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Merle Pitbull: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Written by: Ed Malaker

Last Updated on July 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

Merle Pitbull: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

The Merle Pitbull is a unique and controversial breed of dog that has been gaining popularity in recent years. Known for their striking coat pattern and muscular build, this dog has a fascinating history and a loyal following of enthusiasts. Keep reading as we explore this breed’s history, discuss how they gained popularity, and list several unique facts about them.

Breed Overview


18–19 inches


35–70 pounds


12–16 years



Suitable for:

Active families


Energetic, active, loyal, protective

The Merle Pit Bull is a variation of the American Pit Bull Terrier breed, distinguished by their striking merle coat pattern. While no kennel club officially recognizes the merle version of the Pit Bull, they have gained a loyal following among enthusiasts who admire their unique appearance and loyal temperament. However, it’s important to note that there is controversy surrounding this breed, with the coat color being the subject of debate.

Some people argue that merle isn’t a natural variation and is actually the result of crossing a Pit Bull with another merle color-producing breed, like the Australian Shepherd or Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Merle Pit Bull Breed Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


The Earliest Records of the Merle Pit Bull in History

The history of the Merle Pit Bull is somewhat murky, and there is limited documentation of its origins. However, some experts believe that they are a relatively recent development, only dating to the late 1900s.

Whether it’s a natural occurrence or not, many reputable breeders and animal welfare organizations strongly oppose the breeding of Merle Pit Bulls, as the merle gene can be associated with several health problems, including deafness, vision problems, and skin allergies. In addition, some breeders might use unethical practices, such as inbreeding, to create these rare dogs.

A merle pitbull looking at it's owner
Image By: Brandon Crawford, Shutterstock

How the Merle Pit Bull Gained Popularity

The Merle Pit Bull has gained popularity in recent years due to their unique and eye-catching appearance and reputation as a loyal and affectionate companion. Social media has likely played a part, as owners can share pictures more readily with more people than at any other time in history.

Celebrities like Joe Jonas and Justin Bieber have also helped raise the Merle Pit Bull breed’s profile, causing more people to want one in their homes.

Formal Recognition of the Merle Pit Bull

The American Kennel Club is the largest kennel club in the United States, and it does not recognize the Merle Pit Bull or even their common relative, the American Pit Bull1. However, the United Kennel Club (UKC) does recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier as a distinct breed; it started registering and promoting them in the 1890s2.

The UKC has a breed standard for the American Pit Bull Terrier, which describes their appearance, temperament, and other characteristics. However, the Merle Pit Bull is not part of the description.


Top 6 Unique Facts About the Merle Pit Bull

1. Merle Pit Bulls have a distinctive coat color pattern

Their patterns feature patches of diluted color on a solid base color. You can also find this pattern in breeds like the Australian Shepherd, Catahoula Leopard Dog, Shetland Sheepdog, and American Foxhound.

2. They are more susceptible to certain health issues

They are prone to deafness in one or both ears, vision problems, and skin allergies, due to the effects of the merle gene on pigmentation and the development of the nervous system.

3. Pit Bulls are great family pets

Despite the controversies surrounding the breed, many owners of Merle Pit Bulls report that their dogs are loyal and affectionate and make great family pets.

4. Merle Pit Bulls are intelligent

You can train them in obedience, agility, and therapy work. However, they can also be stubborn and may require consistent and patient training methods.

5. Merle Pit Bulls can vary in size

Some individuals weigh as little as 30 pounds and others weigh up to 80 pounds.

6. Merle Pit Bulls are energetic dogs

They require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. They enjoy playing fetch, going for walks or runs, and participating in training and agility classes.

merle pitbull staring at the camera
Image By: Brandon Crawford, Shutterstock

Does the Merle Pit Bull Make a Good Pet?

Owning and caring for a Merle Pit Bull can be a rewarding but challenging experience. These energetic dogs require regular exercise and mental stimulation. They also benefit from obedience training and socialization to help them become well-behaved and well-adjusted pets.

They may be more susceptible to certain health issues, such as deafness, vision problems, and skin allergies, due to the effects of the merle gene. However, with the right approach, a Merle Pit Bull can make a loyal and loving companion for many years.



The Merle Pit Bull is a unique breed that has recently gained popularity among dog owners. While their striking appearance and loyal nature can make them appealing, their controversial reputation and potential health concerns require careful consideration.

Choose a reputable breeder or rescue organization, and provide proper care, training, and socialization, and you will have a fantastic companion for many years.

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