Question about puppy coloring and health

#1
Hi folks. I am hoping someone can give me some information on what to expect on health of this puppy I might adopt and its coloring. He is a buff and white male and his parents are red and white parti and merle (black and white parti). Should I be concerned about the health of this puppy given that one parent is merle? ALso of note is that his nose is still almost all pink at 6 weeks. Is that a symptom related to having a merle parent? I told the breeder I really wanted one with a black nose and dark eyes since my favorite dog I have had was a buff cocker that I absolutely loved- and I am looking for something with similar look and temperament as my boy buff cocker. She told me that the nose would turn black and then later said some of her puppies noses did not turn black until after they were taken home by their adopted families. I am kind of wondering about this and now I am also wondering if the nose might be related to parent being merle (health problems)?
Here is a pic-
Baxter Puppy 5 weeks.jpg
 
#3
I have done some more research and it appears that dogs with only one Merle parent should be OK health-wise. The nose still being pink is not due to that- but rather due to the mom being a red and white.
I found this posting on the Zim Family Cocker website of two of their 8 week old puppies and they also do not have totally black noses yet. It appears they turn black around 4 months of age.
 

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karenwalksthedogs

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#4
Farley, my black and white dog is part Merle. His nose, if you look closely, still has a very small patch of pink and he is almost 8. He does have some health issues. I don’t know if that’s because of the Merle or not. Farley was a rescue puppy who as saved by a very knowledgeable breeder. I knew the risks of getting a part Meryl dog and made an informed choice. I would always wonder about a breeder that intentionally bred a Meryl dog. There are so many sound dogs out there. Why breed a dog that could have health problems down the road and could pass health issues off to potential offspring? Do both of the puppies parents have their clearances and have you seen the certifications?
 

manuel

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#6
@karenwalksthedogs
I do not know much about breeding. What sort of certification should I ask for? If she doesn't have that, should I ask for vet info? I visited the home and both parents seem very active and healthy.
How do you know that your dog is only part Merle? I don't see any sign that the puppy is Merle, but maybe I am missing it.
The only way you'd know for sure is have testing done. These 2 sites can test if both parents carry the merle gene:
Merle
Paw Print Genetics - M Locus (Merle)
 
#7
@manuel
Thanks so much for the info. Looks like I have some decisions to make. So, if I am to understand what you are saying and the info from one of these websites that says:
"...the M variant of PMEL typically affects only eumelanin pigmented areas and not phaeomelanin (yellow/red) pigmented areas. "
-then, the puppy could be Merle even though it does not look Merle like the black and white one because the gene does not express itself except in black pigmented areas.

So, then the pink nose may or may not be related to the Merle gene.

Of note is that I asked for pics of prior litter to confirm the noses did turn black (as the breeder told me) and they showed dark black noses on both a red and white and black and white partis. Except they both had one small spot that was completely white- no pigment.
They had that spot when they were around 5 weeks and they still had that spot around 5 months. The puppy I am considering does not have a white spot that I saw these other puppies had- but it does still have a good deal of pink on the nose.
 
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manuel

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#8
Sorry. I honestly don't know. I can't tell by the picture but if you suspect the puppy or parents have merle traits then his nose color might be part of it as well.
 

karenwalksthedogs

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#9
They should have had the eyes tested (CERF) on both dogs prior to breeding and they should have had the hips tested (OFA).

Even if you see no signs that your puppy has any Merle it will still carry the Merle gene as a recessive gene as will all the puppies from that litter. The problem comes when, unknowingly, two dogs with recessive Merle genes are bred. In the cocker world, the responsible breeders are trying to get Merle dogs out of the gene pool so this won’t occur. The fact that someone bred a Merle dog sends up red flags for me.
 

Polly

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#10
They should have had the eyes tested (CERF) on both dogs prior to breeding and they should have had the hips tested (OFA).

Even if you see no signs that your puppy has any Merle it will still carry the Merle gene as a recessive gene as will all the puppies from that litter. The problem comes when, unknowingly, two dogs with recessive Merle genes are bred. In the cocker world, the responsible breeders are trying to get Merle dogs out of the gene pool so this won’t occur. The fact that someone bred a Merle dog sends up red flags for me.
Me also.
 
#11
I am not sure what to do. I wonder if I could have the puppy tested? or is it the mom (who does not appear Merle) that should be tested to see if she is a cryptic/ phantom merle?

I might just let my deposit go and get a different puppy. I just got done scouring the web for a Cocker puppy -I would like a light colored one to contrast with my dark chocolate/ white, plus it reminds me of my buff who died a few years back. There appear to be a lot of Merles for sale! What is up with that? I do not find them particularly attractive. Are people not concerned that the dog they love may lead a miserable life due to health problems? I had a Cavachon that had some severe heart problems and died a year ago at the age of 9. She had a really hard time. We spent more than $3K on vet bills with bladder stone surgery and heart medication.

I may end up waiting until spring at this rate.... A bummer not just for me, but for my other Cocker as well. My other Cocker soooo wants a playmate. She is very active and watches "dog TV" that shows other dogs and is enamored of the dogs she sees. With winter upon us, the dog park will not have many visitors....
 
#12
@manuel. I was watching your head tilting video on my laptop on the sofa with my Cocker seated next me. She noticed the dogs right away and came over and watched, looking over my shoulder. She so much wants to hang out with other dogs. BTW- adorable video.
 

Polly

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#13
I would suggest that if there are any dog shows near to you, that you attend, and, visit the breeders/handlers and talk to them. There are many wonderful breeders out there looking for great pet homes for their puppies. My Pogo, my buff is a rescue, my brown boy came from the same breeder as Karen's Ki.
 

Cockers4Ever

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#14
Personally, I do not think that merles should be bred and I would not support a breeder who is breeding them by purchasing a puppy.

My opinion on the matter is that if you are going to Purchase a dog, then you should do everything in your power to get a dog from parents who have been bred to the breed standard and measured against it and that have had testing appropriate for the breed done and disclosed. CERF, OFA and thyroid would be my minimum as well as some sort of titles - meaning either a championship in 1 or more parent and/or an advanced performance title.

If you're NOT going to get this info, then its a cr@pshoot as to what you're really getting. And if its going to be an unknown, then I might as well go to a shelter and pick up a dog there.

Good luck in your decision.q
 

Polly

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#15
Another way to find a good breeder is checking the AKC website and looking for a Breeder of Merit, also your local Spaniel Club will list their breeders of merit. Good Luck, whatever you decide.
 

manuel

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#16
I see on Zim's site the AKC allowed merle American cocker spaniel registrations since 2011. That's sad.
 

Polly

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#17
I see on Zim's site the AKC allowed merle American cocker spaniel registrations since 2011. That's sad.
Manuel I don't believe that's true, if Zim has it on his site, I believe it's incorrect. AKC doesn't even allow Sable yet. They had a vote on it I think this year and it didn't pass.
 

Polly

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#20
Remember years and years ago, when we first adopted Patrick, I think we were all still on the AOL boards. I sent in a photo of Pak and his measurements to AKC with a check, I wondered if they could tell me if he was a cocker. They sent me back a certificate that said he was an American Cocker of undetermined parentage. LOL.. Later I found out you could send in a chicken and they would send you back a certificate for whatever you wanted. We found out later that Pak was more than likely a mix.. cocker and springer, or what they now call a Sprocker lol. maypak.jpg
 
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