Do you have a Dapple?

Do you have a Dapple?

Dappling, a splotchy multi-color coat pattern found in Dachshunds, is called merle in other dog breeds such as the Collie, Great Dane and Australian Shepherd. It’s important to understand that dapple is NOT a color, it is a pattern. We borrow this fine explanation from Dachshund.org:

“Dappling can be compared to painting a room in your house. Say you paint the room green. Before the paint is allowed to dry, you dip a sponge in white paint and then dab the walls with the sponge. For each spot that the sponge touches, you will have a lighter green marbling affect that results from the green and white paint blending together. Dapple works in precisely the same fashion. The dappling can occur on any color. A dappled black & tan Dachshund would leave a black base with a gray marbling affect. A dappled red Dachshund would result in a pinkish marbling affect. A dappled chocolate & tan Dachshund would create a cream marbling effect.”

Dappling can be all over, or it in a very small area such as an ear or spot on the chest. It’s genetic and the results vary widely regardless of the mother or father’s coat. A very lightly dappled dachshund could produce heavily dappled, lightly dappled or even no dappled pups. However there’s a big health risk in breeding two dapples together which results in what’s called a “double dapple.” Sometimes no deformities occur at all, but double dapple puppies have been born blind, deaf, with no eyes, or no ears! There are extreme risks in breeding dapples and a responsible breeder won’t do it, we’ve read.

Breeding correctly and responsibly isn’t for sissies anyway, but breeding dapples calls for expertise. We don’t begin to pretend to know our way around genetics other than that the books, “Genetics of the Dog: Malcolm Willis” and “Inheritance of Coat Color in Dog” by Clarence Cook Little are good places to start learning. More can also be found here.

That said, we have a wealth of knowledge among our readers. What say you, Dachshund people?

Image found on Pinterest and happily attributed upon receipt of information.

8 thoughts on “Do you have a Dapple?”

    • We think so, Susan. The double dapple is also known as ‘double merle’ in other breeds.

  1. I love the term dapple. I first saw it in a big encyclopedia on dogs when I was a child. I didn’t see one in real life until many years later. Now they seem almost common. People love merles in all breeds that carry the gene, but I hope breeders are very careful when breeding merles/dapples. My understanding is that the double merle puppy without problems is rare.

  2. Dapple are they all mean. My niece has a Dapple and it’s mean as snoot. I have a Toy Dachshund that weighs 7lbs 8 ozs. Sweetest dog that ever lived.

    • We’ll have to defer to breed experts on this one, Teresa, but we’ve not encountered temperament associated with a color or marking…..

      • We have the softest white dapple with brown and black and she is the best dog our family has ever had. She is super sweet and will come up and calm you down if she thinks your upset. She will also lick away my teenage daughters tears. She has something special with each family member. Not a mean part of her ant where

        • What a lovely description of a valued family member, Tammy. Than you for sharing it.

    • I have an 8.4 lb. supposed dachshund/chihuahua mix that’s a dapple. She’s a silly little clown who gets beyond excited and reacts to people she’s never met like they’re her long lost best friend. She has about a 2 second attention span and a stubborn streak which makes training quite difficult, but not a mean bone in her body!

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