The TRUTH about "MERLE" Cocker Spaniels
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The term "Merle Cocker" is actually an oxymoron. A cocker with the merle color pattern is NOT a pure-bred Cocker Spaniel!! NO sporting breed, including the Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel, has ever been merle. This color pattern was originally introduced in the breed by breeding a Cocker Spaniel to some other breed carrying the merle gene. Many "breeders" of merles claim that the color pattern came from a dog named "Rusty Butch." This dog was a BUFF with absolutely NO merle (or even roan) behind him!! So, it is IMPOSSIBLE for this dog to have produced merle puppies! Some will say that it is possible, as it was a "mutation" but this is NOT possible with merle. It can NOT be a mutation; it must be introduced. (See any genetics study to confirm this) The motivating factor behind breeding merles is MONEY.
"Breeders" seeking to have a "rare" color which they could exploit for high profits continue to breed these mixed breed dogs, and pass them off onto unsuspecting buyers as pure-bred cockers. Since these dogs are mixed breeds, they are NOT recognized by the American Kennel Club, (AKC) or the American Spaniel Club (ASC). Therefore, they can NOT be registered. If you have purchased a merle "Cocker" and it is registered with the AKC, the breeder LIED on the registration application about the dog's color in order to get registration papers. Proof of this will be on the papers where the dog's color is listed.
The refusal of the American Spaniel Club to accept merle as a color for Cockers has NOTHING to do with the AKC or ASC being elitist, or "just not liking the color." The merle pattern can be DEADLY, and brings with it a number of serious health problems. Breeding two merles together can result in puppies born deaf and blind, and often with NO EYES OR EARS!! (This practice is often done ON PURPOSE to increase one's chances of getting more merles that will also produce merles)
Those who breed pure-bred dogs containing the merle pattern (Australian Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, Collie, etc) must have an extensive knowledge of genetics, and must be VERY cautious with pedigree research, in EVERY single breeding they do in order to avoid these dangerous, and oftentimes DEADLY problems associated with the merle pattern.
"Breeders" who claim to have AKC registered merle puppies have LIED on the AKC litter registration application, and named these merles as ROAN cockers, (roan is a legitimate, recognized cocker color) in order to register them with the AKC. This is a violation of AKC rules, and grounds for AKC suspension. This is also a dishonest practice. Another very sad problem with this lie is that it introduces massive issues for roan Cocker breeders. Merle mixed breeds who are falsely registered as roans are entered into the roan gene pool, and unsuspecting roan breeders end up with these mixes and all the serious health problems in their lines, and have a very difficult time determining where the problem came from.
This DISHONESTY is what upsets me the MOST about the breeding of merle "Cockers."
If one desires to breed merles, then go ahead. But please DO NOT register them FALSELY with the AKC or any other registry. The consequences of these actions are much too detrimental.
Breeders of merles, who falsely register these dogs as other colors are doing a terrible disservice to the public, and the WORST thing is what it does to the innocent dogs involved. The ONLY reason for the DISHONEST, FRAUDLENT registering of this color pattern is GREED. (compare prices of these mixed breed "merles" to the prices of less popular colors such as black cockers.) A reputable breeder values ALL their dogs, not just the "rare" ones who turn the most profit!)
So, in summation, this is NOT about color!! It is about deceptive people breeding a KNOWN genetic health DISASTER and passing them off to the unsuspecting public as "pure-bred," "rare-color" Cocker Spaniels. And the price you pay (financially and emotionally) is usually very high.
This is a very controversial subject. Due to my honesty and willingness to include this information on my website, I have received some NASTY emails from merle "breeders." Nasty, rude emails will NOT be answered. I will not waste my time. I am always happy to reply to anyone who would like to learn more about this great breed, but I will not engage in rudeness of any kind. Thanks!
And, finally, for anyone who happens to think that maybe I just don't like the merle color, meet my STUNNING Collie boy, Buddy!
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