History & Merle Info.
|As most people know a Merle Schnauzer is not a genetic mistake by breeders. We
were interested in bringing a new exotic look to the great breed of Schnauzers. As
our forefathers have done before us we would have to breed in a new breed to make
such changes. In doing so breeders have chosen several different breeds to cross
breed in. Some of the cross breeding being done had much thought put into
genetics’, and what new good things would be added to the breed. This page is
designed to educate you on the most popular cross with the Australian Shepherd.
With the crossings of two different pure breeds a whole new set of genetics apply.
No matter how many times you use one breed the original genetics still linger from
both breeds crossed. As AKC says, "You will still pull genetics for at least 50 years
or more". The MSCA says you can prove this by simply asking you who have had
a Schnauzer, to think about how old the genetics are and how today our little
bearded friends are still behaving like their ancestors. They still want to be watch
dogs, herd our livestock and be a ratter.
I will go over some history on each breed crossed in, but first for those of you who
don't know the history of the Schnauzer, I will start there. Then I will go on with
the most popular cross done today.
Schnauzers are originally a German breed dog, descending during the Middle
Ages from herding, ratting and guard dog breeds. They come in three basic sizes
(according to AKC).
Giants Schnauzers date back to 1832, weighing from 70 to 100 lbs.. They were
used for cattle herding, pig herding and as serious watch dogs. Giant's are playful
yet very protective. Some tend to have strong herding instincts. They are a working
breed and so they require much exercise. Giant's need good training to avoid being
Standard Schnauzers were the original first size of Schnauzers. All other sizes were
created from this size. Standard's have been uses throughout history for many
different roles. The modern Standard Schnauzer excels at obedience, tracking,
herding, agility and therapy. Standards are very loyal family dogs with guardian
instincts. They need lots of exercise since they are considered to be high-energy
Miniature Schnauzers were developed in Germany in the late 1800s. They were
originally bred to be ratters on farms. Then with their bold courage they were being
used for guarding herds, small farms and families. Mini Schnauzers are eager to
please, making them easy to train. They are very loyal family dogs. Schnauzers
were bred down in once again in more recent years to Toy and T-Cup sizes.
With all of the Schnauzer sizes they have had cross breeds bred in to change the
sizes. For the most part personalities have not changed much; they are all very
loyal to families, fun, playful and trainable. Hair coats can vary in all the sizes
from course/wiry to very long and soft. Colors have also changed over the years,
more so around. Appearances of all the sizes mostly remain the same, robust,
sturdy, nearly square built.
Australian Shepherds originated in the Western United States in the 19th and early
20th centuries. They are commonly called an Aussie. Their popularity rose with the
boom of Western riding after World War II. For decades Aussies have been valued
for their versatility and trainability. They come in two basic sizes.
Standard Aussies were developed for sheep herders for the American terrain and
climate. Ranchers needed to have a dog that could handle severe weather, have lots
of speed, athleticism, energy, endurance, flexibility, and intelligence, while
remaining obedient. Aussie’s are among the top of the list of intelligent breeds.
Standard Aussies are loyal to their families and are protective of them.
Mini Aussies were bred down from the standard Aussies. Not much is known
about how the breeders did this, but surely a cross was bred in. This was to create a
smaller version of the Standard Aussie and to have a gentler dog with less working
energy. The Mini Aussie is very loyal to its family; they can be stand offish to
strangers until getting to know them. They are very intelligent with an even
disposition. They are good natured and love to please. Aussies were once more bred
down in more recent year into Toy and T-Cup sizes.
The biggest changes in the sizes are in the personality and energy. Colors have
remained the same and the coats have also remained the same. Appearances of all
the sizes mostly remain the same sturdy, agile, nice boned dogs.
Merle Info, & Blue Eyes – We will try to explain the Merle Gene the best we
can for you:
There is no Blue Merle gene or Chocolate (Liver) Merle gene, there is only a Merle
Gene. Merle is a dilution gene. It lightens whatever the color coat would have
been. The lightening is not spread evenly over the coat, but leaves patches of
undiluted color scattered over the dogs body. Merle gives a mottled or uneven
speckled effect. They can be spotted or leopard, or a combination of both. Spotted
is a merle who has a lot of big dark spots. Leopard is a lot of small dark spots on
them. Most breeds with Merle coats also typically have white markings (such as
around the neck, under the belly, and on the legs), the white is separate from the
Merle. A Phantom Merle, is a dog with a very small patch of Merle (sometimes
called Cryptic for Merle), this is very rare. Merle Schnauzers come in a variety of
sizes, from t-cup (6 lbs & under), toy (7-11 lbs), and mini (12-22 lbs). They do not
come in standard or giant sizes.
In addition to altering the base coat color, Merle also modifies eye color and the
coloring on the nose and paw pads. The Merle gene can modify the dark pigment
in the eyes, changing dark eyes to Blue or part of the eye to Blue. Color on the
nose and paw pads may be mottled pink, brown or black. BLUE EYES ARE
NOT CALLED MERLE EYES ON ANY BREED OF DOG. They are just blue
eyes. The eyes can be full blue, partial blue, speckled blue or have blue flecks.
You can also have a solid colored dog with blue eyes (who is by a merle) who has
no other Merle markings. The blue eyes are its merle marker. In none of these
cases will the dogs vision be affected.
Breeding Merle’s: When breeding a Merle to a non Merle dog on average 50% of
the pups should be Merle. Breeding a Merle to a Merle is not acceptable in any
case. You should never cross 2 Merle’s as the results of doing so pose the risk of at
least 25% of the litter coming out deaf and/or blind, 25% solid and 50% Merle.
Statistics show that when you cross 2 Merle’s you get the same amount of normal
Merle pups (50%) as not crossing 2 Merles, so why would you ever want to cross 2
Merle’s and get deaf and blind ones?
Info here is taken in part from MSCA (Merle Schnauzer Club of America)
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