Dapple Dachshunds

Dapple in Dachshunds is the same in appearance, and genetically, as the “merle” found in Collies, Australian Shepherds and some other breeds.  Strictly speaking, it is a pattern, rather than a colour.

Dapple Dachshund

Dapple Dachshund

Dapple Dachshund

It appears like a slashing or swirling of paint over all normal Dachshund colours.  Some dappling is very bright and noticeable.  Other dogs have so little of the dapple pattern that it is not easily seen. You will recognise a dapple Dachshund most easily when it is on one of these base colours:- Black & Tan, Red or Chocolate & Tan. One parent must be dapple to get dapple puppies.

Breed Standard:

All colours permitted but no white permissible, save for a small patch on chest which is permitted but not desirable. The dapple pattern is expressed as lighter coloured areas contrasting with the darker base. Neither the light nor the dark colour should predominate. Double dapple (where varying amounts of white occurs all over the body in addition to the dapple pattern) is unacceptable. Pied, tricolour and the dilute colours isabella and blue are highly undesirable. Nose and nails black in all colours except chocolate/tan and chocolate/dapple where they are brown.”

Double Dapple:

Double Dapple is the colour of a dog that is the result of mating two Dapple Dachshunds together.  Double Dapple puppies will always have white markings, many in the same pattern that you would associate with a collie-type dog (band around the neck, white on paws, nose, and tail tip).  A Double Dapple Dachshund usually has blue eyes, but may have one or both dark eyes.

There are lethal genes commonly associated with Double Dapple.  The problems associated with the lethal genes in Double Dapples are varying degrees of vision and hearing loss, including missing eyes or “micro eyes”.  Blindness and/or deafness can be caused by the Double Dapple gene combination.  Given the potential health risks associated with Double Dapples, it is considered irresponsible and unacceptable to mate two Dapples together.  The Kennel Club will not register puppies from two Dapple parents.

Read the Breed Council’s advice to breeders and puppy buyers.

Read my blog post: Double Dapple – banned and not worth the risk.

In 2005 Dr. Malcolm Willis wrote an article in Dog World on the Merle gene in Chihuahuas in which he mentions research involving Dachshunds.  This included evidence of health risks associated with heterozygous (“single”) Dapples as well as homozygous (“double”) Dapples:- Some thirty years ago Hannover workers showed eye problems in merle Dachshunds (Wegner and Reetz, 1975, Dausch et al, 1977) sperm imperfections (Treu et al, 1976) and impaired hearing (Reetz et al, 1977). These problems were found in homozygous merles and also heterozygous merles. Hearing faults ranging from complete deafness to slight hardness of hearing occurred in 54.6% of homozygous merles and 36.8% of heterozygous merles. Based on this work and their own work on eye failings Klinckmann et al (1986) suggested restricting the breeding of merles on welfare grounds.

Photos and explanation of Dapple/Merle.

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