My French Bulldog’s Eyes Change Color (Merle)

French Bulldogs are friendly and can be quite attached to their owners. A Merle French Bulldog is no exception; these dogs are playful and fun to be with. There are some traits, though, that set a Merle French Bulldog apart from other members of its family. Yes, Merle French Bulldogs are unique. Merle French Bulldogs are easily recognizable by their unique fur coat and their eyes which often appear blue in color. If you come across a Merle, the sight of this dog will stop you in your tracks due to its beautiful and unique fur coat. These dogs also have a warm demeanor and are friendly; don’t let the name “bulldog” deceive you.

Why are these bulldogs given the name Merle and why do they typically come with blue eyes compared to other members of the French Bulldog Family? This article will discuss everything you need to know about these unique dogs if you’re thinking of getting one.

Why Does My Merle French Bulldog’s Eyes Change Colors?

A Merle French Bulldog is a crossbreed between a Frenchie that has been crossbred with a chihuahua and a French bulldog that is of a solid color. This results in the Merle coat pattern, which means the dog’s fur coat is not pigmented in some areas creating hundreds of patches and marks across the dog’s fur coat. There is more to the Merle French Bulldog appearance.

The Merle French Bulldog stunning coat display has a genetic component to it. These dogs carry the M(Merle pattern) and the m(non-Merle) Mm allele in their genes. It generates the characteristic Merle pattern, which gives the dog its beautiful appearance.

The M alleles also result in reduced pigmentation of the dog’s eyes leading to many Merles having blue eyes though this color can change as the dog grows into an adult. Furthermore, this gene causes a condition known as heterochromia iridis, with one eye bigger than the other.

If two Merles are allowed to mate together, they can produce a dog that carries double MM alleles leading to what we call a ‘Double Merle.’ This dog has very low levels of melanin, with the base color dominating with just a few patches of other colors. It increases this dog’s chances of health problems. This practice is frowned against among breeders and is unethical.

Merle coat color patterns come in different shades, from blue Merle to black Merle and even lilac Merle. 

Merle French Bulldogs were mainly bred for the exotic fur and glamour that comes with having such dogs. Their popularity has risen in recent years. These dogs are truly unique and are not what you see every day on the street being taken for a walk. Let’s answer this question now is Merle French Bulldogs Rare?

Are Blue Eyed French Bulldogs Rare?

Yes, Merle French Bulldogs are rare because of the way they are bred. Some certain regulations and criteria must be met before you can breed these dogs in several states and regions. There are also ethical concerns about their breeding; due to increased complications in this breed, some people are against their breeding.

Due to the above reasons, you don’t see many dog breeders breeding these dogs. You have to make your inquiries to locate a reputable breeder for these amazing dogs because it can be hard to locate one. The Merle’s unique coat pattern is not something you see easily around. The base color is speckled with stripes of different colors leading to the unique Merle pattern on the dog’s fur coat. This coat pattern is indeed unique and a rarity in the fur coat pattern of the dog family.

In recent years, Merle’s unique color has been a topic of much conversation. There has been much controversy over it, and this has been affecting the breeding of these dogs and the slow disappearance of the unique Merle coat pattern. This trend even makes them rarer even though regular French Bulldogs with solid colors have been rising in popularity. What kinds of Merle French Bulldogs do you have? We’ll answer this next.

What Kinds of Merle French Bulldog Colors Are There?

There are different color variations in the Merle French Bulldog. Blue Merle and Red Merle are common coat colors. The major color variations are Merle Blue, Merle Black, and Merle Lilac. Other hues of these Merle colors exist depending on the dominant gene that is diluted. The 3 main Merle colors are rare, and therefore they are the most sought-after.

Black Merle

When the dominant gene in a French bulldog is black, what you get is a Black Merle French Bulldog, as a French bulldog can’t be solid black. The black Merle occurs in Merles with hues of tan, fawn, and black.

Blue Merle

The blue appearance of this Merle is not a result of a blue gene in this dog; the dog’s base coat is black but in a diluted form giving the fur coat a bluish color. This bluish pigmentation also affects the eyes of this cute Merle, giving it a blue appearance that can last into adulthood.

