merle Frenchies.

Build And Size

The Merle French Bulldog is a small, compactly-built dog. They have a somewhat muscular frame with a broad chest and square skull.

The Merle Frenchie can weigh between 16 and 25 lbs but should not exceed 28 lbs. In terms of height, they average 11 to 12 inches.

If sickly due to the consequences of the merle gene mutation, the Merle Frenchie may end up smaller and lighter than regular French Bulldogs.

Image from Instagram:@jetsonsfrenchies

How Long Do Merle French Bulldogs Live?

Merle French Bulldogs can live for 10 to 14 years.

This is the same lifespan expected for other Frenchies. While the merle variety has a similar lifespan, they are prone to developing diseases that other French Bulldogs may not have.

These unique health issues associated with the merle gene are why Merle Frenchies are considered bad or undesirable. Let’s take a closer look at these merle-associated diseases and other health issues that affect Merle French Bulldogs.


The merle gene affects the development and functionality of the French Bulldog’s eyes. In very severe cases, it could result in total blindness in either one or both of eyes.


The merle gene also affects the development of the structures in the ear responsible for perceiving and transmitting auditory stimuli. As with blindness, deafness in Merle Frenchies often happens to double Merle Frenchies.

Color Dilution Alopecia

Color dilution alopecia is common in Blue Merle French Bulldogs that have a dilution gene in addition to the merle gene mutation. The combination of these genes results in weaker fur strands prone to breakage or shedding from the root resulting in alopecia.

Eye Defects

In addition to blindness, Merle French Bulldogs are likely to develop eye defects. These include unusually small eyes, missing eyes, or abnormal pupils that are sensitive to light.

Skin Irritation

Skin irritation in Merle French Bulldogs often occurs in areas with skin folds as a result of either friction or moisture accumulation. If not addressed, the irritation could result in eruptions that later get infected.

Brachycephalic Obstructive Syndrome

The flat face of a French bulldog may make the dog cute, but this comes at a cost to its health. The brachycephalic structure makes it very difficult for the dogs to breathe, which is what is referred to as the brachycephalic obstructive syndrome, among other consequences.

Image from Instagram:@mrash_thefrenchie

How To Take Care Of Merle French Bulldogs?

Merle French Bulldogs are obviously very prone to a lot of health issues, and this isn’t even counting lifestyle-related conditions like obesity. One of the best ways to prevent all these health issues and raise a happy dog is by establishing a good care routine.

To help you out, here are 4 of the most important care points to cover for your Merle Frenchie.

A Healthy And Balanced Diet

Merle French Bulldogs need a healthy diet made from organically sourced ingredients to achieve optimal health levels. We recommend Pet Plate for high-quality dog food made from human-grade, real ingredients. The best part is that they will customize the meal plan for your dog.

It is also important to watch the Merle Frenchie’s portions to avoid obesity. An adult can have 2 to 2.5 cups of dry dog food a day while puppies need about 1 to 1.5 cups.

Multivitamin Supplementation

In addition to a healthy and balanced diet, you should include supplements to your Merle Frenchie’s diet as part of their care. These include multivitamins to help with their coat health and improve their immunity.

The supplements could also be bone and joint-friendly options like chondroitinglucosamine, and MSM to help deal with issues arthritis and back problems.

Regular But Moderate Exercise

French Bulldogs have breathing difficulties due to their skull shape and can, therefore, not tolerate too much exercise. At the same time, an active lifestyle is crucial to the dog’s well-being.

A great compromise would be to work with about 30 minutes to 1 hour of moderate activity every day.

Regular Grooming

Frenchies are relatively low maintenance in terms of grooming. However, there are some practices that are more important than others for the dog’s health and well-being.

This includes regular baths to keep folds clean and dry, as well as investing in dental water additives for oral health and hygiene. We shall take a closer look at these grooming needs shortly.

