At the request of the Whippet Breed Council, the Kennel Club has agreed that it will not accept the registration, including any imported dogs, of any merle coloured Whippets.
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).
As the merle colour is not a naturally occurring colour in this breed, the Kennel Club Board has agreed that it will not accept the registration of any merle Whippet with immediate effect.