Red Merle

Red Merles are those that have a liver brown base color speckled with other colors to create a Merle pattern. The difference between a red Merle and Blue Merle is the base color, with the first being liver brown and the latter being diluted black.

Lilac Merle

This is the rarest of all the Merle patterns making it the most difficult to get. The Lilac color is essentially a mixture of a blue base color as in the blue Merle with chocolate brown giving it the Lilac color. This pigmentation also makes their eyes lighter. A new shade of Lilac Merle pattern is now seen, which is called ‘Isabella’ or ‘true lilac.’ It is similar to the regular lilac but more champagne in color. It is one of the most expensive Merle patterns.

Chocolate Merle 

The fur coat of a chocolate Merle French bulldog is dark brown in appearance. This dog can have eyes green/brown in color. 

Tan Merle

A Tan Merle Frenchie will have brownish patches on a tan base color. This color makes their nose appear pink in color, and their paws light brown in appearance.

White Merle

This is one of the most common Merle patterns, with this Frenchie having a white base color speckled with patches of tan and brown. A Double Merle, which is a pup produced by two Merle Frenchies, can have a dominant white base color with a few patches of other colors. A White Merle does not necessarily refer to a Double Merle.

Apart from these Merle colors mentioned above, they can also come in different combinations, such as chocolate and brindle patterns. But it is good to note that cream and pied colors on a dog’s fur are not Merle patterns.

It is good to know the color of the Merle French Bulldog is not recognized by the AKC. It is a fact that the Merle pattern was obtained by crossbreeding regular French bulldogs

with Chihuahuas, so the Merle color is not representative of the French Bulldog family.

How Much Does a Blue Eyes French Bulldog Cost?

Merle French Bulldogs are not only rare but also very expensive. They go for more than double the price of a regular French Bulldog. This price range will go from anywhere between $6,000 to $20,000. Below are some of the prices of these Merles by their colors.

Lilac Merle 

As previously said, the lilac Merle French Bulldog is a rare kind of Merle French Bulldog. As a result, it is costly. If you are going to get this dog from a reputable breeder, expect to pay between $7000 to $15000 for this exotic breed. The lilac Merle color of your new dog is indeed beautiful, and you will surely be impressed when you meet your pup in person for the first time.

Blue Merle

Blue Merles are another beautiful kind of Merle French Bulldogs. Like the lilac french bulldog, it is quite expensive and rare. On average, one will cost you around $8,000 to $12,000 to get a decent blue Frenchie.

The general price of Merle French Bulldogs is between $6000 and $20,000. These prices can rise to $50,000 or more depending on how rare the Merle you are getting is. If you think you can save some money by buying these dogs from less reputable breeders, it might lead to problems with your dog later on. You might end up with a puppy that has no vaccinations, that is sick, or that has not been dewormed.

Now let’s see why Merle French bulldogs are so expensive.

Why Are Merle French Bulldogs So Expensive?

As we have seen earlier, Merle french bulldogs do not occur naturally in the french bulldog family; they are selectively bred, and due to this fact, they are quite expensive. 

A Merle french bulldog is bred by artificial insemination and given birth to by cesarean section, making it the more expensive. Over 80% of French bulldogs’ puppies are birthed by cesarean section. Furthermore, when a Merle Frenchie mates with a regular Frenchie, half of the litter produced is only Merle Frenchies contributing to their rarity and exorbitant prices. Female French bulldogs come into heat once or twice a year, and they do not produce more than three puppies at a time, making it difficult to get one of these beauties from breeders.

The practice of safe and ethical breeding by reputable breeders also increases the cost of these canines. While a regular french bulldog might cost between $1500 to $3000, a Merle french bulldog can cost between $8000 to $15000. The beautiful coat of Merle french dogs also makes them delicate. They need to visit the vet often and get medications. They also have a big appetite; don’t be tricked by their small stature. These factors make buying and owning a Merle french bulldog expensive.

Long Term, How Much Does a Merle French Bulldog Cost You Each Year?

Buying a Merle French bulldog is one part of the cost of owning this dog. Over time you will need to spend a lot more to keep your dog in good condition. Merle French bulldogs are prone to health complications, so this fact significantly increases the cost of owning these dogs. Rough estimates show that you will need $2000 to $4000 each year to cover all the costs involved with raising a Merle French bulldog.