Image from Instagram:@frenchie_division

Why Are Merle French Bulldogs So Hard To Train? Temperaments Of Merle French Bulldogs

Merle French Bulldogs are more or less just like regular Frenchies when it comes to their temperament and personality traits. However, Merle Frenchies are sometimes known to be very stubborn, which may make them more difficult to train than other varieties of the dog breed.

Here are a few other personality traits that you have to look forward to with your merle variety French Bulldog.

Average Intelligence

According to Stanley Coren’s “The Intelligence of Dogs,” French Bulldogs are ranked 109th of the 138 featured dogs. While they may not be the smartest of the bunch, merle Frenchies are still smart enough to train. 

You just need to be patient and smart about your training strategies.


Merle French Bulldogs are known for their superbly sociable nature. These doggies love to be around people and will make friends with just about anyone, including strangers.


The social nature of Merle Frenchies also contributes to their clingy nature. These dogs are very likely to develop separation anxiety especially if they are raised to find your constant presence the norm.


While Merle Frenchies may sometimes put up a shy and reserved front, they are typically very goofy and fun-loving. This makes them ideal for homes with young children.


One of the best things about the Merle Frenchie is their calm and quiet nature. You don’t have to worry about them barking unnecessarily. Even when they are excited and in a playful mood, they are still very well-behaved and quiet.


Merle French Bulldogs are even-tempered dogs that will rarely get into confrontation if they can avoid this. This is another trait that makes Merle Frenchies awesome for families or for first-time dog owners.

Image from Instagram:@miley.merlefrenchie

Do Merle French Bulldogs Shed? Grooming Tips For Merle French Bulldogs

If you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog breed, then the Merle French Bulldog is not an option for you. These dogs shed quite a lot which may come as a surprise to some, given the short and neat nature of their coat.

Despite their heavy shedding, Merle Frenchies are relatively low maintenance, especially if you figure out their needs and fashion a grooming schedule. Here are a few pointers that may come in handy.

Brush The Coat One To Two Times A Week

Brushing your Merle Frenchie once to twice a week should be enough to get rid of loose fur and minimize shedding.

It is important to work with a high-quality tool that will work on the thick coat. We recommend the FURminator Undercoat Tool, whose strong, metallic bristles are just perfect for the job.

Wash The Merle Frenchie Once Every Month

With their proneness to skin issues, Merle French Bulldogs need a bath every 4 weeks and, in some cases, every 2 weeks. Seamus Cherry Blossom Whitening Dog Shampoo works great for their coats, especially with merle pooches that have predominantly white or gray coats. 

If your Merle Frenchie already has skin irritation, we recommend you use Mighty Petz 2-In-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo And Conditioner. The oatmeal has soothing effects and will promote faster healing.

Clean Their Teeth Every Day Or Two

Dental issues like inflamed gums, tartar buildup, and bad breath are common with Merle Frenchies.

Fortunately, it is something that regular dental hygiene practice will help eliminate. Invest in dental water additives that you can use every day or two to keep your dog’s mouth fresh and clean.

How Much Does A Merle French Bulldog Cost? Merle French Bulldogs can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000. This makes Merle Frenchies among the most expensive of all dog breeds. Merle French Bulldogs also stand out within the Frenchie dog breed as one of the priciest variations, whereas regular French Bulldogs can go for $1,500 to $3,000.

Can I Register My Merle French Bulldog? You can’t register a Merle French Bulldog with the American Kennel Club. This is because the merle variation is considered one of the disqualifiable patterns of the French Bulldog breed according to AKC breed standards. Merle French Bulldogs are also often disqualified from dog shows as the coat type is considered undesirable due to all the associated health issues the merle gene carries.

How Are Merle Frenchies Made? Merle Frenchies are made by breeding a Merle Frenchie with a regular French Bulldog that doesn’t have the merle gene. The mutated merle gene is dominant, which means that only one of the parents needs to have it for it to be expressed in the Frenchie puppies. If both Frenchie’s parents are merle, the resulting pups will be double Merle Frenchies.

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Pete Decker