Lilac merle is a unique coloration in dogs, and one of the most popular rare colors today.
Here’s what you need to know about lilac merle to help you decide whether this is the right color and pattern combination for your next dog.
What is Lilac Merle?
The term “lilac merle” describes the color and pattern. Lilac is similar to blue coloration in dogs, but it is lighter. It is made up of gray and brown hairs that end up giving a slightly purplish hue to the dog.
Merle describes a pattern of color that’s also called “dapple” that has patches of dark and light. Therefore, a lilac merle dog is a dog with a base color of light blue and patches of brown, black, and white.
What Breeds of Dog is Lilac Merle?
Most Well-Known: Lilac Merle French Bulldog
The merle lilac French Bulldog is one of the most popular breeds and color/marking combinations available today. The Frenchie is one of the breeds in which you are most likely to see lilac merle coloration.
While Merle Lilac is not an acceptable color or pattern according to the AKC, this has not stopped breeders from working to achieve this color combination, since it is so popular. The lilac merle French Bulldog is striking.
The color and the pattern are very clear, thanks to the French Bulldog’s soft, short coat. The lilac merle Frenchie is an uncommon sight in most places, but in affluent, urban areas you may see this dog.
Variations on the French Bulldog Lilac Merle
Lilac Blue Merle French Bulldog
Lilac typically means a lightening of a blue color, so the blue lilac merle French Bulldog is a slightly darker color, but still lighter than what you usually expect from blue.
Lilac Fawn Merle French Bulldog
Fawn is a light tan coloration, so a lilac fawn dog has a coat somewhere between light blue and fawn. There may be more brown hairs mixed into the coat than gray.
Lilac And Tan Merle French Bulldog
These dogs typically have the same kind of pattern as a black and tan dog would, such as a Rottweiler or a Doberman.
However, instead of black, there is lilac. The merle pattern likely will not be on the tan areas, but only on the lilac coat, although sometimes there is a merle pattern all over the coat.
Purple Lilac Lilac Merle French Bulldog
This color describes a more intense purple tone than is typically seen in lilac merle dogs. It is generally a little bit darker and bluer than the usual lilac merle.
Lilac Tan Merle French Bulldog
These dogs are very similar to the fawn variety of lilac merle, but they have an even lighter coloration mixed into the lilac coat.
Lilac Tri Merle French Bulldog
This is the typical tricolor that you would see in Burmese mountain dogs, with black, white, and tan. However, instead of black, the base color is lilac. These dogs typically have a lilac-colored body with tan points and eyebrows and a white blaze over the face and on the chest.
Considerations When Finding a Lilac Merle French Bulldog for Sale
As we’ll discuss a little bit later in this article, there are some health considerations when choosing lilac merle dogs in general.
However, when you are shopping for a lilac merle French Bulldog, you need to be even more careful. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Double Merle Lilac Merle French Bulldog
Double merle occurs when two merle dogs are bred together. Generally, in order to produce merle coloration, a merle dog is bred with a standard colored dog.
If two merle dogs are bred together, the result can be double merle. When two merle dogs are bred, every puppy in the litter has a 25% chance of being a double merle.
Double merle dogs often have vision and hearing issues. They can be completely deaf and/or blind. Usually, they are completely white, although sometimes they have some merle markings on a white background.
Lilac Merle French Bulldog Price
Lilac merle is a difficult color to get in French bulldogs. As a result, it can be very expensive.
Because French Bulldogs are difficult to breed in the first place, often requiring a C-section or other interference in order to breed and deliver the puppies, the price is even higher than other dogs in which lilac merle occurs.
Expect to pay several thousand dollars for a dog that cannot be registered with the AKC.
Other Breeds That Have Lilac Merle
Lilac Merle English Bulldog
When you see a bulldog with lilac merle coloration, you’ll often see a lilac tri merle English bulldog. Merle is not an acceptable color in the English Bulldog according to the AKC, so this color is relatively rare in the breed.
However, you will occasionally find a merle lilac English bulldog for sale, often from breeders who are focused on producing unusual colors like the merle lilac bulldog rather than breeding for show or to adhere to the breed standard.
It’s a very good idea to check that the breeder certifies the health of their dogs when you are buying a lilac merle bulldog.
Lilac Merle Border Collie
All colors are acceptable in the Border Collie, including lilac merle. Therefore, it’s not at all uncommon to find lilac merle in this breed.
Often, breeders who are producing dogs for show or pets, rather than to work sheep, produce lilac merle in their Border Collies. The color can be quite striking in the medium-long coat of the Border Collie.
Lilac Merle Bully
Generally, when people refer to a bully, they’re talking about the American Bully. The AKC doesn’t recognize the American Bully, but the UKC does.
This breed is an offshoot of the American Pitbull Terrier that is heavier, lower to the ground and has a larger head.
Usually, when you see lilac merle in this breed, it will be a lilac tri merle bully with lilac in the place of the typical black covering most of the body and tan and white on the face and chest.
Occasionally, however, you’ll see a lilac merle American bully that doesn’t have white or tan.
Lilac Merle Great Dane
Merle is an accepted pattern in the great dane, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise to see a lilac merle great dane. When you see merle in the great dane, it is typically described as a harlequin.
It’s very important to choose a quality breeder when you choose lilac merle in a great dane, since double merles that end up being deaf or blind can be fairly common in this breed.
Lilac Merle Pitbull
The American Pitbull Terrier is a very common breed that comes in just about every imaginable color and marking variation, so it isn’t at all unusual to find them in lilac merle. Lilac tri merle is especially common in this breed.
Lilac Merle Chihuahua
All colors are permitted in the chihuahua, so it’s not unusual at all to find a lilac merle chihuahua. This color can be particularly striking in long-haired chihuahuas because the merle patches have a flowing effect.
Yellow lilacs can be particularly common in Chihuahuas, with tan or yellow points over the eyes and light-colored eyes.
Be Cautious When Choosing Lilac Merle Dogs
Whenever you are choosing an unusual or rare color or pattern, it is wise to be cautious. Because both lilac and merle can be fairly unusual, you should be particularly choosy about the breeder you select.
This is especially true in breeds that typically don’t have merle. Breeding merle dogs comes with special risks and breeders need to be particularly careful.
If two merle dogs are bred together, the result can be a double merle puppy who may have hearing or vision impairment or be completely blind and/or deaf.
Blue or lilac dogs come from a recessive gene that is sometimes associated with color dilution alopecia.
These dogs begin to lose their hair, often by around six months of age. As a result, the skin can be itchy, scaly, and uncomfortable. These dogs can also be prone to sunburn.
There is also a special risk in choosing any dog that has been primarily bred for color or markings.
Irresponsible breeders may sacrifice other, more important characteristics such as behavior or health in order to breed dogs that have the desired markings or colors.
For instance, a breeder may choose to breed a dog that has excessive fearfulness or a genetic health issue if that dog displays the colors that they want.
After all, at the point that a breeder is making thousands of dollars for every puppy they can produce of a certain color, they may be highly motivated to produce that color, whether or not it’s good for the dog.
Choose breeders that offer health screenings for their dogs and allow you to meet the parents.
Choose Lilac Merle With Caution
Lilac merle can be a striking, beautiful color in dogs of various breeds. However, this color and marking combination should only be chosen with caution.
If you are very selective about the breeder and do your research, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to take home a healthy, happy lilac merle puppy.