The American Kennel club estimated that the cost of owning a small dog is like $1000 per year. According to ASPCA, you can set aside around $1400 for your small dog in its first year. As earlier said, Merle French bulldogs are at a higher risk of health complications, so you will need some money for regular visits to the vet to keep your dog in good condition. You will also budget money for dental care, neutering, and worming treatment. If you are not applying for pet insurance, then be ready to set a good sum of money to take care of your dog.

Your Frenchie is going to be energetic and playful in its first year, so you will need to purchase toys, crates, and things to keep your dog active. The fur coat of french bulldogs does not need much grooming like that of other breeds such as poodles, so cost should be reduced in this aspect. However, they still need regular brushing to keep that unique and dazzling fur coat shiny and clean; you can get a rubber brush to do this for your dog.

Is the Merle French Bulldog an Unhealthy Breed?

Sadly, the Merle gene that gives the Merle French bulldog its stunning appearance is responsible for the health complications that are found in this dog. This gene often causes blindness and deafness in these dogs. Despite this, many healthy Merle French bulldogs can live long like normal dogs.

To make things worse, if two Merle Frenchies are allowed to mate and they produce a double Merle, the risk of health complications is even greater. There is an 86% chance this dog will be blind, deaf, or have deformed limbs. In addition to this, it might suffer from neurological defects, immune disorders, and extensive allergies. Due to the problems associated with this dog, many official organizations refuse to register double Merle puppies in their entries.

Given the above, Merle Frenchies are not exactly healthy pups, but these canines can still live for long if well-taken care of. The average lifespan of a Merle Frenchie dog is about 10 years, with some of them living up to 15 years. Some unhealthy Merle French bulldogs live between six to nine years.

What Kind of Health Problems Does a French Bulldog With Blue Eyes Have?

The Merle French Bulldog is known for its higher risk of health complications when compared to other dogs. Many of these problems are genetic and are transmitted from parents to offspring. Some of the common defects seen in Merle Frenchies are:

Eye defects are seen in Merle French puppies such as:

Microphthalmia: This is a condition that reduces the size of the eyeball making it less functional. Double Merles are a greater risk.

Anophthalmia: It occurs when one or both eyes are missing or are deeply recessed as if they were covered by a third eyelid (nictitating membrane). 

Wandering eye: This is a form of microphthalmia with multiple defects and ocular degeneration.

Some other problems found in the Merle French Bulldog

Brachycephalic Obstruction: French bulldogs are among the brachycephalic breed; thereby, they are prone to breathing problems due to their small noses and the shape of their heads.

Hip Dysplasia: This is a condition that causes a misalignment of the ball and socket of the hip joint leading to pain when moving for such a dog.

Patellar Luxation: This is a shift in the position of the kneecap in a dog hindering their movement as a result. This is common in dogs, but Merle French bulldogs are more prone to this condition.

Cleft palate: This is a congenital condition that leads to the nasal and oral cavities of a dog being separated from the mouth. It can lead to difficulties in swallowing. It is not life-threatening but can reduce a dog’s overall quality of life.

Skin cancer can occur in Merle Frenchies due to the lack of pigmentation on their skin.

Is Merle Natural in French Bulldogs?

Merle coat pattern does not occur naturally in the French bulldog family. The Merle French bulldog is not purebred and therefore is not considered a standard color for French bulldogs by the AKC. 

The Merle coat color of a french bulldog is the result of mixing a Merle Chihuahua with a regular French bulldog. Merle Frenchies are crossbred and are not produced by parents of the same dog family. This Merle gene leads to the solid base color, which is usually white, chocolate, or fawn, to be dotted with stripes of other colors producing the characteristic Merle coat pattern. This pigmentation irregularity gives the Merle French bulldog its striking blue eyes.

If you desire to own a purebred Frenchie, then the Merle French bulldog is not for you. It is a fact that Merle Frenchies are rare, but there are even some Merle patterns that are harder to find. These are Harlequin, tweed, and cryptic Merle Frenchies. They still fall under the Merle category though they are a bit different from the standard Merle.

