How Much Do Merle Dogs Cost? And Why Are They So Expensive?

Last Updated on July, 2024

So you’re looking for a Merle doggo? These puppies are very attractive, and each merle variant differs from another. I mean, who wouldn’t want to own a one-of-a-kind puppy for themselves? But how much would they cost? What determines their prices?

A Merle dog’s cost can vary heavily depending on several factors, which I will bring up in this article. Their prices can range from $800 to $15,000 or more.

Quick Summary

Prices of merle dogs vary depending on the breed, with French Bulldogs being the most expensive at $4,500 to $9,000, and Catahoula Leopard Dogs being the least expensive at $600 to $1,200.

Startup costs in the first year of owning a merle dog includes, such as vet expenses of around $600 and food expenses of around $300 for a puppy in the growth stage. These costs may increase as the dog ages and requires more medical attention.

Due to the rarity of the gene, merle dogs are more expensive than non-merle dogs.

Cost of Merle Dog According to Their Breed 

Merle Dog running on the ground

Many popular breeds can carry the merle gene, so you should first consider what breed you desire for your merle pup.

You already know that different breeds have different prices, and merle dogs are already more expensive than non-merle dogs. So you’ve got to expect varying price points for different breeds.

Below is a list of how much an average merle dog costs in each breed.

Merle French Bulldogs 

Merle French Bulldog standing on the table

French Bulldogs have a cute, recognizable look. A merle Frenchie can be blue merle, lilac merle, chocolate merle, isabella merle, black merle, or fawn merle.

A merle Frenchie should cost at least $4,500 and up to $9,000, depending on the merle variant, rare colors, fluffy coat, and gender.

Merle Great Danes

Merle Great Dane lying on the sofa

One of the largest breeds, the Great Dane, can have several merle variants. Solid Merle Great Danes, Blue Merle Great Danes, Brindle Merles, and Mantle Merles.

A merle Great Dane can range in price from $2500 to $6000, depending on its characteristics. Anyway, isn’t it cool to have a Merle Scooby-Doo? 

Merle Pomeranian

Merle Pomeranian lying on the floor

Pomeranian dogs are renowned for their fluffy coats and energetic natures. Its possible variants include blue merle, chocolate merle, red merle, brindle merle, liver merle, and beaver merle.

Depending on how rare its variant is, the price can range from $2000 to $6000 or more.

Merle Koolie 

Merle Koolie lying on the ground

The Australian-origin yard dog Koolie can have merle variants such as tri merle, chocolate, red merle, and blue merle. Koolies can range in price from $900 to $4000, depending on the rarity of the characteristics.

The merle gene in koolies is not uncommon; it is found in many Koolies and thus is less expensive than rare breeds.

Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula Leopard Dog sitting on the ground

Catahoula leopard dogs are excellent hunters but also have an attractive merle texture. They can have blue, brindle, brown, gray, red, silver, and tricolor merles. This breed can range in price from $600 to $1200 or more.

If you are wondering why this breed is not as expensive as others, it is because their merle gene is seen commonly in many Catahoula Leopard dogs. 

You can read more about the Catahoula leopard dog breed’s pricing here.

Merle Corgi

Merle Corgi lying on the ground

There is no denying how adorably cute Corgis are. Whether you own a Pembroke Welsh Corgi or a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, these fur babies will catch everyone’s eye.

Common merle variants seen in Corgis are sable merle, blue merle, red merle, blue merle with tan points, and blue merle with brindle points.

The price of a merle Cardigan Corgi is about $1,000 to $5,000, and it is purebred and recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), while the price of a merle Pembroke Corgi is $10,000 and more but is a hybrid and not recognized by the AKC. 

Why are Merle Dogs Expensive?

The basic rule for almost everything is that it is expensive if it is scarce and in high demand. The same goes for merle dogs. The rare the merle, the higher the price.

For breeds in which the merle gene is rare, such as Border Collies, Pyrenean Shepherds, Beauceron, and Pomeranians, the price can go higher than for other breeds that can commonly have a merle. 

Of course, backyard breeders can give you merle dogs for a lesser price, but it’s best to buy from a reputable breeder. You should also know that not all breeds can be bred to have merle genes. Merle dogs can be registered with kennel clubs, but only certain breeds.

