The Kennel Club has agreed that it will not accept the registration of merle Pugs, including those imported from overseas, following a request from the Pug Breed Council.
As merle is not a naturally occurring colour in this breed, and in view of the health concerns relating to the merle gene, the Kennel Club General Committee has agreed that it will not accept the registration of any merle Pugs with immediate effect.
Merle patterning – patches of lighter colour appearing in the coat – is the result of the M gene in the dog. There are two alleles of this gene: M (merle) and m (non-merle), with merle (M) being dominant to non-merle (m). In some breeds, the effect of the merle allele (M) is termed ‘dapple’. Unfortunately, the effects of the merle allele (M) are not confined to coat patterning and it is known that there can be an increased risk of impaired hearing and sight associated with it, particularly in dogs that are homozygous for M (dogs that carry two copies of the M allele).
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “There are a number of breeds where merle is a naturally occurring colour, such as the Cardigan Corgi and Shetland Sheepdog. In these breeds there is a great tradition of the successful breeding of merle animals using well-established and careful methods. However, in breeds such as the Pug there are no such traditions and so the Kennel Club has agreed that it will not accept the registration of any merle dogs, as it has done already with breeds such as the Bulldog and French Bulldog.”
The Kennel Club continues to work alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators, in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs. Visit our health section for more information.