Where can You Buy A French Bulldog With Blue Eyes?

Merle French Bulldogs are indeed adorable and beautiful; it is no surprise that many people want to keep these dogs as pets. The only problem is that these dogs are not only attractive, but they are also rare. This is the reason why it might be so difficult to find a reputable breeder of these dogs.

You can get your Merle French bulldog from a registered breeder and government-approved dog rescue shelters. 

Breeding a healthy Merle French puppy is not an easy job due to the challenges that come with the process, from getting healthy parents to mate to delivery of these rare puppies; that is why you don’t find many breeders raising these dogs. If you have made your final decision to get a Merle French bulldog, make sure you have done your research well on the breeder you are getting it from. Here is some information that your breeder should be able to provide:

● A complete DNA profile of your dog to show it’s a genuine Merle French bulldog.

● Proof of vaccinations necessary for such a dog. Treatment for worms and ticks should have been carried out.

● Examination of the dog by a licensed veterinarian should have been carried out to confirm the dog is healthy.

It is important to say you should avoid backyard breeders who display low prices for these dogs on their websites because you might end up getting an unhealthy dog or even a double Merle. You might end up with a dog that is deaf, blind or that has deformed limbs.

Can You Breed Merle French Bulldogs?

If you are not a registered or experienced breeder, you should not breed Merle French bulldogs because of the complications that might arise when breeding themIt can endanger the life of the pregnant female as well as create avoidable problems for the new pup.

Merle French puppies are one of the most challenging dogs to breed because of the health complications they are prone to, as we have seen earlier. It would not be wise to start breeding these dogs without getting to know all the risks involved with their breeding.

The most effective way to raise puppies is through natural mating, but because of the oversized heads of french bulldogs and their unusually narrow hips, it becomes a problem for the male Frenchie to climb a female, so artificial insemination of sperm into the female is the most practical means to get the females pregnant.

The above reason also makes it difficult for a female Frenchie to safely deliver a liter of Merle puppies due to the female’s narrow hips and the oversized head of the puppies. The safest way of delivering these puppies is through C-section(cesarean section), in which the puppies are surgically removed from the mother’s womb. 

It is possible in some cases to raise Merle French puppies through the natural process of mating and vaginal delivery by the female, but the majority of puppies are birthed by the surgical procedures earlier mentioned. It can be seen that breeding Merle French puppies is no easy task, and it’s not something you can dabble into hoping to figure it out. You will need the help of a certified and experienced breeder if you plan to raise these puppies on your own. 

Are Merle French Bulldogs Good with Kids?

Yes, Merle French bulldogs are very sociable and have a gentle attitude, so they do well with kids. With time and training, they can be great companion dogs for you and your kids. These dogs are friendly even with strangers.

Even though these dogs are small in stature, they are energetic and love to play around the house with anyone available. Merle French bulldogs like receiving attention from their owners. If a Merle French bulldog is left to himself for too long without social interaction, they can develop separation anxiety. If you live a busy life, this canine might not be for you because they can’t be left alone for too long.

Like other French bulldogs, Merle Frenchies have a sweet and outgoing personality. There is no dull moment around these dogs as they like goofing around. They can be trained to adapt to different living conditions in your home. If you need an adaptable and well-behaved dog, then the Merle Frenchie is a good choice for you. They can be great family dogs.

Is The Merle French Bulldog The Right Dog For Me?

Merle French bulldogs are unique dogs with stunning fur coats. The beauty they radiate comes at a cost, though; they are prone to health complications. These dogs can also be very expensive.

If you are looking for a unique dog that will stand out among other dogs wherever you go, then the Merle French bulldog is right for you. They can also be great companion dogs for your family.

If you are not all about unique looks and just want a sociable dog at an affordable price, and you do not want to spend a lot on your dog’s health, you can go for a regular French bulldog without the Merle pattern. This choice will give you less worry and save cost when compared to a Merle French bulldog.


In this article, we have seen that Merle French Bulldogs are unique because of their Merle coat pattern. They are also not purebred, so this makes them prone to serious health issues. If you have decided to get, a Merle French Bulldog, make sure you get it from a reputable and registered breeder.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!