The following breeds are recognized: Australian shepherds, Beauceron dogs, Bergamasco shepherds, Border Collies, Dachshunds, Great Danes, Pyrenean Sheepdogs (Long Haired), Collie (Rough), Collie (Smooth), Shetland Sheepdogs, and Corgis (Cardigan Welsh).

The Annual Cost of Owning a Merle Dog

Merle dog lying on the snow

The first year will be the most costly month, as there will be many startup costs involved for your new merle pup. They won’t cause much trouble for your wallet as they grow up. Here are some possible costs that could occur: 

Vet expenses 

You should budget about $600 for your merle puppy’s first year. This includes each and every vaccination and physical check-up that your puppy needs.

Some clinics will do it at a much lower cost. The prevention of heartworms, fleas, and ticks is also covered. Certain breeds and clinics will require higher prices of up to $1200 per year. 

As your dog ages, it’ll require more concentration and medical attention, which will raise the cost.

On the other hand, adult dogs require fewer vet visits than puppies.

Cost of food

You should budget about $300 per year for food for a puppy in the growth stage. Adult Merles will be more expensive at $450 simply because they need to eat more than puppies.

Puppy food might be more expensive, and you should talk to your veterinarian about what food is needed based on your dog’s health. The dog’s breed and size will also highly affect the overall cost of its food.

Training expenses

Most domestic dog breeds do not require formal training. If you have previous experience raising dogs, they are typically quite simple to train. For social-cognitive reasons, it is suggested that you enroll them in some workshops.

Depending on where you enroll your dog, this could cost as little as $100. If you require specialized training for other purposes, the price ranges from $200 and up.

After this, you won’t need more training unless your dog starts displaying behavioral problems.

Cost of Rescued Merle Dogs

Dog rescue centers or orphanages may have merle dogs that are abandoned or taken in as stray dogs. These are common in the countryside.

This is because working dogs in yards and farms, such as the Australian Shepherd and Catahoula Leopard Dog, frequently exhibit the merle form.

These dogs are crossed with one another and stray dogs, and the offspring will have many unique colors and patterns.

Look for merle puppies at your neighborhood shelter or any adoption centers nearby; you might come home with an extraordinarily charming dog for $150 or even free adoption.

But you should ask the shelter or the breeder how the merle pup was bred. Only merle to non-merle breeding should be accepted.

Breeding two merle dogs may result in double merle dogs. Such merle dogs have white coats with merle patches and frequently have visual, auditory, or genetic issues.

Cost Considerations

Merle dog walking on the ground

Regardless of how gorgeous a merle puppy may be, make sure to ask the breeder about the background of the puppy’s parents.

You might get mesmerized by its looks and forget that you are paying for a puppy with excellent overall health and not only for its stunning merle variant. 

You should be prepared for any potential future health issues because merle is a genetic mutation. Here are a few essential things you need to check with your breeder before you buy your merle doggo.

  • Records of the puppy’s vaccinations and deworming
  • Breed-specific health checks of the parents 
  • The temperament of the parents and family tree 
  • Pups’ early socialization and exposure to the family, other puppies, surroundings, and toys

Make sure you have a realistic budget for your merle dog’s expenses before adopting one. Adopting these dogs can be expensive up front, and their upkeep will run you a few thousand dollars annually.

They may cost even more if they have health problems. Treatments for some genetic health issues can cost thousands of dollars.

Other Dog Breeds Pricing Guides:


As rare as they are, merle dogs are more expensive than non-merle dogs. A merle dog can cost you up to $9,000, depending on the breed and the rarity of the merle pattern. However, as a typical range, you can anticipate spending between $900 and $3,000.

Don’t forget to search for merle dogs in dog shelters and rescue facilities; if you’re lucky, you might find a stunning merle dog for a few hundred dollars or even free!


The short answer is yes; the merle pattern he carries is unique to him, and no two merle patterns are identical. But you have to do its background checks because not all breeds are suitable for merle breeding, and breeding can only happen between merle to non-merle dogs to get a merle puppy.

Rescued merle dogs are often bred with stray dogs or abundant dogs. Their ancestors are not exclusive and were bred with stray dogs. Most of the rescued merle dogs are breeds in which the merle genome is commonly seen. These facilities may also have double merle dogs, which develop serious health problems as they grow.

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Laura Vinzy
Laura Vinzy is one of our contributors. She is also a certified professional dog trainer & currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two rescue dogs.

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